It’s that time again, voters head to the polls Tuesday hoping to advance their candidate of choice to the General Midterm Election in November. Residents of Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania are all open for voting and are well underway.
Here Are The Statewide Races To Watch:
Republican Senate primary
According to CSB News, Pennsylvania has one of the hottest Senate races this fall. Republican Senator Pat Toomey is retiring and Democrats are hoping they can flip the seat.
The Republican primary has been incredibly expensive, with two headlining candidates worth tens of millions of dollars, and a more extreme candidate who has less money but has been surging in the final stretch of the race.
Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick have spent millions attacking each other on television.
McCormick has alleged that Oz isn’t a true conservative, based on his past statements about issues like abortion. Both men have been criticized by their opponents for only recently returning to Pennsylvania.
Trump endorsed Oz in April and came to Pennsylvania for a rally on March 6, where Trump called McCormick a “liberal Wall Street Republican.”
“He may be a nice guy, but he’s not MAGA,” Trump said at the rally. “He is absolutely the candidate of special interests and globalists and the Washington establishment.”
While the bitter battle between Oz and McCormick raged, Kathy Barnette, a conservative who former top Trump aide Steve Bannon characterized as “ultra-MAGA,” and who has spent months crisscrossing the state, has been ascending in the polls, and she now finds herself in the top tier of the race.
A Fox News poll released last week showed Oz, McCormick and Barnette in a statistical three-way tie. Oz led the field with 22%, followed by McCormick at 20% and Barnette at 19% and 18% undecided. Real estate developer Jeff Bartos and former Trump Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands are also in the race. An Emerson poll released on Sunday showed Oz leading with 28% followed by Barnette at 24% and McCormick at 21%.
Barnette has raised $1.8 million during the primary campaign, a fraction of the $11 million that McCormick and $12 million that Oz have poured into their campaigns. But she also received a boost last week from the Club for Growth, which placed at least $2 million in advertisements backing her, according to AdImpact.
Trump on Thursday issued a statement urging Pennsylvanians not to vote for Barnette, an indication that candidates are taking her rise seriously.
Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf is term-limited, creating an open seat that Republicans are hoping to flip to help them tighten their grip on power in Harrisburg.
The Republican field is crowded. A Fox News poll released last week found state Senator Doug Mastriano, who has resonated with base Republican voters and was endorsed by Trump, leading the field with 29%. He was followed by former Representative Lou Barletta (17%), former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain (13%) and businessman Dave White (11%).
That poll, along with a public poll from the Trafalgar Group and other private polling, raised concerns among some establishment Republicans that Mastriano could be a headache for Republicans in November if he’s the nominee.
Mastriano was a loyal supporter of Trump’s 2020 campaign and a vocal opponent of COVID restrictions and mandates, giving him credibility with base Republicans.
Representative Ted Budd was the first non-incumbent Senate Republican who Trump endorsed. The former president made the surprise announcement in his return to the political stage in June 2021. During that event, Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump said that she wouldn’t run for the state’s Senate seat.
Budd is running against former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and former Representative Mark Walker. The race had appeared to be relatively close between Budd and McCrory, but recent polling from Emerson and Trafalgar showed Budd up by more than 20 points over the former governor.
Trump went to North Carolina to rally for Budd in April, calling him “an unrelenting champion for your North Carolina values and for America First.” In early March, when polling was closer, Trump told donors at a Republican National Committee retreat that he wanted to get Walker “out of that race.”
Idaho’s Republican gubernatorial primary features an intriguing matchup between the state’s incumbent Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, who has Trump’s endorsement and is running to the right of Little. Several other candidates are also in the race.
The two have been at odds over the past year. On two separate occasions, while Little was out of the state, McGeachin issued COVID-related executive orders. In Idaho, when the governor leaves the state, the lieutenant governor serves as acting governor and can issue executive orders.
Last May, McGeachin issued an executive order banning mask mandates in schools and public buildings. Little repealed the order about 24 hours later, calling it an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt,” according to the Associated Press.