Sunday, December 10

Trump stumbles but MAGA still wins inside Pennsylvania GOP: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

One headline of the night was the primary loss of Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina, and of another Trump endorsement falling short in the race for governor of Idaho. Another was the failure — at least for now, with votes still coming in but the race close enough that a recount could be triggered — of former President Donald Trump to catapult Mehmet Oz to the Senate nomination in Pennsylvania.

But the primary season is about far more than Trump’s batting average — particularly when so much of the game is being played by rules he dictated inside the Republican Party.

Trump’s choice for Pennsylvania governor, Doug Mastriano, sailed to the GOP nomination. That means a state lawmaker who was at the Jan. 6 rally and was involved in orchestrating efforts to overturn the election will be on the November ballot — running for a job in which he gets to choose the next secretary of state.

And while Trump couldn’t keep Oz out of a dogfight with Dave McCormick, McCormick never tried to put distance between himself and Trump. He played up his ties to the former president — as did Kathy Barnette, whose late surge claiming MAGA voters may have muddled the race to where it stands Wednesday morning.

In primaries so far, Trump hasn’t always gotten his way. But there’s no discernible room in the GOP for never-Trump candidates — or even, to date, much room for candidates who will flatly state that the election of 2020 wasn’t stolen and that investigations looking back at it are irrelevant or dangerous.

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Trump isn’t winning everything this primary season. That’s not to say, though, that MAGA is losing.

The RUNDOWN with Find Harper

Despite the likes of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as well as other prominent progressives backing like-minded candidates in reliably blue districts, their picks got mixed results.

In North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District occupied by outgoing Rep. David Price, progressive pick Nida Allam, the state’s first Muslim woman to hold elected office, was defeated by Valarie Foushee, a state lawmaker and an establishment pick. Foushee was the beneficiary of millions of dollars in spending by super PACs. Clay Aiken of “American Idol” fame was a distant third in the race.

In Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, where Sanders campaigned for Summer Lee, the vote was too close to call on primary night, though the candidate claimed victory. For much of the race, Lee was considered the front-runner, but a flood of cash from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee boosted her more moderate opponent, Steve Irwin, and complicated her prospects for her. Sanders complained to the DNC in a letter Monday about spending by super PACS against candidates like Lee.

“Money in politics is nothing new, and you’ve seen outside groups increasingly playing a role in North Carolina and around the country, what feels different this year is just how aggressively they’re investing in primaries,” said Asher Hildebrand, a professor at Duke University and former chief of staff to Price.

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In Oregon’s 5th congressional district, where the race has not been called, Jamie McCleod-Skinner holds a sizable lead over incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader. Progressives had hoped McCleod-Skinner would beat Schrader, who had the backing of President Joe Biden.

Progressives angling to increase their ranks and influence on the Democratic Party still face an uphill battle.

The TIP with ben siegel

New York Democrats are still scrambling from the fallout of new congressional maps released Monday by the state court-appointed special master, with incumbents facing the prospect of challenging longtime colleagues in Democratic primaries this summer.

In Manhattan, Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, both chairs of influential committees whose districts were previously divided by Central Park, could face one another in a new 12th Congressional District that spans the width of Manhattan.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn-based member of leadership, blasted the new plan for dividing up the historically Black Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and potentially pitting several lawmakers of color in the outer boroughs against one another in newly redrawn districts.

“We have a problem with these maps. It would make Jim Crow blush,” he said.

And outside New York City, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, DN.Y., the chair of House Democrats’ campaign committee who currently represents the state’s 18th Congressional District, announced plans to run in the newly-redrawn 17th Congressional District, which now includes his home county — without giving its current representative, Rep. Mondaire Jones, a heads up.

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“From my point of view, I’m just running where I landed. If someone else is looking at the district as well, we’ll try to work through that as colleagues and friends. Ultimately this is up to the voters and that’s where it should be,” Maloney said at a news conference.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

52. That’s the percentage of Republican or Republican-leaning Latino adults who said they agreed with the statement that “too much attention is paid to race and racial issues in our country these days” in a 2021 Pew Research Center poll. That’s significant because as FiveThirtyEight’s Alex Samuels writes, it’s possible that the Republican Party’s rhetoric around racial grievance could appeal to more conservative Latino voters. Read more from Alex on why some conservative Latino voters might not be turned off by this message.


ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Start Here begins Wednesday morning with the new twist in the investigation into a Chinese plane crash that killed 132 people. ABC’s Gio Benitez leads us off. Then, ABC’s Mary Bruce discusses President Biden’s visit to Buffalo in the wake of the supermarket mass shooting. And, a senior astronomer walks us through highlights from Congress’ first UFO hearing in half a century.


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