More states conducted primaries for the 2022 midterm elections this week. May 17, 2022, was the busiest day of primary elections so far. Voters in Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania all went to the polls. Here, Election Central summarizes some key takeaways from each state.
Idaho’s Republican governor Brad Little faced a challenge from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin. The two have had a difficult political relationship recently. During the COVID-19 pandemic, McGeachin twice tried (unsuccessfully) to issue executive orders to block his coronavirus mandates. McGeachin had an endorsement of former President Donald Trump, but in this race, it appears that GOP voters were not swayed by Trump’s support of McGeachin. Little won 52 percent of the votes, compared to McGeachin’s 32 percent. The other six Republican challengers received 11 percent or less of the total votes.
For Senate, two-term incumbent Senator Rand Paul easily won the Republican nomination. He claimed 86 percent of the votes against five challengers. Meanwhile, Charles Booker won the Democratic nomination by a landslide. He won 73 percent of the ballots. Booker unsuccessfully ran for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s seat in 2020. He is also the first African American Democratic candidate ever nominated for statewide office in Kentucky. Paul and Booker will run against one another in the November general election. Kentucky hasn’t elected a Democratic U.S. senator since 1992.
State Representative Tedd Budd, who is backed by Trump, won the Republican nomination for Senate. Budd defeated several better-known candidates–including a former governor. On the Democratic side, the winner is Cheri Beasley, a former state Supreme Court Justice. If Beasley wins in the general election in November, she would become North Carolina’s first African American senator.
In the House, Trump-endorsed incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his seat amidst political scandals and ethics complaints. Cawthorn was the youngest Republican ever elected to Congress. Even with the controversy surrounding Cawthorn, the margin of victory between him and the Republican primary winner, Chuck Edwards, was less than 1,500 votes. In North Carolina’s 13th District, the Trump endorsed candidate beat out seven Republican rivals. Bo Hines, a conservative and political newcomer, is a 26-year-old Yale graduate and former college football player. He won 32 percent of the votes in the district primary, compared to his opponent’s 22 percent.
Oregon also faces a battle for the governor’s seat. On the Democratic ballot, former Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek defeated Tobias Read. There were twelve other Democratic challengers in the primary race. Kotek won 57 percent of the vote, Read won 33 percent. While the remaining candidates won 2 percent or less of the total. Meanwhile, Republicans are hoping to elect the first GOP governor in decades with their candidate Christine Drazen, a former state representative.
The 6th District held one of the most expensive Democratic primaries in the country. $13 million was spent. There were nine candidates on the ballot. State Representative Andrea Salinas ultimately won over Carrick Flynn, a tech researcher. Flynn was endorsed by the House Majority PAC, which is affiliated with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pennsylvania is another state being closely watched by political experts this primary election season. For Senate, celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz was heavily backed by former President Trump. Oz had led in the polls against his opponents David McCormick and Kathy Barnette. David McCormick is a former CEO of an investment firm. Kathy Barnette is a media commentator who participated in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. As of Wednesday morning, the race was too close to call. Oz and McCormick both have 31 percent of the ballots. Barnette has 24 percent. In the Democratic primary, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman won his race for the Senate nomination. This is despite suffering a stroke late in the campaign.
Trump-endorsed candidate for Pennsylvania governor, State Senator Doug Mastriano, also won the Republican nomination. Mastriano participated in the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. Mastriano will face Democrat Josh Shapiro, the current state attorney general, in the November general election.