McGinty Forced to Explain 'First in Family' College Claim

Records show Senate hopeful's brother graduated college before she did

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Katie McGinty is facing allegations that she misled voters about being the first in her family to get a college degree. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Katie McGinty said Thursday that she wasn't counting her brother when she claimed that she was the first in her family to "go to college" because he went to community college before attending a four-year school.

The comments from McGinty came after media reports that her campaign trail story — a key to her attempt to connect with blue collar voters — wasn't true.

McGinty's older brother John received bachelor's and master's degrees from La Salle and Temple universities before his sister started attending St. Joseph's University in 1981, Buzzfeed reported. McGinty's campaign released a statement after the story broke saying that her brother's college experience wasn't relevant  to her claim because he had attended community college first, a distinction John McGinty backed up.  

"The way that Katie and our family have always talked about our experience is she was the first of the 10 McGinty kids to attend and graduate from a four-year college, straight out of high school," he said. 

McGinty's campaign sent Roll Call several examples on her website and on social media in which she said she was the first in her family to graduate from a "four-year college."
McGinty, a Democrat, has presented herself as the ninth of 10 children from a working class family in her campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey. 
In January, she told The Associated Press that she was "the first in my family to go to college." Her Facebook page repeated that claim in February, the AP reported.
Democratic groups have invested millions in the McGinty campaign. The race has been rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call and is considered key to the Democratic effort to retake the Senate majority in 2017.
Republicans seized on the revelation to call McGinty a liar, and the National Senate Campaign Committee christened her "Shady Katie."
President Barack Obama has proposed greater investment in community colleges as a way to help more students get job skills or as a springboard to four-year institutions.

Contact Akin at  stephanieakin@rollcall.com  and follow her on Twitter at  @stephanieakin . 

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