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Trump picks Oz, Cawthorn face GOP primaries in Pennsylvania, North Carolina

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Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks during a Republican leadership forum at Newtown Athletic Club on May 11, 2022 in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Two of former President Donald Trump’s highest-profile endorsements hope to emerge victorious from no-holds-barred Republican primary races in Pennsylvania and North Carolina because the pivotal midterm election season heats up.

Voters in those states, together with Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon, will head to the polls Tuesday in the largest day of the first election cycle thus far.

It may additionally be probably the most dramatic. One among Trump’s preferred candidates, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, of North Carolina, is fighting to remain above water as a torrent of scandals, missteps and harsh attacks — including harsh criticism from his fellow Republicans — threaten to sink his reelection bid.

In Pennsylvania, Trump has backed Dr. Mehmet Oz, the previous host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” who’s one in every of three top contenders in an intense — and intensely expensive — battle for an open Senate seat.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11) makes remarks on the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Friday, July 9, 2021.

Emil Lippe | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The races could give a read on the political influence wielded by Trump, who has endorsed greater than a dozen candidates competing in Tuesday’s contests. Many of the former president’s picks have up to now won their primaries, apart from Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster. He lost his primary race last week after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. Herbster denied those allegations.

The Republican Party is hoping to win control of the House and Senate within the midterms this fall, while Trump, who has strongly hinted he’s considering one other run for president in 2024, is hoping to cement his status because the de facto leader of the GOP. The final result of Tuesday’s primaries could impact each prospects.

Here’s what to look at:

North Carolina

The Tar Heel State’s eleventh Congressional District is currently considered a safely Republican seat irrespective of who wins Tuesday. However the GOP primary has nevertheless change into a must-watch race, because of Cawthorn’s penchant for seizing attention — and courting controversy.

Cawthorn in 2020 won the seat that Republican former Rep. Mark Meadows had vacated as a way to take a job as Trump’s White House chief of staff. The youngest member of Congress, at 26 years old, Cawthorn quickly gained buzz, receiving an endorsement from Trump lower than three months after being sworn in to office.

That mix of name recognition, incumbency and an endorsement from Trump may need made Cawthorn a shoo-in in his solid-red district. But his actions and remarks in recent months have made him a goal on each side of the aisle.

In a March podcast interview, he accused lawmakers of doing drugs and claimed that unidentified members of Congress invited him to orgies. The comments prompted outrage from Republicans in Washington, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

That very same month, Cawthorn was reportedly charged with driving with a revoked license, while also facing two citations for speeding.

In April, Cawthorn was cited on a misdemeanor criminal charge for bringing a handgun to a North Carolina airport. It was the second known time he had done so.

Later that month, ethics watchdogs raised suspicions about possible insider trading by Cawthorn over his relationship to an anti-Biden cryptocurrency. Sen. Thom Tillis, a fellow North Carolina Republican, called for a House ethics probe into the allegations.

Tillis had already endorsed State Sen. Chuck Edwards for Cawthorn’s seat. Edwards, one in every of seven Republicans difficult Cawthorn, is now considered to be a top contender in the first.

Earlier in May, a political motion committee calling itself Fire Madison Cawthorn released a video showing the congressman naked in a bed and thrusting on top of one other person. Cawthorn said the video was from “years ago” and that he was “being crass with a friend.”

Those and other behaviors appear to have taken a toll, based on recent polling, but Cawthorn should hold an insurmountable lead.

Trump reiterated his support for Cawthorn on Sunday night, writing in a social media post that “when Madison was first elected to Congress, he did a terrific job.” Trump noted that Cawthorn had passed through a “traumatic experience” at age 18, when he was in a automotive crash that has required him to make use of a wheelchair ever since.

“Recently, he made some silly mistakes, which I do not believe he’ll make again … let’s give Madison a second probability!” Trump wrote.

Polls within the North Carolina primary are open from 6:30 a.m. ET to 7:30 p.m. ET. 

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania was one of the competitive swing states within the 2020 presidential election, and it’s shaping as much as be a significant battleground within the fight for the Senate majority.

Money has poured into the state’s Senate Republican primary: Candidates and political groups have spent greater than $55 million on television and radio ads alone, based on ad tracker Medium Buying.

After much jostling for position, polls now show an especially tight race between Oz, ex-hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick and right-wing commentator Kathy Barnette, who has experienced an eleventh-hour surge in support.

The three top candidates are fighting to compete in the final election for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

The purple-state Senate seat is removed from a lock for the GOP: The state’s other senator is Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Toomey narrowly beat out Democrat Katie McGinty within the 2016 general election. The race may very well be probably the greatest possibilities Democrats need to flip a red seat blue and possibly keep control of the Senate past the midterms.

Oz, a celeb doctor who lived in Recent Jersey for 20 years and has never held office before, has run into some speed bumps in Pennsylvania, despite Trump’s backing. He was reportedly booed during a campaign rally with Trump earlier this month. And he is almost tied within the polls with Barnette, whose campaign has reportedly raised lower than $2 million in total.

Barnette’s rapid rise has been accompanied by a greater concentrate on her past anti-Muslim tweets, in addition to reports that she was photographed marching toward the U.S. Capitol constructing on Jan. 6, 2021, the day that a violent mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the constructing.

Whoever wins could face off against John Fetterman, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania who’s the heavy frontrunner within the Democratic primary, based on quite a few polls of the race.

But two days before the first, Fetterman, 52, announced that he had had a stroke.

It was caused “by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long,” Fetterman said in a press release. He said his wife, Gisele, took quick motion to get him to a hospital, where doctors “were in a position to quickly and completely remove the clot, reversing the stroke.”

“The excellent news is I’m feeling significantly better, and the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage. I’m well on my solution to a full recovery,” Fetterman said. The illness will keep him from attending his election-night watch party in person, his campaign said Monday.

Polls in Pennsylvania can be open from 7 a.m. ET to eight p.m. ET on Election Day.

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