Races to watch in North Carolina, Pennsylvania primaries

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — With another day of primary elections ahead in five states, stakes are high for Democrats and Republicans alike.

Several Republican races in North Carolina and Pennsylvania will show how large former President Donald Trump’s influence looms on the GOP. He’s endorsed several candidates in these states, including Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary against Dave McCormick and Kathy Barnette.

“This is a major test for President Trump’s endorsement,” The Hill columnist Julia Manchester said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.”

Although Oz got Trump’s nomination, McCormick brushed this off, telling NewsNation the election is about who can get the job done.

“Pennsylvania voters are zeroed in on three questions: Who shares my conservative values, who can win the general election and who can actually get there on day one?” McCormick said, adding that this makes a “big difference because the country is sliding away from us.”

Barnette, meanwhile, has been something of a wild card in the Republican Senate primary. She’s seen a surge in the polls, though some Republicans worry about her past controversial comments. Barnette has a history of making statements that are hostile to Muslims and gay people, as evidenced by a Christian-themed blog and radio show she once hosted before she ran for office, speeches she has delivered as a Christian activist and her social media posts.

On the other side of the aisle, current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is looking to nab the state’s Democratic nomination while recovering from a stroke. He’s still in the hospital but says his campaign has not slowed down. Fetterman, who’s in the lead, is running for Senate against Conor Lamb and Malcolm Kenyatta.

In North Carolina, voter turnout is expected to surpass 2018. A notable race is the Republican U.S. representative primary, where incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn is looking to be re-elected after a series of controversies. These include a recent leaked nude tape, his claims that his fellow lawmakers invited him to orgies and did cocaine in front of him and being cited by TSA for having a gun at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Even as an incumbent, Manchester said Cawthorn has an uphill climb ahead of him.

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., speaks to the crowd before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Selma, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

“Republicans don’t want to be talking about cocaine-fueled orgies at this point, or whatever Madison Cawthorn is talking about,” Manchester said. “We saw that with Madison Cawthorn, for example, he diverted from that message with his own personal news or personal developments that we saw play out in the media.”

Despite this, Trump backed Cawthorn, saying he needs a second chance. Cawthorn will need 30% of the vote to avoid a runoff in his seat. He’s up against Matthew Burril, Chuck Edwards, Rod Honeycutt, Wendy Nevarez, Bruce O’Connell, Kristie Sluder and Michele Woodhouse.

Besides the candidates themselves, policy will also make a difference in who voters choose this year. A leaked document shows the Supreme Court is planning on overturning Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal nationwide. Should it be overruled, the states would determine the legality of abortion. A Monmouth University poll from May found that 51% of people said that if that happens, it would make them more likely to vote in midterm elections. About 46% of North Carolina voters think the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade.

Other states having primaries today are Oregon, Idaho and Kentucky.

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