Fetterman in, Cawthorn out, and other takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries

Big John Fetterman celebrated Tuesday’s primary victory from a hospital bed where he was recovering from a stroke suffered over the weekend. But while it may have dampened attendance at his election party, it didn’t dampen Pennsylvania Democrats enthusiasm for their Lt. Governor. Fetterman enjoyed a margin of nearly 400,000 votes in his win over State Senator Malcom Kenyatta and US Rep Conor Lamb—the establishment Democrat supported by the vast majority of party insiders. That insider support never helped Lamb in the race, as he struggled from start to finish to match Fetterman’s appeal with both working class Democrats and progressive voters alike

“It’s not just that John looks nothing like a politician,” Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Fetterman, told his election night party in PA. (Fetterman is 6’8”, heavily tattooed, and often campaigns in gym shorts and a hoodie, which unconventional style has helped to attract a broad audience to his campaign.) “It’s because John doesn’t act like one. At heart, he’s still that hardworking, scrappy, small-town mayor.”

Meanwhile, in a race followed more for its salaciousness than any real national significance, tree-puncher Madison Cawthorn was primaried out of his seat in North Carolina’s 11th district. Losing by nearly 2 percentage points in a district Trump carried by 12, and with a Trump endorsement, Cawthorn called his challenger Tuesday night to concede

Cawthorn’s brief time in public office will be remembered far more for its myriad scandals than for any positive impact Cawthorn made in Congress. Known as a right-wing “fighter” and an early Trump emulator, Cawthorn was a rising star in the GOP before he famously claimed to have been invited to coke-orgies by senior Republicans, got himself credibly accused of insider trading, was arrested more than once for trying to board a plane while carrying a loaded handgun, denied leave to a staffer whose husband had suffered a heart attack, and was ultimately undone by oppo-research uncovered and made public by, apparently, leaders in his own party. 

Elsewhere on Primary Night, Trump was not the kingmaker of the GOP he’d like to be presented as, embattled Idaho Gov. Brad Little destroyed his primary challenger (his own Lt. Governor), immensely boo-able Dr. Oz was locked in a tossup for PA’s Republican Senate nomination that appears headed for a recount, and Pennsylvania Attorney General and unopposed Democratic candidate for Governor Josh Shapiro got his wish: he’ll face off against right-wing wacko Doug Mastriano in the general election, an outcome one Republican strategist described by saying “Shapiro just became the next governor and I don’t mean that hyperbolically.”

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