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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8:12 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

CNN Projection: Rep. Ted Budd will win North Carolina's GOP Senate primary

From CNN's Ethan Cohen and Melissa Holzberg DePalo

Rep. Ted Budd waves to the crowd after speaking at a rally for former President Donald Trump on April 9 in Selma, North Carolina.
Rep. Ted Budd waves to the crowd after speaking at a rally for former President Donald Trump on April 9 in Selma, North Carolina. (Chris Seward/AP)

Rep. Ted Budd, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, will win the North Carolina GOP Senate primary, CNN projects.

GOP Sen. Richard Burr’s retirement opened the door to a raucous GOP primary in North Carolina. While Budd won the prized endorsement Trump, that wasn’t enough to clear the field. The former President reportedly told former Rep. Mark Walker that he would endorse him in a House race if Walker would leave the Senate race, an offer Walker declined.

Budd also faced off against Gov. Pat McCrory, who was attacked by Trump for two failed gubernatorial campaigns, and army veteran Marjorie K. Eastm

Democrats nominated former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, CNN projected. If Beasley wins, she would make history by becoming the state’s first Black senator. 

Budd was the first non-incumbent who Trump endorsed in the 2022 cycle, and he was also backed by the conservative Club for Growth’s political arm, which spent more than $11 million bolstering Budd and casting McCrory as too liberal. The Club for Growth and Trump have been at odds in other races, including Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

With Trump’s backing, Budd consolidated support from conservatives -- despite Walker’s presence in the race and attempts to challenge him for that same pool of voters.

Burr's retirement has made North Carolina's Senate race one of the most closely watched contests of the 2022 midterm elections, with Republicans' hopes of winning a Senate majority depending in part on their ability to hold the seat.

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7:56 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

CNN Projection: Cheri Beasley will win the Democratic Senate primary in North Carolina

Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley speaks with Leonardo and Zweli Williams, co-owners of Zwelis, a Zimbabwean restaurant, in Durham, North Carolina in 2021.
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley speaks with Leonardo and Zweli Williams, co-owners of Zwelis, a Zimbabwean restaurant, in Durham, North Carolina in 2021. (Allison Lee Isley for The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley will win the Democratic Senate primary in North Carolina, CNN projects.

If she were to win the general election, she would be North Carolina's first Black senator.

7:49 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

While some GOP candidates courted support from Trump, polling suggests his backing doesn't guarantee success

From CNN's David Chalian

Many Republican candidates in this year’s midterm primaries have courted the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, but recent polling suggests his backing isn’t entirely a guarantee of success. 

An NBC News poll conducted in early May found that a majority (55%) of self-described Republican primary voters feel Trump should continue to lead the GOP. But a sizable minority either says Trump was a good president, but it’s time for new leadership (33%) or that they think Trump was a bad president and it’s time to move on (10%). 

Asked specifically whether a Trump endorsement made them hypothetically more likely to support a candidate for office, 45% of Republicans said that it did, according to a national Quinnipiac University poll in late April. The poll suggests that support may be less of a boost in a general election contest, however, as only 18% of all adults said Trump’s backing would make them more likely to support a candidate.

In Pennsylvania, where multiple candidates for governor and Senate courted Trump’s stamp of approval, a Fox News poll found that about half of Republican primary voters called candidates’ strong support for Trump extremely (27%) or very important (23%), while about half considered it less critical (28% somewhat important and 22% not at all important). 

A Monmouth University poll conducted in Pennsylvania late last month after Dr. Mehmet Oz had received Trump’s backing in the Senate primary found that 54% of Republican primary voters there saw Oz as a strong supporter of Trump, dropping to 30% for Dave McCormick and just 17% for Kathy Barnette.

7:31 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

Lancaster County’s final results won’t be known for a few days following mail in ballot print error

From CNN's Kelly Mena

Election results for Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, won’t be known for a few days following a printing error on thousands of mail-in ballots. 

About 22,000 mail-in ballots were printed with the incorrect code and could not be read by scanners, according to ​​the Pennsylvania Department of State. 

Officials said the process for fixing the issue will include county election officials remarking the ballots by hand and then scanning them. The process is in line with state law but would likely “take county officials a few days,” a State Department spokesperson said.  

Diane Topakian, chair of the Lancaster Democratic Committee, told CNN that the error was first noticed at 7 a.m. ET Tuesday as officials were beginning to open and prepare ballots for scanning through voting machines. Under Pennsylvania law, mail-in ballots can’t be opened and scanned until Election Day. 

Topakian said that a group of three people will handle correcting the issue: One to read the mail-in ballot marked with a voter’s choices, a second person to complete the new ballot with the correct code and a third to serve as an observer over the process. 

“We won't know the results for about another three or four days,” Topakian told CNN. The Democrat added that this is the second time a vendor has misprinted ballots in a primary for the county. The same issue happened in the county’s 2021 primary, which resulted in a similar correction process. 

 

7:30 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

Polls are closing in North Carolina

Voters cast their ballots at an American Legion building in Durham, North Carolina, on May 17.
Voters cast their ballots at an American Legion building in Durham, North Carolina, on May 17. (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

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

Rep. Ted Budd, who is backed by former President Donald 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.

7:38 p.m. ET, May 17, 2022

Only 10% of Americans say they're optimistic about the way things are going, according to new poll

Analysis from CNN's David Chalian

Americans across political lines are united in their generally negative feelings about the US and its politics, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, with Democrats particularly unlikely to express political enthusiasm.

Just 14% of Americans say they’re either excited (4%) or optimistic (10%) about the way things are going in the country, with 65% calling themselves concerned and another 21% saying they’re scared. Only about one-quarter, 23%, call themselves fired up about politics, with 53% describing themselves as burned out.

Democrats are modestly more positive than Republicans on the state of the country: 19% of Democrats describe themselves as optimistic or excited, compared with only 9% of Republicans who say the same. But compared to Republicans, Democrats are less likely to feel fired up (25% vs. 33%).

The economy continues to be at the forefront of most Americans’ minds. A 59% majority say economic issues are the most important issue to the country, compared with 30% who are more concerned with domestic and social issues, and just 3% who are most focused on foreign policy, with 7% saying another issue is their top concern.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS on May 12-13 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults surveyed by text message after being recruited using probability-based methods. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It is larger for subgroups.

Watch report:

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.