As the vote tally dragged into Wednesday, the Republican Senate cliffhanger left us with unanswered questions about Donald Trump’s influence.
We assumed we’d figured out everything. But one major question remains unanswered.
While the two prominent front-runners won the Democratic Senate and Republican gubernatorial primaries on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania GOP Senate race remained a cliffhanger on Wednesday, with lingering uncertainty.
Nonetheless, here’s what we learned about Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party, the Democratic rally behind Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, and how abortion will play a key role in the governor’s campaign.
The GOP is still dominated by Trump-style politics.
The Republican Senate primary was considerably closer than expected, raising questions about both the immediate problem of who will face Fetterman in November for the open Senate seat and a larger one: Does Trump still have the power to alter the GOP?
For the time being, this test of Trump’s power has yielded a sloppy outcome.
Despite Trump pouring energy into the race with a rally, a robocall, a phone call into Oz’s last campaign event, and an Election Day radio appearance, his favored Senate candidate Mehmet Oz was locked in an uncomfortably tight race Wednesday that was likely heading for an inevitable recount. Meanwhile, David McCormick, Trump’s GOP opponent whom he attacked as a candidate of the establishment and “globalists,” was running alongside Oz, not certain to win but certainly not obliterated.
While State Senator Doug Mastriano, Trump’s preferred gubernatorial candidate, won large, the outcome had little to do with the previous president. Before Trump endorsed Mastriano three days before the primary, he was well on his way to win.
This wasn’t like Trump’s recent endorsement of J.D. Vance in the Ohio Senate primary.