Cameron Joseph

Cameron Joseph is Talking Points Memo's senior political correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covers Capitol Hill, the White House and the permanent campaign. Previous publications include the New York Daily News, Mashable, The Hill and National Journal. He grew up near Chicago and is an irrationally passionate Cubs fan.

Articles by Cameron

Marine veteran Amy McGrath (D) has upset Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) in a key House race primary, becoming the latest female political neophyte to knock off a more established male politician in a Democratic primary this year.

McGrath led Gray by 49 percent to 41 percent with 95 percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press has called the race.

She’ll face Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) in a GOP-leaning district centered on Lexington that national Democrats are bullish about winning this November.

McGrath made a big splash when she jumped into the race with an impressive campaign video highlighting her experience as a fighter pilot that kickstarted her fundraising in a big way. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had long dreamed of convincing the well-liked Gray to run for the seat, and kept recruiting him to run even though McGrath’s campaign was already underway.

The race definitely pitted a more establishment candidate against an outsider — Gray had been his party’s nominee against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in 2016, and carried the district in that race, while McGrath has never run for office before. But neither candidate ran particularly hard to the left, as has happened in some other establishment-versus-outsider Democratic primaries this year.

And while national Democrats had begun the race preferring Gray, they’d become increasingly impressed with McGrath’s campaign — enough so that the DCCC stayed officially neutral in the race.

“She’s shown she can mount quite a campaign,” Rep. Jim Yarmuth (D-KY), who sources say helped talk Gray into the race, told TPM late last week. “People are taking her a lot more seriously than they did early on.”

Republicans sought to paint her as a hardline progressive in the wake of her victory.

“Despite their best efforts, national Democrats were unable to stop radical liberal Amy McGrath from squeaking her way through the primary,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Maddie Anderson said in a statement. “When even the DCCC thinks you’re too liberal for the District, that’s an insurmountable problem. The NRCC looks forward to Andy Barr’s reelection.”

But national Democrats were less concerned about her liberal views as her being an untested candidate — a concern she’s allayed in this primary win. And they will likely invest heavily to help her campaign this fall.

“Battle-tested in more ways than one, Amy McGrath ran a tremendous race to win this competitive primary and could not be in a stronger position to win in November,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a Tuesday evening statement. “Amy has built a formidable campaign, and voters across the district have responded to her message of leadership and standing up for affordable health care. With her inspiring record of service and all of the momentum at her back, there is no question that Amy McGrath is ready to flip this key district.”

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House Democrats’ main super PAC is quietly attempting to boost a hardline Republican candidate in a key House race, the latest attempt by national Democrats to avoid disaster in California.

The House Majority PAC has sent out mail pieces to Republican and independent voters in retiring Rep. Ed Royce’s (R-CA) district tying Phil Liberatore to President Trump, a clear move to raise the underfunded Liberatore’s name recognition in the district and try to siphon off votes from other GOP candidates to him. Images of the mail pieces were obtained by TPM from a source in-district.

The mailers advertise that Liberatore and Trump “want a bigger border wall,” oppose sanctuary cities (a major flashpoint in California, where Republicans are outraged Democratic lawmakers have declared it a sanctuary state), and tout his endorsement from controversial former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R), a hero on the anti-immigrant right. While the ad is framed as an attack, it’s clear the goal is to boost him at other Republicans’ expense.

The effort is just one of many efforts from Democrats to avoid the disastrous scenario of failing to get a single candidate into the general election in a state where they have a number of key pickup opportunities.

The Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC’s mail piece on Phil Liberatore.

Because of California’s unusual jungle primary system, the top two candidates in the state’s June 5 primary will advance to the November general election regardless of party. In the past, that’s occasionally led to Democrats being locked out as two Republicans advance in some key races — and it’s an even bigger risk this year given how many competitive races there are and how many Democrats are running for the seats.

In this race, Democrats have six candidates including three spending real money, and are concerned that they’re splitting up the Democratic share of the vote enough that two Republicans could sneak through to the general election, guaranteeing a GOP congressman in a district Hillary Clinton won by nine percentage points in 2016.

“Southern Californians have a right to know the facts about the Republican candidates running in these critical Congressional races particularly given the complicated jungle primaries and crowded fields of candidates,” House Majority PAC spokesman Jeb Fain told TPM. “We’re making sure a broad range of voters know the facts about several Republicans in CA-39, including Phil Liberatore, who is far too conservative for California, and we’re working to ensure people in these important districts have the opportunity to vote for a Democrat in November.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already been spending heavily on TV ads to try to knock down Shawn Nelson and Bob Huff, two of the other Republicans in the race, in order to make sure only GOP front-runner Young Kim makes it through. This HMP mail piece is a further effort to make sure that Huff and Nelson don’t join her in the general election by trying to subtly move voters from them to the lesser-known Liberatore.

Democrats are hopeful they can get one of their candidates through, with self-funding Gil Cisneros (D) and Andy Thorburn (D) leading the pack but in danger of falling behind Huff or Nelson.

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Don Blankenship isn’t done being a thorn in the side of the GOP.

The ex-con former coal baron announced Monday morning that he plans to run as the Constitution Party’s nominee for Senate, a move that could damage his former party’s chances at defeating Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) if he’s able to actually get on the ballot.

That’s a big if, however, as West Virginia has a “sore loser” law that prevents candidates who lose primaries for a race to switch parties and run in the general election for the same seat.

“It is especially appropriate for me to be nominated by the Constitution Party given its staunch and uncompromising commitment to upholding the United States Constitution.  My First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights were violated when I was falsely charged and politically imprisoned following the unfortunate mining accident at Upper Big Branch — a tragedy wholly caused by the actions of the establishment and the federal government,” Blankenship claimed in a statement.

The announcement came after weeks of complaints by Blankenship about his treatment in the West Virginia GOP Senate race, which he finished in third place earlier this month, losing to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R).

Blankenship’s bid has been long on braggadocio and short on actual results, as evidenced by his poor showing in the GOP primary. But if he pushes a legal challenge and successfully gets on the ballot this fall — or mounts a write-in bid —  he could cost Morrisey votes from the right and help Manchin stay in office, boosting Democrats’ chances in the battle for the Senate. Getting on the ballot appears to be an uphill fight, but not an impossible one for a man with seemingly unlimited resources and a deep grudge against seemingly everyone in the state political establishment.

He’s kept up his attacks against Morrisey since his loss, while further fueling his feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). And he’s seemed to have added President Trump to his enemies list following Trump’s last-minute intervention into the race to encourage voters to back another candidate.

“This time we won’t get surprised by the lying establishment. We were assured by White House political staff that they would not interfere in the primary election.  Obviously, that turned out not to be true.  Now that we know that the establishment will lie and resort to anything else necessary to defeat me, we are better prepared than before,” he declared.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has gone public in attacking just one Democratic candidate this election. On Tuesday, they’ll find out if that person will be their nominee in a key congressional race.

The DCCC went hard after former writer and liberal activist Laura Moser earlier this year, publicly blasting her for past writings they argued would disqualify her in the race, including one where she said she’d “rather have my teeth pulled out without anesthesia” than live in her grandparents’ hometown of Paris, a few hundred miles away from the Houston-area district where she’s running.

Those attacks backfired, delivering a fundraising surge for Moser and elevating her in a crowded primary field, which may have helped her make the primary runoff against more centrist attorney Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.

“If the DCCC hadn’t given Moser that bump, I do not think she would have been in the runoff,” former Harris County Democratic Chairman Lane Lewis, who backed another candidate in the first round and now supports Fletcher, told TPM.

Now the day of reckoning is almost here, with Moser and Fletcher squaring up on Tuesday in their rubber match.

The race is one of a handful of key Tuesday contests for House Democrats. In Kentucky, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) and Navy veteran Amy McGrath (D) are in a barn-burner of a primary for the right to face Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY).  In Arkansas, a moderate backed by the Blue Dogs is hoping to top 50 percent and avoid a runoff to face Rep. French Hill (R-AR) in a GOP-leaning district. And Democrats will pick their nominee to face Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA) in another chance to win Georgia’s 6th race after losing a high-profile special election there last year.

I pay my dues to the DCCC, and I was not happy when I saw a front-page article [in the local paper about their attacks on Moser] — it’s kind of like fighting within the family,” Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) told TPM, saying he confronted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about the move. Ms. Moser actually got a lot of exposure [from the attacks], and I think that helped her get into the runoff.”

Green said that either candidate would have a tough fight against Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) in the district, which narrowly went for Hillary Clinton but has historically been a lock for the GOP ever since George H.W. Bush represented it in Congress.

“Don’t get your hopes up too much. If you look below John Culberson, every local elected official is a Republican,” he said. “It’s still an uphill battle.”

But he said Moser’s past statements could badly damage the party’s chances in the district.

Moser is clearly to the left of Fletcher. She supports single-payer healthcare and has called for impeaching President Trump, which local Democrats say could be a tough sell in the district. Some unions also take major issue with Fletcher, whose law firm was behind a major anti-union lawsuit — the state AFL-CIO lost $5.3 million in the case, and did an anti-endorsement of her in the primary (her campaign contends she wasn’t involved in the lawsuit).

Both Moser and national Democrats dispute that she made the runoff because of the attacks, saying she was already positioned to do so. But the attacks clearly turned her into a cause célèbre of left-wing groups and activists who were spoiling for a fight with the establishment.

That ugly spat is gone but has not been forgotten by either side. While the DCCC has avoided any more public involvement in the race since accidentally listing Fletcher on its “red-to-blue” endorsement list in a press release before quickly walking it back, party officials stand by their contention that Moser would doom their chances to defeat Culberson in the GOP-leaning district. DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) called her past statements “disqualifying” in a recent TV interview. And Moser told TPM that they’re “still interfering in the race and don’t let anyone tell you they’re not,” while declining to provide evidence.

Most national and local Democrats say Fletcher has the edge heading into Tuesday’s race. Moser’s fundraising boon after the DCCC attacks proved fleeting, and Fletcher has outspent her by a wide margin in the runoff. Fletcher is the only one running broadcast TV ads in the expensive Houston media market. Fletcher out-raised Moser by $175,000 to $131,000 in the homestretch of the campaign, and Moser had just $80,000 left in cash on hand to Fletcher’s $360,000 as of early May.

Remarkably, there hasn’t been a single independent expenditure during the runoff. The DCCC has been notably silent, and the pro-choice EMILY’s List, which sent mail pieces for Fletcher in the primary, has been AWOL in the runoff even as they stand by her, a sign they may think she has the race in hand.

“Lizzie has been running a strong campaign and communicating her message to voters extremely effectively. EMILY’s List endorsed Lizzie because she is a progressive leader with deep ties to her community—and we think those are the same reasons that voters will choose her to advance to the general election to take on John Culberson,” EMILY’s List spokeswoman Julie McClain Downey told TPM.

But in a runoff where strategists expect turnout to be abysmal, it’s hard to game out who will win.

“At this point, you’re looking at campaign fatigue not just by the candidates but the voters,” Lewis said.

Another late-breaking factor is Friday’s school shooting in nearby Santa Fe. While the tragedy happened on the other side of Houston and both candidates strongly support more gun control, it further complicates both candidates’ attempts to break through in a media market where it’s already almost impossible to get voters enthused about a runoff election.

“We have a lot of people phone banking and I just a had a volunteer tell me a voter said, ‘I can’t believe you’re calling right now.’ And I’m like, this is why we’re calling,” Fletcher campaign manager Erin Mincberg told TPM Friday afternoon. “Both candidates have been talking about gun safety this entire race.”

Moser’s reaction to the shooting showed the difference in styles as well as anything else.

I am fucking angry that this stuff keeps happening,” she said, before ripping Culberson for opposing gun control.

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House Republican moderates say they have enough support to force a full House vote on legislation to protect undocumented immigrants brought here as children, as tensions between them and House GOP leaders continued to escalate on Thursday.

A coalition of GOP centrists led by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Jeff Denham (R-CA) are sick and tired of waiting for leaders refusing to move on a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And they’re just four GOP signatories away from being able to force a full House vote on a solution, assuming all House Democrats join them in support.

Denham told reporters Thursday afternoon that the Democrats would be publicly coming onboard before the end of the day — and that more Republicans would be signing on “this week.”

“I have more than enough signatures for the discharge petition,” he said.

The push continued a day after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told members that forcing the votes could cost Republicans the House majority by infuriating the GOP base — and an emergency meeting with centrists convened by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to try to diffuse the push.

In spite of that, the number of GOP signatories to the discharge petition grew to 20 on Wednesday, with a number of Democrats joining them on Thursday.

Republican leaders are livid about the push against their authority after months of foot-dragging on moving on any DACA fix, aided by a lack of urgency from many members since the courts are set to rule on whether Trump’s decision to end the program was constitutional this fall.

But that’s not how many centrist GOP members see it — especially those from swing districts facing tough reelection battles this fall. A number of members from districts with large numbers of Hispanic constituents, like Denham and Curbelo, worry that a failure to move on a DACA fix could further imperil their seat.

And some other GOP members are simply fed up.

I’ve got the speaker’s office going ‘you’ve got to stop this shit, to try to bring a vote,'” an exasperated Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), one of the signatories, told TPM. “Seriously, Mr. Speaker? We’re giving you the ability to write your own bill. … What is your fear for being accountable for a yes-or-no vote on a piece of legislation that was last tuned up three and a half decades ago?”

That Denham is breaking with his close friend and ally McCarthy is particularly notable.

The discharge petition would force a vote on four bills, including a much more conservative plan backed by GOP leadership that would likely fail on the House floor, two versions that could pass the full House with a combination of Democratic and moderate GOP support, and an open one that GOP leaders could fill with their own bill. That wouldn’t happen until early June at the earliest.

Even some members of GOP leadership said Thursday that they thought the party better move quickly on a solution.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee who Democrats plan to target aggressively for defeat this fall in a Hispanic-heavy district, responded “every bit of it’s true” when asked if the issue could have repercussions for the party in November if Republicans don’t figure out a way to unify around a solution, saying that while he doesn’t support the discharge petition it “forces our party to say more forthrightly where we are.”

A national message about where our party is [on DACA] is still, I believe, wanting,” he said. “Leaders lead. And we’re going to have to find a good, succinct answer.”

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Hey there readers, I’m back to answer your Q’s. Keep ’em coming!

Here’s an interesting way to look at the long-fought battle between progressives and moderates about electability, from davewilliamsnj:

What pairs of districts will provide good ‘A/B tests’ between progressive vs. centrist Democrats?

I’m thinking of a situation where there are 2 districts with similar demographics and culture, and similar support for a Republican incumbent, but one district has a more centrist Democrat running while the other has a more progressive one.

Right now we don’t really know whether the conventional view of “electability” still holds, or whether the Berniecrats are right when they say the Dems should move toward progressive populism. But November should offer opportunities for us to start to answer that question, if only we can filter out the various variables and compare apples to apples.

Well, we got one pretty great example in Nebraska earlier this week, where progressive champion and nonprofit executive Kara Eastman defeated moderate former Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE) for the chance to face Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) in a slightly GOP-leaning district. National Democrats had backed Ashford in the race and are concerned that Eastman’s support for single-payer health insurance could be especially problematic in the district given how much of Omaha’s economy is driven by medical and insurance companies. She also backs decriminalizing marijuana and tuition-free college. But in her primary win she proved to be the harder-working candidate and the one that excited the Democratic base more.

This will be a good test for progressives’ argument that candidates who champion ardently liberal policy positions can win tough districts (at least in a wave election), and, in particular, a test of whether Medicare-for-all can sell in a more upscale, fiscally conservative district.

A good counterpoint to this race could be the battle to unseat Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) in suburban Chicago. The districts aren’t perfect overlaps, but there are a ton of similarities: Both are largely white (roughly three-quarters), well-educated (38 percent of the Omaha district have at least a college degree, 50 percent in the Illinois seat), upper-middle-class suburban-heavy Midwestern districts that lean slightly towards the GOP in most years. President Trump won the Omaha seat by two percentage points and lost the Illinois seat by seven, but Mitt Romney carried Roskam’s district by eight and Bacon’s by seven in 2012. The Cook Political Report gives both an R+2 score on its Partisan Voting Index, meaning normally both would be around two points more Republican than the national vote.

Roskam’s opponent is Sean Casten, who poppped out of a crowded Democratic primary in March that included some more liberal candidates. Casten is a local businessman and scientist who is a more traditional suburban Democrat. He’s run hard on clean energy issues and against President Trump, and also says he supports “universal healthcare” — but his version of it is a lot more incremental than further-left politicians like Bernie Sanders’. He has similar suggestions for making college more affordable without creating free college.

This isn’t a perfect apples-to-apples comparison: Roskam is a battle-tested veteran close to House GOP leaders (which is both a plus and a minus) with a huge campaign war chest in a much more expensive district for TV air time, and he’s much better-known in the community than Bacon, a first-term member and former Air Force general. He’s also a key player in writing the GOP tax law, another plus and minus. But the districts do have enough in common, and the Democrats come from different-enough parts of the party, that this could be a good A/B test.

It’s a bit early to be able to highlight other races since so many primaries haven’t happened yet so we don’t know what candidates will come out, and since most of the true moderate-to-conservative Democrats running strong in primaries this year are in more heavily Republican districts, like the one currently represented by Mia Love (R-UT) in greater Salt Lake City.

But keep an eye on California’s June 5 primary. If moderate Dave Min wins his crowded primary to face Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) against candidates including the more progressive Katie Porter, his could be an interesting race to compare to other more progressive Democrats in nearby Orange County districts that the party hopes to turn blue this fall.

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A trio of moderate Democrats went down to more liberal opponents Tuesday night in key House primaries, the latest skirmishes in the battle for the direction of the party that one national Democrat described to TPM as “non-ideal outcomes.”

In the biggest race, former Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE), a moderate who had support of national Democrats including the Democratic Congressional Committee, lost to nonprofit health care executive Kara Eastman (D) in a stunner.

Eastman ran hard on universal Medicare and supports decriminalizing marijuana. Ashford, a former Republican, basically ran his primary with a general-election message, touting the work he’d done to bring a VA clinic back to the district in ads. She’ll face off against Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) in a slightly GOP-leaning district based in Omaha in a key test to see if Democrats can win by taking stridently progressive positions in swing districts.

Self-funding philanthropist Scott Wallace (D) also defeated Navy veteran Rachel Reddick (D) for the right to face Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) this fall in a very swingy suburban Philadelphia district. Reddick, like Ashford, had previously been a Republican — a fact Wallace made sure voters knew with his bevy of campaign ads.

“Things almost certainly got tougher in a couple districts,” the national Democrat told TPM, calling Reddick the “stronger candidate” and saying there was “no doubt” Ashford would have been the better fit for his Omaha district.

And just to the north of that district, a pro-life and anti-immigration Democrat who’d repeatedly praised President Trump lost to a more mainstream Democratic candidate. Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli (D), a sanctuary cities foe who’d applied for a job under Trump, had strong local support and high name ID. But he lost his race to former Allentown Solicitor Susan Wild, a more mainstream liberal who had the support of the pro-choice EMILY’s List. She wasn’t the most progressive candidate in the race — local pastor Greg Edwards, who had the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), finished a close third — but their combined vote showed how little appetite there is for a Trump apologist in today’s Democratic Party.

The results appear to be a mixed bag at best for Democrats as they look to retake the House.

National Democrats are deeply concerned that Eastman’s single-payer views will be a tough sell in a GOP-leaning congressional district where a ton of jobs rely on the medical and insurance industries.

And while the DCCC congratulated her on her win Wednesday morning — “These primary results show Kara is running strong and she is well positioned to win this fall,” DCCC spokesman Evan Lukaske said in a statement — establishment Democrats are privately fretting that they may have hurt themselves in a prime pickup opportunity last night.

Progressive groups counter that Eastman will be able to gin up the Democratic base better — and prove to be a strong general election candidate.

“Kara Eastman taught the Democratic establishment a lesson: The way to inspire voters in 2018 is to campaign on a bold progressive agenda of Medicare for All, higher wages for workers, and other economic populist ideas that help working families and challenge corporate power. This is how Democrats can win in red, purple, and blue districts and maximize a wave in 2018,” Progressive Campaign Change Committee co-head Stephanie Taylor said in a statement.

Wallace thumped Reddick largely because he outspent her by a huge margin, and Democrats are excited he’ll be able to self-fund against Fitzpatrick in the expensive Philadelphia media market. And the DCCC released a poll showing him trailing Fitzpatrick by just 48 percent to 46 percent Wednesday morning. But most Democrats privately say they would have preferred a young female veteran in the race rather than a man who hasn’t lived in the district for decades and has left himself open to attacks on taxes because of late payments of his own taxes in Maryland.

Most are more than happy to see Morganelli fall, however. He was far outside Democratic orthodoxy, and had run some unimpressive statewide races in the past. While Wild is more liberal, Democrats think she’ll run a much more robust campaign — and don’t see any reason to put a Democrat-in-name-only into a newly drawn seat that both Hillary Clinton and President Obama would have carried.

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Former Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE) fell short in the primary for his comeback bid to a more progressive challenger Tuesday, a stunning disappointment to national Democrats that could be a blow to the party’s chances of winning the GOP-leaning seat.

Liberal nonprofit executive Kara Eastman (D) won the Democratic nomination by a scant 1126-vote margin, a number outside the window which would trigger an automatic recount under Nebraska law. The gap is wide enough that Ashford will have a tough time overcoming it even if there is a recount.

That’s a major disappointment for national Democrats, who had banked on him making a comeback run this election.

They had gone all-in for Ashford in recent months — the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tacitly endorsed him over Eastman early this year by putting him on their “red-to-blue” program, and a number of members helped Ashford raise money for the race.

But while Ashford basically started his general election campaign early, running ads touting his accomplishments bringing a VA medical center back to the district, Eastman ran hard to Ashford’s left on a number of issues. She declared in one campaign ad that she’s “the only candidate for Congress who stands for universal health care and ending massive tax breaks for millionaires that threaten the middle class.”

And while the primary remained quite civil — his niece is close friends with her daughter — an Eastman win would set up a far different general election campaign, one national Democrats feel far less confident about.

President Trump won the Omaha-based district by two percentage points, and Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), a former Air Force general, proved to be a solid campaigner last election cycle.

Democrats were excited that Ashford, a moderate Republican-turned-Democrat who lost by just one point last fall, would give Bacon a tough challenge. But they worry that Eastman’s support of single-payer healthcare could prove an especially tough sell in the swing district given the high number of jobs dependent on the healthcare and health insurance industries that are based in Omaha.

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A Democratic House candidate who opposes abortion, has hardline views immigration and repeatedly praised President Trump lost a hard-fought primary Tuesday night.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli (D) fell short in his bid for a swingy open House seat based in Allentown, finishing in second place with 31 percent of the vote. Former Allentown Solicitor Susan Wild, a more mainline Democrat backed by the pro-choice EMILY’s List, won with 33 percent of the vote. Local pastor Greg Edwards, who had the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), finished in third with 26 percent of the vote.

That’s a relief for national and state Democrats who weren’t looking forward to having to defend Morganelli in his race due to his iconoclastic views, though Democrats were split about whether he or Wild would be the stronger general election candidate in a newly drawn blue-collar district that would have went narrowly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Morganelli, who lost previous statewide Democratic primaries, has long been out of step with many in his party base. A pro-life Democrat, he repeatedly praised Trump early in the presidency, even applying for a district attorney job in the administration.

“Waiting to hear from transition. Hope to serve,” he tweeted at Trump at the time.

He says he withdrew that application because of his disappointment in Trump. But in March 2017 defended Trump’s planned sanctuary cities crackdown by comparing it to President Obama’s use of federal funds to urge states to allow transgender people to use the bathrooms of their gender, citing an article from the right-wing fringe World Net Daily in the process.

Wild is much more in line with her party on key issues. She’ll have to run hard in the general election, however, as the district is far from a slam-dunk for her party even in a good year for Democrats.

And she’ll face a potentially tough opponent: Marty Nothstein, a local GOP elected official who’s also an Olympic gold medal winning cyclist.

In another key Pennsylvania Democratic primary, wealthy philanthropist and non-profit head Scott Wallace defeated Navy veteran Rachel Reddick by a healthy margin after outspending her by a wide margin.

Wallace will face Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in the tossup district. Democrats worry that their new nominee’s baggage could be problematic in this election. He hasn’t lived in the area in decades, splitting his time between the D.C. suburbs and South Africa in recent years — and failed to pay local taxes on time one year (he says he didn’t get the bill in South Africa and paid up once he found out).

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Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) won his primary to face Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) on Tuesday — but his margin of victory wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring.

Barletta, a close Trump ally whom the President backed with robocalls in the closing days of the race, led underfunded Pennsylvania state Rep. Jim Christiana (R) by 59 percent to 41 percent when the Associated Press called the Tuesday night.

That’s not exactly a huge margin for Barletta, a longtime congressman who had the explicit endorsement of the President — and who spent nearly $2 million on the race to just $250,000 for Christiana.

Republicans have already privately worried that the divisive Barletta, like Trump an immigration hardliner, could hurt the rest of the GOP ticket in a state where more than a half-dozen House seats are up for grabs this cycle, most of them Democratic pickup opportunities. These results are unlikely to calm their nerves.

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