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On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Key races in Pennsylvania, North Carolina highlight busy primary day
Former President Donald Trump's influence is still being felt. Plus, White House correspondent Joey Garrison talks about President Joe Biden's midterm push, Biden heads to Buffalo after the shooting, reporter Amanda Lee Myers talks about a new permit system to visit some national parks and it's time for the NBA draft lottery.
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Tuesday, the 17th of May, 2022. Today, key primary races across the country. Plus, President Joe Biden's midterm push and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
Efforts are underway to rescue the last remaining Ukrainian fighters at the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials have not used the word surrender, but said there was no way to free the plant by military means. Russia has already taken control of the rest of the port city.
Authorities said yesterday that the deadly shooting at a Southern California church over the weekend was a politically motivated hate incident against the Taiwanese community. Police say a Chinese immigrant targeted the church because of frustration over political disagreements between China and Taiwan.
And the 18 year old suspected gunman in the weekend Buffalo shooting was reportedly asked to leave the supermarket where the incident took place the night before. A manager asked him to leave after bothering customers.
The busiest primary day of the year so far is here. Elections are being held in five states, including Pennsylvania where Mehmet Oz, the surgeon-turned-talk show host, hopes to win the Republican nomination to a US Senate seat with the help of a Trump endorsement.
When President Trump endorsed me, he did it for two reasons. He said first, you're the guy who can win in November. He did all the calculus, looked at tea leaves, and I still believe that is the main reason I was endorsed. I was the most likely person to beat the Democrats. The second reason is he knows I'm America first.
Many conservatives though have criticized Trump's endorsement, saying that Oz has voiced liberal views in the past on things like abortion and gun control. Polls show a tightening race between him, conservative commentator, Kathy Barnette.
I am you. I come from some very humble beginnings. Most of y'all know my story, pig farm, Alabama, and a home with no insulation, no running water, an outhouse in the back and a well on the side. I mean it is because of this country that allowed me to be able to create a different story for myself. But that country is about to come to a close.
And David McCormick, once the owner of the largest hedge fund.
I'd like your vote. I think this is an incredibly important election. This primary will determine who represents the Republican Party in the general election. The stakes couldn't be higher. It'll also determine whether our Senate is led by Republicans and conservative or not conservative.
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is expected to win Pennsylvania's Democratic nomination for the Senate, though he was hospitalized over the weekend with a stroke. He and his wife Gisele appeared in a video from the hospital, though he said doctors reversed the stroke and he suffered no cognitive damage.
We hit a little bump on the campaign trail.
It was on Friday. I just wasn't feeling very well. So I decided, you know what, I need to get checked out. So I went to the hospital.
I made you get checked out.
In Pennsylvania's Republican primary for governor, state Senator Doug Mastriano leads the pack in polling. He falsely claimed election fraud in the 2020 presidential election and participated in efforts to overturn President Joe Biden's win in Pennsylvania. Republican opponents worry he's too far to the right to win against likely Democratic candidate, Josh Shapiro.
Meanwhile in North Carolina, embattled incumbent Congressman Madison Cawthorn faces a challenge from state Senator Chuck Edwards and a number of other opponents. There are also big races in Idaho and Oregon. USA TODAY subscribers can read a full roundup of primary coverage around the country. You can subscribe now for just a dollar a week.
Amid today's primary elections, there's already a look ahead to this fall's midterms, and President Joe Biden's midterm push centers on a message aimed at the political movement of his predecessor. But he's not mentioning Donald Trump. White House correspondent Joey Garrison has more.
Heading into the November midterm elections, Democrats and President Joe Biden are in a very bad spot right now. That's been pretty well documented with low approval ratings amid 40 year high inflation. So they're working hard, aggressively, to make this a choice election between what the other side is offering Republicans, as opposed to making this a referendum on whether voters approve of Joe Biden. And so to do that, they've introduced this new term President Biden has been doing it, really he rolled it out two weeks ago, referring to an ultra MAGA agenda. And the argument from Democrats I talked to is Trump himself is not on the ballot as you know, and they believe that the MAGA movement has become really much larger than Trump. And they think that's a good code word for a party that voters see as extreme.
And the most recent item that they're pointing to is this Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. They're talking about how Gov. DeSantis in Florida, the fight with Disney World over LGBTQ issues. And then they've really railed on a tax plan from Sen. Rick Scott of Florida that would increase income taxes for all Americans. So rather than going for Trump, they think MAGA - slamming everything as ultra MAGA MAGA, part of the MAGA movement - works better for Democrats.
In fact, there's been a lot of Republicans - Congresswoman Stefanik, for example, the number three house Republican New York - she said, "I am an ultra MAGA Republican. I'm proud of it." So they're not really pushing back on that sense. Ultimately, if you talk to Republican strategist like I did, they think ultimately this is going to be an election that will be based on Biden's record and inflation being the top issue. So I don't think they're terribly worried about it, but it is interesting to actually hear them say, "Yeah, we're fine being called ultra MAGA."
Now rewinding a little bit, how did Democrats land on this ultra MAGA label? Behind the scenes for the last several months, liberal groups led by the Center for American Progress has been testing various messaging with voters through polling and through focus groups, etc., what they found is ultra MAGA is viewed more negatively among voters who aren't considered strong Trump supporters then Trump himself. That's very fascinating that voters, basically if you look at the polling data, if they're asking how would you feel about a congressional candidate as part of the MAGA platform, that is a more turnoff for an independent voter than saying a Trump Republican.
You can find more from Joey on Twitter at Joey Garrison with two Rs.
President Joe Biden heads to Buffalo today to meet and grieve with family members of the 10 people killed over the weekend in a supermarket mass shooting that police say was racially motivated. And Biden is expected to call the shooting terrorism. Many of the victims were Black and were shopping or working at a supermarket in one of the city's highest concentrated African American neighborhoods. At a news conference yesterday, the family of 86 year old victim Ruth Whitfield grieved. Her son is retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner, Garnell Whitfield.
What I remember most about my mom, what I love most about my mom is how she loved us, how she loved our family unconditionally, how she sacrificed everything for us, how she gave up herself when she had nothing else to give. My mom was my best friend.
Among those killed were a civil rights advocate, a deacon and a heroic security guard. Today, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will visit a memorial for the shooting victims before meeting with families, first responders and law enforcement officials. Ahead of the trip, new White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Buffalo is not about politics.
When you talk about people's lives in this way, it's not about politics. It's about making sure that we're doing everything that we can to uproot this evil that we're seeing, this hatred that we're seeing.
But she said Biden will call for gun reform during the trip. The shooting has also cast a light on a number of conspiracy theories like replacement theory, which states that the white race is under threat to be replaced by other races. For more on that, check out yesterday's episode with reporter Will Carless, who covers extremism for USA TODAY.
When a trail becomes overcrowded, what's a national park to do? Lately, parks are turning more and more to permit systems that limit the amount of people who can visit. Reporter Amanda Lee Myers has the details on how to get your hands on one.
Amanda Lee Myers:
So at Zion National Park, which is always one of the nation's busiest parks, they have a trail called Angels Landing, and it's one of the most popular hikes in the country. And they really saw visitation skyrocket during the pandemic, to the point where they actually closed it down for safety concerns before we knew more about how it was spread. But they're instituting a permit program as part of a pilot program. And the permit program basically limits the amount of people who can be on the Angels Landing trail every day. They say right now it's being limited to 800 people a day. The fact is the trail is so much quieter than it used to be after they started the permit program on April 1st.
Permit programs have been ramping up at various parks across the country as visitation has gone up and the experience has gone down for those visitors. When you're stuck in a traffic jam for two hours in Yosemite Valley, you're not going to have a great day there. So at Yosemite, for instance, they're putting a permit system in place. You have to have a permit to even get into the park before 6:00 AM all summer long. You can get in before 6:00 AM without a permit, but a lot of people aren't able to get up that early and get to the park entrance at that time so they're counting on that cutting down a lot of the visitors. They're just trying to limit how many people are in the parks to make it a better experience for those who do get permits.
The permit systems vary park by park, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, Zion. But for the most part, you can get the permits on recreation.gov. You have to create an account. And from there it just varies park to park. But for Zion, for instance, there are two ways to get a permit for Angel's Landing. There's a day before lottery. So the day before you want to do the hike, you can enter the lottery, see if you get lucky. There's also a seasonal lottery, which you have to apply for your dates months in advance. And some people win their permit, some people just don't and they're not able to go to Angels Landing, but they can go anywhere else in the park that isn't under a permit if they don't need a permit. So it's not necessarily going to force people to cancel their trips. But if Angels Landing is on your bucket list and you don't get the permit that may make you think twice about visiting the park.
The draft lottery today will decide who gets the number one overall pick in this summer's NBA draft. The Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons share the top odds of winning the lottery at a 14% chance a piece. And the New Orleans Pelicans are the only team that made this year's playoffs with the chance since they have the Los Angeles Lakers pick as long as it lands in the top 10. That's part of the 2019 trade that sent Anthony Davis to LA. You can watch the lottery at 8:00 PM Eastern time, 5:00 Pacific on ESPN. Then at 8:30 Eastern, the Eastern Conference Finals tip off with game one in Miami between the Heat and Boston Celtics. You can also watch that on ESPN. The Western Conference Finals start tomorrow between the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven mornings a week on whatever your favorite podcast app is. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Key primary races across the country, Biden visits Buffalo: 5 Things podcast