The Biggest Takeaways From the Most Important Primary Night So Far

The Biggest Takeaways From the Most Important Primary Night So Far

Meet the biggest winners and losers so far!

Tuesday night had the most important primaries of the 2022 midterms thus far, with voters from both parties choosing their preferred candidates in battleground states and districts across the country.

Several intraparty battles for both parties came to a climax last night. More than a few tested Donald Trump’s status as the GOP’s kingmaker.

Here’s where things stand as of this morning.

Pennsylvania Senate

Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate primary elections were the evening’s marquee contest for Republicans and Democrats.

For the GOP, the race has gone into overtime. As of this article’s publication, Trump-endorsed television personality and celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz leads former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick by two-tenths of a percentage point — little more than 2,000 votes out of more than 1.2 million. Republicans are desperate to keep this seat red in November. The late rise of Kathy Barnette scared many in the party, including the former president, who publicly expressed concern over her electability.

In the end, Barnette came in a distant third.

More than 95% of votes have been counted. However, a significant number of mail-in ballots remain outstanding.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination by a nearly two-to-one margin from his hospital bed. Fetterman suffered a stroke the weekend before the primary. On Election Day, he had a pacemaker implanted.

The unorthodox Fetterman defeated Pittsburgh-area U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a moderate who won a Trump district in 2018. Many considered Lamb a rising star in the . His future is now in doubt.

Pennsylvania Governor

Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief in the Keystone State’s governor’s race. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) will face off against controversial state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R). Mastriano has aggressively pushed Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, at one point attempting to appoint an illegitimate slate of electors. By all accounts, his arguments haven’t resonated with Pennsylvania voters outside of the GOP base.

As a result, political prognosticators have called into question his electability in a general election — even in an environment favorable for Republicans.

Time will tell if they are right.

Shapiro was so confident that Mastriano would be toxic to swing voters that his campaign aired an ad designed to help him win the Republican primary.

North Carolina Senate

Ted Budd is the Republican nominee for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat this year. Budd, the U.S. representative for the Tar Heel State’s 13th District, won by a comfortable margin after initially struggling in his race against former Gov. Pat McCrory (R). McCrory is reportedly refusing to endorse Budd this morning.

Budd had crucial moral and logistical support from a number of prominent conservative individuals and groups including former President Trump and the Club for Growth.

Republicans badly need to keep this Senate seat in their column if they hope to reclaim the Senate majority. The seat is being vacated by incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, who is not seeking reelection.

The North Carolina censured Burr in February 2021 after he became one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial.

North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District

Congressman Madison Cawthorn has lost his campaign for reelection. The freshman Republican had been plagued by controversies — including video evidence and salacious allegations of inappropriate behavior and other self-inflicted wounds. Those include trying to board a plane with a handgun (twice) and accusations of insider trading for being an aggressive promoter of the “Let’s Go Brandon” cryptocurrency on social media.

Combined, they pulled votes away from Cawthorn — despite former President Trump’s endorsement.

However, what’s gone underreported and was arguably a more significant factor in Cawthorn’s defeat was his lackluster commitment to constituent services in the district and his failure to be an effective legislator in the U.S. House.

The primary results have produced an interesting general election, with optimistic Democrats hoping for an upset in the heavily Republican district that most voters believe was poorly represented.

Cawthorn conceded late Tuesday.

Kentucky

Liberty-minded Republicans Rand Paul and Thomas Massie easily brushed aside primary challengers and now look to defend their seats this November. Meanwhile, progressive Democrat Charles Booker won his party’s nomination to run for Senate against Sen. Paul. Booker has received the endorsement of members of the Squad, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

It’s unclear how her endorsement benefits Booker in a general election in ruby red Kentucky.

Idaho

In Idaho, the governor and lieutenant governor don’t run on the same ticket. Last night, Gov. Brad Little, easily fended off a challenge from his far-right subordinate, Trump-endorsed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin.

McGeachin courted controversy when she inexplicably spoke at Nick Fuentes’ white nationalist conference earlier this year. During the multi-day event, Fuentes defended Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and favorably compared the Russian leader to Adolf Hitler.

Oregon

In another possible victory for the far-left, Democratic voters in Oregon’s 5th District appear on the verge of kicking out incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader. A relative moderate, Schrader had won the endorsement of President Biden.

However, the winner may not be known for some days. A printing error blurred ballot barcodes and threatens to delay the results.

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