This 3 part series, looks into 9 races that were 4 races in Pennsylvania, 3 from North Carolina, 2 from Idaho and 0 from Oregon.
Republicans have set their sights on picking up seats in both chambers of Congress this year. How big role President Trump plays in it remains to be seen in November, but can the primaries shed some light on it?
Until this election, the states (Ohio, Texas, Indiana,Nebraska, West Virginia) where President Trump won in 2020 were where the primaries were held.
His endorsement of a political novice, JD Vance for US Senate in Ohio, who won his primary, was a very telling sign of the direction the primaries would take. When one considers that JD Vance raised only a fraction of the other candidates’ cash, one gets an inkling of how the primaries will be decided.
However, it was first big test to see how much of the Republican party electorate marches to the tune of former President Donald Trump in the five states (Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania) which held their 2022 primaries. In this round of elections, Trump endorsed candidates running in 7 major races which not only the Republican rank and file are eagerly waiting but also the Democrat pundits, who have been predicting dooms day for him with fault plagued polling.
Pennsylvania where he lost the 2020 to President Biden by 81K votes with over 6.8M votes were casted, is where interest in those races was peak.
Races of Interest: U.S. Senate; Governor; 8th, 10th & 14th congressional districts
So how well did the Republicans do in comparison to the Democrats in bringing out the voter in Pennsylvania 2022 Primary?
The enthusiasm was greater for the Republican party which had 1.34 Million voters cast a ballot for them over the Democrats 1.28M where the Republican's edged out Democrats by 2.4 points in the Senate Race.
Comparing the above 2022 Senate Primary map, to the 2020 Presidential map, more counties have turned RED highlighting fact that more Republicans came to vote in the primary than the Democrats in the areas that turned RED. 2020 Presidential primary which looks almost identical to the general election (except for Beaver county turned RED in general) was more Blue than the general with 1.5Million votes for the Democrats. 300K drop from that 2020 primary to 2022 Senate Primary.
The Republican side, comparing it to the 2020 general elections, it means an +3.6 point upswing compared to the Democrats. Comparing the 2020 Primary to the 2022 Senate Primary it is a+300K gain in vote bank. Trump in his 2020 Primary got 1M and in 2022 increased to 1.3M.
It is a +600K swing in the direction of the Republicans favor since the 2020 Primary (-300K for the Dems & + 300K for the Reps). Trump's active participation in the Pennsylvania Primary Elections have not had a negative impact on voter turn out based on these numbers.
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey retirement opened up the seat, the Pennsylvania Senate seat where Trump endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz with 2 other front runners Dave McCormick and surprise strong performance of Kathy Barnette, who was riding the coat tails of Doug Mastriano on the MAGA crowd.
How did President Trumps endorsement help Dr. Oz in comparison to the other republican candidates in the Pennsylvania Primary?
Trump's endorsement of celebrity physician Dr. Oz helped him gain ground on his competitors which by the day of the election was a 3 way race based with McCormick and Barnette, with a lead of a couple of points on polls. [Polls have been consistently wrong in the recent elections, hence putting stock in them maybe risky for any candidate.] Dr. Oz was able to his primary race is the close race which tool almost a week to call and the polls as usual were again wrong in this race too. It took 3 weeks to declare the result on June 3rd.
Fulton, Potter, Juniata PA, where Trump got 80+% of the vote in 2020, Dr. Oz lost those counties to Barnette or McCormick as the Trump vote got split between the 3. 30% of the Trump base appears to have voted for him based on what we see in these counties. It is a clear indication that he will need to work at getting majority of the Trump base with the help of Trump or Barnette. His position on Trump base issues like American self-reliance, immigration, energy independence, crime, guns and constitution needs to be clearer than just Trump endorsed me. He did do well in some of the Blue counties which one can attribute to his name recognition. This balancing act of winning to Democrat voters and Trump base is not an easy one.
How did Dr. Oz (Trump's endorsee) do in comparison with the Democrat front runner John Fetterman?
John Fetterman ran almost unopposed on the Democrat side. Fetterman had a 330K lead over Dr.Oz and almost a 13 point lead over him. The counties that are in Blue is where Fetterman has a much better messaging with the Democrats on his platform than Oz with the Republicans. Still Fetterman got 600K less votes than Josh Shapiro who is running for PA governor, which is a good sign for Dr. Oz. 47% of the Democrats in Pennsylvania decided not to vote for Fetterman who voted for Josh Shapiro. Dr. Oz still needs to hone his campaign to bring in the McCormick and Barnette base to make the map look like the map of the Republican vs Democrat map above where his party has the enthusiasm factor on their side. Fetterman needs to figure out why 47% of his own party chose not to vote for him.
It appears it was Trump's endorsement that got Dr. Oz over the finish line to beat 2 very strong and worthy opponents for the Republican Pennsylvania Senate nomination. He really has to up his campaign as he has a lot of ground to cover turn his campaign around for the November election.