Barnette's quick rise has Republicans reeling over potential upset and what it could mean for November
(CNN) Republicans are watching conservative candidate Kathy Barnette 's sudden rise in their party's upcoming Pennsylvania US Senate primary with a mix of unease, wonder and dread.
"Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats," Trump said.
Asked if the whirling criticism is a sign that she's on the rise, Barnette said, "I would agree."
But like the former President, other Republicans are worried about the myriad unknowns surrounding Barnette, who until this week was barely a household name in Pennsylvania, let alone a Republican candidate garnering national attention.
"She is a giant walking question mark," said one Republican operative working on Senate races.
One person close to Trump said the former President saw the Oz-Hannity interview as "too heavy-handed" and thought Oz's attacks on Barnette would only make her stock rise further.
The surge happened quickly and sort of out of nowhere," said a Republican aide focused on Senate races.
Still, not all Republicans are publicly concerned about Barnette's rise.
"I keep telling folks that President Trump is not nearly as politically right as parts of this populist movement -- Kathy Barnette is a manifestation of that.
In response, Oz's and McCormick's campaigns and associated super PACs have quickly worked to stop Barnette's surge.
Republicans watching the response to Barnette's rise, however, believe it may be too late for either operation to slow her rise.
But 2022 would not be the first time an unexpected Republican candidate doomed those chances.