Three Takeaways From the Pennsylvania Primaries

With the 2024 primary season entering the homestretch — and the presidential matchup already set — hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians cast their ballots on Tuesday in Senate and House contests as well as for president and local races.

President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump, who had been heading toward a 2020 rematch for months before securing their parties’ nominations in March, scored overwhelming victories in their primaries, facing opponents who had long since dropped out of the race. But Nikki Haley, Mr. Trump’s former rival in the Republican primaries, still took more than 100,000 votes across the state.

A long-awaited Senate matchup was officially set, as well, as David McCormick and Senator Bob Casey won their uncontested primaries.

And Representative Summer Lee, a progressive first-term Democrat, fended off a moderate challenger who had opposed her criticism of Israel’s war in Gaza. While Mr. Biden has faced protest votes in a number of states, Ms. Lee’s race was one of the first down-ballot tests of where Democrats stand on the war.

Here are three takeaways.

Ms. Lee, a first-term progressive Democrat who represents a Pittsburgh-area district, was an early critic of Israel’s war in Gaza, where about 34,000 people have died since the war began six months ago. Ms. Lee’s stances against Israel’s military campaign drew a primary challenge from Bhavini Patel, a moderate Democrat who opposed Ms. Lee’s approach on the war.

But Ms. Lee emerged victorious, suggesting that public sentiment on the war, particularly among Democrats, has shifted significantly against Israel in the six months since the war began.

Mr. McCormick won an unopposed Republican primary for Senate in Pennsylvania, pitting him against Mr. Casey, the Democratic incumbent. While Mr. McCormick had no rivals this time around, his victory represents something of a redemption arc after his defeat in his first Senate primary run in the state in 2022.

He is positioned with the best chance yet for Republicans to unseat Mr. Casey, an 18-year incumbent who has previously sailed to re-election. He defeated his previous Republican opponent in 2018 by 13 points, and an analysis by the Cook Political Report rates the race as leaning toward the Democrats.

Mr. Trump helped sink Mr. McCormick’s first run when he backed a rival candidate, the celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz. In a race that hung on a knife’s edge, Mr. Trump’s backing of Dr. Oz, and his scorching attacks against Mr. McCormick, proved decisive — Dr. Oz eked out a win by fewer than a thousand votes.

Mr. McCormick has earned the endorsement of Mr. Trump for the coming battle against Mr. Casey, and they will share adjoining places at the top of Pennsylvania’s ballot in November.

Mr. Biden, who grew up in Scranton, Pa., took nearly 95 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, scoring a yawning lead in a key battleground state. Representative Dean Phillips, who was on the ballot but dropped out of the race last month, got about 5 percent of the vote.

Mr. Trump also notched a decisive primary victory, but many Republican voters continued to express their discontent with the former president. At least 100,000 voters cast ballots for Ms. Haley, who had been Mr. Trump’s chief rival in the primaries before dropping out of the race last month.

The results on Tuesday suggest that Mr. Biden is on surer footing with the Democratic base in Pennsylvania compared with other battleground states, like Michigan, where the president has faced significant numbers of protest votes focusing on his handling of the war in Gaza.

The Haley vote suggests Mr. Trump may have some work to do to bring her voters back to his side in the fall.

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