After a relatively quiet July, midterm elections came back strong on Tuesday, with primaries in five states capturing national attention.
Former President Trump, once again, established himself as a central figure by participating in the fiercest competitions of the day. His the endorsements were considered as a barometer of his continued influence on the GOP base, and few carry higher stakes than his picks for governor of Arizona and Michigan — two battleground states where his lies about election fraud in 2020 persist. And his endorsement in the Missouri Senate race broke new ground in creativity, even if it lacked clarity.
His quest for intraparty payback has also kept the peace in Michigan and Washington state, as he backed challengers to three House Republicans who voted for his impeachment in January 2021.
While Trump’s influence was a subplot throughout the primary season, an election in Kansas provided a glimpse of a new dynamic: post-abortion politics. end of Roe vs. Wade. A referendum on the ballot aimed to determine whether the right to abortion was protected in the state constitution, offering the first indicator of voter reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in June overturning federal protection of the state. abortion.
Here are the main takeaways so far:
A decisive vote on abortion in Kansas
In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas Constitution protects the right to have an abortion. On Tuesday, voters vehemently rejected an attempt to pass a constitutional amendment drafted by abortion opponents to reverse the decision.
The amendment would have allowed Republicans, who hold supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, to pass bills restricting abortion access in the state. These could potentially override a Democratic government veto. Laura Kelly, who is up for re-election this year. It wouldn’t just affect Kansans – hundreds of residents of Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma travel to the state each year terminate pregnancies
The high turnout and resounding defeat of the amendment, including in parts of the state that voted for Trump in 2020, is the first indicator of the unpopularity of efforts to roll back abortion protections among voters, even in red states. Polling places across the state saw long lines and turnout was high, despite some competitive runs on the ballot.
The convincing victory in a solidly red state thrilled National Democrats, who sought a political lifeline amid high inflation and lackluster endorsements for President Biden. Now they have evidence that abortion rights can be a powerful motivator.
“It’s time to reassess the conventional wisdom on the midterm elections after this vote in Kansas,” tweeted Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz. “People are furious to have their rights taken away.”
A messy primary in Michigan
Republican Tudor Dixon will face the Democratic governor. Gretchen Whitmer after surviving Michigan’s chaotic gubernatorial primary. Dixon, a former conservative political commentator, beat out four other Republicans, including Ryan Kelley – who was arrested by the FBI in June on charges related to his presence at the US Capitol during the January bombing. 6, 2021, uprising.
Five other GOP candidates, including two frontrunners, were disqualified in May for forged signatures used to qualify for the ballot.
Despite Trump’s last-minute backing, Dixon has already faced criticism from his allies. She’s been dubbed the establishment’s choice because she’s backed by former education secretary Betsy DeVos, who angered the Trump world when she left his administration after the Capitol attack.
State Democrats had their own acrimonious battle in a congressional district northwest of Detroit after redistricting drew incumbents. Andy Levin and Hayley Stevens in the same seat. Levin had the support of prominent progressives such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, while Stevens was supported by Hillary Clinton.
The campaign has also become a proxy for the direction of US Israeli-Palestinian policy; Pro-Israel group AIPAC has poured millions into TV ads against Levin, who has criticized the country’s treatment of Palestinians. Stevens emerged victorious in the intra-party battle.
Congratulations to ‘ERIC’
The race to succeed retired GOP Sen. Missouri’s Roy Blunt has long been about the candidates — 21 candidates are on the ballot — and about the drama. Most of the controversy has surrounded the former governor of Missouri. Eric Greitens, who resigned in 2018 amid accusations of sexual assault and blackmail, which are usually not good for political prospects. Nor have the domestic violence allegations, which Greitens’ ex-wife has made amid their ongoing custody battle.
Nonetheless, Greitens, who ran an ad posing as pretending to hunt moderate Republicans, seemed well placed in the race thanks to his high name identification. A group of Republicans who feared Greitens would put a solidly red seat within reach for Democrats hammered him with a barrage of negative television ads. This propelled the Atty State. January Eric Schmitt at the top of the heap of ballot boxes.
Trump kept his preference for mom until the day before the primary, when he announced “ERIC” as his choice. Which Eric? It remains unclear. Greitens and Schmitt claimed the endorsement for themselves. By appearing to support them both, Trump ended up winning and losing this race at the same time.
The clear winner overall was Schmitt, who clinched the Republican nomination on Tuesday.
The endless 2020 election in Arizona
Trump has not recovered from his narrow loss in Arizona nearly two years ago, nor have his chosen candidates in the state’s top races. When all the results come in for the statewide races, they will reveal whether Republican voters in Arizona feel the same way — or are ready to move on.
Trump’s Favorite Suitors — former news anchor Kari Lake for Governorventure capitalist Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate and state legislator and Holocaust denier Mark Finchem for secretary of state — all embraced the fake rallying cry that Trump actually won in the battleground state.
The message propelled Masters and Finchem into the lead in their respective races on Tuesday, although their contests have yet to be called. Lake, meanwhile, lagged behind Karrin Taylor Robson, whose gubernatorial race was up. endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence and the Governor of Arizona. Doug Ducey.
Lake, who was making unsubstantiated voter fraud allegations long before polls closed, said Tuesday night she was confident of a victory over Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs in November.
When 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump after Jan. 6 on the United States Capitol, they knew it would be a fateful vote for their careers. Since then, four have decided to retire rather than seek re-election. A, representing David Valadao of Californiaclosely survived primary. Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina has permanently lost his. Now the fate of three others will be determined on Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, Trump has backed challengers for all three.
In Michigan, Rep. Peter Meijer, the only freshman to vote for impeachment, trailed John Gibbs, who served in the Trump administration and doesn’t believe the 2020 election was legitimate. The Democrats’ congressional campaign arm, sensing Gibbs would be more beatable in November, ran ads highlighting his loyalty to Trump and saying he’s too conservative for the district — which, in a Republican primary, equates to a de facto contribution to the campaign.
If Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse advance after Tuesday’s vote, it will likely be because their home state of Washington does not have partisan primaries. Instead, the first two voters qualify for the general election.
Herrera Beutler faced several well-funded challengers, including Trump’s pick Joe Kent, a former Green Beret who has ties to far-right groups such as the Proud Boys. Newhouse took on Loren Culp, who ran for governor in 2020 and blamed his loss, without evidence, on fraud. Culp, whom Trump endorsed, claimed responsibility for tampering with the election during Tuesday’s race days before the polls closed, pointing to a local newspaper’s website that appeared to show a vote tally. The newspaper editor clarified that Culp was looking at a test page, not the actual voting results.
Mason reported from Los Angeles, John from Grand Rapids, Michigan.