Factbox: Five U.S. midterm primaries to watch May 17 in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho

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ICYMI: Pennsylvania offers Democrats one of their best chances of picking up a Senate seat currently held by a Republican - the retiring Patrick Toomey - as they seek to retain their razor-thin majority in the chamber in the Nov. 8 midterm elections

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comThe Pennsylvania battle for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination has heated up in its final week. It features Mehmet Oz, a television wellness celebrity backed by former President Donald Trump, running against David McCormick, a wealthy former hedge fund CEO.

Adding to the complexity, conservative commentator Kathy Barnette has put in a strong closing performance and the three candidates were virtually tied in a recent public opinion poll.With incumbent Republican Senator Patrick Toomey retiring, Pennsylvania represents one of the best opportunities for Democrats to add to their razor-thin Senate majority, though President Joe Biden's low approval ratings could make that difficult.

Democratic voters will choose between John Fetterman, a colorful progressive who has sought to burnish his working-class bona fides as lieutenant governor, and Congressman Conor Lamb, a centrist who currently represents a suburban Pittsburgh district in the House of Representatives. State legislator Malcolm Kenyatta could also be a factor, after challenging Fetterman's record on racial issues in a recent debate. Polls show Fetterman in the lead.The contest to replace retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr in North Carolina pits former Governor Pat McCrory, a fiscally conservative standard-bearer of the Tea Party era, against Congressman Ted Budd, a member of the House who voted against certifying Trump's 2020 election defeat.

State Senator Chuck Edwards leads a field of seven Republican candidates looking to unseat him. The seat, based in the mountainous western part of the state, is considered safely Republican.Idaho Governor Brad Little is facing a Republican primary challenge from Janice McGeachin, who recently spoke at a political conference hosted by a white nationalist. McGeachin, who is endorsed by Trump, has been dogging Little from the right as the state's lieutenant governor.

 

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