Two Republicans running for U.S. Senate seats in the key states of Pennsylvania and Arizona say their economic platforms are laser focused on inflation, and shrinking government in the 2022 midterm elections.
In interviews with CNBC, Jeff Bartos, who hopes to replace outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said inflation is taxing his state’s voters — and Arizona energy executive Jim Lamon has a vision of an energy dominant U.S. that’s better able to compete against China.
Both men blame what they view as Democrats’ wasteful spending for the current jump in inflation and told CNBC they’d be happy to see the federal government do less.
Bartos, who owns a contracting company and some Philadelphia-based real estate development firms, told the news outlet business executives and workers he speaks with on the campaign trail all complain of one thing.
“I would say, specifically, the current tax that is crushing working families is inflation,” he told CNBC. “We’ve traveled across all 67 counties of the Commonwealth multiple times. And my fellow Pennsylvanians are saying that higher prices at the grocery stores and at the gas pump are killing them.
“They’re making decisions for their families that are uncomfortable because of these rising prices.”
The Labor Department’s most recent consumer inflation report showed prices rose 6.8% in November, the fastest rate since 1982.
Lamon agreed with Bartos’ characterization of inflation, which he called a “silent tax” on people in Arizona, and outlined a number of top economic priorities for his campaign.
“No. 1: Start living within our means. We can’t have this endless government spending. You know, it’s fueling inflation,” he told CNBC. “We send almost $4 trillion to the Treasury. And, quite frankly, that’s enough.”
Arizona could produce one of the country’s closest elections since the state’s voters opted to elect a Democrat president in 2020 for the first time since 1996.
Lamon told the news outlet he also plans to focus his campaign on national security and trade issues like Washington’s reliance on China for a category of strategic metals known as rare earths.
“I am not one who is going to treat China as a friend. They are an enemy of this country. They have a goal of taking over this country, and they’re doing it very patiently and very subtly,” Lamon told CNBC.
“We have got to get back to energy independence,” he added. “I even propose that we move to energy dominance. We’ve got to open up the American lands, we can do it responsibly.
“It’s not that difficult to do: You’ve just got to get the damn government out of the way.”