The Tennessee Star’s Neil W. McCabe Comments on Pennsylvania Primaries and the Effects of a Trump Endorsement

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed The Tennessee Star’s national political editor, Neil McCabe, to the newsmaker line to weigh in on Tuesday night’s primary races in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line, the very best Washington correspondent in the country, national political editor for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network, Neil W. McCabe.

Neil, I have to tell you, I watched your appearance last night analyzing the primaries on Frank Speech,, with Brannon Howse. That was very interesting.

And the two of you had really great chemistry back and forth. That was very entertaining. So thanks for that, Neil W. McCabe.

McCabe: I really enjoyed being on with Brannon. He has a nice flow to his show. And yeah, I really enjoyed the hit. I enjoy his show, too.

Leahy: So Pennsylvania primary, North Carolina primary. Where do we stand in all of this back and forth?

McCabe: I compare this sort of interregnum that we’re in right now with Donald J. Trump to what was going on with Reagan from ’76 to ’80, because Reagan was also sort of in that same spot, because he came so close to taking the nomination from President Ford.

And I just don’t think there is any comparison between Reagan’s influence in the 1978 midterms to what Trump is doing now.

It’s just a complete dominance of the party. There were like 10 people running against Reagan in the New Hampshire primary.

Trump probably will have like one or two sort of weirdo candidates going up against him, but nothing really serious. And so each primary is no longer a case of who is the candidate or what are his policies. It’s a referendum on Trump.

And I think Trump won again last night, especially if Dr. Oz holds on in Pennsylvania. And really the surprise senatorial nomination of Ted Budd, who came really out of nowhere, out of the House Freedom Caucus, to take on Mark Walker and the North Carolina Republican establishment.

Leahy: And by the way, Ted Budd was endorsed in North Carolina by Donald Trump. He stomped his opposition. Walker was kind of a RINO congressman, and then McCrory, the former governor.

But it was like, I don’t know, 45 25, easily an easy victory for Ted Budd. Now, Neil, you see a couple of reports in the mainstream media saying, oh, Trump lost his magic for two reasons, and I’d like to get your assessment of it.

By the way, he supported Mastriano for GOP governor, and Monstriano won like 45-20. That was a stomping in Pennsylvania by Mastriano.

In two races where Trump endorsed candidates, they lost one, where it’s still up in the air, the one that lost. I don’t know why Trump endorsed this fellow Madison Cawthorn, the wild child, if you will, in North Carolina’s 11th district.

He lost by about two percent. An actual adult defeated him there. And Trump just endorsed him like a couple of days ago. I don’t know if you count that.

McCabe: I think what you have to remember about Trump is that he is not the man he is described as in the media. He’s a guy with a heart.

And I really believe that the endorsement of Madison Cawthorn, like, three days ago, was an expression of the king’s mercy.

Leahy: He said, give the kid a second chance.

McCabe: Obviously some of what the media was doing was gay-shaming and sort of drawing attention to his relationship to some young man on his staff, something that would have never been done to a Democrat.

But be that as it may, Cawthorn, also in the redistricting shuffle that all the states are going through, he chose a different district, so he wasn’t really running with his people and he was running against the state senator who was from that area.

And so there’s many things in play. Cawthorn should have won this thing easily, but I think a lot of people wanted to take him out.

Leahy: Let me just say because of a litany of personal foibles by the guy, I shed no tear at his loss. Not one. Hey, so let’s go back in the Pennsylvania primary for Senate.

Right now it’s kind of bizarre. Dr. Oz endorsed by President Trump has a 2,500 vote lead, two-tenths of one percent over the hedge-fund guy David McCormick.

But apparently, and Crom and I were trying to figure this out, there’s still 29,000 mail-in ballots where McCormick is supposed to have an advantage that hasn’t been counted yet. Do you know why those haven’t been counted? And what’s the likely outcome of that?

McCabe: Some states, like Florida, count the ballots as they come in. Other states don’t. And so that’s why on election night, you’ll see Florida at 95 percent when everybody else is at 20 or 30.

And I think that nobody really trusts … or, some people don’t trust, counting the ballots before Election Day. And so it’s just a matter of each state doing it their own way.

Leahy: Crom is looking puzzled, as am I. But just ask Neil.

Carmichael: Neil, when I was watching Fox News last night, they were talking about the early returns from Pennsylvania and they pointed out what you just said, that they don’t start counting the votes that were cast the day-of, until the polls are closed.

But then they also went on to say the first votes that are counted are the mail-in votes. And so when they were doing the first three or four percent of the vote count, they said these are the mail-in votes that are being counted first. So the question that I have is, where did the 29,000 absentee votes go? Aren’t those mail-in votes?

McCabe: But you got to remember, Crom, there’s, like, what, a million counties in Pennsylvania, right?

Carmichael: Well, I think that’s a slight exaggeration, Neil. (Leahy chuckles) 

Leahy: There are quite a few.

McCabe: A lot of these counties are run by the same sacks of donuts who have been running it for like 300 years. They don’t always get to work at 9:00. So there’s gonna be some loose stuff.

I understand in Lancaster County, there were some coding issues with some of the ballots. I think that generally it will be a lot cleaner than 2020.

I don’t think we’ll be seeing people putting cardboard over the windows after they throw out the Republican monitor. That kind of thing. If anything from the polls, I expect Oz to hold on to his lead …

Listen to the interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.






















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