• Politico and other outlets have labeled Barnette an “ultra-MAGA” candidate and the consensus among political observers seems to be that she’s surging in part because the candidate endorsed by Donald Trump, Mehmet Oz, isn’t seen as being, well, MAGA enough by MAGA purists. Given how much the Republican establishment has poured into backing Oz and McCormick so far, Barnette’s rise is an expensive shocker. How does Trump feel about all this? “Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats,” as he put it in a written statement May 12, adding that he thinks Oz “is the only one who will be able to easily defeat the Crazed, Lunatic Democrat in Pennsylvania.” (He presumably means Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is leading in the polls over fellow Democrats including U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb.)
• Georgia’s primary falls on May 24, Nevada’s on June 14 and Arizona’s on Aug. 2, while Ohio’s already took place on May 3.
• In Ohio, venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance surged to a narrow win in the wake of Trump’s April 15 endorsement, clinching the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by Rob Portman (R), despite spending less than $2 million on campaign advertising during our measurement window. Vance will face off against U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan, who won the Democratic nomination in the primary having spent or booked $17 million on media.
• In Georgia, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) accounts for $30 million of the state’s ad tally based on advertising booked or spent. He’s defending the seat he won in a January 2021 $500 million double Senate seat runoff, and is the largest non-PAC media spender in any race being tracked by Ad Age Datacenter/CMAG in this cycle so far.
In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll take a closer look at the races in Nevada and Arizona—and other states—as their primary dates near.