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What Katie McGinty Told Me About Her College Career

Pennsylvania Democrat under fire over academic history in Senate race

Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Katie McGinty, seen here with Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker at the Capitol in May, made the distinction that she was the first in her family to attend a four-year college to Nathan Gonzales in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Katie McGinty, seen here with Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker at the Capitol in May, made the distinction that she was the first in her family to attend a four-year college to Nathan Gonzales in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans are criticizing one of the Democrats’ top recruits in one of the country’s most competitive Senate races for misstating her family’s college history. But Katie McGinty’s response lines up with what she told me in an interview four months ago.  

McGinty is the Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania , where Democrats are targeting GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey in one of the party’s top takeover targets. The race is rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.  

You can read some of the back-and-forth on whether McGinty mischaracterized her bio in the original Buzzfeed story , the Associated Press story , and CQ Roll Call’s coverage .  

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Van Hollen and McGinty Prove Democratic Establishment Still Has Muscle

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I met with McGinty on January 26 in our offices in Washington, D.C., before her primary victory over former Rep. Joe Sestak.  

Like all of our candidate interviews, we started with biographical questions, from where McGinty was born (Philadelphia) and where she went to school. When we got to college, I wrote “St. Joseph’s – Chemistry → 85” on my yellow pad. A few lines later I wrote, “First in family to 4-year college.”  

Her answers in our interview line up with the McGinty campaign’s response to the Republican attacks.  

“Our family story here is one that we’re proud of, and that is that as the ninth of 10 kids in our family, I was the first who right out of high school was able to go to a four-year college. It was a big moment in our family’s life,” McGinty told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday.  

That doesn’t mean she was as clear and specific every time she talked about her family’s academic history. But this uproar and response isn’t the first time that McGinty made the “four-year-college” distinction.  


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