What to watch for in Tuesday's primary elections
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.
- A fierce GOP primary for Senate is underway between Trump-endorsed TV personality Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, all of whom are in a dead heat.
- On the Democratic side for Senate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a progressive known for his low-key aesthetic, had been on pace to romp to an easy victory over his rivals, moderate U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.
- His announcement Sunday that he had suffered a stroke threw a curveball into not just his primary but the general election.
- For the governorship, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed, but Republicans have a large field. It's led by Trump-endorsed state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a prominent 2020 election denier. Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta has tried to cobble together an anti-Mastriano coalition.
- The Democratic primary in the 12th Congressional District is a race between democratic socialist state Rep. Summer Lee and establishment-backed attorney Steve Irwin, which has gotten nasty in its final weeks.
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.
- In the 5th District, centrist U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader appears to be one of the more endangered Democratic incumbents after breaking with his party on some key votes, despite a rare endorsement from President Biden. Liberals have lined up behind former House candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
- In the new 6th District, the Pelosi-linked House Majority PAC has angered Hispanic Democrats by backing Carrick Flynn, a first-time candidate with big money backing from a crypto billionaire, in a large field with two Latina candidates.
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.