Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon primaries

By Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Ji Min Lee and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:47 a.m. ET, May 18, 2022
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7:21 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

Republicans on Capitol Hill hoping Cawthorn will lose and warn he won't be welcomed back warmly if he wins

From CNN's Manu Raju

(Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)
(Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

Even if Madison Cawthorn pulls off a victory tonight, he won't be welcomed back with open arms by his GOP colleagues on Capitol Hill, according to multiple Republican lawmakers.

Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who has worked actively to defeat Cawthorn in the primary, said he's heard discussions among his colleagues about banning Cawthorn from joining certain caucuses in the House and to deny him key committee assignments. A House Republican familiar with the matter confirmed these discussions.

"Certainly if this pattern of behavior doesn't end, I think that there could be consequences over there," Tillis told CNN.

"But I hope that if he were to win, I hope he views this as a very valuable education on what we expect in terms of respect for your colleagues at either end of the spectrum, and a focus on legislative outcomes. Less, you know, less attention seeking, more results producing," Tillis added.

The litany of complaints — from his comments about being invited to cocaine and orgy parties to crass videos from his past and calling Ukrainian President Zelensky a "thug" — have made Cawthorn a pariah among his colleagues.

Sen. Richard Burr, who has called Cawthorn an "embarrassment on any day that ends in y," was equally as blunt, saying: "I doubt it," when asked if congressional Republicans would embrace him if he wins.

7:10 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

CNN Projection: Rand Paul will win Kentucky GOP Senate primary

Sen. Rand Paul departs from the Senate Republicans' daily luncheon at the US Capitol on May 5.
Sen. Rand Paul departs from the Senate Republicans' daily luncheon at the US Capitol on May 5. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Sen. Rand Paul, the incumbent candidate, will win the Kentucky GOP Senate primary, CNN projects.

Paul's ongoing feud with Dr. Anthony Fauci has led to some negative headlines nationally, but the Kentucky Republican will cruise to a primary win tonight — and will be the heavy favorite in a likely race against former Democratic state Rep. Charles Booker in November.

7:10 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

CNN Projection: Charles Booker will win the Kentucky Democratic Senate primary

Rep. Charles Booker raises his fist after voting at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville on May 12.
Rep. Charles Booker raises his fist after voting at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville on May 12. (Matt Stone/Courier Journal/USA Today Network)

Rep. Charles Booker will win the Democratic Senate primary, CNN projects.

Booker, a former state representative, ran for Senate in 2020 and narrowly lost the primary to establishment-backed Amy McGrath, the first woman to fly an F-18 in combat.

He will be facing off against incumbent GOP Sen. Rand Paul in November.

7:12 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

For Oz, it's all about the suburbs

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

With one hour of voting left to go in Pennsylvania tonight, there is cautious optimism from Dr. Mehmet Oz and his campaign – located just outside Philadelphia in critical Bucks County tonight. If Oz is going to win the Republican Senate nomination in his first bid for public office, it is these suburban communities that must deliver for him – to overcome the deep skepticism among many hard-core conservatives across the state.

The endorsement from former President Trump was built with these suburbs in mind: He believes Oz is the strongest general election candidate – because of Oz’s status as a TV celebrity – and can carry these counties that Trump lost four years ago. 

But advisers to Oz also acknowledge that he has failed to close the sale with much of Trump’s base, which explains why the former president launched robo calls and a tele-town hall rally on the eve of the primary, to turn out his supporters.

Trump is nervously watching this race tonight, acknowledging to friends that it’s his biggest gamble yet of the 2022 midterm campaign season.

7:00 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

Polls are closing in Kentucky

Polls are closing in Kentucky, one of five states having primary elections today.

Sen. Rand Paul's ongoing feud with Dr. Anthony Fauci has led to some negative headlines nationally, but the Kentucky Republican will cruise to a primary win tonight — and will be the heavy favorite in a likely race against former Democratic state Rep. Charles Booker in November.

Polls will be closing in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho and Oregon later tonight.

6:36 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

Voters in Pennsylvania have a choice between unconventional candidates in both Democratic and GOP primaries

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Over a dozen Democratic voters told CNN on Election Day that they would vote for Senate candidate John Fetterman, saying that the tattooed, 6-foot 8-inch, bald, goateed, cargo-short-wearing lieutenant governor aligned with their values, seemed like an atypical official and would be the party’s best chance to win the seat in November.

Fetterman, the former mayor of nearby Braddock, is the front-runner in the race and expected to do well in this western part of the state. CNN talked to 21 voters at the Allegheny County Office Building’s polling center in downtown Pittsburgh. Thirteen of them said they supported Fetterman over his two major opponents: Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. 

“He's a human being and not as much a politician,” said Mike Schnitgen, 69.

“I think that he can beat the Republican in the fall because I think he might appeal to some of the Trumpers,” said Rich Green, 63, while Lamb would “be seen as part of the swamp” by them.

“He's a local. I've always loved his policies. I think he's a genuine person,” said Tye Alu, 24, of Fetterman. “I’d like to see him win.”

Some voters said they were concerned by the news that Fetterman suffered a stroke last week and would have a procedure to implant a pacemaker today, but remained on his side.

Wendy Holt, 52, said she was on the fence between Fetterman and Lamb, and that Fetterman’s diagnosis gave her a little bit of a pause at the last minute. But she still decided to vote for him because “his roots are here.”

“I went with Fetterman, even though he just had a stroke,” said Holt. “I know what people have to go through to recover and I thought wow, that's a lot of stress.”

Some voters said they’d support Lamb. Alexandra Gregory, 70, said she’d support him out of loyalty to his service as her representative in the House.

“Connor Lamb has been my district representative and I've been a supporter ever since he ran the first time,” said Gregory.

On the Republican side, a few Pennsylvanians said they voted for celebrity surgeon and former TV show host Mehmet Oz because he earned former President Trump’s endorsement. The other top-tier candidates facing Oz are former hedge fund manager David McCormick and political commentator Kathy Barnette.

“I voted for Oz because Trump's supporting him,” stated Rebekah Blankenship, 59.

Carmella Weismantle, 56, wore a t-shirt saying she’s proud to be an American. She said she was deciding between Oz and Barnette but decided to go with who Trump picked.

“Anybody who Trump endorsed, I’m going to vote for, “ said Weismantle. “If Trump endorsed him, there’s a reason why.”

But Dale Ruediger, 62, who was wearing a 2020 Trump shirt, decided to go with Barnette, saying he wasn’t sure where Oz stood on some issues, even though Trump endorsed him.

“She aligns more with what my views are,” said Ruediger.

In the primary for a House race, Democrats appeared split between Summer Lee, a progressive state representative and democratic socialist, and attorney Steve Irwin, who has been endorsed by retiring Rep. Mike Doyle.

Holt voted for Lee, a Black woman, since “she stands for reproductive rights” at a time when the constitutional right to an abortion is under threat and because of her background.

“There needs to be some new blood,” said Holt. “Kind of tired of old white guys.”

Pro-Israel groups have supported Irwin, who is Jewish, over Lee. Asked how his position on Israel would affect the race, Irwin told CNN, “I'm a strong supporter of the state of Israel and the right of Israel to exist. And I've been clear on that. And I've gotten a lot of support because of my support of the state of Israel.”

Nelson H., 27, said he is Jewish and voted for Irwin in part because of the candidate’s position on Israel.

“That's a big thing for me because I see some people on the far left are very anti-Israel, almost the point of anti-Semitism,” said Nelson, who declined to provide his full last name.

6:30 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

An hour-by-hour guide to a huge primary night

Analysis from Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

Today is the biggest primary day of 2022 so far, with voters in five states — spanning from Pennsylvania to Oregon — casting ballots. 

There's so much going on that sometimes it's hard to know where to look! So, here's a handy-dandy, hour-by-hour look at the biggest races — and why they matter.

7 p.m. ET: Final polls close in Kentucky. Sen. Rand Paul's ongoing feud with Dr. Anthony Fauci has led to some negative headlines nationally, but the Kentucky Republican will cruise to a primary win tonight — and will be the heavy favorite in a likely race against former Democratic state Rep. Charles Booker in November.

7:30 p.m. ET: Polls close in North Carolina. All eyes will be on the Senate race, where Rep. Ted Budd, who is backed by former President Trump, looks to be the favorite in the GOP primary. If Budd does come through, it will be a major win for Trump, who plucked the three-term congressman from relative obscurity with his endorsement last year.  

The other race to watch is in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, where controversial Rep. Madison Cawthorn is seeking another term. Cawthorn got a vote of confidence from Trump on Monday, but faces a serious Republican primary threat from state Sen. Chuck Edwards.

8 p.m. ET: Polls close in Pennsylvania. The��GOP Senate race has received the most attention — and remains close. Strategists admit any one of three candidates — TV doctor Mehmet Oz (who Trump endorsed), conservative activist Kathy Barnette or businessman David McCormick — could wind up the winner. Democrats seem likely to nominate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke recently.

While the Senate race is the marquee contest of the night, it's also worth watching the Republican primary for governor. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who was in Washington on January 6, 2021, and has been a leading voice pushing false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, looks like the favorite — and has the endorsement of (you guessed it!) Trump.

11 p.m. ET: Final polls close in Idaho and Oregon. The most interesting race you probably haven't heard about is the Idaho Republican gubernatorial primary, where Gov. Brad Little is being challenged by Janice McGeachin, his own lieutenant governor! The race has been wild — defined primarily by the Trump-backed McGeachin's stylistic similarities to the likes of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. But Little is the favorite.

In Oregon, where all registered voters receive a mail-in ballot, Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader, one of a dwindling number of moderates in the party, faces a primary challengefrom progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Schrader has President Joe Biden's endorsement and the backing of House Democrats' campaign arm, but both sides expect a close race.

The Point: Tonight will be our first major chance to see where both parties are -- and where they're going — in advance of the November elections.

Sign up for The Point newsletter here.

5:36 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

It's Election Day in 5 states. Here's what you need to know about today's primaries.

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza, Ethan Cohen and Melissa Holzberg DePalo

Voters mark their ballots during primary elections in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on May 17. 
Voters mark their ballots during primary elections in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on May 17.  (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

It's election day again with primary races taking place Tuesday in five states: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon.

Voters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina will choose their Senate nominees for general elections that could determine control of the chamber. There are also key gubernatorial primaries in Idaho and Oregon and crucial House party contests, run under new boundaries following redistricting after the 2020 census.

Here's what you need to know about the primaries and key races to watch:

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary is seen as anyone's race to win, with Donald Trump-backed Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette running close in the polls and plenty of voters undecided. Oz's struggle to break away from the field after receiving Trump's support has worried the former President himself as he seeks to strengthen his endorsement record.

Meanwhile, the state's Democratic primary was met with uncertainty days before the primary when the front-runner, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, announced he was recovering from a stroke. Fetterman's opponents Tuesday include US Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

The Keystone State is also holding primaries to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the presumed front-runner for the GOP nomination, received a late endorsement from Trump on Saturday. Other Republicans in the race include former US Rep. Lou Barletta, former US Attorney Bill McSwain and businessman Dave White. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

  • Polls close: At 8 p.m. ET for in-person voting.

North Carolina: In North Carolina, the Trump endorsement test continues in the GOP Senate primary, which features US Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former US Rep. Mark Walker. Budd won an endorsement from Trump early in the race, but that support did not clear the field. On the Democratic side, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is set to be her party's nominee. If she were to win the general election, she would be North Carolina's first Black senator.

Attention has also focused on the GOP primary in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, where firebrand Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces several primary challengers after repeatedly sparking controversy inside and outside Congress. Cawthorn is running with Trump's support, which he received last year, but North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis has endorsed state Sen. Chuck Edwards in the race.

  • Poll close: At 7:30 p.m. ET for in-person voting.

Idaho: The Republican primary for governor features a showdown between incumbent Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. The two have had a political tug-of-war throughout Little's term. On the Democratic side, the leading candidate is running a write-in campaign after he failed to qualify for the ballot, but the primary winner will be the heavy underdog in the deep-red state.

  • Poll close: At 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET (depending on the time zone) for in-person voting.

Oregon: In Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is term-limited, the Democratic contest to succeed her initially centered on whether former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof met the residency requirements to run for governor. The state Supreme Court announced in February that he was ineligible to run, but Democrats were still left with more than a dozen candidates in the primary, including former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read. Republicans also have a competitive primary for an office the party last won in 1982. The independent candidacy of former Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson could make for a three-way race in November.

The Democratic primary in Oregon's 5th Congressional District will be an early test of President Joe Biden's sway in the party, as Biden has backed moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader, who is running in a redrawn seat with plenty of new territory. Schrader is facing a progressive primary challenge from Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who has been endorsed by several local county Democratic parties and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

  • Mail-in ballot times: all registered voters receive a mail-in ballot, ballots must be returned to drop boxes by 11 p.m. ET or must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Tuesday and received by May 24.

Kentucky: Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul is up for reelection this year – and is on track to win the Republican nomination in May. He’ll likely face Democrat Charles Booker, a former state representative who ran for Senate in 2020 and narrowly lost the primary to establishment-backed Amy McGrath, the first woman to fly an F-18 in combat.

  • Poll close: At 6 p.m. ET or 7 p.m. ET (depending on the time zone) for in-person voting.

Read more about today's primary elections here.

6:31 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

Leading Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania will have pacemaker implanted after stroke

From CNN's Dan Merica

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman campaigns at a meet and greet at Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport on May 10.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman campaigns at a meet and greet at Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport on May 10. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s health issues in the final days of his Democratic primary campaign have thrown a level of uncertainty into what had been a largely stable race. 

After three days off the campaign trail, Fetterman's campaign announced on Sunday that the candidate had a stroke and had been in the hospital since Friday but was “well on my way to a full recovery.”

Fetterman was scheduled to have a packed weekend of campaigning, but on Friday morning, as supporters gathered at Millersville University for a meet-and-greet with the Senate candidate, a Fetterman spokesman took the microphone and announced that the candidate wasn’t feeling well and, out of an abundance of caution, would not be making the event. Reporters were told the same later on Friday and on Saturday and Sunday morning.

On Sunday, Fetterman’s campaign announced the news of the stroke and on Tuesday, the campaign announced that the lieutenant governor would have a pacemaker implanted to regulate “his heart rate and rhythm” and control “his atrial fibrillation,” the cause of the stroke. 

Fetterman has been the race’s front-runner for months, with polls showing he enjoyed a sizable lead over his top primary opponents, Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

Fetterman supporters, and some who were undecided headed into Tuesday’s primary, told CNN that the candidate’s stroke did not change their thinking about the primary — they still planned to vote for the lieutenant governor. But supporters also expressed concerns that the health issues could become fodder for whomever wins the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania.

“Politics is so dirty these days,” said Jen Porter, an active Democrat who attended the Millersville event that was canceled. “I think the Republican could uses it as an issue. I don't think they should, but I think they could.”

Andrew Charles, a Pennsylvania Democrat who attended a recent Fetterman event in homemade shirts supporting the candidate, expressed similar concerns: “I am definitely glad it happened now and not a month out from the general.”

“If they don’t use that against him,” he said. “I would be very surprised. … Republicans are going to look for everything.”