Center holds for Democrats in Florida primaries: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

In choosing a candidate to face down a leading GOP firebrand, Florida Democrats went with a man whose career as a Republican was effectively ended by a hug — and who sees that embrace as a way back to the office he once held.

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who lost a Senate race as an independent and a previous comeback attempt for governor as a Democrat, wound up crushing his main rival, Nikki Fried, in Tuesday’s primary race to take on Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Crist is offering a Biden-style appeal toward moderation and healing as an answer to the conservative warrior DeSantis. He won his primary in part by campaigning on his long-ago embrace with former President Barack Obama — which wound up starting Crist on a journey that would take him on runs for just about every major office in Florida, with almost every conceivable party affiliation.

On the same primary night, Democrats made Rep. Val Demings — a former Orlando police chief who was on Joe Biden’s vice-presidential shortlist — their choice to take on Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who, like DeSantis, faced no real primary opposition.

Elsewhere on the GOP side, those loyal to former President Donald Trump continued running strong. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz cruised to renomination, and Crist is likely to be replaced in the House by Anna Paulina Luna, a Trump-endorsed commentator who has been billed as an “antidote” to New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Crist’s primary win is reminiscent of the dynamics that made former Gov. Terry McAuliffe Democrats’ choice to win his old job back in Virginia last year. But that ended poorly for Democrats, in a state with far more recent history electing Democrats statewide.

It also roughly mirrors the way Biden captured the Democratic nomination and the presidency in 2020. It might be Biden’s Democratic Party still — whatever that means for their chances of holding Congress in 2022.

PHOTO: Rep. Charlie Crist addresses supporters after he is announced the winner of his primary at his watch party in St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 23, 2022.
Rep. Charlie Crist addresses supporters after he is announced the winner of his primary at his watch party in St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 23, 2022.
Dirk Shadd/AP

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney is out of a job.

On Tuesday, she lost her bid to stay in Congress to Rep. Jerry Nadler — the 30-year House veteran a casualty of the messy redistricting process in the Empire State. The outcome was not entirely surprising as Nadler had emerged as the favorite with a slew of important endorsements.

“I think from New York’s point of view, it’s very unfortunate that we’re going to lose one committee chairman to this kind of struggle,” Nadler told ABC News on primary day, referring to how both he and Maloney currently chair prominent House committees.

To a room full of teary-eyed supporters in Manhattan, Maloney vowed to continue her work, especially in the area of women’s rights.

“I’m really saddened that we no longer have a woman representing Manhattan in Congress,” she said. “We cannot and we must not give up. The fight continues.”

She’s not the only Democrat likely not returning to Congress from New York: Rep. Mondaire Jones won’t return to Washington despite his move to Brooklyn to run in New York’s 10th District. In that race — which remains close, without a projected winner as of overnight — the more moderate Dan Goldman barely leads progressive Yuh-Line Niou.

In upstate New York’s 19th District, a Democrat won the special election to finish out now-Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado’s term: Pat Ryan, a county executive, campaigned largely on abortion rights in order to mobilize voters.

PHOTO: Supporters at U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney's election night party react to U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler's projected victory in New York's 12th Congressional District Democratic primary in New York, Aug. 23, 2022.
Supporters at U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s election night party react to U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler’s projected victory in New York’s 12th Congressional District Democratic primary in New York, Aug. 23, 2022.
Julia Nikhinson/AP

The TIP with Will McDuffie

On Tuesday, an aide to Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, derisively blamed Democratic candidate John Fetterman for the stroke he suffered in May.

“If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly,” Oz communications adviser Rachel Tripp said in a statement first reported by Business Insider.

In response, Fetterman tweeted, “I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could *never* imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges.”

“I had a stroke. I survived it. I’m truly so grateful to still be here today,” he wrote.

The exchange unfolded on a day Fetterman spoke at a campaign event in Pittsburgh — only his second in-person stop since his stroke — to tout a key labor endorsement.

He spoke for roughly four and a half minutes and exhibited patterns similar to those he showed at a rally in Erie earlier this month, sometimes speaking in choppy sentences. (He told a local newspaper last month that he was working with a speech therapist as he recovered from his health scare).

Fetterman did not answer questions lobbed by reporters as he left the event.

PHOTO: Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman speaks during a rally at the Bayfront Convention Center on Aug. 12, 2022, in Erie, Penn.
Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman speaks during a rally at the Bayfront Convention Center on Aug. 12, 2022, in Erie, Penn.
Nate Smallwood/Getty Images

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

99. That’s the percentage of monkeypox cases that affected men in the U.K. from May 6 to July 20. And while it’s true that the monkeypox outbreak is largely affecting men, especially men who have sex with men, it’s also the case that it’s mostly only men being tested for the disease. This, as FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth writes, creates a problem where people who don’t fit into that category may think they can’t get monkeypox, and that simply isn’t the case either. Read more from Maggie on what we know about who should get tested when a disease like monkeypox spreads.

ONE MORE THING

Since the 2020 election, states across the country have seen a slow exodus of election officials prompted by an unprecedented level of misinformation, harassment and threats, according to election experts and officials. And now, with only three months until Election Day, election offices in at least nine states including Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and New Jersey have seen a new wave of departures and early retirements, ABC News has learned. https://abcn.ws/3pGq7OI

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. “Start Here” begins Wednesday morning with ABC’s Karen Travers on White House talks over a potential student loan forgiveness plan. Then ABC’s Alex Mallin details a National Archives letter showing the extent of classified material previously at Mar-a-Lago. And, Indiana abortion provider Dr. Katie McHugh describes cases of women who are refused treatment by doctors because of legal fears. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a briefing at 3 p.m. ET.
  • President Joe Biden returns to Washington from his August vacation.

Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back Thursday for the latest.

Source: ABC News

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