Updated May 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

What to watch for in Tuesday's primary elections

Dr. Oz and former President Donald Trump. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The full political tensions expected during the 2022 campaign season will play out in primaries occurring Tuesday, when voters in Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania go to the polls.

Why it matters: The largest group of primary contests to date will include tests of former President Trump's endorsement, highly competitive bouts between moderate and progressive Democrats — and a make-or-break moment for one of Congress' most controversial members.

  • The primaries will also indicate whether MAGA or "ultra-MAGA" is the GOP's winning formula this year.

Pennsylvania: Both parties have competitive primaries up and down the ballot on May 17, including for the governorship, House and an open U.S. Senate seat.

North Carolina: The largest battleground for Trump endorsements on Tuesday — the former president has thrown his weight behind candidates in multiple competitive races.

  • After struggling at first to gain headway, Trump-endorsed U.S. Rep. Ted Budd has seized a clear lead in the GOP Senate primary over former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker. Democrats have a credible front-runner in former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.
  • Trump has also endorsed former college football player Bo Hines, who's running in a crowded GOP primary field in the 13th District that includes former U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers.
  • Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) is fighting for re-election amid a series of high-profile scandals with little support from the GOP. His top primary foe is state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who's openly getting help from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
  • Democrats have competitive primaries for open seats in the state's 1st District, between progressive former state Sen. Erica Smith and moderate state Sen. Don Davis, and the 4th District, which has a crowded field that includes former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken.

Oregon: The Democratic-leaning state gained a House seat in redistricting, which has resulted in several hotly contested Democratic primaries.

Idaho: One of Trump's bolder endorsements is for Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who's challenging Gov. Brad Little in the GOP primary.

  • McGeachin made headlines last year for banning mask and vaccine mandates in two separate instances when Little was out of state.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on May 15.

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