Pa. Senate primary: Fetterman secures Democratic nomination, GOP race stays razor thin
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Polls have closed in Pennsylvania and votes are being counted in the high-profile contests to determine who will face off in the contest to replace U.S. Senator Pat Toomey.
Tuesday’s contests could ultimately determine how competitive the general election will be this fall, when control of Congress, governor’s mansions and key elections posts are up for grabs.
That’s especially true in the perennial political battleground of Pennsylvania. You can check election results as they come in below, or by clicking here.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump-endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz has divided conservatives who are typically in lockstep with Trump. Some are suspicious of the ideological leanings of the celebrity heart surgeon who gained fame as a frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey's talk show. Oz has spent much of the campaign in a heated fight with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick.
That's allowed commentator Kathy Barnette to emerge in the final days of the primary as a conservative alternative to both Oz and McCormick.
Trump, who has held campaign-style rallies with Oz, insists he is the best candidate to keep the Senate seat in Republican hands in the fall. Given his level of involvement in the race, a loss would be a notable setback for the former president, who is wielding endorsements as a way to prove his dominance over the GOP ahead of a potential 2024 presidential run.
""I think he’s tough. He’s very smart. He’ll be helpful," Trump told a Philadelphia radio station on Tuesday, referring to Oz. I also think he’s the one that’s gonna win the election. You know that’s not an easy election to win."
More fundamentally, Tuesday's primaries could test voters' commitment to democratic principles. Barnette is running even further to the right than Oz and participated in the January 2021 rally that turned into an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has won the state’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate just days after suffering a stroke.
The 52-year-old Fetterman defeated U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta on Tuesday to advance to November’s general election. He will face the winner of a hotly contested Republican primary that includes Dr. Mehmet Oz, ex-hedge fund CEO David McCormick and conservative activist Kathy Barnette.
Fetterman suffered a stroke Friday, injecting uncertainty into the Democratic primary race that for weeks had been shaping up as a runaway. He said he is on his way to a "full recovery" but will remain in the hospital for a while.
Fetterman, a former mayor of Braddock, is a progressive who has vowed to be a reliable vote for organized labor and liberal causes in Washington. Democrats see the seat being vacated by retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey as among their best pickup opportunities in the country.