Pennsylvania is holding primaries for a closely-watched Senate race on Tuesday. Polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.
The race and the stakes:
Pennsylvania candidates are facing off in Tuesday's primaries for the open US Senate seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman easily defeated his main rivals, Rep. Conor Lamb, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, in the race for the Democratic nomination for the seat.
Fetterman, the former mayor of Braddock in western Pennsylvania, led the field in Real Clear Politics' polling average by a margin of 31 percentage points above his opponents leading up to Election Day.
The Republicans fighting for the nomination to hold onto the seat include Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor endorsed by former President Donald Trump, former hedge fund executive Dave McCormick, former Ambassador Carla Sands, and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette, who's seen a late-breaking surge in the race.
On the Republican side, however, the field is far less settled.
McCormick and Oz, two wealthy candidates who've lent their own campaigns $11 million and $12 million, respectively, have spent much of the campaign attacking each other on the airwaves and largely ignoring their lesser-known rivals.
Barnette, who has raised just $1.7 million through the end of April, saw her support rise from voters and donors alike, including with a last-minute influx of ad spending from the conservative, anti-tax Club for Growth.
The Pennsylvania primary is also proving to be another battle in an ongoing feud between Trump and the Club after the two backed different candidates in Ohio and clashed over the Club's ads highlighting previous anti-Trump comments made by Trump's endorsed candidate JD Vance.
President David McIntosh, the Club's president, is hoping that a Barnette victory in Pennsylvania will knock Trump down a peg, The New York Times reported.
Barnette's appeal among Republicans skeptical of Oz and McCormick - the two big spenders in the race - comes amid a particularly unusual backlash to Trump's endorsement of Oz, as Insider recently reported from Pennsylvania.
While Trump remains as popular as ever among the base, Oz was greeted with boos during every mention of his name ahead of his big speech at the May 6 Trump rally in Greensburg. Meanwhile, Barnette rose by shoe-leather campaigning across the state and an eye-catching, emotional campaign ad about abortion where she shared that she was conceived when her mother was raped at age 11.
Barnette has scant political experience aside from a 2020 congressional run, where she lost to Rep. Madeline Dean by 20 points. Her background, ties to Pennsylvania, and long history of inflammatory, Islamophobic and homophobic comments have also come under scrutiny.
She's also running on an unofficial ticket with Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator and vocal leader in efforts to overturn Trump's election loss in the state. Both Mastriano and Barnette were present at rallies protesting President Joe Biden's victory in Washington on January 6, 2021, but neither entered the Capitol.
Trump criticized Barnette in a recent statement saying she couldn't win the general election, but said he'd support her if she managed to secure the GOP's nomination. Barnette's rise has also spurred infighting among Republicans, with high-profile conservative figures including Fox News host Sean Hannity fully circling the wagons to try and avert a Barnette victory.
And Barnette has delighted in the last-minute scramble to stop her.
"Their problem with me is I didn't ask for permission," Barnette said at a recent event where she also referred to figures like Hannity as "jokers," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I just walked through the front door."
Polls show support split almost evenly between Oz, McCormick, and Barnette leading into primary day, meaning the winner could secure the nomination with as little as 30% or even just over 20% of the vote.