Entertainment

Midterms 2022: Winners and Losers from Tuesday’s Primary Races


It was a big night in politics last night, with progressive wins and losses in states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Oregon, and Idaho, and the specter of the Trump presidency looming large over some right-wing outcomes. Let’s get right into it.

One outcome was the Democratic establishment was proven wrong — at least, in some places. Matt Duss, a policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders, slyly recirculated a July 2019 comment from a “senior Democratic source” to a Fox News reporter about Justice Democrats, the group that initially backed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), claiming, “No one is afraid of those nerds. They don’t have the ability to primary anyone.” Three years later, Duss replied, “Millions spent on attack ads suggest that they are now extremely afraid of those nerds.”

“Nerds” or otherwise, Justice Democrats clearly feels vindicated by their wins last night. “Democratic voters don’t want to be sold corporate millionaire candidates, they want working-class progressive leaders that will build a people-powered movement for everybody,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats.

How did they do it? If you believe what some are saying about wins in the swing state of Pennsylvania, by embracing the issues they campaigned on in a down-to-earth way and not getting caught up in policy explanations. Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) recently spoke to Politico about what she feels are Democrats’ shortcomings when explaining their efforts to would-be supporters. “Voters are very quick to be able to sense when something is hollow rhetoric,” Porter told Politico. “It’s not about just switching up your talking points. It’s about seeing the issues.”

Read on for more context and stories to watch out of Tuesday’s primaries.

Pennsylvania

As discussed, progressives are excited about their wins in Pennsylvania. State Rep. Summer Lee and Lt. Gov. Fetterman both won their primaries, with Lee beating a PAC-funded opponent and Fetterman defeating U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA), who naively left his current coveted position to lose to Fetterman.

Lee’s win in particular is being celebrated by the groups that backed her campaign, including Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats. “We f*cking did it. This election pit people power against millions of dollars, and today, Summer Lee proved that money is surmountable when you organize and run on a progressive platform,” Varshini Prakash, Sunrise executive director, said in a statement. “Young and working people were able to defeat Super PACs through local organizing. We showed our power, we knocked on doors, we called voters, and we decided this election.” Sunrise also backed Lee during her 2018 state house run.

Justice Democrats echoed that celebration, touting spending over $940,000 in Lee’s district on TV, mail, and digital ads. “After nearly three decades of the same, uninspiring, wealthy, white male leadership, this district is going to have a working-class, Black Congresswoman that actually reflects the community and their needs today,” Justice Dems’ Rojas said. “Summer Lee is going to deliver that for PA-12.”

Fetterman’s win happened while the candidate was hospitalized, after suffering a stroke the Friday before the primary; Fetterman evidently voted absentee from his hospital room. In addition to defeating Lamb, Fetterman also beat State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who, in a gesture of goodwill, told the press Tuesday night he would be stumping for Fetterman. “We don’t know yet who the Republican nominee is, but we know that in John Fetterman, we’re going to have a nominee that is heads and shoulders above whatever full time resident of fantasy island they have on the other side,” Kenyatta told Meet the Press. Fetterman’s win also received backing from President Biden.





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