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New Day

Oz, McCormick Deadlocked in Pennsylvania GOP Senate Race; Election Denier Wins GOP Nomination for Pennsylvania Governor; Biden Says, Poison White Supremacy is Putting U.S. Democracy at Risk. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired May 18, 2022 - 07:00   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Western Conference Finals starts tonight with Steph Curry and the Warriors hosting Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. You can watch that at 9:00 Eastern on our sister channel, TNT.

All right, New Day continues right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday, May 18th. I'm John Berman in Washington. Brianna is off this morning. Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: For a very busy morning, where we have basically not slept, so we can tell you everything that happened overnight.

BERMAN: Such a busy morning with votes still coming in in this cliffhanger of a Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania. This is the most closely watched race of the night and now it's the most closely watched race of the morning. You can see the razor-thin margin here separating Trump-backed T.V. Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. Their positions on the leader board have been flip-flopping all night long. Thousands of votes still left to be counted. And as things stand, this race will almost definitely trigger an automatic recount.

In the governor's race in Pennsylvania, Trump-backed Candidate Doug Mastriano with a clear lead there, CNN projects he has won the Republican nomination. He is Pennsylvania's leading far-right figure. He has championed efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. He will face Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state's attorney general. Shapiro is the first non-incumbent to run unopposed in a Democratic gubernatorial primary since 1930.

COLLINS: And also in Pennsylvania, John Fetterman easily won the Democratic Senate primary. He might be the first candidate to do so though from a hospital bed. He is out of surgery this morning after suffering a stroke and receiving a pacemaker just hours before the polls closed yesterday. We will hear from his wife on his condition in just a bit. Meanwhile, North Carolina first term Congressman Madison Cawthorn is just that, a one-time congressman. He has conceded now after losing the primary to State Senator Chuck Edwards. It's seen as a major rebuke of someone who was once a rising star in the GOP but whose political career saw scandal after scandal, from embarrassing photos to claims about orgies that put him on the outs of his own party. Donald Trump had pleaded with voters to give him a second chance but they chose a different path.

Here is what Cawthorn's challenger, Chuck Edwards, said about his concession call last night.


CHUCK EDWARDS (R), NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Just as I expected, he was -- he presented himself in a very classy and humble way and offered his support to our campaign in absolutely any way that we could use him. And I'm extremely, extremely pleased that we were able to enter into this contest on that note.


BERMAN: All right. That was the North Carolina congressional race people were watching last night.

This morning, we're still watching the Pennsylvania Senate Republican primary because the lead keeps going back and forth and the margin keeps changing. You can see T.V. Dr. Mehmet Oz ahead by 2,564 votes but that lead just shrunk a little. Why?

Let me show you, Forest County, Pennsylvania, this is not a lot of votes in this county, but we did just get some new votes reported there. Let me show you how things have changed. Kathy Barnette, who was in third overall, received 143 new votes there, David McCormick 147 votes and Mehmet Oz 133. So, you look at the difference there and you say, hey, that's just 14 votes, but the last three batches of votes that have reported McCormick has closed the edge, closed the gap a little bit in this state.

Overall, let me show you some of the areas that still have to report votes. You can see this is the places that have about 10 percent or more still to go. You can look at these counties, Lancaster County right here, where Kathy Barnette has the edge, has about 87 percent reporting, still thousands of votes left to go. If you're trying to figure out who might benefit from those votes, well, McCormick a little bit ahead of Mehmet Oz there, not much. So, maybe those votes would help McCormick but there are counties where Oz leads where there are votes still could be counted, about 91 percent in Monroe County, here is a county where Oz holds about a 10 percent margin there.

If you pull out here and look overall, I want to show you how this lead has changed over the course of the night here. At 9:00 P.M. McCormick was in front. There weren't that many votes in, but he was clearly in front. At midnight he was in front by about 2,600 votes, but that changed at 12:30 A.M. where Oz took the lead and now where we are at 2,564, but, again, that margin is shrinking. [07:05:00]

We want to look deeper into these numbers now. I'm joined by CNN's Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten. When we talk about the thousands of votes left to be counted, harry, what do we know about it?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Look, John, first off, I think we should have dueling magic walls, right, it's like a dueling banjo thing going on, you bring yours up from D.C., we will have some fun. Look, I think one of the key questions that is still to be answered is how many of the votes that are still out were cast by mail, how many of them were Election Day. Why is that important? Because Dave McCormick, if according to the Pennsylvania Board of Election website, is actually winning the vote by mail, it's a small portion of the vote but obviously in a race this tight, that can make a huge difference, versus the election day count, Dr. Oz is ahead.

So, look, if there's, let's say, you know, 10,000 votes, that's one thing by mail. But let's say it's, in fact, 30,000 and we know that McCormick is winning that vote by about 10 points, if there are 30,000 votes left and he's winning the votes by about 10 points, that's more than enough to close the margin.

So, I think we're going to have to wait and see how many of those votes still be counted are votes by mail, because across the board McCormick is doing better in counties, even he lost the Election Day vote, he's competitive and perhaps even leading in the mail vote.

BERMAN: There may be a difference, of course, between the mail-in ballots that were sent early versus late. That's a whole separate thing but that's what we're watching very closely.

Harry, let's talk about the Trump factor overall in last night's primaries.

ENTEN: Yes. So, basically, you know, we look at the -- where Trump endorsed, and I would call it a very mixed evening. So, endorsement wins, Ted Budd in North Carolina win, Mastriano in Pennsylvania, granted that endorsement was really, really late, he jumped on board when it's predicted that Mastriano was going to win. But you look at Idaho governor, his candidate lost. You look at North Carolina 11, Madison Cawthorn lost. So, this was a mixed evening for Trump coming on the heels of last beak where he did, in fact, lose a race. Primary voters, sometimes going with Trump, sometimes not.

BERMAN: And it does seem, Harry, that at least in a few cases, some Republican primary voters have said enough is enough with some of the more controversial candidates.

ENTEN: Yes. I was saying last week, and Charles Herbster in the Nebraska governor's race, he lost after sexual harassment allegations, right? Madison Cawthorn loses after a laundry list of scandals. It seemed like a new one was breaking every five minutes. So, it seems to me that voters are more than willing to go with these controversial candidates if it's based on issues, right, Mastriano winning despite propagating the false belief, basically the lie that Trump actually won the 2020 election. But when it came to personal scandals and bringing just too much into the political fray, that's when voters say, you know what, Donald Trump, we can't go with you that far. And you saw that last night and you saw that a week ago as well.

BERMAN: In terms of the Trump factor, one case study is in North Carolina, where Ted Budd has secured the Republican nomination for Senate there. You can sort of look at the effect Trump might have had there.

ENTEN: Yes. So, if -- in Pennsylvania, we will see if Dr. Oz is able to actually win, and it does seem that Trump's endorsement helped out. But look at North Carolina. Polling share for Ted Budd pre- endorsement, what do we have? We had 9 percent with undecideds allocated. He was nowhere. He was nowhere. He was losing to the former governor in that state. Where did he end up? 59 percent of the vote, 59 percent. That's a 50-point jump.

Ted Budd does not win that race without Donald Trump and I think this kind of gets at something that Donald Trump can still be a very, very powerful tool for a candidate, he can bring them up. He brought Dr. Oz up. Whether or not it's enough, I don't know, But at this particular point in Republican primaries, I would much rather have Donald Trump's endorsement than not.

BERMAN: I pulled up the Republican governor's race in Pennsylvania here, so people can see that Doug Mastriano has secured the Republican nomination for governor in Pennsylvania, Harry, but that might be something that shifts things towards the Democrats come November, at least that's what the betting markets seem to be saying.

ENTEN: Josh Shapiro is doing cartwheels this morning, cartwheels. He went into that primary. He wanted Mastriano to be the nominee. And if you look at race-related (ph) issues, you see that some of them have shifted that race more towards the Democrats.

And if you look at the betting Markets, which I think are a good gauge of conventional wisdom and can take into account information that may not be publicly available yet, if you go back to April 18th, you go back a month ago, what did you see? You saw that the Republicans were basically somewhere close to a two-to-one favorite in that race, right. 63 percent of the time, they thought that the Republican candidate would win, 37 percent of the time, they thought the Democratic candidate would win.

Jump forward to now. Those numbers, John, have basically flipped. Look at that. About a 62 percent favor Josh Shapiro versus Mastriano only about a 38 percent favorite. So, right now, if you are betting in Pennsylvania who do you think is the more likely candidate to win, you think it's Josh Shapiro.

And I will note, John, you may recall this, although I don't know if I had facial hair at this particular point, if you go back to 2014, which was a very good year for Republicans nationwide, an incumbent governor in that state, a Republican incumbent governor, lost to Tom Wolf, who is obviously stepping aside after this year. And that is a sign that Pennsylvania voters in gubernatorial races, even in good Republican years, won't necessarily go with the wind. Josh Shapiro, on my mind, is the favorite at this point.

BERMAN: Harry Enten, you and your mouton chop youthful sideburns, thank you very much for being with us.

ENTEN: My pleasure, my friend.

BERMAN: Kaitlan?

COLLINS: As this race is still in a deadlock, I want to bring in CNN Political Commentator and co-Founder and Editor in Chief of the Dispatch, Jonah Goldberg, former National Coalitions Director for the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign Ashley Allison and co-Author of the Early 202 Newsletter at The Washington Post Leigh Ann Caldwell. Thank you all for being here this morning.

And, Jonah, I want to start with you because this race is incredibly close, we are still waiting to see, both of the candidates last night were blunt in saying, we don't know yet who has won this. But I think what -- I wonder what stands out to you in this, because the two candidates themselves, do you see a lot of differences in them despite one having Trump's endorsement and one not?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Dr. Oz is a very unconventional Republican candidate. If you look normally, you would think in the -- in the -- on normal Earth, you know, which we had -- yes, Earth One about five years ago, Oz being a sort of buddy-buddy with Hillary Clinton, you know, pro-choice, all of those sort of hot button litmus test issues, you just wouldn't think he would run in a Republican primary. But Donald Trump had a lot of those similar problems and the power of celebrity and just the sort of chaotic nature of where the Republican Party is right now, those things now became totally overcomeable.

I think McCormick is a mainstream normal Republican candidate and the remarkable thing to me is the fizzle for Kathy Barnette. I mean, I believed the hype that she might actually at least get really close with this.

COLLINS: And what do you think happened with her?

GOLDBERG: I think a lot of people just looked at her at the last minute and said, we don't want to lose. And because some of -- her history really was sort of toxic. The question I have is what if she hadn't run, where does that vote split? Does it go more to McCormick or does it go more to Oz? And I just don't know the answer.

BERMAN: It's really hard to tell, right? And we saw David McCormick last night. And I just -- quickly, I don't want to get past the irony of a major Republican candidate on stage talking about the mail-in votes and how he's hoping and expecting the mail-in vote might put him over the top in Pennsylvania. Of course, so many Republicans bashed mail-in voting before.

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, THE EARLY 202 AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, that's absolutely right. And -- but also beyond that, beyond McCormick talking about mail-in voters, you also have candidates who won last night who were part of the Stop the Steal effort, who backed Trump's false election claims last night, including Mastriano in Pennsylvania, and even a little bit of Ted Budd in North Carolina.

Now, as far as Ted Budd is concerned, my GOP sources in North Carolina say that Ted Budd is an okay candidate. They don't necessarily credit Trump for winning. McCrorey is so disliked in North Carolina among the Republican establishment and the far-right, he wasn't McCorey and that's really what put Ted Budd over the finish line.

COLLINS: I think Ted Budd told CNN that he does believe Joe Biden is the president he but doesn't believe he won the election. So, I'm not sure how you get from point B without going to point A first.

But back to this Pennsylvania race and figuring out who it is it's going to be running against Fetterman in this incredibly important primary race, you saw some interesting comments in what both of the candidates, Dave McCormick and Mehmet Oz, were saying on stage last night. Let's listen to that.


DAVID MCCORMICK (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We knew it was working. We knew our message, to take back this country, we knew our message was resonating with the voters of Pennsylvania and they showed it today and we're so incredibly grateful.

MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: My parents were immigrants to this country, recruited to come here because we needed doctors back then, and they saw the shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan spoke of. They were incredibly patriotic about our nation.

I'm running to allow us all to witness that brilliance. It's out there. We just have to be able to believe in it.


COLLINS: What did you read into the difference in what Dave McCormick was saying on stage and what Mehmet Oz was saying on stage?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. If you think about how Dr. Oz was speaking more sounding like a Democrat, honestly, like stronger together message, a realizing that, yes, I have Trump's endorsement but the reality is I'm going to have to build a broader coalition to actually win in the fall. Conversely, you had McCormick who is saying, we're going to take this country back, which is clearly Trumpism MAGA-type language.

And so I thought it was interesting that they both kind of intersected even though McCormick didn't have Trump's endorsement to say, I can be your guy MAGA if I get this across the finish line.


So, don't can count me out in the fall and please consider voting for me if I make it out of this primary. BERMAN: Can we talk about Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Senate there who got 60 percent of the vote in a race that might have been close at one point against more moderate Conor Lamb? Fetterman seems sort of as part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, but on the other hand, he sort of crosses a lot of different border lines there. What do you think? What are we to make of him?

ALLISON: Yes. So, I looked at last night as a snapshot of the year but I also wanted to go retrospective and look at Pennsylvania and kind of how Conor Lamb came on the scene. Lamb was a backlash of Trump winning in the special election in 2017, similar to how Joe Biden is like a backlash to Trump in pushing through 2020.

But Democrats are frustrated. Democratic voters want -- we see a stalled agenda and they went with a moderate Democratic candidate because they thought Washington was going to be able to deliver and we're seeing that it's not happening. And so that provides an opportunity for a Fetterman to come out and say, hey, I'm here, I'm a fighter, I can drink a beer with you, I'm your guy.

Now, one thing that he has to do, though, is he can't just go to white working class voters in Pennsylvania, he's got to get into Philadelphia, tap into communities of color and make sure that he doesn't isolate himself moving into the general, I think.

GOLDBERG: Yes. One of the interesting things about Fetterman, like in 2016, if you talk to people about the Bernie Sanders campaign and how Bernie Sanders was really attractive to working class, blue collar workers, Fetterman looks and acts like one of those workers who would show up at a Bernie event. And so he's sort of in some ways -- I mean, there's some differences but he's sort of a 2.0 Of Bernie Sanders.

Like if you were going to rebrand the Bernie Sanders kind of appeal to a more working class hoodie-wearing, you know, regular Joe look, this is sort of it. Because Bernie Sanders -- he may be for the people but he doesn't have a sort of man of the people vibe and Fetterman does.

BERMAN: I mean, no one looks like John Fetterman, to be fair. And, I mean --

GOLDBERG: Outside of MMA.

BERMAN: He's giant. He is a giant guy recovering from a stroke and just had a pacemaker put in.

North Carolina, you were talking about North Carolina before, Leigh Ann, Madison Cawthorn, what's the lesson here? You have a Republican congressman who lost in a primary. And, first of all, that almost never happened, right? Incumbents don't generally lose in primaries, largely because of all the scandals that have surrounded him and because almost every other major national Republican, save Donald Trump, lined up against him.

CALDWELL: Yes, that's right. But also with Cawthorn, he's still got a pretty significant portion of the vote. It was nearly 30 percent. I don't know what the final results are, there we go, about 31 percent. And so it wasn't a blowout. And so that is also telling of where the Republican base stands a little bit.

But Madison Cawthorn didn't lose. He lost because there was just too much controversy behind him. You had the entire Republican establishment in North Carolina turn against him. You had Senator Thom Tillis not afraid, almost every single day saying how bad he is for North Carolina voters and constituents. And it was just too much for Republicans in that district.

COLLINS: And I think that's important here, because you may look at this and say, oh, that's a rejection of Trump, the fact that Madison Cawthorn is only a one-time congressman at this point. But, really, it said more about his role and not only the controversies that surrounded him but also you've heard a lot of reports about what he actually did on the ground and the fact that his office was often closed and he wasn't doing the day-to-day duties that come with being a congressman who represents a district that's not just going on television and not just tweeting, you actually have duties from day- to-day in your district.

CALDWELL: Yes. I think that's a great point. I don't think that this can be in the Trump loses factor. This case was just much too different, he was not a good member of Congress, there were so many scandals and people thought that there could very well be more. Even GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who doesn't turn against many of his members on the far-right, did.

BERMAN: Again, and I believe it here, but this shows you what can happen if there is a concerted effort, if Republicans were truly upset with Marjorie Taylor Greene, for instance, and wanted to do something, maybe this shows that they could.

COLLINS: And I think it shows that voters have aligned, that they're going to draw the line at some point, too, not just candidates and lawmakers.

BERMAN: Jonah, Ashley, Leigh Ann, thank you all very much. Great to see you.

COLLINS: All right. Next, we're going to talk about new details when it comes to what the Buffalo gunman was doing just moments before he carried out the massacre that killed ten people.

We're also joined by the family of Pearl Young, who lost her life in the attack. We're going to hear some more about what she was like and what her family has now left to do as they grieve her loss.


BERMAN: Plus, the strongest sign yet that Vladimir Putin's war is backfiring, Finland and Sweden handing in applications to join NATO.

And we are getting still more votes. It's amazing to see the votes still coming in, are still being counted, I should say, in the Pennsylvania Senate Republican primary. Mehmet Oz with a lead, but that lead has been shrinking.

Stay with us. Our special live coverage continues.



JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: In America evil, will not win, I promise you. Hate will not prevail and white supremacy will not have the last word. For the evil did come to Buffalo and it has come to all too many places, hold on to each other tightly, stick together, you will get through this and we will make Buffalo and the United States a better place to live than it is today.



COLLINS: In Buffalo, President Biden declaring white supremacy is a poison, as he urged all Americans to reject the racist so-called replacement theory that the suspect who gunned down ten people at a supermarket had embraced.

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden laid flowers at a makeshift memorial site and met with the grieving families while they were in Buffalo. We're joined now by one of those victim's families. Pearl Young was 77. Her son, Damon, her daughter Pamela Pritchett, her sister-in-law and best friend, Gloria, all join us now. And I just want to start by thanking you all so much for being here.

I know that Pearl was an Alabama native. I'm from Alabama myself, and I know this is such a tough time for you all. And, Damon, I want to start with you because I know you met with President Biden yesterday while he was there in Buffalo and I wonder what he told you.

DAMON YOUNG, SON OF SHOOTING VICTIM PEARL YOUNG: Well, he just -- you know, he spoke about the issue of the rifles and legislation they are attempting to get passed in retain -- in aspect to that. And he just consoled the families of the people that were grieving there.

COLLINS: What's it like to meet with the president after something like this, given, of course, we know that you are in immense grief right now, losing your mother?

YOUNG: Well, it was good to see him, to, you know, come to our city, to, you know, to console us, to speak with us about what happened and to just show that he cared and have some concern about what's going on in our city.

COLLINS: And, Pam, can you talk to us about what your mom was like, because she's been described as this woman of great faith, that she loved to dance and sing and she was very good -- a very great chef, I hear, from baking to making gumbo. And I just wonder what you want people to remember about your mother.

PAMELA PRITCHETT, DAUGHTER OF SHOOTING VICTIM PEARL YOUNG: I want people to remember the compassion that my mother had. I want people to remember that, you know, she loved everyone. I mean, I think, you know, we often talk about people who love and people who are kind. She was the epitome of all of that. She was kind and she was wonderful to us.

And I was thinking today how even in our neighborhood and in our community, everyone knew they could come by my mom's house, she had Pearl's chicken wings and she wasn't selling them, she would just give it to people. When people needed somewhere, you know, even friends of mine maybe needed a place to stay for a while, she was there.

Everyone in our neighborhood, they wanted to come to our house because her spirit and her kindness -- you know, because you never know what a person is experiencing outside their lives and when they have some place that they can go where they know that they're going to see love, they're going to experience love, that's what my mom gave. It doesn't matter who she came in contact with. They felt loved when they were with her because she exuded love.

There's a scripture that talks about the fruit of the spirit and one of the first one it says is love, and that exemplifies completely who my mom was.

COLLINS: And it takes such a special person -- go ahead, Damon.

YOUNG: Yes, my mom -- I mean, she was just a beautiful person, full of love, joy. You know, the most innocent loving person and beautiful and God fearing. I mean, you know, it's just my mom. That was my pride and joy.

COLLINS: I'm sure she would say the same about both of you.

What kind of parent was she? What was she like when you were growing up as she was raising you? What are some of the biggest lessons you learned from your mom?

YOUNG: The biggest lesson I learned from my mom was to love God, to love family and to respect your family, respect others. And she just taught me, you know, compassion and how to be a man.

COLLINS: And, Gloria, I know that you had been with Pearl that morning and actually dropped her off at the supermarket, after you had both gone to a prayer breakfast, she was just there to pick up a few items. And, obviously, you didn't know that those were going to be your last moments with your best friend, your sister-in-law.


GLORIA ANDERSON, SISTER-IN-LAW AND BEST FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM PEARL YOUNG: I know. It's still hard for me. Every time I talk about it, it's hard. Pearl and I have been friends, as the kids say, besties for 58 years.