Election live blog: Primaries underway in 5 states

Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Voters were heading to the polls Tuesday for primary elections in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon amid a midterm season that will test the endorsement power of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.

May 17, 5:41 pm
Democratic House primaries could foreshadow party’s direction

While much of the focus this midterm cycle has been on statewide races and the momentum behind Republicans amid dismal approval numbers for President Joe Biden, several Democratic House primaries could be emblematic of the direction of the party ahead of November.

In these contentious primary races in North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania, voters will choose between progressive and more moderate candidates. These races have drawn the attention of progressive heavyweights, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Click here to read what you need to know about key Democratic House primary races, which include incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in Oregon gaining Biden’s endorsement, and in North Carolina, Clay Aiken of “American Idol” fame taking another shot at Congress.

-ABC News Deputy Political Director Averi Harper

May 17, 5:38 pm
Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb says primary will offer ‘lessons’ for Dems

With primary day underway in some of the hottest races of the year, Rep. Conor Lamb, a moderate two-term Democrat vying for the U.S. Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, told ABC News’ Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer that results in the state Tuesday could be a key bellwether for the future direction of the party and control of the Senate.

“I think the Democratic Party is going to have to, you know, think really hard about how we’re going to succeed and what is a very, very challenging political environment — and today is going to have some lessons,” Lamb said outside a polling place in his district.

Lamb, who has been trailing progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in recent polls, acknowledged that Democrats face a choice between “two very different paths based on two different sets of experience and two different personalities,” as many in the party view the race as their best shot at flipping a Senate seat.

Asked by ABC News whether he thinks Fetterman’s hospitalization for a stroke will have any impact on the race, Lamb said “I don’t know” and then offered what seemed to be criticism of his rival for “very little information about it [his condition] much like the rest of the general public.”

“I wish him well, but I really can’t forecast that and people are just got to make up their own minds,” he said.

May 17, 5:35 pm
Top Dem candidates face health issues on primary day

Two top Democrats in midterm races in Pennsylvania are facing health issues on primary day, causing them both to miss their election night events. One is isolated with COVID and another was in the hospital Tuesday undergoing surgery after a stroke.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary race for governor, announced this morning on Twitter that he tested positive for COVID-19 Monday night. He said he’s isolated at home with “mild symptoms” and will be back on the campaign trail next week.

Shapiro also shared on Tuesday afternoon that he voted using an emergency absentee ballot, speaking in a video posted from his campaign’s Twitter account.

Meanwhile, the front-runner in the Democratic Senate primary race, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, underwent surgery on Tuesday to get a pacemaker and defibrillator after he suffered a stroke last Friday. As a result, his campaign team said he would not be able to attend his election night rally; instead, his wife, Gisele, will speak in his place.

Earlier on Tuesday, ahead of sharing the news of his surgery, Fetterman’s campaign shared a photo of him voting via an emergency absentee battle in the hospital.

May 17, 5:26 pm
Dr. Oz touts Trump endorsement, says opponent has ‘had her moment in the sun’

In a somewhat last-minute endorsement in April, former President Donald Trump threw his support behind Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary, citing the television doctor’s popularity and compliments regarding Trump’s health.

ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott was the only network reporter with Dr. Oz as he voted this morning in Pennsylvania. On his way out, Oz told Scott he’s confident he will win this evening’s primary. But a last-minute surge by conservative commentator Kathy Barnette has now shaken up the race.

When Scott asked Dr. Oz about her momentum, he said, “I think that Kathy, metaphorically, had her moment in the sun.”

“And I’m very proud of the president’s endorsement. He said I was smart-talking — never let you down, smart enough to understand the issues tough, tough enough to not weather in the face of criticism. When you go to bed at night, you know, I’ll never let you down,” he added.

“I just cast a vote for myself, which is not a humble thing to do,” Oz said. “But it’s what I’m humbly asking all Pennsylvanians to do to vote for someone that they know will win in the general election which is one of the main reasons President Trump endorsed me.”

May 17, 5:23 pm
McCormick speaks about missing out on Trump endorsement

McCormick did not get the coveted endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who threw his weight behind Dr. Mehmet Oz, so McCormick tried to balance complimenting the former president and saying Trump’s endorsement doesn’t have much impact.

“He’s very popular in Pennsylvania with good reason, in my opinion, but in terms of his endorsement — of course, his endorsement matters — but his endorsement to Mehmet Oz hasn’t had much of an impact,” McCormick said. “And the reason for that is much more about Mehmet Oz than it is about the president in that Mehmet doesn’t have a track record.”

McCormick also said the race boils down to two main issues: inflation and authenticity.

Recent polls have shown many Pennsylvania voters were still undecided leading up to primary day.

-ABC News’ Alexa Presha

May 17, 4:44 pm
Here’s what time polls close by state

Here’s what time the polls close in each state Tuesday. All times Eastern.

Kentucky: 7 p.m.
North Carolina: 7:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania: 8 p.m.
Oregon: 11 p.m. (drop boxes close)
Idaho: 11 p.m.

May 17, 4:43 pm
Tuesday’s contents test endorsement power of Biden, Trump

Tuesday’s primaries span five states, the most so far this season, and will test of the strength of endorsements from both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Biden handed out his first endorsement just a few weeks ago to Oregon incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in a race that was low profile until the president weighed in.

Trump has interjected himself in several primary races so far, including backing Dr. Mehmet Oz for Senate in Pennsylvania and Doug Mastriano for the state’s governor.

The state is one of several battlegrounds across the country where supporters of Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election results, and Mastriano attended the rally preceding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, as did Kathy Barnette, a dark horse ultra-conservative GOP Senate candidate.

One question that will be answered Tuesday night is if the Trump endorsement can save tainted candidates. Trump put his neck out for two 26-years-olds in North Carolina: GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn, widely known across the country for his scandals and irreverent attitude, and Bo Hines — running for Congress in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District where he doesn’t live or have wide name recognition.

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