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Tuesday’s primaries featured wild rides and mixed results

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Pennsylvania Senate Candidate Mehmet Oz Delivers Remarks At 'A Dose of Reality' Town Hall
Mehmet Oz, celebrity physician and US Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, receives a call from Former President Donald Trump at a town hall in Bell Blue, Penn., on May 16, 2022.Rachel Wisniewski / Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — If it’s Wednesday … Last night was a wild primary night.

With 94 percent of the vote in, Mehmet Oz leads David McCormick in the GOP Pennsylvania Senate race by just 2,600 votes (Kathy Barnette is in third).

Incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., lost to challenger Chuck Edwards.

Another incumbent — Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., who was endorsed by President Biden — is trailing his progressive opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

And Lt. Gov. John Fetterman easily won the Democratic Pennsylvania Senate primary, despite suffering a stroke and undergoing surgery on Primary Night (to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator, per his campaign).

It also was a night of mixed endorsement results.

Donald Trump’s candidate in North Carolina Senate, Ted Budd, ran away to victory. So did Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania governor.

But some of Trump’s other candidates last night (Cawthorn and Janice McGeachin in Idaho governor) lost. And Oz’s lead is hanging by a thread. 

We also saw mixed results in the Democrats’ moderate-vs.-progressive battles. Early in the night, establishment-backed Don Davis in North Carolina-01 and Valerie Foushee in North Carolina-04 won their races over progressive/activist competition.

But progressive McLeod-Skinner leads in Oregon-05, and so does Summer Lee in Pennsylvania-12 — though that race remains super-close.

Incumbents going down. Nail-biters. Fetterman trouncing Conor Lamb. Mixed results on the endorsement scoreboards.

Those kinds of things happen when 75 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, as our recent NBC News poll found.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … $69.4 million 

That’s how much money was spent on ads in the Pennsylvania Senate primaries, with most of it ($57.1 million) being spent in the GOP primary. Just over $12 million was spent on the Democratic side. Roughly $7.6 million was spent in the GOP primary alone during the final week of the race.  

A plurality of the GOP primary ad spending benefitted former hedge fund manager David McCormick, with his campaign and supportive outside groups spending a combined $32.8 million on ads, per AdImpact. And that has him locked in a virtual tie right now with television personality Mehmet Oz — he and his allies spent $17.5 million on the airwaves. 

Activist Kathy Barnette, who appears poised for third despite her late surge, spent just $210,000 on ads. But the Club for Growth Action endorsed her late and spent $2.1 million in the race’s final days, pushing her spending above Oz for the last week of the race. 

Read more on the MTP Blog

Other numbers you need to know

23-2: That was Trump’s endorsement record last night, with the Pennsylvania Senate primary still undecided. Most of the former president’s picks were incumbents running either unopposed or against no serious challenge. 

400: The approximate number of unidentifiable object reports received by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, per testimony yesterday

4: The number of key climate-change measures that set records in 2021

61 percent: The increase in the two-week average of reported daily Covid cases, per NBC News. 

27.5 percent: The increase in the two-week average of daily Covid hospitalizations. 

Midterm roundup: Breaking down last night’s other results

Here are some other key results from Tuesday’s wild primaries, with NBC News’ projection in parentheses, as they stand now: 

Kentucky-03 (Democratic): Morgan McGarvey 63.3 percent (winner), Attica Scott 36.7 percent. 

Idaho-02 (GOP): Mike Simpson 54.6 percent (winner), Bryan Smith 32.7. 

North Carolina-01 (GOP): Sandy Smith 30.7 percent, Sandy Roberson 26.1 percent (race has not been called). 

North Carolina-13 (GOP): Bo Hines 32.1 percent (winner), DeVan Barbour 22.7 percent. 

North Carolina-13 (Democratic): Wiley Nickel 51.7 percent (winner), Sam Searcy 23 percent. 

North Carolina-14 (Democratic): Jeff Jackson 86.4 percent (winner), Ram Mammadov 13.8 percent. 

Oregon governor (Democratic): Tina Kotek 57.4 percent (winner), Tobias Read 33 percent. 

Oregon governor (GOP): Christine Drazan 23.5 percent, Bob Tiernan 20 percent. 

Oregon-04 (Democratic): Val Hoyle 65.3 percent (winner), Doyle Canning 15.5 percent. 

Oregon-04 (GOP): Alek Skarlatos ran unopposed. 

Oregon-05 (GOP): Lori Chavez-DeRemer 42.2 percent, Jimmy Crumpacker 30.5 percent (race has not been called). 

Oregon-06 (Democratic): Andrea Salinas 37.8 percent (winner), Carrick Flynn 19 percent. 

Pennsylvania-01 (GOP): Brian Fitzpatrick 65.5 percent (winner), Alex Entin 34.5 percent.

Pennsylvania-08 (GOP): Jim Bognet 68.8 percent (winner), Mike Marsicano 31.2 percent.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail: 

Oklahoma Senate: The Daily Beast is reporting that Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who is running in the crowded GOP Senate primary, plans to introduce a bill to expunge Trump’s impeachment 

Pennsylvania Senate: NBC’s Mike Memoli reports that Rep. Conor Lamb faced long odds with President Biden, a key supporter of his marquee 2018 House race, sitting on the sidelines

New York governor: Gov. Kathy Hochul is up with a new spot centered on protecting abortion access

Los Angeles Mayor: There were a few big developments in the race for mayor — actor Danny Trejo cut an ad for Councilman Kevin de León, rapper Snoop Dog endorsed businessman Rick Caruso, and City Attorney Mike Feur dropped his bid to endorse Rep. Karen Bass

Ad watch: Trying to oust Chuck Grassley

Former Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer is out with her first campaign ad in Iowa’s Dem race for Senate. Finkenauer served in the House for one term, starting in 2019 before Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson defeated her in the 2020 election.

“Sen. Grassley and Mitch McConnell. They’ve turned their backs on democracy and on us,” Finkenauer says in the ad, pointing out that Grassley has been serving in the Congress for almost a half-century. 

Finkenauer is seeking to oust Grassley this fall and flip a long-held Republican seat to a Democratic one. But before Finkenauer can face Grassley, she must advance out of the Democratic primary, where she faces two opponents, one who has outraised her so far. 

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

President Biden called the shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., “domestic terrorism” and called for an assault weapons ban during a visit to the city Tuesday.

The U.S. eased some sanctions against Venezuela on Tuesday, allowing for Chevron to discuss potential future activities with the country’s state-owned oil company amid rising gas prices.

Two neighboring Pennsylvania districts tell the tale of changing terrain for Democrats

Casino magnate and former Republican National Committee finance chair Steve Wynn, who resigned that party post in 2018 after sexual harassment allegations, is being sued by the Justice Department over his relationship with China during the Trump administration.