Saturday, September 23, 2023

What to Watch in the Pennsylvania and North Carolina Primaries: Trump, Dr. Oz and Kathy Barnette

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Tuesday, May 17, will be one of the biggest primary days of the 2022 election cycle so far.

five states — PennsylvaniaNorth Carolina, Idaho, Kentucky and Oregon — will hold primaries for senate seats, governor seats and house districts, all of which could reveal more about which direction both parties are headed.

Here are some of the themes we look at.

Trump’s influence faces some of the toughest tests yet

Another week of primaries, another test of Trump’s influence with GOP voters.

So far, most of Trump’s displays of support have been successful, except for his choice of Nebraska governor, businessman Charles Herbster. Tuesday’s race — which will include celebrities, far-right figures and a congressman under siege — will provide new clues as to how far the former president’s support can help candidates overcome stiff competition and their inherent weaknesses.

In the GOP Senate primaries in Pennsylvania, Trump backed Mehmet Oz, a famous physician previously investigated for peddling unproven and misleading medical treatments. Oz saw one boost in polls since Trump’s endorsement, but his victory is far from assured. Businessman David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette followed closely behind in recent pollslike some Republicans wonder if Oz is conservative enough.

Meanwhile, in the GOP Senate primaries in North Carolina, Trump backs Rep. Ted Budd, currently bragging a strong poll lead† Budd, a House Republican who voted to contest the certification of the 2020 election results, will take on former Governor Pat McCrory and former Representative Mark Walker, both conservatives. However, Trump has criticized McCrory for losing previous national games, urging Walker to return to the House.

Trump has also become involved in GOP governmental primaries in two states. In the Idaho primaries, he supports Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin — a proponent of a more extreme abortion ban than what the state is currently considering, among other far-right views — about the incumbent government Brad Little. And in Pennsylvania, Trump gave last-minute approval for the state sen. Doug Mastiano, a lawmaker who was outside the Capitol during the January 6 uprising. Mastriano is up against a number of other conservative candidates, including former Representative Lou Barletta and businessman David White.

All of these competitions – and a whole host of other breeds, including in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, where Trump backs former college football recruit Bo Hines in a crowded field — will show how much influence the former president still has over voters. †Li Zhou

Founding Republicans worry about the rise of more extreme candidates

Earlier this year, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell warned Republicans that poor candidate selection could become a major obstacle in the Senate race, despite the positive political environment the party currently finds itself in.

“If you look in the Senate at where we have to compete to get a majority, there are places that are competitive in the general election,” McConnell said during a statement. Kentucky event† “So you can’t nominate someone who is just a little bit unacceptable to a wider group of people and win. We had that experience in 2010 and 2012.”

In effect, McConnell meant that Republicans cannot nominate candidates that are so extreme that they cannot win a general election. This week’s Pennsylvania governor and Senate primaries are forcing Republicans to face this question.

In both, controversial candidates have a chance to win† In the race for governor, Mastriano, a state legislator subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 commission of Congress, leads the rest of the field. And in the Senate race, Barnette, a commentator who… Islamophobic posts sharedworks closely with candidates like Oz and McCormick.

Disputing the 2020 election results and espousing xenophobic and racist views has become normalized in a segment of the Republican Party, with more than 100 far-right candidates are running this year† But it’s not clear that independents and the more moderate Republicans who vote reliably in general elections will accept these types of candidates.

Because of this, incumbent Republicans fear that Mastriano and Barnette could jeopardize the party’s chances of winning those seats in the general election, given that Pennsylvania is still a relatively purple state.

“Winning the primary and losing the general because the candidate can’t get the voters in the middle is not a victory,” Pennsylvania Senate Republican leader Kim Ward wrote in a statement. Facebook post about Mastiano

A similar dynamic can be seen in the coming Secretary of State of Michigan and Arizona GOP Senate races. But in North Carolina, GOP fracturing is shown in a different way as state lawmakers try to appease gaffe-ridden Rep. Madison Cawthorn in the 11th congressional district. Cawthorn, who has been quoted twice to try carry a gun on an airplanefaced allegations of insider tradingand was disciplined by party leaders for comments about congress orgies, now faces strong opposition from other Republicans. One of North Carolina’s senators, Thom Tillis, is among those who supported Cawthorn’s competitor, state senator Chuck Edwards. Trump, however, stood behind Cawthorn, arguing that he deserves a “second chance”.

Ultimately, these races could indicate which faction of the Republican Party’s main voters are more closely associated with, and provide some clues as to the party’s chances of holding and securing seats at both the state and federal levels. —LZ

Heated matches between different wings of the Democratic party

For Democrats, there are again progressive ideas and progressive candidates on the ballot after victories for the former and losses for the latter in the Ohio and Indiana primaries. That means Democratic voters will once again have a chance to send a message about what kind of party they want to be a part of. In Tuesday’s races, they have a choice between moderate and progressive views.

In Oregon, the Democratic primary for governor is a wide-open race, with Tina Kotek, the progressive former speaker of the state house, generally seen as with a small advantage about a moderate challenger, Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read. However, most Democrats are undecided in the race, according to poll done by Read’s team

In the state’s fifth congressional district, incumbent Representative Kurt Schrader, a member of the centrist-minded Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress, faces opposition from the left: Jamie McLeod Skinnera former congressional candidate and small business owner, emphasizes in her ads Schraders votes against key progressive climate priorities in the failed Build Back Better bill.

Pennsylvania lieutenant governor John Fetterman has been beating his Democratic primary rivals in the Senate for months, in part by advancing progressive causes without accepting the “progressive” label. On the House side, eyes are on State Representative Summer Lee, a progressive rising star. She won her state house race with the support of local democratic socialists in 2018, and is now running for the open seat in the 12th congressional district and – if she wins – is seen as a future member of the progressive group of representatives known as the Squad.

In North Carolina’s first congressional district, voters have a relatively simple ideological choice: moderate state senator Don Davis, who was supported by outgoing Representative GK Butterfield, against a progressive former state senator, Erica Smith.

But in the state’s solid Democratic Fourth District, which represents Durham and Chapel Hill, there’s a… historically expensive primary battle between staunch progressives: suspected frontrunner, state senator Valerie Foushee, and her main rival, Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam. Their main point of disagreement is on US’s relationship with Israel† Allam has questioned that relationship, which has led to a lot of PAC support for Foushee, turning this into a nearly $3 million race. —Christian Paz


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