What to watch here, elsewhere
HARRISBURG (AP) — Former President Donald Trump’s winning streak in U.S. Senate primaries is on the line Tuesday as voters in five states cast their ballots in midterm elections.
Trump made bold endorsements in backing celebrity heart surgeon Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in North Carolina. The once little-known Budd is now in a strong position to win the Republican nomination, but Oz is locked in a tight primary against a former hedge fund CEO and a community activist. The primaries follow a resounding win in Ohio’s May 3 contest by Trump’s Senate candidate, JD Vance.
On the Democratic side, Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman revealed Sunday that he had suffered a stroke but was on his way to a “full recovery.”
Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho are holding primaries for governor on Tuesday. In Idaho, Republican Brad Little is fighting back a challenge from his lieutenant governor, a Trump-backed conservative who issued executive orders banning mask mandates during the height of the pandemic when Little was out of state on business.
In Congress, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn is trying to survive a Republican primary in North Carolina after a turbulent first term in office.
What to watch in Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon:
Trump is trying to sway races for U.S. Senate and House in a state he won twice, but narrowly.
Trump endorsed Budd for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Richard Burr, surprising many at last year’s state GOP convention. Budd’s top competitors in the 11-way primary are former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, who had actively sought Trump’s support, and former Gov. Pat McCrory, who is considered a moderate in the race but is best known nationally for signing a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people in 2016 that cost the state billions.
On the Democratic side, Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, has appeared to clear her 11-person field of significant rivals. She would be North Carolina’s first Black U.S. senator if she wins in November.
In congressional races, Trump’s endorsement of Cawthorn in the 11th District didn’t stop establishment figures from opposing the 26-year-old first-term congressman.
Unforced political and personal errors by Cawthorn — a speaker at the “Stop the Steal” rally before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — have made him vulnerable in an eight-candidate GOP primary.
Tuesday’s primary may not be the final word for would-be nominees: First-place candidates must get more than 30% of the vote to avoid a July 26 runoff.
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, the chair of the House Budget Committee and the only Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation, is retiring, opening up his seat for the first time in 16 years.
On the Democratic side, state Sen. Morgan McGarvey and state Rep. Attica Scott are playing up their progressive credentials in the Louisville-area 3rd District. Despite their underdog status, several Republicans are also running for the seat, which Yarmuth won in 2006 by ousting a veteran GOP congresswoman.
The Louisville mayor’s race is also getting outsize interest this year after someone fired on one of the candidates while he was in his campaign office. Democrat Craig Greenberg escaped with a bullet hole in his sweater in the Feb. 14 shooting, and a local social justice activist was charged with attempted murder.
In liberal Oregon, the primary for governor is shaping up as a test between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party at a time of widespread frustration in the state over the COVID-19 pandemic, the homeless crisis, a lack of affordable housing and growing gun violence.
The two leading Democratic candidates are Tina Kotek, a staunch liberal and former speaker of the state House, versus Tobias Read, the state treasurer who has positioned himself as a moderate.
In the Democratic-leaning 5th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader — a moderate endorsed by President Joe Biden — is trying to fight off a primary challenge from progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
The state’s new 6th District has drawn national buzz as one of the most expensive Democratic congressional primaries this year. It has attracted 16 candidates, including Democratic newcomer Carrick Flynn, who is backed by a cryptocurrency kingpin.
In the Democratic-leaning 4th District, eight Democrats are vying for the nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, who is retiring after 35 years in office.
Little, the Republican governor, is trying to survive a primary challenge from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, a far-right conservative who has been backed by Trump.
The relationship between Little and McGeachin has been fraught. On two occasions when Little went out of state last year, McGeachin claimed to be in charge and issued executive orders to block COVID-19 mandates. Little, who had never tried to implement any pandemic-related mandates, rescinded both orders when he returned.
The establishment and far-right factions of the Republican Party are also vying for control in other races in the state.