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Dem newcomer aims for history with primary win over wealthy controversial congressman

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Dem newcomer aims for history with primary win over wealthy controversial congressman

A Maryland Democrat new to the national political stage has won her state’s Senate primary against a wealthy controversial congressman who spent millions of his own money on the race.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who could be the first Black woman from Maryland ever elected to the U.S. Senate, topped Rep. David Trone in a race called by The Associated Press.

She will now face former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in what could end up being a race that’s more competitive than expected considering Maryland’s heavy Democratic leanings and Hogan’s popularity in the state.

RACIAL SLUR, ALLEGED THREAT TO ‘EXECUTE’ MAN: WATCH MOST OUTRAGEOUS MOMENTS FROM THIS DEM SENATE CANDIDATE

Democratic Maryland Senate candidates Angela Alsobrooks and Rep. David Trone. (Getty Images)

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Trone spent about $60 million of his own money to defeat Alsobrooks, but a number of controversies and the latter’s popularity among state party figures appeared too much for him to overcome.

Alsobrooks was first elected as state’s attorney of Prince Georges County in 2010, where she served until being elected as country executive in 2018. She had never before run for federal office.

Democrats are hoping Black voters will rally around Alsobrooks’ potentially historic candidacy and that it will overcome Hogan’s popularity.

Larry Hogan debate stage

Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland, speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nov. 18, 2022. (Ronda Churchill/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Democrats have a one-seat majority in the Senate, a narrow majority threatened by the number of seats being contested in states where Republicans are expected to perform well.

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Election analysts rate the Maryland Senate race as “likely” Democrat.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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Video: Biden Delivers Commencement Address at West Point

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Video: Biden Delivers Commencement Address at West Point

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Biden Delivers Commencement Address at West Point

President Biden called on graduates of the U.S. Military Academy to honor their oath to protect American democracy against threats abroad and — in an indirect reference to former President Donald J. Trump — at home.

Nothing is guaranteed about our democracy in America. Every generation has an obligation to defend it, to protect it, to preserve it, to choose it. Now it’s your turn. On your very first day at West Point, you raised your right hands and took an oath not to a political party, not to a president, but to the Constitution of the United States of America, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And just as this historic institution helped make America free over two centuries ago, and just as generations of West Point graduates have kept us free through every challenge and danger, you must keep us free at this time like none before. I know you can. I know you will.

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PA GOP Senate candidate McCormick completes 67-county tour, trades lying accusations with Casey

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PA GOP Senate candidate McCormick completes 67-county tour, trades lying accusations with Casey

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Dave McCormick, the Republican challenger for Pennsylvania’s coveted U.S. Senate seat, completed a 67-county tour of the Keystone State on Friday. 

It’s not quite the “full Grassley” of presidential politics, when candidates visit all 99 counties ahead of the Iowa caucuses, but with President Biden and former President Trump in a dead-heat for Pennsylvania and the Senate majority in the balance, every point and all 67 counties count.

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After 42,000 miles. McCormick celebrated the last of his 345 stops at an Italian restaurant in Matamoras. In an event on the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day Weekend, he delivered a stump speech to about 30 supporters over pizza and soda.

“I was so excited to be able to plant the flag today because it’s just the demonstrated commitment to being across our great Commonwealth and seeing people in all these communities,” McCormick told Fox News in an exclusive interview after his Pike County stop on Friday. “I think you campaign the way you’re going to be a senator, and I’m going to be a senator that represents all of Pennsylvania, not just the urban areas.” 

McCormick’s opponent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey has a two-point edge in the race, according to polling conducted April 28 to May 9 by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

McCormick’s campaign milestone comes as a Broad + Liberty report accused Casey of lying about visiting all 67 counties each year. The report used X posts as a metric to tally Casey’s campaign stops across the commonwealth, concluding that Casey only visited 39 counties since January 2023. Based on internal documents obtained by Fox News, Casey visited all 67 counties in 2022, but fell short at 63 counties in 2023. 

CRUCIAL SENATE SHOWDOWN IN KEY BATTLEGROUND STATE OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY AS CASEY, MCCORMICK WIN PRIMARIES

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Dave McCormick, the Republican Senate nominee in Pennsylvania, records a video along the U.S. – Mexico border after receiving a briefing from officials, in Yuma, Arizona on May 18, 2024.  (Dave McCormick Senate campaign )

A spokesperson for Casey emphasized the importance of quality visits over the quantity of visits and said not all of these campaign stops are posted online. His Senate office tracks the first and last visit to each county every year. For instance, in 2023, Casey visited Lehigh County for the first time on Jan. 6, 2023, and his last visit was on Dec. 21, 2023. And that’s not to say he didn’t visit Lehigh County several times in between. McCormick isn’t convinced.

He said that he visits every county every year,” McCormick told Fox News on Friday. “So, you know, he can show you the evidence. We don’t see any evidence that he visits every county every year.”

To McCormick, the county controversy goes beyond hearsay. He says it’s about showing up for Pennsylvanians all across the commonwealth.

It’s a number of cases where Bob Casey says one thing and does another,” McCormick told Fox News on Friday. “He stands up and says his and Biden’s policies are going to reduce inflation. And then in a room, he gets caught on tape saying, hey, listen, there’s nothing we can do to lower prices. Or he says he’s for policies that ensure that we source from American industries, and then he votes and waives exceptions on them because he and Biden’s policies on EVs aren’t adequately supported by U.S. industry. So time and again, Bob Casey says one thing and does another, and so I don’t think he’s been forthright with the people of Pennsylvania.”

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McCormick, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, consistently ties Casey to President Biden. A day after accepting the Republican nomination, McCormick released an ad slamming Casey for voting with Biden “98 percent” of the time. 

“Bob Casey’s lack of visiting these counties, his lie on this is also representative of why he’s out of step with most Pennsylvanians, and that’s why most Pennsylvanians can’t name a single thing that Bob Casey’s accomplished,” McCormick continued last Friday. “They can’t believe that he’s voted 98% of the time with Joe Biden. So the connection I’m making is the lie on the county visits with his positions being increasingly liberal, increasingly bowing to the progressive left and increasingly out of step with Pennsylvania. That’s the connection.”

Senator Bob Casey speaks during an event

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaks during the Inaugural Independence Dinner in Philadelphia, on Nov. 1, 2019.   (Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE IN CRUCIAL RACE IN KEY BATTLEGROUND STATE REPORTS $6.2 MILLION HAUL

Just ahead of the Pennsylvania primary, McCormick was the Senate candidate dodging accusations of lying. A New York Times report found that McCormick embellished details about his upbringing, particularly about growing up on a Pennsylvania farm. McCormick has denied these allegations, his background emblematic of his Senate campaign and a fixture of that stump speech. 

“My folks had a family farm,” McCormick told the group in Pike County Friday. “They lived in town in Bloomsburg. My dad worked at the college, but I baled hay. I trimmed Christmas trees. I was a busboy at the hotel. I was a paperboy with two paper routes. I played football. I wrestled. I hunted.”

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Pennsylvania Democrats have seized every opportunity to call McCormick a liar, accusing McCormick of jet-setting into Pennsylvania to campaign and nicknaming him “Connecticut Dave” for renting a home in Westport, Connecticut. 

“I don’t think he’s been truthful to people about living in Pennsylvania. He lives in Connecticut in a $16 million house,” Casey told Fox News in an exclusive interview in April. “I think this is kind of a pattern of falsely representing something so basic about where you live and where you once lived. I don’t know why he would make reference to his upbringing in a way that wasn’t fully truthful. He has a lot to be proud of. He’s achieved a lot in his life, and he should talk about what he’s achieved instead of trying to create this image that I guess at one point he made reference to being a farmer, which makes no sense at all. I just think you should be truthful and honest with the people that you’re seeking to represent.”

When pressed by Fox News why Pennsylvania voters should trust McCormick’s word over Casey’s, McCormick said he’s not one to shy away from criticism. He’s urging Casey to do the same. 

“I’m a Pennsylvanian, a seventh generation Pennsylvanian,” McCormick said. “I grew up here. I left here to go to the military, to go to West Point, and then to serve in combat. I came back and created jobs, and that’s the background and experience of leadership I’m going to run on. Bob Casey should answer this question. He was clearly caught in a lie. I’m happy to answer any question. And, you know, politics is a contact sport, but I’ll answer any question forthrightly about my background and why I think I’ll serve the people of Pennsylvania well.”

Dave McCormick hauls in $6.2 million the past three months in his bid for Senate in the Keystone State

Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick launches a campaign bus tour, in Lititz, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 10, 2024 (Dave McCormick campaign)

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Meanwhile, Casey’s campaign is trying to flip the script on McCormick. 

“Senator Casey is known for his integrity and what he’s delivered for the Commonwealth, meanwhile Connecticut mega-millionaire David McCormick has been lying about everything from where he lives, to the details of his upbringing, to his record of investing millions in Chinese military companies,” Kate Smart, a spokesperson for Casey for Senate, shared with Fox News on Friday. 

With five months until the general election, there’s no sign of the mudslinging (or the campaign bus) slowing down for these Pennsylvania candidates.

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Fistfighting lawmakers and protests mar start of Taiwan's new administration

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Fistfighting lawmakers and protests mar start of Taiwan's new administration

Thousands protesting outside parliament, lawmakers tackling and punching each other inside — it’s not the peace and unity Taiwan’s new president called for when he took office this week.

The democratic, self-ruled island, facing growing pressure from China, is roiling over a controversial bill that critics say could make it easier for Beijing to interfere with Taiwan’s domestic affairs.

The impassioned reaction highlights the tense political atmosphere in Taiwan as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, enters an unprecedented third term in the presidency. Some fear the party’s confrontational stance toward China could provoke an attack, while its supporters argue that close collaboration with Beijing could cede too much power to the Communist Party.

Beijing considers Taiwan a part of its territory and has vowed to reunify it with the mainland and to achieve that goal by force if necessary.

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On Friday, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the parliamentary building for a third time, objecting to the bill that would subject government officials and private companies to questioning by legislators — or fines or imprisonment.

The bill, if passed, would significantly curtail the power of President William Lai, who would also be subject to an annual policy report by the legislature.

Proponents of the proposal, backed by two opposition parties — the Kuomintang and the Taiwan People’s Party, also known as the KMT and TPP — say it is necessary to improve government accountability.

Critics argue that the bill is being rushed through without proper procedures and that forcing sensitive disclosures would be unconstitutional and could undermine national security. One fear is that those targeted by China will have their private information exposed.

“This sets the tone for how Taiwan’s domestic politics are going to look like under a Lai administration,” said Lev Nachman, a political science professor at National Chengchi University in Taipei. “It’s going to be chaotic, and there’s going to be very little that the DPP is going to be able to do.”

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Lai, the former vice president also known by his Chinese name, Lai Ching-te, won election in January with 40% of the vote. His predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, held office for the maximum of two four-year terms. But the DPP lost its majority in the legislature, signaling growing discontent among Taiwanese citizens with the previous administration.

Under Tsai, Taiwan grew closer to the U.S. and increasingly at odds with China, which on Thursday launched two days of military drills around the island in a show of displeasure with the new president.

At his inauguration Monday, Lai called on China to cease its military and political intimidation, and said neither side was subordinate to the other.

He emphasized his goal to maintain the status quo but also stressed Taiwan’s autonomy, prompting an angry rebuke from Beijing.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office denounced Lai for promoting “separatist fallacies” and for advocating Taiwanese independence. The country also sanctioned three U.S. defense contractors for providing weapons to Taiwan.

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Growing fears of military conflict have heightened political divisions within the island of 23 million.

As China ratchets up military drills and courts the friendship of opposition lawmakers, that’s increased concerns that the bill could be used to benefit the Chinese government by revealing private information, said Ming-sho Ho, a professor of sociology at National Taiwan University.

“For many Taiwanese people, you see China pressuring Taiwan both from without and also from within,” Ho said. “People are genuinely worried.”

On Friday, protesters chanted their disapproval from the street while legislators reviewed the bill. Some demonstrators waved signs that said “no discussion, no democracy,” while others sported yellow-and-black headbands printed with demands to increase transparency and reevaluate the bill point by point.

Chen Chun-xia, a 60-year-old retiree, said she was concerned that the reforms would enable legislators to interrogate her family over their manufacturing business in Taiwan. It was her first time at the protests, and she was expecting a dozen more family members to join her in the evening after work.

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“I knew I had to be here when I saw the news,” she said. “This is for my family, for the next generation.”

Calvin Lin, 37, and Monica Chen, 34, who arrived at Friday’s demonstration together, met a decade ago during Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement, a massive protest against a bill to boost trade with China. At that time, the KMT held the presidency and the legislative majority but withdrew the bill after student protesters physically occupied the national legislature for three weeks.

This week’s protests have been more organized, Lin said, and he doesn’t expect the legislature to recall the bill. However, he hopes the demonstrations will encourage more dialogue around reforms. He wore a strip of cloth around his arm that said, “Taiwan can only improve without the KMT,” the same slogan he remembers from 10 years ago.

“The most important thing is that the process and the system are fair and healthy,” said Lin, who plans to return to protest with his friends in the coming days. “At least open up the dialogue. That’s the bare minimum.”

“Of course, the parliament can reform, but it’s important to have proper proceedings and discussions,” Chen added.

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The first round of discussions, on May 17, turned violent as some lawmakers tried to stop the proceedings. People punched, shoved and tackled one another; five legislators were sent to the hospital.

This week, a group of 30 academics, former U.S. officials and other critics of the reforms released a joint statement that said the proposal grants the legislature excessive power compared with other constitutional democracies and has not been allowed sufficient review by the public or DPP lawmakers.

The KMT has defended the bill as a way to curb corruption and improve checks and balances within Taiwan’s government. At a Thursday news conference, party members said the proposed measures have nothing to do with cross-strait relations and lambasted the DPP for “fearmongering.”

Despite the protests, the KMT and TPP, which make up the majority of the legislature, have enough support to pass the bill when the session continues Tuesday.

“I think the opposition party has made it known that it is going to use its majority for its political purposes,” said Ho, the National Taiwan University professor, “and this is only the beginning.”

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Yang is a Times staff writer and Wu a special correspondent.

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