LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY (AP) — Voters rebuffed United States (US) President Donald Trump and nominated two Republicans he opposed to House seats from North Carolina and Kentucky on Tuesday. Calls in higher-profile races in Kentucky and New York faced days of delay as swamped officials count mountains of mail-in ballots.
In North Carolina, GOP voters picked 24-year-old investor Madison Cawthorn, who uses a wheelchair following an accident, over Trump-backed real estate agent Lynda Bennett. The runoff was for the seat vacated by GOP Rep Mark Meadows, who resigned to become Trump’s Chief of Staff and joined his new boss in backing Bennett.
Kentucky Republican Rep Thomas Massie, a libertarian-minded maverick who often clashes with GOP leaders, was renominated for a sixth House term. Trump savaged Massie in March as a “disaster for America” who should be ejected from the party after he forced lawmakers to return to Washington during a pandemic to vote on a huge economic relief package.
Cawthorn has said he’s a Trump supporter, and Massie is strongly conservative. Still, their victories were an embarrassment to a president whose own reelection campaign has teetered recently.
As states ease voting by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, a deluge of mail-in ballots and glacially slow counting procedures made delays inevitable. That torturous wait seemed a preview of November, when more states will embrace mail-in voting and officials warn that uncertainty over who is the next president could linger for days.
Kentucky usually has two per cent of its returns come from mail ballots. This year officials expect that figure to exceed 50 per cent, and over 400,000 mail ballots were returned last Sunday.
New York officials expect the vast majority of votes to be mail ballots this year, compared to their typical five per cent share. Counties have until eight days after Election Day to count and release the results of mail ballots, with 1.7 million requested by voters.
In the day’s marquee contests, two young African American candidates with campaigns energised by nationwide protests for racial justice were challenging white Democratic establishment favourites for the party’s nominations.