Primary election results – live: Trump rages as Dr Oz struggles and Madison Cawthorn crashes out

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With almost all the results now in from Tuesday’s key primary elections, Donald Trump has taken to Truth Social to baselessly suggest mail-in ballots were fraudulent in Pennsylvania, where his chosen Senate candidate Dr Mehmet Oz is locked in a tight battle with former hedge fund executive David McCormick.

With only a small portion of the vote yet to be counted, the two men are just a tiny number of votes apart, putting them within the 0.5-point margin that triggers an automatic recount – and raising the possibility that mail-in votes could put Mr McCormick ahead.

Elsewhere, strong performances by several Trump-backed candidates indicate the former president still has plenty of clout within the party, but it was far from a perfect scorecard. North Carolina Republicans threw out the far-right congressman Madison Cawthorn in his primary.

That result met with celebration even within the Republican Party, whose establishment increasingly wanted to see the congressman removed from office because of his extreme statements and outlandish behaviour.

Key points

  • Why we won’t know the outcome of the GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania just yet

  • Fetterman wins Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania Senate race

  • Election denier Doug Mastiano wins Pennsylvania Republican primary for governor

  • Trump-backed Ted Budd wins GOP nomination in North Carolina Senate primary

  • Madison Cawthorn loses re-election bid

ICYMI: Oz-McCormick: the state of play

08:00 , Stuti Mishra

As things stand this morning, only a tiny proportion of votes in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary remain to be counted, and the gap between first-placed Dr Mehmet Oz and chaser Dave McCormick has closed to a mere 1,240 votes out of more than 1.3 million already counted.

It is not entirely clear how many votes remain outstanding, but Mr McCormick appears to have an edge in mail-in ballots (much to Donald Trump’s chagrin). The state’s counties have until next Tuesday to certify their results. And if the result ends with a margin of less than 0.5 points, as currently seems likely, an automatic recount will be triggered.

In the meantime, catch up below on why the mail-in ballot process has slowed the count down so much.

EXPLAINER: How mailed ballots slow results in Pennsylvania

Report: On being kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s election night party

07:11 , Stuti Mishra

The Independent’s John Bowden took a trip to North Carolina this week to witness what turned out to be the downfall of Madison Cawthorn, the young far-right congressman who lost his primary this week after a long string of astonishing scandals.

In the end, the finale of Mr Cawthorn’s campaign mirrored his entire House career: Contempt for journalists, who were not allowed inside the building for the entirety of his watch party Tuesday evening and ushered out when it ended, amid a stunning and sudden desertion of his closest supporters and allies.

Failing even to limit Mr Edwards to a runoff in June, the first-term congressman will now serve out the next six-and-a-half months of his two year House tenure as a lame duck, while a state-level lawmaker previously completely unknown outside of North Carolina just proved to the nation that defeating a Trump-anointed champion is possible, albeit under very specific circumstances.

Read his full dispatch below.

With more primaries on the way, progressive Democrats face a stark choice

06:00 , Stuti Mishra

Progressives had plenty to smile about after Tuesday’s primary contests, writes Eric Garcia.

But thanks to a few upcoming primaries, progressive Democrats still have their work cut out for them.

Read more:

With more primaries on the way, progressive Democrats face a stark choice

Most Americans disapprove of Biden, Congress, and Supreme Court performance, new poll finds

05:00 , Stuti Mishra

Nearly two-thirds of Americans give Biden negative marks on his handling of the US economy, while seven in 10 now want Supreme Court justices to serve term limits, according to a newly released Quinnipiac University poll.

Andrew Feinberg dives into the numbers:

Majority of Americans disapprove of Biden, Congress, and Supreme Court performance

Oz and McCormick are in a virtual tie with thousands of ballots still to count

04:00 , Alex Woodward

Where things stand in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary:

Dr Oz’s margin has narrowed in the past day, as county election officials continue to count mail-in ballots, but election workers still have thousands of left to count.

Pennsylvania’s Department of State, which oversees elections, reported roughly 51,000 mail-in and absentee ballots – including 17,000 in the Republican primary – yet to be tallied up.

“I was kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s primary party. Here’s what I saw beforehand"

03:18 , Alex Woodward

Two days before he invoked far-right violent rhetoric to describe what’s coming from his lame duck term in Congress, Madison Cawthorn’s campaign party was off to a rocky start.

The Independent’s John Bowden reports from North Carolina:

I was kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s primary party. Here’s what I saw beforehand

01:06 , Alex Woodward

A baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Donald Trump has fuelled a wave of state-level efforts to subvert democratic elections with legislation that makes it easier for partisan officials to undermine voters, according to a new report.

Pro-democracy groups found more than 200 attempts to change the rules of election administration and strip oversight from election officials, efforts that democratic advocates have warned could invite bogus fraud investigations or try to overturn results entirely.

GOP pushed dozens of ‘election subversion’ bills to hijack results, report finds

SCOTUS opinion on abortion rights could energize Democratic voters, poll suggests

Thursday 19 May 2022 23:00 , Alex Woodward

The results of a NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released on Thursday shows that 66 per cent of Democratic voters say the leaked draft opinion of a US Supreme Court case that could overturn constitutional protections for abortion rights has made them more likely to vote in November.

That figures compares to only 40 per cent of Republicans.

Twenty-one per cent of respondents said they haven’t heard about the opinion.

The poll also found that 47 per cent of respondents would cast their vote for the Democratic candidate in their district if the election were held today, compared to 42 per cent who would support the Republican.

Fetterman raised $1.6m after primary victory

Thursday 19 May 2022 22:20 , Alex Woodward

After carrying every Pennsylvania county in the Democratic Senate primary, John Fetterman’s campaign hauled in more than $1.6m within 24 hours.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your support,” he said in a statement. “I am deeply honored to be your nominee, and I am looking forward to turning this seat blue in November.”

Fetterman will face the victor in the GOP primary – likely either Dr Oz or David McCormick – in the general election in November.

In first post since election loss, Cawthorn invokes violent far-right ‘dark MAGA’ aesthetic

Thursday 19 May 2022 21:20 , Alex Woodward

In his first post on Instagram since his election loss in Tuesday’s primaries, Madison Cawthorn says his remaining time in office will allow for “Dark MAGA to truly take command,” invoking the name of a violent fringe, far-right online aesthetic that depicts a vengeful Trump-fuelled movement.

He says he is on a mission to “expose those who say and promise one thing yet legislate and work towards another, self-profiteering, globalist goal.”

“Their days are numbered. We are coming,” he writes.

‘Election subversion’ bills – and candidates who are counting on them – are all the rage

Thursday 19 May 2022 20:55 , Alex Woodward

Candidates who denied the outcome of the 2020 presidential election are running for contests across the US. One of them, Doug Mastriano, won the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania’s next governor, a position that appoints the secretary of state, who can confirm the state’s slate of electors and certify the results.

Meanwhile, Republican state lawmakers have filed dozens of bills to change the rules of election administration and undermine the workers who run the nation’s elections.

At least 33 states are considering at least 229 such bills, according to a new report from States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy and Law Forward.

Since 2021, a total of 50 bills have been enacted or adopted.

“This report should sound an alarm for anyone who cares about free and fair elections,” said Victoria Bassetti, Senior Advisor, States United Democracy Center. “It shows that state legislatures are becoming bolder and more creative in their attempts to interfere with the trusted public servants who administer our elections. These bills are responses to a crisis that doesn’t exist. We know the 2020 election was free, fair, and accurate.”

17,000 ballots remain uncounted in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary

Thursday 19 May 2022 20:11 , Alex Woodward

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State reports 17,000 ballots remain uncounted in the state’s Republican primary elections, as of Thursday morning, with all eyes on the outcome of the GOP Senate race, with Trump-backed Dr Oz only slightly ahead of David McCormick based on current returns.

The race is almost guaranteed to head into a recount under state law.

Is Cawthorn done with politics?

Thursday 19 May 2022 17:24 , Alex Woodward

Despite hinting that he’s not done yet, with some time left in his congressional term, it doesn’t seen Congressman Madison Cawthorn has the financial fuel to remain in office after his GOP primary election loss on Tuesday night.

His “Making A Difference In Service to Our Nation” (or MADISON) leadership PAC filed its termination with the Federal Election Commission, less than 24 hours after results rolled in, according to Business Insider.

The Trump-backed candidate and once-ascendent young Republican in Congress conceded his loss to Chuck Edwards for the Republican nomination for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district race.

What (if anything) is Madison Cawthorn planning?

Thursday 19 May 2022 16:45 , Andrew Naughtie

Defeated in his primary earlier this week, scandal-prone extremist Congressman Madison Cawthorn has been left to pick up the pieces. So far, with no formal concession speech in the offing, all he’s offered is a gnomic tweet hinting that his career is not yet over...

In case you missed it, here’s John Bowden’s dispatch from what was meant to be the Cawthorn victory party.

I was kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s primary party. Here’s what I saw beforehand

State of play: Oz v McCormick

Thursday 19 May 2022 16:03 , Alex Woodward

A day and a half after their primary, Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick still have not settled who will be the GOP’s Senate nominee in Pennsylvania. As things stand, Dr Oz is ahead by 1,241 votes out of 1,334,374, giving him a margin of 0.1 points.

If the two remain within a half-point of each other when all the votes are tallied, a recount will be triggered. As things stand, everything hinges on the outstanding postal and overseas votes. Donald Trump has called on Dr Oz to declare victory prematurely.

Trump whines that ally Dr Oz should declare victory in Pennsylvania Senate primary

Opinion: The Democratic party has a sore loser problem

Thursday 19 May 2022 15:10 , Alex Woodward

As progressive and centrist Democrats pick over their various successes and failures in this week’s primaries, Andrew Feinberg writes that the party as a whole has a serious problem: the number of candidates who cannot help kicking up a fuss when they lose a race.

For there to be a counterrevolution, there must first be a revolution. And there wasn’t.

Sanders lost, twice. First to Hillary Clinton, then to Joe Biden, in 2016 and 2020.

Nina Turner lost. Twice. In one year, to the same person.

To the extent voters have elected progressives in the Sanders mold, it has been in House district where longtime incumbents became lazy and complacent and therefore vulnerable to a primary challenger, as in the cases of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, or Cori Bush.

Progressives took the wrong lessons from those House races. They thought the Squad’s ascendency in Congress heralded a bold new age that would put an end to the Clintonian centrism and triangulation that have characterized how Democrats have used power for a generation, even as those representatives’ most benign utterances have been used to demonize the entire Democratic party by eager Republicans and their conservative media allies.

Read the full piece below.

The Democratic Party has a lot of Sanders-backed sore losers. That needs to change

PA Republicans rally around extreme Mastriano in face of Democratic attacks

Thursday 19 May 2022 14:40 , Andrew Naughtie

As the Republican Party rallies around its Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a hardcore theocratic conservative who travelled to Washington, DC on 6 January 2021, even some supporters of more moderate candidates are trying to paint him as the beneficiary of Democratic “dark money” spent to try and nominate an unelectable GOP candidate.

Report: On being kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s election night party

Thursday 19 May 2022 14:04 , Andrew Naughtie

The Independent’s John Bowden took a trip to North Carolina this week to witness what turned out to be the downfall of Madison Cawthorn, the young far-right congressman who lost his primary this week after a long string of astonishing scandals.

In the end, the finale of Mr Cawthorn’s campaign mirrored his entire House career: Contempt for journalists, who were not allowed inside the building for the entirety of his watch party Tuesday evening and ushered out when it ended, amid a stunning and sudden desertion of his closest supporters and allies.

Failing even to limit Mr Edwards to a runoff in June, the first-term congressman will now serve out the next six-and-a-half months of his two year House tenure as a lame duck, while a state-level lawmaker previously completely unknown outside of North Carolina just proved to the nation that defeating a Trump-anointed champion is possible, albeit under very specific circumstances.

Read his full dispatch below.

I was kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s primary party. Here’s what I saw beforehand

Focus on Idaho as far right makes strides at state level

Thursday 19 May 2022 12:59 , Andrew Naughtie

Solidly Republican Idaho has long been a stronghold for hardcore right-wing politics, but the recent far-right drift among state Republicans is attracting increasing attention from beyond the state’s borders.

While several extremist challengers to incumbent officials lost their races on Tuesday, a very different dynamic played out in the state senate, where mulitple incumbents were ousted by candidates holding extreme views.

Boise State Public Radio has a detailed report on the situation here.

Oz-McCormick: the state of play

Thursday 19 May 2022 12:15 , Andrew Naughtie

As things stand this morning, only a tiny proportion of votes in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary remain to be counted, and the gap between first-placed Dr Mehmet Oz and chaser Dave McCormick has closed to a mere 1,240 votes out of more than 1.3 million already counted.

It is not entirely clear how many votes remain outstanding, but Mr McCormick appears to have an edge in mail-in ballots (much to Donald Trump’s chagrin). The state’s counties have until next Tuesday to certify their results. And if the result ends with a margin of less than 0.5 points, as currently seems likely, an automatic recount will be triggered.

In the meantime, catch up below on why the mail-in ballot process has slowed the count down so much.

EXPLAINER: How mailed ballots slow results in Pennsylvania

Hannity complains about failed far-right candidate

Thursday 19 May 2022 11:30 , Andrew Naughtie

Kathy Barnette’s supposed last-minute surge in the Pennsylvania Senate primary turned out to be an illusion, as she polled several points behind the near-tied Mehmet Oz and David McCormick. But she earned herself quite an audience on the right with her exuberantly extreme persona, and she is now using her newly earned platform to complain about Fox News’s Sean Hannity and his efforts to tarnish her as dangerous in his efforts to boost Dr Oz.

Here’s what Mr Hannity had to say about the matter last night:

Catch up: Who really won this week’s primaries?

Thursday 19 May 2022 10:45 , Andrew Naughtie

Eric Garcia has taken the measure of this week’s primary results – the ones that are final, anyway – and he has this analysis of what they tell us about the state of the two parties, and about Donald Trump’s inconsistent power to shape the electorate’s preferences:

It’s clear that while Trump’s endorsement helps, it isn’t a guarantee. As of Wednesday, it is still too early to determine whether Dr Mehmet Oz, the former television host that Trump endorsed, won or lost the Senate primary in Pennsylvania. But the fact that the ex-president’s backing failed to slingshot him far ahead of the pack shows that a Trump endorsement won’t override reservations conservatives have about a candidate – as many did with Dr Oz, worrying that his beliefs on abortion, guns and fracking put him beyond the pale.

Read his piece below.

Who really won and lost on Trump’s big primary night?

Madeleine Dean endorses John Fetterman

Thursday 19 May 2022 10:00 , Stuti Mishra

Democrat Madeleine Dean, who represents the 4th congressional district of Pennsylvania and has stayed away from endorsing any candidate so far, has backed lieutenant governor John Fetterman in the race.

“I am delighted to get behind John Fetterman,” Ms Dean said on Wednesday, adding that she ran against him for lieutenant governor for a period of time in 2018 and saw “a genuineness — willing to be himself, willing to be outside the box”.

How Mastriano's win in Pennsylvania could turn election lies into action

Thursday 19 May 2022 09:00 , Stuti Mishra

Doug Mastriano was deeply involved in Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the last election. He was at the US Capitol during the 6 January insurrection.

If he's elected in November, Mr Mastriano has pledged to end the no-excuse vote by mail, a process that hundreds of thousands used in this week's primary. He also wants to force millions of registered voters to register again.

Here's what his victory would mean for the state with his far-right brand of politics:

How Pa. GOP gov pick could turn election lies into action

How mailed ballots slow results in Pennsylvania

Thursday 19 May 2022 08:00 , Stuti Mishra

Former President Donald Trump blasted Pennsylvania's elections procedures on social media on Wednesday, even though there are no indications of any wrongdoing with those ballots other than a printing error that was slowing the tally in one county.

He has relentlessly criticised the state's voting procedures since his loss in Pennsylvania two years ago when it took several days to tally the results from all mailed ballots.

Here's an explainer on how the state's mailed ballot system works and what is causing the delay:

EXPLAINER: How mailed ballots slow results in Pennsylvania

Do Republicans like ‘Big Lie’ supporter Doug Mastriano suddenly now believe in legitimacy of elections?

Thursday 19 May 2022 07:00 , Alex Woodward

Doug Mastriano spent the months after the 2020 presidential election demanding an audit of results and amplifying Trump’s lie that his loss was due to fraudulent outcomes.

Last night Mastriano declared victory almost immediately after news networks predicted his GOP primary win for Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, relying on the same electoral process that saw Trump lose two years ago.

Why do Mastriano and all the other previous deniers who won their races now believe the election process is fair?

The governor in Pennsylvania appoints the secretary of state, an immensely powerful position that runs the state’s elections and signs off on electors.

Do Republicans like Doug Mastriano suddenly now believe in legitimacy of elections?

Trump says ally Dr Oz should declare victory in Pennsylvania primary

Thursday 19 May 2022 06:00 , Alex Woodward

The former president baselessly suggested that his preferred candidate Dr Oz simply declare himself the winner in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary, and falsely claimed election officials are “unable” to count ballots – keeping up his bogus narrative that elections, if they don’t go his way, are rigged against him, throwing a wrench into the democratic process.

Trump whines that ally Dr Oz should declare victory in Pennsylvania Senate primary

Defeated GOP primary candidate blames Sean Hannity for her loss accusing him of ‘flat out lies’

Thursday 19 May 2022 05:00 , Alex Woodward

Far-right candidate Kathy Barnette, who is trailing in third in the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania, is blaming her finish on Fox News host Sean Hannity.

In a video posted to her Twitter account early on Wednesday morning, she thanked her supporters and attacked the Fox personality.

She said: “I do want to say: never forget what Sean Hannity did in this race. Almost single-handedly, Sean Hannity sowed seeds of disinformation, flat-out lies every night for the past five days. And that was just extremely hard to overcome, apparently”.

Defeated GOP primary candidate blames Sean Hannity for her loss

ICYMI: Here is why we don’t know the winner in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary

Thursday 19 May 2022 04:00 , Alex Woodward

Dr Oz and Dave McCormick are just a few tenths of one percentage point apart in the Republican primary for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

It may be several days or weeks to determine who won the race, with several thousand mail-in or absentee ballots left to be counted and processed.

Thousands of printing errors involving mail-in ballots from Lancaster County must also be manually remarked, with a team of 50 volunteers and county employees working with election administrators.

The errors impacted about 16,000 of 22,000 mail-in ballots that were returned.

Once all ballots counted, the race is likely headed to a recount, if the men can’t escape the .5 per cent threshold that separtes them. That threshold triggers an automatic recount, under state law. That process would have to start by 1 June and end no later than 7 June.

Then, of course, the winner in the GOP primary will face John Fetterman, who won every county in the state in the Democratic primary. That general election will put the GOP candidate against Fetterman on 8 November.

“The Pennsylvania primary showed a Republican party in disarray"

Thursday 19 May 2022 03:10 , Alex Woodward

The midterms are still months away, but Tuesday night was proof that the GOP is getting very good at shooting itself in the foot, writes Nathan McDermott:

Pennsylvania primary showed a Republican party in disarray

Kinzinger: Cawthorn’s loss is ‘good for the country'

Thursday 19 May 2022 02:00 , Alex Woodward

Illinois Republican congressman and Trump critic called the loss of the former president’s pick in North Carolina “good for the country.”

“It’s good for the party. It’s good for the 11th District of North Carolina,” he told CNN.

“DC has become kind of a growing ground for people that are just more interested in fame than governing, that are more interested in becoming famous than in actually doing the really serious work, at a time when we have a lot of challenges here at home and a lot of challenges overseas.”

Kinzinger is notably not running for re-election. He joins Liz Cheney as the only two Republican House members on the congressional committee investigating the Capitol attack. Both of them are routinely attacked by far-right members of their party.

“I was kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s primary party. Here’s what I saw beforehand"

Thursday 19 May 2022 01:00 , Alex Woodward

What was the vibe like at the auto detail shop/campaign party as Madison Cawthorn’s re-election bid came crashing down?

The Independent’s John Bowden was there. He got kicked out.

I was kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s primary party. Here’s what I saw beforehand

Why we don’t know the results in Pennsylvania’s GOP senate primary just yet

Wednesday 18 May 2022 23:37 , Alex Woodward

Dr Oz and Dave McCormick are just a few tenths of one percentage point apart in the Republican primary for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

It may be several days or weeks to determine who won the race, with several thousand mail-in or absentee ballots left to be counted and processed.

Thousands of printing errors involving mail-in ballots from Lancaster County must also be manually remarked, with a team of 50 volunteers and county employees working with election administrators.

The errors impacted about 16,000 of 22,000 mail-in ballots that were returned.

Once all ballots counted, the race is likely headed to a recount, if the men can’t escape the .5 per cent threshold that separtes them. That threshold triggers an automatic recount, under state law. That process would have to start by 1 June and end no later than 7 June.

Then, of course, the winner in the GOP primary will face John Fetterman, who won every county in the state in the Democratic primary. That general election will put the GOP candidate against Fetterman on 8 November.

Who is Dr Oz, the Trump-backed celebrity doctor running for the GOP primary in Pennsylvania’s Senate race?

Wednesday 18 May 2022 23:04 , Alex Woodward

The daytime television personality who millions of Americans have turned to for wellness advice made a surprising turn into Pennsylvania politics last year.

Now he’s the possible Republican nominee in a Senate race in a midterm election that could determine the balance of power in Congress.

Who is Dr Oz, the Trump-backed celebrity doctor running for Senate?