If it’s Monday… President Biden, while in Japan, says U.S. will protect Taiwan militarily if China invades… Biden also announces Indo-Pacific economic pact to counter China… It’s still undecided in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate race… Dem nominee John Fetterman gets released from hospital… And New York’s revised congressional map is officially set.
But FIRST… Are you ready for another round of primaries? This Tuesday brings us intraparty contests in Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, as well as runoffs in Texas.
And our focus today is on ALL of the primaries that we’ll be watching in the battleground state of Georgia.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp faces off against former U.S. Sen. David Perdue in another race testing Donald Trump’s sway within the GOP, given that the former president has endorsed Perdue – and also has starred in his TV ads (though Perdue has been off the air over the last three-plus weeks).
The winner will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the fall.
Former college football and NFL star Herschel Walker is expected to cruise to victory in a GOP field that also includes Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and former Navy SEAL Latham Saddler.
The likely Walker-vs.-Raphael Warnock general-election race will be one of the top Senate contests of the cycle.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – who became well-known nationally after upholding Biden’s 2020 win in the state – is facing a challenge from Trump-endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga.
Trump also has endorsed primary challengers to Georgia’s incumbent GOP attorney general and insurance commissioner.
Due to redistricting, Democratic Reps. Lucy McBath (who represented the state’s 6th District) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (who flipped the 7th in 2020) are facing off in a member-vs.-member race.
McBath is backed by Protect Our Future (a super PAC funded by crypto executives including Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the crypto exchange FTX) and Everytown for Gun Safety (McBath has been a vocal proponent of gun safety after her son, Jordan Davis, was killed).
Redistricting turned this into a heavily Republican-leaning district. Trump has endorsed attorney Jake Evans, the son of Trump’s ambassador to Luxembourg, who also has backing from Fox News’ Sean Hannity and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Another leading candidate in the race is emergency physician Rich McCormick, who was the GOP’s nominee for Georgia’s 7th district in 2020 (whom Bourdeaux defeated).
Data Download: The number of the day is ... 24.
That’s how many days it’s been since former GOP Sen. David Perdue’s campaign has been up on the television airwaves, per AdImpact, as incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp could stamp out Perdue’s insurgent, Trump-backed primary bid tomorrow.
Kemp can end the primary if he finishes with the majority of votes cast on Tuesday (he goes to a runoff if not). And that’s one reason why the incumbent has spent big — almost $3 million on ads alone since Perdue dropped off the airwaves on April 30.
Read more about the race in this weekend’s preview from Marc Caputo, Allan Smith and Peter Nicholas.
Other numbers you need to know
857,401: The total number of Georgian early votes ahead of Tuesday’s primary, a record according to the Secretary of State’s office, 168 percent more than in 2018 and 212 percent more than in 2020, per NBC’s Charlie Gile.
9: The number of Republican incumbent congressmen former President Trump endorsed over the weekend.
$2.64 million: How much Trump’s Save America PAC gave to a group backing Perdue’s primary bid in April, per new campaign finance disclosures filed over the weekend. He also gave $500,000 to a PAC backing his pick to defeat Rep. Liz Cheney in her primary, Harriet Hageman.
17 percentage points: The swing in the presidential results in GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’ district from the map proposed by Democrats to the map put out Friday by the special master (from Biden +9 to Trump +8).
78,000 pounds: How much baby formula arrived Sunday from Europe as part of a new White House attempt to mitigate the shortage.
Midterm roundup: Still undecided in Pennsylvania
It’s been almost a week, and Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary is STILL undecided by a razor-thin margin. Now, NBC’s Dasha Burns reports that a new federal court decision about votes in last November’s election could hold a key to what comes next.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the state should count ballots from a November election that were sent without dates on the envelopes but received on time — a decision that comes as the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary may come down to the fate of similarly received votes.
The Oz campaign believes those undated ballots in their race should NOT be counted and sent a statement to the state’s counties arguing “a federal court may not change election rules on the eve of an election — let alone after election day.”
McCormick campaign spokesperson Jess Szymanski told NBC News that “every Republican primary vote should be counted” and criticized the Oz campaign for “advocating to throw out Republican primary votes.”
Oz leads McCormick by about 1,100 votes, and while the race is expected to go to a recount, rulings like these may go a long way in deciding who ultimately wins.
Elsewhere on the campaign trail…
AL-SEN: Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is campaigning with Rep. Mo Brooks on Monday in Brooks’ hometown of Huntsville. Politico reports that despite Brooks losing Trump’s endorsement, he could still make the runoff after Tuesday’s primary.
PA-SEN: Democratic nominee and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman was released from the hospital Sunday after suffering a stroke ahead of his primary victory.
MD-GOV: The Washington Post’s Editorial Board backed former Democratic National Committee chairman and Labor Secretary Tom Perez in his gubernatorial primary bid.
PA-GOV: A coalition of Democratic groups and their allies, including the Democratic Governors Association and Planned Parenthood affiliates, are launching a multi-million dollar ad and voter mobilization campaign to hit Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, per Politico. The first ad came out Monday.
GA-7: Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, a gun violence survivor, endorsed Rep. Lucy McBath and campaigned with her in Duluth, Georgia on Friday. On Tuesday, McBath faces another incumbent congresswoman, Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, in a Democratic primary. The two were forced to compete against each other due to redistricting.
NY-Redistricting: A judge approved New York’s congressional map on Friday, officially setting up a primary challenge between Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, and prompting Rep. Mondaire Jones to run for a different seat with a crowded field that includes former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou.
SC-1: GOP Rep. Nancy Mace is attacking her primary opponent, Katie Arrington, for an investigation into whether she released classified information while working at the Pentagon. Arrington addressed the issue in an interview with the AP, which also has an affidavit of support from a colleague.
VA-10: Navy veteran Hung Cao won the district GOP’s nominating convention and will be the party’s choice to face off against Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton.
WY-AL: Axios is reporting that former President Trump will join a fundraiser for Harriet Hageman, his endorsed GOP candidate against Rep. Liz Cheney.
Tweet of the day
Ad Watch: Pritzker under attack
In a new ad out over the weekend, Republican Richard Irvin blasted Democrats and Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for meddling in the Republican primary for governor. Irvin, the mayor of Aurora, Illinois, and the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor, cut an ad featuring Pritzker responding to an ad funded by the Democratic Governors Association that criticizes Irvin.
Later, the ad features a moment where a reporter asks Pritzker, “Are you afraid of Richard Irvin?” and Pritzker walks away from the microphone. If Irvin wins the Republican primary on June 28, he’ll go on to face Pritzker in the November general election.
Though Pritzker faces no Democratic primary, a massive ad-war has broken out nonetheless. Pritzer himself has dumped over $24 million on ads, while Irvin has already spent over $21 million. The DGA, which is running the anti-Irvin ads, have already spent almost $9 million in ads on this race.
ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world?
A Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison in the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.
In a report released Monday, Pfizer claims they’ve tested a version of the Covid vaccine that’s safe for children under 5 and generates a strong immune response against the omicron variant of Covid-19.
The Washington Post reports on how Republican governors decided to spend millions to shore up their incumbents from attacks waged by former President Trump.
Former Vice President Mike Pence wouldn’t rule out running for president in 2024 against Trump in an interview with the New York Times.