5 states went to the polls Tuesday to pick candidates in primary elections
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
The votes are in for five states where people chose their candidates for the midterms in primary elections. One Trump ally in North Carolina, Congressman Madison Cawthorn, lost his race. And a novice candidate with Trump's backing in Pennsylvania's governor's race won. Meanwhile, a key Senate race in Pennsylvania is still too close to call. NPR political correspondent Domenico Montanaro joined us with the latest.
So another Wednesday, and here we are talking about former President Trump's influence on Republicans in these midterm elections. He got a big win last week in the Republican Senate primary in Ohio. But his record this week - it looks a little more mixed, right?
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Yeah, that's right. You know, let's start in Pennsylvania, where Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz, better known as TV's Dr. Oz, in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Trump had endorsed another candidate earlier on who had dropped out because of domestic abuse allegations. This race, though, looks like it's headed for an automatic recount, with the race too close to call at this point. Oz leads David McCormick, the former head of a hedge fund by the slimmest of margins right now. And here was Oz speaking at his watch party last night.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
MEHMET OZ: And I want to thank some other individuals who are in - actually unbelievably close friends, made a big difference in my life, were always there at every moment. Let's start with 45, President Trump.
MONTANARO: Yeah. We won't know the winner of this race for a bit. You know, Trump endorsing Oz may have helped push him, you know, ahead. But it was pretty controversial with his base. And he was likely hurt - Oz - by conservatives seeming to flock in recent days to conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, who campaigned as more MAGA than Trump. She likely at least took some votes away from Oz. The general election is going to be dramatic and expensive. This is Democrats' top target for a race they believe they can flip. Their nominee is now officially Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who won his primary last night in a landslide despite Fetterman suffering a stroke days earlier and having a pacemaker implanted on primary day.
FADEL: Oh, my gosh. OK. So let's talk about another big Senate race, North Carolina. What were the results?
MONTANARO: Well, here in that Senate race, at least, Trump-backed candidate Congressman Ted Budd won pretty handily. This is another Senate race Democrats are targeting. Their candidate is Cheri Beasley, who was the first Black woman to be chief state Supreme Court justice in North Carolina. Here she was last night.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
CHERI BEASLEY: North Carolina, I'm honored to be your nominee. And I'm honored to stand with all of you and on the shoulders of many trailblazers who came before to be the first African American woman...
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yeah.
BEASLEY: ...To be your Democratic Senate nominee.
MONTANARO: A bit tougher race for Democrats there. But further down the ballot, another pro-Trump candidate who Trump endorsed wasn't as successful in his bid to win reelection for Congress last night. That was the controversial Congressman Madison Cawthorn. The freshman had landed in multiple scandals since coming to Washington. He crossed his own Republican colleagues, accusing them of participating in cocaine and sex parties.
MONTANARO: And that was apparently a step too far. Still, he came pretty close, which shows you the power of the incumbency, even for a freshman.
FADEL: Now, there were also elections in Idaho and Oregon. What do the results tell us there?
MONTANARO: Well, Trump had a candidate in Idaho who he had backed who wasn't as successful there. Incumbent Republican Governor Brad Little was able to beat that candidate back. This all kind of revolved around his handling of COVID. Meanwhile, in Oregon, in the 5th Congressional District there, right now there is a candidate who President Biden endorsed in Kurt Schrader, longtime Democratic incumbent, who looks like he may lose. But we're waiting for some results still to come in to Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
FADEL: NPR's Domenico Montanaro, thank you.
MONTANARO: Hey, you're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.