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The Guardian - US

US primary elections: Dr Oz tied with McCormick in test of Trump’s influence on Republicans – as it happened

Dr Mehmet Oz speaks at his primary election night watch party in Newtown, Pennsylvania Tuesday.
Dr Mehmet Oz speaks at his primary election night watch party in Newtown, Pennsylvania Tuesday. Photograph: Hannah Beier/Reuters

Today so far

  • The Republican primary for Senate in Pennsylvania between heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick remains neck-and-neck, with thousands of absentee ballots still left to be tallied.
  • Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, took to the podium today for the White House press briefing to preview the meeting tomorrow between Joe Biden and the president of Finland and the prime minister of Sweden. This comes as these traditionally neutral countries submit their applications for Nato membership.
  • Sullivan also previewed Biden’s first trip to Asia as president, in which he will be visiting South Korea and Japan, and meeting with the South Korean president and Japanese prime minister. Biden will not, however, be making a visit to the DMZ this trip.
  • Biden visited Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to receive a briefing from his senior leadership team on efforts to prepare for and respond to hurricanes this season.
  • The House is moving on the nationwide infant formula shortage, with two bills scheduled for a vote tonight. In addition, a bipartisan group of 20 members is urging the president to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost formula production.
  • First daughter Ashley Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be traveling with the first lady, Jill Biden, to Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica.

Updated

Congresswoman Lucy McBath made an impassioned pro-choice speech on the floor today in the aftermath of the leak of a draft opinion that essentially strikes down the protections enshrined by Roe v Wade.

McBath spoke about the trauma and heartbreak of suffering three miscarriages, and how the treatment for miscarriage sometimes requires the same abortion drugs that some states are advocating to make illegal.

“It’s hard to describe the agony of a miscarriage: it’s heartbreaking, it’s helplessness, it’s pain, and it’s profound sadness,” McBath said. “Millions of women suffer from them, and I’ve heard from many who felt guilty like I did, who felt as though we weren’t worthy of having a child. Those are the same feelings that crept through my mind and every time I’ve had these difficult discussions with other women, I remind them that they are strong and they are powerful beyond measure and their worth is far more than their ability to procreate, however it may seem that those in support of this ruling may disagree.”

McBath’s voice cracked as she described the circumstances of her third miscarriage: a stillbirth.

“My doctor felt it would be safer to end the pregnancy naturally,” she said. “For two weeks, I carried my dead fetus and waited to go into labor. For two weeks, people passed me on the street, telling me how beautiful I looked, asking how far along I was, and saying they were so excited for me and my future with my child. For two weeks, I carried a lost pregnancy and the torment that came with it. I never went into labor on my own. When my doctor finally induced me, I faced the pain of labor without hope of a living child.”

She ended her testimony by declaring that though this was uniquely her story, her story was not unique. “Millions of women in America, women in this room, women at your home, women you love and cherish, have suffered a miscarriage.

“So I ask, on behalf of these women, after which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned? Would it have been after the first miscarriage, after doctors used what would have been an illegal drug to abort the lost fetus?”

“Would you have put me in jail after the second miscarriage? Perhaps that would have been the time, forced to reflect in confinement at the guilt I felt, at the guilt so many women feel after losing their pregnancies. Or would you have put me behind bars after my stillbirth, after I was forced to carry a dead fetus for weeks?”

McBath continued: “The same medicine used to treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine that states like Texas would make illegal. I ask because if Alabama makes abortion murder, does it make miscarriage manslaughter? I ask because I want to know if the next woman who has a miscarriage at three months, if she will be forced to carry her dead fetus to term.”

Updated

Stephanie Grisham, the former White House press secretary and chief of staff for Melania Trump, is reportedly appearing again today before the House select committee tasked with investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

Updated

Elon Musk said he will no longer vote Democratic and will now vote Republican.

Updated

We’ve entered a new world of campaigning:

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer will force a procedural vote on the domestic terrorism prevention act, which would create federal offices focused on domestic terrorism:

The White House hemmed a bit when asked about this legislation, listing a variety of actions that the Biden administration has taken to combat domestic terrorism but not quite committing to saying whether they support the actual legislation.

“It’s a growing and evolving threat, and one that the Biden administration has taken very seriously since our first day in office,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “We have said we have been studying the details of different proposals and there are a range of ideas that have been proposed in Congress that could improve our ability to respond to these threats.”

Joe Biden will not be visiting the DMZ on this trip to Asia, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Updated

At today’s White House press briefing, Jake Sullivan, national security advisor, previewed Joe Biden’s first trip as president to Asia.

Biden will head to South Korea first, where he will meet with president Yoon Suk-yeol and “engage with technology and manufacturing leaders”, as well as meet with US armed forces stationed out there.

After South Korea, Biden will travel to Japan and meet with prime minister Fumio Kishida. “We believe the US-Japan alliance, at this moment, under these two leaders, is at an all-time high,” Sullivan said. “This visit can take us even higher.”

“On this trip, [Biden will] have the opportunity to reaffirm and reinforce two vital security alliances, to deepen two vibrant economic partnerships, to work with two fellow democracies to shape the rules of the road for the 21st century and to thank his allies in Korea and Japan for their remarkable and in some ways unexpected contributions to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable,” Sullivan said.

Updated

Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, took the podium for today’s White House press briefing to preview the meeting tomorrow between Joe Biden and Sauli Niinistö, the president of Finland, and Magdalena Andersson, prime minister of Sweden, one day after their countries applied for Nato membership.

“This is a historic event, a watershed moment in European security,” Sullivan said. “Two nations with a long tradition of neutrality will be joining the world’s most powerful defensive alliance and they will bring with them strong capabilities and a proven track record as security partners.”

Updated

Joe Biden is at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to receive a briefing from his senior leadership team on efforts to prepare for and respond to hurricanes this season.

He noted that 2021 “was the third most active hurricane season ever recorded”, and amid the climate crisis, they would only get worse.

“Given the climate crisis, we expect another tough hurricane season,” Biden said. “Storms are going to be more intense. We’re going to have shorter notice ... That’s why the work of these women and men are so important.”

Biden continued: “This isn’t about red states or blue states. It’s about helping communities prepare, having their back when a hurricane strikes and being there to help clear the road, rebuild the main streets so families can get back to their lives.”

Updated

The House is moving on the nationwide infant formula shortage, with two bills scheduled for a vote tonight:

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of 20 House members is urging Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost formula production.

The way the 1950 law works is that it authorizes the federal government to direct the private sector to increase production of certain goods in response to national emergencies - Axios reports that most recently, Biden has used the law to boost the production of critical minerals.

Updated

Vice-president Kamala Harris was at the US Coast Guard Academy today, delivering the commencement address to graduates about the “critical work” they will do in an “unsettled” world where “long-established principles now stand on shaky ground”.

“Around the world, we see additional attempts to undermine the rules-based order: nations that threaten the freedom of the seas. Criminal gangs and traffickers who skirt the rule of law, and fuel corruption and violence. Those that manipulate and undermine the foundations of international commerce,” she said.

Harris spoke about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.

“Every single American – in addition to you cadets – has a role to play in bettering our nation,” Harris said.

Updated

First daughter Ashley Biden tests positive for Covid and won't travel with first lady

First daughter Ashley Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be traveling with the first lady, Jill Biden, to Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica.

Updated

Interim summary

It’s been a lively morning in US political news and there’s more to come in the next few hours.

Right now, here’s where things stand:

  • The race for the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat in Pennsylvania is neck-and-neck between Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician better known as Dr Oz, and Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund boss. Oz is endorsed by Donald Trump. John Fetterman won the Democratic primary.
  • Freshman congressman Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in the House last night after failing to beat back a challenge from state legislator Chuck Edwards in the North Carolina Republican primary. Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger called Cawthorn’s loss “good for the country”.
  • Sean Patrick Maloney, the New York Democratic congressman, has purportedly angered his colleagues by immediately jumping into the primary race for a newly drawn district, that would threaten a fellow Democratic incumbent.
  • Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate will likely approve tomorrow $40bn in funding for Ukraine.
  • Joe Biden welcomed Sweden and Finland’s applications to join Nato and said the leaders of those two Nordic countries will visit Washington tomorrow and meet with him.

Updated

Biden welcomes Sweden, Finland Nato applications

Joe Biden will welcome the prime minister of Sweden, Magdalena Andersson, and the president of Finland Sauli Niinistö to Washington tomorrow.

It will be a very visual symbol of US support for those two European, Russia-adjacent nations joining the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato).

The US president has put out a statement on their applications to join the military alliance.

Joe Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House yesterday evening.
Joe Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House yesterday evening. Photograph: Chris Kleponis/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

“I warmly welcome and strongly support the historic applications from Finland and Sweden for membership in Nato and look forward to working with the US Congress and our Nato allies to quickly bring Finland and Sweden into the strongest defensive alliance in history,” Biden said.

He further points out: “Nato guarantees the security of one billion people in Europe and North America – united by our shared commitment to democratic principles and our vision of peace and prosperity in Europe and around the world. And my commitment to Nato and Article 5 is ironclad.”

Article 5, the 30-member alliance’s collective defense cornerstone, states that an attack on one Nato member is an attack on all. It has only been invoked once in the organization’s history, in response to the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Guardian’s Steve Bell has a characteristically skeptical take on Nato.
The Guardian’s Steve Bell has a characteristically skeptical take on Nato. Illustration: Steve Bell/The Guardian

Meanwhile, today, Nato member Turkey blocked an early move to fast-track the Nordic countries’ requests.

Updated

Trump urges Oz to declare victory despite count being unfinished

Despite the Republican primary for a Pennsylvania seat in the US Senate being too close to call, with heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick deadlocked, disrupter-in-chief Donald Trump has a top tip.

“The Senate race in PA hasn’t been called yet but Trump on Truth Social is calling for Dr. Oz to go ahead and declare,” a Politico reporter points out on Twitter, citing Trump (who’s banned from Twitter) posting on his own platform Truth Social.

Trump posted: “Dr Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find’.”

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Greensburg, Pa., on May 6, 2022.
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Greensburg, Pa., on May 6, 2022. Photograph: Gene J Puskar/AP

Trump quickly declared he’d won the 2020 election when he distinctly and officially had not. Eighteen months later, despite an embarrassing legal campaign to overturn Joe Biden’s victory and being impeached for inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol by his extremist supporters on January 6, 2021, Trump’s still claiming that campaigning in the midterms on the back of it.

(Left to right), US president Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and vice president Kamala Harris walking towards the Rose Garden at the White House yesterday.
(Left to right), US president Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and vice president Kamala Harris walking towards the Rose Garden at the White House yesterday. Photograph: Chris Kleponis/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

As the Associated Press notes, Oz and McCormick emerged at their election night watch parties to say they will have to wait for vote-counting Wednesday to determine a winner in the battleground state.

So the rest of us continue to wait (albeit impatiently) for the actual result to emerge.

Updated

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate will likely approve tomorrow $40bn in funding for Ukraine, and took a moment to chastise Republican Rand Paul for being the only lawmaker to object to the passage of the aid package.

“This should already have been done and over with,” Schumer said. “But it is repugnant that one member of the other side, the junior senator from Kentucky, chose to make a show and obstruct Ukraine funding knowing full well he couldn’t actually stop its passage. For senator Paul to delay Ukraine funding for purely political motives is to only strengthen Putin’s hand.”

Updated

Newly drawn congressional maps in New York seem to have everyone in an uproar. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic congressman currently representing the 18th district of New York, has purportedly angered his colleagues by immediately jumping into the primary race for a newly drawn district.

The problem? Somebody already represents that district, the 17th district of New York – Maloney’s colleague in the Democratic party, freshman congressman Mondaire Jones.

On top of all this, Maloney is chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect elect Democrats to the House. Punchbowl News is reporting that some members are calling for him to step down as chair if he decides to challenge Jones.

Updated

The nail-biter Republican primary for Senate race in Pennsylvania between the Donald Trump-endorsed Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick is to replace Republican Pat Toomey, who announced that after serving two terms, he would not be running again.

Toomey saw his state’s party do some interesting things last night, with Pennsylvania Republicans nominating Trump-endorsed Doug Mastriano for governor, an election denier who was outside the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

In the general election, Mastriano will be going against Josh Shapiro, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Whoever wins the Republican primary for Senate will be running against John Fetterman, the state lieutenant governor.

Is this irony? The Daily Beast is pointing out one piece of the big lie that Donald Trump keeps putting forth about the 2020 presidential election has to do with mail-in ballots: Joe Biden won swing state Pennsylvania, largely in part through the 2m mail-in ballots, to which Trump objected.

Well, with the Republican primary for Senate looking closer than ever, whether or not Trump’s candidate – Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician better known as Dr Oz – triumphs over Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund boss, will likely come down to the mail-in votes.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Trump team object to mail-in ballots if Oz prevails.

Updated

Adam Kinzinger, the Republican congressman from Illinois who has repeatedly separated himself from the party line when it has come to issues of Donald Trump and the 6 January attack on the US Capitol, went on CNN to comment on Trump-endorsed candidate Madison Cawthorn losing his seat in in the House.

“It’s good for the country. It’s good for the party. It’s good for the 11th district of North Carolina,” Kinzinger said. “Look, DC has become kind of a growing ground for people who are more interested in fame than governing, who are more interested in becoming famous than in actually doing the really serious work in a time when we’ve got a lot challenges here at home and a lot of challenges overseas. It’s a good thing he lost.”

He continued: “It’s good to see him lose.”

Whoever wins the Republican primary for Senate in Pennsylvania - Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician better known as Dr Oz, or Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund boss – will be going up against John Fetterman, lieutenant governor, who easily won the Democratic primary, despite a stroke taking him off the campaign trail in the final weekend before the election.

Joe Biden endorsed Fetterman yesterday.

Updated

Amid numerous scandals, first-term congressman Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in the House of Representatives last night after failing to beat back a challenge from state legislator Chuck Edwards in the North Carolina Republican primary.

Let’s run through a few of the scandals plaguing this 26-year-old who was once seen as a rising star of the Republican party:

  • He called Volodymyr Zelenskiy a “thug” after Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • He claimed without evidence that Washington figures he “looked up to” had invited him to orgies and used cocaine. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy rebuked Cawthorn publicly over the remark.
  • Police stopped Cawthorn on driving citations three times since October.
  • Authorities caught Cawthorn with guns at airport checkpoints twice since last year, including last month.
  • Videos released in the campaign’s final weeks showed Cawthorn in sexually suggestive poses.

Even with all the scandal, staunch Trump-ally Cawthorn still had the endorsement of Donald Trump. Just before the primary, Trump posted on his social media site for voters to back Cawthorn: “Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again … let’s give Madison a second chance!”

Read more here:

Primary results: Oz lock horns with McCormick in test of Trump’s power in Pennsylvania

Ahoy there, live blog readers. Happy Wednesday.

Yesterday was the biggest primary night of the year, with voters in five states – Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, Idaho and Kentucky – picking the candidates at the center of some of this year’s most contentious battles for control of Congress, statehouses and governor’s offices.

At the moment, the race for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat in Pennsylvania is neck-and-neck between Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician better known as Dr Oz, and Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund boss. Oz, who is endorsed by Donald Trump, is currently trailing McCormick, but the race remains too close too call.

Many are watching the race to gauge Trump’s enduring grip on the Republican party – one of many tests of the night. While the Oz race is still too close too call, Pennsylvania Republicans handedly nominated Trump’s choice for governor – Doug Mastriano – an election denier who was outside the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

However, in North Carolina, Republicans ousted Trump’s candidate for SenateMadison Cawthorn, the scandal-plagued first-term congressman. But in this same state, the Trump-backed congressman Ted Budd bested ex-governor Pat McCrory and a dozen other candidates to clinch the Republican nomination for Senate.

In Idaho, the sitting governor, Brad Little, defeated his far-right lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, a Trump-endorsed candidate who twice attempted a power grab to ban coronavirus mask and vaccine mandates when Little was out of state on business.

Read more on the results here:

More to come.