The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Post Politics Now No near end in sight for Pa. GOP Senate primary

Vote counting continues as Republican candidates Mehmet Oz and David McCormick are locked in a too-early-to-call race for Pennsylvania's hotly contested Republican nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Today, the Associated Press declared that the Pennsylvania GOP Senate race between celebrity physician Mehmet Oz and hedge-fund CEO David McCormick is too close to call. The secretary of state has until May 26 to order a recount that would begin no later than June 1.

Other tests of Donald Trump’s influence loom next week, including in Georgia, where polls show his preferred choice for governor, David Perdue, badly trailing incumbent Brian Kemp in the GOP primary. Also on the ballot on Tuesday: Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who resisted Trump’s urging to “find” votes in the 2020 presidential election. Trump is backing a challenger.

Also Friday, two Post exclusive stories offer further insight into the conservative efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election and find ways to keep Trump in power.

In one of those stories, emails obtained by The Post revealed that conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers days after the election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors.” In her communications, Ginni Thomas falsely argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud.

Meanwhile, new documents revealed that Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder and chairman of the software company Oracle, participated in a call shortly after the election to discuss strategies for contesting Trump’s loss in the race. Ellison, one of the main backers of fellow billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, was on the call with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and other conservative figures, including Fox News host Sean Hannity. His participation marks the first known example of a technology industry titan joining powerful conservative figures to strategize about Trump’s post-loss options.

Meanwhile, Biden is in South Korea on Friday in the first visit to Asia of his presidency.

Your daily dashboard

  • 6:15 a.m. Eastern: Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol delivered remarks in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Watch here.
  • 11 a.m. Eastern: Attorney General Merrick Garland made an announcement regarding hate crimes. Watch here.
  • 3:40 p.m. Eastern: Vice President Harris discusses funding in the bipartisan infrastructure law for energy-efficient school buses. Watch live here.

Got a question about politics? Submit it here. At 3 p.m. weekdays, return to this space and we’ll address what’s on the mind of readers.

3:31 p.m.
Headshot of Tyler Pager
White House reporter
From Buffalo to South Korea: Biden’s week in review — President Biden began his week in Buffalo, responding to the mass shooting that happened there last weekend. Now, he is concluding the week more than 5,000 miles away in South Korea, as he kicks off his first trip to Asia as president.Biden rearranged his schedule to travel to Buffalo on Tuesday where he offered condolences to families of victims of the shooting at a local grocery store and delivered remarks, which included perhaps his most forceful condemnation of white supremacy since taking office.“In America, evil will not win,” he said. “I promise you, hate will not prevail. White supremacy will not have the last word.”On Thursday, Biden hosted the leaders of Sweden and Finland to discuss their applications to NATO, which the president hailed as a “watershed moment in European security.” The visit to the White House reflects the United States’ leading role in coordinating the West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.He then left on Air Force One en route to South Korea to begin a five-day swing through Asia. The trip is part of a broader effort to demonstrate Biden’s diplomatic and economic commitment to the region in the face of a rising China. On Sunday, Biden will travel to Japan before returning to Washington on Tuesday.
3:12 p.m.
Headshot of Emma Brown
Investigative reporter
Ginni Thomas again appears in news about scheme to change election results — Today we published a story about emails that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent to two Arizona lawmakers. We already knew from previous stories — especially The Post’s report on text messages that Ginni Thomas sent to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — that she wanted to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. But these emails show that she played a personal role in the extraordinary scheme to keep President Donald Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.The emails, which she sent via an online platform designed to make it easy to send pre-written form messages to multiple elected officials, implore the lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors.” It was a strategy that Trump and his allies were pushing, and one that Russell Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona House and an avowed Trump supporter, said was not possible under state law.The emails underline concerns about potential conflicts of interest that her husband has already faced — and may face in the future — in deciding cases related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
2:04 p.m.
Headshot of Paul Kane
Senior congressional correspondent and columnist
The last legislation before the midterms? It’s possible. — Congress finished up with what might be the last major legislative achievement until the midterm elections in November, when the Senate gave final approval to a $40 billion package of military and humanitarian relief funds to boost Ukraine’s war against Russia.Delayed a week by some isolationist Republicans, the final Senate tally, 86 to 11, showed how strong the bipartisan support is to help Ukrainian forces — but also that there’s a growing bloc of GOP lawmakers who do not want to spend U.S. funds to help defeat the Russian military.Previous bills to help Ukraine and its democratic neighbors won unanimous support in the Senate.The House bill, passed last week, drew 57 GOP votes against it, after just a handful opposed most of the previous bills designed to help Ukraine.The two chambers also passed a modest bill designed to try to help ease the baby formula shortage that has gripped the nation.The House closed up Thursday afternoon and will not reopen for legislative business again until the night of June 7, for a three-week stretch in which not much is on its plate.It’s unclear whether Congress will pass anything significant before the August recess starts. After that, the focus will be on government funding bills to keep federal agencies open.
12:41 p.m.
Headshot of Marianna Sotomayor
Congressional reporter covering the House of Representatives
Why Republicans voted against the baby formula bill in the House — After spending a week hammering President Biden and congressional Democrats for failing to prevent a national shortage of baby formula, 192 House Republicans voted against a bill Wednesday that would provide additional funding to the Food and Drug Administration.Most Republicans did join Democrats, however, in passing a bill that would lift certain restrictions to allow more imports of formula from foreign suppliers to increase supply for low-income parents that use a federal program to buy formula. Nine Republicans voted against it. It passed unanimously in the Senate.So what’s with the juxtaposition? Well, a number of House Republicans argued that the extra funding for the FDA was wasteful spending, noting that funds already appropriated to the agency could be moved around to speed up getting formula onto shelves. Republicans also argued that Democrats gave a significant amount more to the FDA than it asked for or needed.“You can’t throw money at this problem,” said Rep. Stephanie I. Bice (R-Okla.), who has introduced her own bills to address the national shortage. “This is a failure of leadership within the FDA as well as the administration’s failure to act, and so throwing, you know, millions of dollars at the problem isn’t going to actually fix it.”
7:49 a.m.
Headshot of Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
White House, politics, political campaigns, criminal justice, equity
Biden tries to put focus on ties to U.S. allies in Asia — Biden started his first trip to Asia as president at a semiconductor plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, near Seoul — but the trip comes at a time when the focus of the world, and the region, seems to be on everything else.North Korea is preparing to test a long-range ballistic missile that could easily reach the United States, or even a nuclear weapon, according to intelligence reports. China, South Korea’s biggest trading partner, will undoubtedly have a response to the American president trying to strengthen alliances so close to home. The prices of gas and consumer goods are up at home. And the Russian invasion of Ukraine is in its third month.But Biden’s first speech during the trip sought to highlight the importance of strengthening relationships with U.S. allies in Asia.“The alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America is a linchpin of peace, stability and prosperity for this region of the world,” he said.
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