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What to watch for in today’s election in Georgia and beyond


The country’s political focus will shift south on Tuesday with elections in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas signaling voters’ views on national issues and the strength of former President Donald’s approval power. J. Trump.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp appears to easily fend off a challenge from former Sen. David Perdue in the Republican gubernatorial primary, which would set up a rematch with Stacey Abrams, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Mr Trump recruited Mr Perdue to run after Mr Kemp refused to help overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state. A Trump-backed challenger is also trying to oust the Republican secretary of state from the state.

In Alabama, a competitive Republican primary for the Senate is unfolding after Rep. Mo Brooks lost Mr. Trump’s endorsement in the race in March. The election could head for a second round.

In Texas, voters will decide runoff races for attorney general and a House seat in the Rio Grande Valley. The race for Congress will pit Representative Henry Cuellar, an anti-abortion Democrat who is still part of an FBI investigation, against Jessica Cisneros, a progressive challenger.

And in Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mr. Trump’s former press secretary, is expected to win the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Here are some of the themes we’ll be following on Tuesday:

Mr. Trump has placed Georgia at the center of his crusade against what he falsely claimed was a “stolen” election. But its influence on state policy seems to be fading.

Mr Perdue, a former Kemp ally, has made challenging the 2020 election results the focus of his campaign. He opened the three debates against Mr. Kemp by falsely claiming that he and Mr. Trump were victims of fraud in Georgia’s presidential election and its early 2021 Senate elections.

Still, Georgia Republicans have turned to issues beyond the last election, focusing on the state’s economy, education and rising crime rates in Georgia cities. Partly because of that, Mr. Kemp has outstripped Mr. Perdue by more than 30 percentage points in recent polls and surpassed the former senator in fundraising by nearly $10 million.

The only other race in which the 2020 election — and Mr. Trump’s influence — matters so much is the contest for secretary of state. Republican incumbent Brad Raffensperger fends off a primary challenge from Rep. Jody Hice, who has Mr. Trump’s backing. Polls indicate that neither candidate has garnered more than 30% of voter support, suggesting the race is in danger of ending in a runoff.

Still, there are signs of life among Georgia voters: Turnout during the state’s three-week early voting period topped 850,000, a sharp increase from the same period during the 2018 primary.

This week, Georgia will also kick off one of the most important Senate elections in the country, between Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat seeking re-election, and Herschel Walker, a Trump-backed Republican who is expected to win by a wide margin. his party’s primary.

Rep. Mo Brooks, a longtime Trump ally who has been involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, is making a last-minute push among conservative Alabamans that could propel him into a runoff.

But the race remains to be won. An Emerson College survey of Alabama voters days before the primary showed Mr Brooks was trailing two rivals: Katie Britt, a businesswoman and former chief of staff to Senator Richard Shelby, who leads the platoon, and Mike Durant, an Army veteran.

Mr. Brooks faces headwinds at home and in Washington. Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw his endorsement in March damaged the congressman’s reputation among the state’s Republican base.

The House committee investigating the 2021 Capitol riot has asked to question Mr. Brooks about his comments on the former president’s request to “void” the 2020 election results.

And the congressman has made an enemy of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Minority Leader, who poured $2 million into a super PAC opposing his campaign. Mr. McConnell is seconding Ms. Britt for the seat.

Outside money plays a big role in this race, with all three candidates on the ballot aided by groups that spend millions criticizing opposing candidates as out of touch with Alabama voters. One group, the pro-Durant Alabama Patriots PAC, cut a TV ad that attacks Mr Brooks and Ms Britt as ‘Trump-raising, tax-raising insiders’. Another, the Alabama Christian Conservative Group, which supports Britt, ran negative publicity targeting Mr Durant, saying he was lenient on immigration and gun ownership.

“Vote Katie Britt,” says the narrator. “She is one of us.”

Mr. Cuellar is the last anti-abortion Democrat in the House of Representatives. The leaked draft opinion signaling that the Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion decision, this summer could charm Jessica Cisneros for the second time in her bid to overthrow him.

The renewed fight for abortion access has underscored internal Democratic tensions as progressives line up behind Ms Cisneros and a handful of moderates come to Mr Cuellar’s defense. On Thursday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, endorsed Ms. Cisneros. National abortion rights groups like Emily’s List have also provided financial support for his candidacy, reserving television ads critical of Mr Cuellar.

Ms. Cisneros has the support of several other high-profile progressives in Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who have launched full-throated fundraising appeals on her behalf.

Ms Cisneros fell short by 3.6 percentage points in her 2020 challenge to Mr Cuellar, for whom she once interned. This time around, her campaign has to deal not only with her abortion record, but also with an FBI raid on her home and campaign office in February. Mr Cuellar promised he had done nothing wrong, and his lawyer said if he was cooperating with the investigation he was not a target.

Texas’ Democratic primary for attorney general has also put abortion at its center, as both candidates cast themselves as potential abortion access advocates against their Republican opponents, who are likely to be the overwhelming frontrunners in November. .

Rochelle Garza, a civil rights lawyer, is the frontrunner in the race, having garnered more votes in the primary than the other Democrat in the running, former Mayor Joe Jaworski of Galveston. Ms. Garza called the office a “last bulwark” to protect Texans from strict abortion laws.

Mr. Cuellar is not the only candidate in the second round of the Texas election on Tuesday who has come under scrutiny from law enforcement for the use of his office.

Ken Paxton, the state attorney general, was indicted and arrested in 2015 on still-pending securities fraud charges. Former aides said he violated state law by using his office’s influence to help a donor.

But he maintained his viability in the Republican primary by pursuing a long list of conservative priorities, including championing an abortion law passed by the state last year and joining the push to criminalize transitional care. for transgender youth.

With the backing of Mr. Trump and relatively strong support from Republicans in Texas, Mr. Paxton garnered a larger share of the vote in the primary election in March than his second-round opponent, George P. Bush, the Lands Commissioner of State.

Ms Sanders, the White House press secretary under Mr Trump, is also Arkansas political royalty, as the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Her status put her on the path to the Republican nomination for governor in what is a dark red state. It could also position her for higher political office, beyond the governor’s mansion.

nytimes Gt

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