Midterms 2022: Pennsylvania and North Carolina test Trump’s attraction | Political news

Primary elections for Republican congressional candidates in the United States on Tuesday are a serious test of former President Donald Trump’s continued political influence.

Trump’s choices for two U.S. Senate seats face voter judgment in preliminary contests in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. A handful of Trump-backed candidates for other positions are poised for victories in Kentucky, Oregon and Idaho.

The winners of Tuesday’s primaries will campaign against Democratic candidates in November’s midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress, as well as the governorships in many states.

Trump has endorsed more than 150 candidates in Republican primary contests as he tries to take on the role of kingmaker. Last week, Trump’s support helped author JD Vance win the Ohio Senate primary, but a front-runner from Nebraska lost.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, famed heart surgeon Mehmet Oz has divided conservative voters who are generally in tune with Trump. Some are wary of Oz’s ideological leanings.

Mehmet Oz, candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, meets a voter during a visit to a car show in Pennsylvania [Matt Rourke/AP Photo]

Oz rose to fame as a frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show and was attacked in TV ads by his Republican rival, former hedge fund manager David McCormick.

A third Republican candidate, conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, popped up in the final stretch of the campaign with a message opposing abortion in all circumstances.

Barnette’s stance comes as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn a 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Trump has held rallies with Oz, including a virtual campaign event for Oz on Monday.

“I think he’s tough. He is very intelligent. He will come in handy,” Trump said on a radio show in Philadelphia. “And I also think he’s the one who’s going to win the election. You know this is not an easy election to win.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, Congressman Ted Budd – also backed by Trump – is expected to beat a group of 14 Republican rivals for the party’s nomination to run for the Senate.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd of North Carolina addresses the crowd before former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Selma, North Carolina
US Representative Ted Budd of North Carolina addresses the crowd at a rally with former President Donald Trump [Chris Seward/AP Photo]

Among the rivals Budd appears to have beaten is former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

“Trump is the biggest factor,” David McLennan, a political science professor at Meredith College in North Carolina, told The Associated Press. “Trump’s endorsement has turned the tide for him.”

The former president’s backing could help Congressman Madison Cawthorn’s race retain her seat despite blunders in Washington, DC, and a tough challenge from political novice Bo Hines.

Frustrations with Biden

For some Democrats, Tuesday’s primaries are a referendum on President Joe Biden’s leadership of the Democratic Party.

In Pennsylvania, Congressman Conor Lamb — a moderate Democrat like Biden — trails progressive politician John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor who topped the Senate race.

A towering 6-foot-8 (two-meter) man with visible tattoos, Fetterman has championed progressive causes, including universal health care — which Biden has resisted — and appealed to many Democrats with an image. exterior.

Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, Representative Conor Lamb, speaks to reporters while holding his son, Matthew, at a polling place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
US Representative Conor Lamb, holding his son, is a moderate Democrat seeking his party’s nomination to run for the Senate in November [Quinn Glabicki/Reuters]

Lamb said Tuesday he detected “frustration” among Democratic primary voters, a feeling he said he shared, that Democrats in Congress had failed to accomplish much of what they campaigned for. enact in 2020.

In the final days of the campaign, Fetterman, 52, suffered a mild stroke and remains hospitalized, but said he is expected to make a full recovery.

In Oregon, Biden has used incumbent power to support Democratic Congressman Kurt Schrader against progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Trump’s wider influence

In Idaho, Trump-backed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Brad Little.

McGeachin had issued executive orders banning mask mandates during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when Little was traveling out of state. In television commercials, she has touted the Christian Bible and gun rights.

In Kentucky, the former president hailed Republican Congressman Thomas Massie as a ‘top-notch defender of the Constitution’ just two years after he disparaged Massie when Trump was president over funding COVID-19 relief .

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