COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — More than halfway through a tumultuous primary season, voters have delivered verdicts in a number of contests, many of which featured candidates saying they best represented a continuation of favored policies by former President Donald Trump.
Although not on the ballot himself, Trump has played a role in several races, with candidates carrying his endorsement encountering a variety of election results. There have also been falls from several incumbents, some eliminated by Trump-backed challengers and others defeated by other representatives in redistricting-forced showdowns.
Here’s what’s happened so far in primary races across the country:
Eight incumbents – three Democrats and five Republicans – have already lost their US House seats this year after losing their primary elections.
Four of those losses came in incumbent races, the result of the once-a-decade redrawing process. But the other four were defeated by insurgent challengers after finding themselves vulnerable as a result of scandal, investigation, progressive irritants or Trump’s walkthrough.
Seven-term centrist Democratic U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader of Oregon fell to progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner in his May 17 primary. Schrader had angered many Democrats by opposing some of President Joe Biden’s priorities, including a $1.9 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill, because he did not support a pay rise. minimum.
Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina was beaten by State Senator Chuck Edwards after a whirlwind of scandals that included Cawthorn saying he was invited to cocaine-fueled orgies, twice getting caught with guns at airports and appearing in videos showing him in sexually suggestive poses.
On June 14, five-term GOP Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina lost his re-election bid to state Rep. Russell Fry after he voted to impeach Trump during the US insurgency. Capitol of January 6. And on June 28, Steven Palazzo, a six-term Republican Rep. from Mississippi, lost a runoff to Sheriff Mike Ezell after being accused in a congressional ethics report of spending campaign funds.
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The redistricting ensured that some US House incumbents would be ousted.
First to fall was Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, who voted with Democrats in favor of Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, betting that West Virginia would reward him for having prioritized such funding in one of the poorest states in the country. Instead, they dumped him for Rep. Alex Mooney, who opposed the infrastructure bill. Mooney got Trump’s endorsement the day Biden signed the measure into law.
In Georgia, Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath, a gun safety advocate, went shopping in the neighborhood after a GOP-dominated legislature turned her hometown into a Republican stronghold. She beat fellow Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux, who said she considered McBath a “sister.”
Two incumbents from Illinois lost their seats last week when Republican Representative Mary Miller defeated five-term Republican Representative Rodney Davis and Democratic Representative Sean Casten defeated one-term Democratic Representative Marie Newman.
Miller won days after calling the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade of “historic victory for white lives” at a rally with Trump. Miller misspoke, his spokesperson said.
Still stinging from his 2020 presidential election loss to Biden, Trump has vowed revenge on Republicans who challenged him.
He focused on Georgia, recruiting challengers for Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who had rebuffed his efforts to undo his narrow loss in the state. But he was unsuccessful, with Kemp easily fending off former Sen. David Perdue and Raffensperger defeating Rep. Jody Hice.
Trump also directed his rage at the 10 House Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach him for his role in the Jan. 6 insurgency. Four decided not to seek re-election.
But of those who stayed to fight, Rice became the first to lose, an outcome he acknowledged possible after a vote he said his conscience forced him to take. Another, Rep. David Valadao of California, finished second in his primary, meaning he qualified for November’s general election as one of the top two.
Four of the House Republicans are still awaiting their primaries.
In South Carolina, Trump targeted another GOP incumbent, Rep. Nancy Mace, over her criticism of her role in the Jan. 6 attack and her vote to certify Biden’s victory. Mace resisted a challenge from Katie Arrington, a Trump-backed opponent.
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Trump helped lift some U.S. Senate candidates to victory. In Ohio, he backed “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance after a furious push by Vance’s opponents to curry favor with Trump. The endorsement just three weeks before the election propelled Vance to victory.
Dr Mehmet Oz got Trump’s stamp of approval about five weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, a blow to former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, whose wife, Dina Powell, served in the administration of Trump. Oz picked up a narrow victory over McCormick after a recount.
In North Carolina, Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd a year before his primary, elevating the little-known congressman from a field of 14 candidates to win the GOP Senate nomination.
Trump has also waded into statewide races, backing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against primary challenger George P. Bush. Trump was rewarding Paxton for asking the U.S. Supreme Court to void the 2020 election – an effort the state bar called “dishonest” as it sought to punish him for it.
Katie Britt nearly won a GOP primary to replace her boss, retiring Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, but found herself in a runoff with longtime Rep. Mo Brooks, whom Trump initially backed before to withdraw his endorsement as the Brooks poll languished. Trump only endorsed Britt after she finished first in the primary.
Republican voters in Nebraska rejected Trump’s gubernatorial choice, businessman Charles Herbster, who was accused late in the campaign of groping several women, opting instead for Regent Jim Pillen of the University of Nebraska as candidate. In a U.S. House race in Georgia, GOP voters chose trucking company owner Mike Collins over Vernon Jones, a Trump-backed Democrat-turned-Republican.
Voters handed out primary victories to some candidates who backed Trump’s lies that Biden’s election win was illegitimate. These false claims have been flatly rejected by election officials, Trump’s own attorney general and the courts, including the judges he has appointed.
Nonetheless, State Senator Doug Mastriano won Pennsylvania’s crowded Republican gubernatorial primary. He was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the attack on the United States Capitol for his role in a plan to organize an “alternative” list of Pennsylvania voters for Trump after the 2020 elections.
Trump’s pick for Nevada secretary of state, former state legislator Jim Marchant, won his primary after spending months arguing that there was no legitimate election in the Nevada for years and that Trump’s victory had been stolen.
In Idaho, Trump’s insurgent candidate, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, lost her bid to oust Gov. Brad Little. McGeachin had said she would “bring integrity to the Idaho election,” without citing any inconsistencies. She also said she would push for a 50-state forensic audit of the 2020 election.
In Colorado, GOP voters chose Pam Anderson as their candidate for secretary of state over Tina Peters, an indicted county clerk who gained national notoriety promoting conspiracy theories about voting machines. Anderson had pledged to prevent the politician from holding an election, while Peters was charged with seven counts accusing her of participating in a “deceptive scheme” to breach voting system technology.
The primary season resumes in earnest in August, with a number of top races yet to be decided.
Rep. Liz Cheney faces a tough primary challenge in Wyoming on Aug. 16 after voting to impeach Trump and become vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol insurgency. Trump has endorsed Harriet Hageman in the race.
In Arizona, one of the five battleground states Biden has overthrown, the former president has endorsed a slate of loyalists who promote his bogus campaign claims. In the race for governor, he backed former TV news anchor Kari Lake over developer Karrin Taylor Robson for the GOP nomination to replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who withstood election-year pressure from Trump. and is excluded from another mandate.
In the U.S. Senate race from Arizona, Trump is backing investor Blake Masters for the GOP nomination against Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly in November. Masters said “I think Trump won in 2020” and espoused the baseless “great replacement” conspiracy theory, a racist ideology that says white people and their influence are being replaced by people of color.
And in the race for Arizona Secretary of State, Trump backed State Representative Mark Finchem, who was pictured outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and worked to undo Trump’s 2020 loss.
In Michigan, one of the nation’s key battleground states, Republicans suffered setbacks in their bid to defeat Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November. Five GOP candidates failed to qualify for the Aug. 2 primary after submitting fake signatures collected by paid petition distributors. Another candidate, Republican Ryan Kelley, was charged last month with offenses related to the Jan. 6 attack.
Establishment Republicans are worried about the Aug. 2 GOP primary for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, where former Gov. Eric Greitens is trying to make a political comeback, after he resigned four years ago amid investigating possible campaign finance issues and whether he blackmailed a woman against talking about their extramarital affair. Some Republicans worry that Greitens is a weak general election candidate who could hand over a safe seat to Democrats.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.
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