By CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY, PIPER HUDSPETH BLACKBURN and ALAN FRAM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Voters rejected President Donald Trump and on Tuesday appointed two Republicans opposed to the seats in North Carolina and Kentucky. Calls for more high profile races in Kentucky and New York have faced days of delay as overwhelmed officials count mountains of postal ballots.
GOP voters in western North Carolina chose 24-year-old investor Madison Cawthorn, who uses a wheelchair after an accident, over Trump-backed real estate agent Lynda Bennett . The second round was for the seat left vacant by GOP representative Mark Meadows, who resigned to become Trump’s chief of staff and joined his new boss to support Bennett.
Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, a libertarian-minded sniper who often confronts GOP leaders, has been renamed for a sixth term in the House. Trump saved Massie in March as a “disaster for America” who should be kicked out of the party after forcing lawmakers to return to Washington during a pandemic to vote on a huge economic rescue plan.
Cawthorn, who will reach the constitutional minimum age of 25 at the next congressional meeting, said he was a supporter of Trump, and Massie is strongly conservative. Yet their victories were embarrassing for a president whose own re-election campaign has recently faltered.
While states are facilitating postal voting due to the coronavirus pandemic, a deluge of postal ballots and extremely slow counting procedures have made delays inevitable. This torturous expectation seemed to be a glimpse of November, when more states will adopt postal voting and officials will warn that uncertainty about who will be the next president may persist for days.
Kentucky generally has 2% of its returns come from mail-in ballots. This year, officials expect the figure to exceed 50%, and more than 400,000 postal ballots were returned on Sunday.
New York officials expect the vast majority of votes to be postal ballots this year, down from their typical 5% share. Counties have up to eight days after polling day to count and publish the results of the postal ballots, with 1.7 million requested by voters.
In the marquee contests of the day, two young African American candidates with campaigns spurred by national racial justice protests challenged the favorites of the white Democratic establishment for party nominations.
State legislator Charles Booker hoped that a late push would win over former fighter pilot Marine Amy McGrath for the nomination of the Kentucky Democratic Senate. And in New York, political newcomer Jamaal Bowman was seeking to derail the candidacy of the chairman of the House foreign affairs committee, Eliot Engel, for a 17th term.
In Kentucky, many counties, including Jefferson, the largest in the state, faced loads of postal ballots and reported no results. The Associated Press doesn’t plan to call the McGrath-Booker race until June 30, when Kentucky plans to publish additional counts.
Even so, Booker and his supporters met in Louisville chanting “from the hood to the crier”, the slogan he hoped to help build a coalition of urban blacks and rural whites.
“We have the opportunity to transform history,” said Booker.
The PA also delayed its appeal in the Engel-Bowman race in New York, pending additional ballots.
In other contests, majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky easily won the Republican nomination for a seventh term in the Senate and will be favored in November against McGrath or Booker.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., was renamed, cementing her rise from obscurity to the status of a progressive icon when she ousted democratic representative Joe Crowley, on the way to becoming a speaker, from the district of New York.
In Virginia, retired army colonel Daniel Gade won the Senate GOP nomination but seems certain to lose to Democratic Senator Mark Warner in November. Republican Scott Taylor will face Democrat Representative Elaine Luria in a rematch between two Navy veterans in a Virginia Beach area where she toppled him in 2018.
And Cameron Webb, a health policy researcher, won the Democratic nomination for a central Virginia House neighborhood. GOP representative Denver Riggleman lost his party’s nomination, fueling Democrats’ hopes that Webb, an African American, can take the seat.
Voters suffered 90-minute waits in Kentucky’s second-largest city, Lexington, and social media posts showed long queues in Westchester County in New York City until late into the evening. Yet, overall, the day’s problems seemed less common than in the recent elections in Georgia and Nevada, where some people stood in line for hours.
Voting supporters in Louisville complained that an unknown number of people stayed at home because of difficulties getting to the city’s single polling station – the Kentucky Exposition Center.
“Most people in my neighborhood do not have a car,” said voter Michael Baker. “It is not fair for them to have one site.”
A judge kept the polling station open for an additional half hour after 175 people, some of whom hammered on the doors of the building, asked to vote. Louisville, the largest city in the state, has 600,000 residents.
In major contests in New York and Kentucky, Democrats were looking to see if the nationwide protests sparked by the assassination of George Floyd last month by Minneapolis police would translate into decisive participation by African American voters and progressive.
McGrath, Kentucky, has a military resume, centrist views and fundraising abilities that helped her gain the support of Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., for s to oppose McConnell.
Booker’s campaign caught fire after witnessing recent demonstrations against the March police murder of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in her Louisville home. This helped him gain the support of progressive senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And the two largest newspapers in the state.
As a measure of McGrath’s financial advantage, she spent $ 16 million on ads versus Booker’s $ 2 million, according to Advertising Analytics, which studies campaign advertising.
In New York, Engel is supported by Democratic stars like Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as by major unions. He is one of the most liberal members of Congress.
Educator Bowman drew strength from anti-racism protests and accusations that Engel had moved away from his diverse district in parts of the Bronx and Westchester. Bowman was helped by progressive groups and legislators like Sanders.
Cassidy reported in Atlanta and Fram in Washington. Associated Press editors Alexandra Jaffe and Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington, Sophia Tulp in Leawood, Kan., Michael Warren in Atlanta and Gary Robertson in Raleigh, NC, contributed to this report.
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