11 races we’re watching in Tuesday’s primaries
Five states hold closely watched primaries on Tuesday, several of which are seen as the latest tests of former President Trump’s hold over the GOP.
Voters in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington will decide Senate, House and gubernatorial nominees, along with a key secretary of state’s race and a ballot measure on abortion.
The races feature everything from a proxy battle between Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence to an incumbent-on-incumbent primary to lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump fighting for their political lives.
Here are 11 races we’ll be watching:
Arizona gubernatorial GOP primary
One of the most high-profile contests Tuesday is the Republican primary in the Arizona governor race.
Former local news anchor Kari Lake, who has pushed dubious claims about the 2020 election, and developer Karrin Taylor Robson, considered more of an establishment Republican, are considered the front-runners in the race.
The primary has turned into a proxy war between Trump and Pence — with Trump backing Lake while Pence has endorsed Robson — becoming the latest test of how powerful the former president’s endorsement is.
An OH Predictive Insights poll released in July found 40 percent of likely Republican primary voters backed Lake, while 35 percent supported Robson when former Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), who dropped his own gubernatorial bid to endorse Robson, was removed.
Arizona Senate GOP primary
Another Arizona race putting Trump’s endorsement to the test is the Senate GOP primary to take on Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).
The former astronaut won his seat in a 2020 special election against Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) by just over 2 percentage points, one of a handful of critical Senate races that helped flip the upper chamber blue that year.
Trump has backed venture capitalist Blake Masters, who has ties to tech billionaire Peter Thiel. Masters has received the backing of other major Republicans and conservatives like Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and he previously served on Trump’s 2016 presidential transition team.
Others in the race include businessman Jim Lamon, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, former state Rep. Justin Olson and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Brnovich for not doing enough to investigate the former president’s baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election. The former president called him a “disappointment” when issuing his endorsement of Masters in June.
An OH Predictive Insights poll released on Friday surveying Arizona residents qualified as likely GOP primary voters showed Masters in the lead with 25 percent, followed by Lamon at 18 percent and Brnovich at 14 percent.
Missouri Senate GOP Primary
The Missouri Senate GOP primary has attracted a crowded field of candidates as Republicans vie for retiring Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) seat.
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens initially held the lead, but he has been embroiled in scandal and fighting allegations by his ex-wife that he abused her and their child. He denies the allegations.
Adding to the controversy, Greitens released an ad in June in which he pressed viewers to go “RINO hunting,” in a nod to the acronym “Republicans in name only” and featured firearms.
Republicans fear a Greitens victory could put an otherwise safe Republican seat in jeopardy and big names, including Blunt, have lined up against him.
A recent survey from Emerson College Polling and The Hill found the effort may be working. State Attorney General Eric Schmitt had pulled into the lead in the poll, with the support of 33 percent of very likely Republican primary voters, while Greitens had fallen to third at 16 percent.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who earned the endorsement of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), had 21 percent support.
Other candidates include Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), attorney Mark McCloskey and state Sen. Dave Schatz. Trump has not issued an endorsement in the race.
Kansas’s ballot measure on abortion
Residents in the Sunflower State will be the first since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with the opportunity to vote on an abortion-related ballot measure when they weigh in on a state constitutional amendment regarding abortion access.
The ballot measure seeks to overturn a 2019 state Supreme Court decision that said abortion rights were protected under the state constitution. It would give the state legislature greater control over access to the medical procedure.
The Supreme Court’s Roe ruling kicked decisions on abortion access to the states and has created a patchwork of laws that ban or will soon ban access to the procedure.
Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial primary
The Republican primary in Michigan’s gubernatorial race initially attracted a crowded field of candidates, but it later narrowed down to five after several contenders were booted off the ballot for submitting fraudulent petition signatures.
One of the candidates remaining, conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, got a boost Friday when she was endorsed by Trump.
Other candidates in the race include real estate broker Ryan Kelley, who was charged in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot; retired Pastor Ralph Rebandt; businessman Kevin Rinke; and chiropractor Garrett Soldano.
A Detroit News/WDIV (Channel 4) poll, which was conducted by Glengariff Group and released last month, showed 19 percent of likely GOP primary voters polled supporting Dixon, followed next by Rinke at 15 percent, Kelley at 13 percent and Soldano at 12 percent. Rebandt received 2 percent. However, the polling falls within the margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, effectively tying Dixon and Rinke.
Michigan’s GOP primary in the 3rd Congressional District
Freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) is fighting for his political life on Tuesday as he tries to ward off a challenge from former Housing and Urban Development official John Gibbs in the state’s Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District.
Gibbs received an endorsement from Trump as a part of the former president’s revenge tour against the Republicans who have criticized him or voted in favor of impeaching him following the Capitol riot.
Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans to buck his party and vote in favor of impeaching Trump.
Democrats have gotten involved in the primary in an effort to boost Gibbs, who has used part of his campaign platform to baselessly allege “widespread irregularities and statistical anomalies in the 2020 election,” in hopes of facing what they consider the weaker candidate in November.
Cook Political Report rates Meijer’s seat as a “toss-up.”
Michigan’s Democratic primary in the 11th Congressional District
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) is facing off against Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) in one of this cycle’s incumbent-on-incumbent primaries.
Levin opted to run in the redrawn 11th Congressional District after the decennial redistricting process changed the makeup of his current seat.
Levin, once a synagogue president and co-founder of the Detroit Jews for Justice, has gotten the backing of the pro-Israel group J Street Action Fund, which has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the race, while the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s super PAC is spending big money to boost Stevens.
Levin has touted his personal work on climate change, jobs and workers’ wages, and his family includes several recognizable political names, including his father, former Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), and uncle, the late Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).
Levin last year unveiled legislation along with his colleagues that would “accelerate progress towards a two-state solution and discourage steps that push one out of reach,” according to a press release from his office.
Haley has touted her time as the former chief of staff for the U.S. Auto Rescue Task Force during the Obama administration and showcased her support on legislation related to paid family leave and raising the federal minimum wage.
Washington’s secretary of state race
Washington’s secretary of state race has attracted a number of candidates as Secretary of State Steve Hobbs (D), whose appointment by Gov. Jay Inslee (D) last year marked the first time in decades that a Democrat served in the role, fights to keep his seat.
Hobbs was tapped to fill former Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s (R) position after she left her spot to serve on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency under the Biden administration.
Among those vying for the spot of state’s top elections official are Tamborine Borrelli, a former supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) turned Republican; state Sen. Keith Wagoner (R); former state Sen. Mark Miloscia (R), once a Democrat; and Pierce County auditor Julie Anderson, listed as nonpartisan, among others.
Washington uses what’s known as a jungle primary, in which the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.
Washington’s 3rd Congressional District primary
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) is fighting to retain her seat after she drew Trump’s ire as one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching the former president.
Herrera Beutler made headlines following the Capitol riot when she described the contents of a conversation told to her by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that involved him and Trump.
She said the president had told McCarthy, according to the House GOP leader, “I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are” on the day of the riot.
Trump last year endorsed Army Special Forces veteran Joe Kent as a part of his revenge tour to take swipes at the Republicans who sought to impeach him or his critics. Other candidates seeking the seat include podcaster and author Heidi St. John (R), small business owner Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D) and state Rep. Vicki Kraft (R).
Washington’s 4th Congressional District primary
The former president has also waded into Washington’s 4th Congressional District race, backing former police chief Loren Culp (R) to take on incumbent Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.).
Newhouse also voted in favor of impeaching the former president following the violent Capitol riot, saying in a statement days after the riot that it was a “vote to condone President Trump’s inaction” and added that “our country needed a leader, and President Trump failed to fulfill his oath of office.”
The campaign platform for Culp, who was the 2020 Republican gubernatorial nominee, has included bread-and-butter Republican issues like his anti-abortion stance, limited government and border security.
One Democrat and five other Republicans have also thrown their hats into the ring, including former NASCAR driver Jerrod Sessler (R), businessman Doug White (D), Army veteran Benancio Garcia III (R), Jacek Kobiesa (R) and businessman Corey Gibson (R).
Washington’s 8th Congressional District primary
Rep. Kim Schrier’s (D-Wash.) seat is considered one of the most vulnerable for House Democrats this November and she faces several others candidates eager to advance to the general election.
Army veteran Jesse Jensen (R) is trying to stage a comeback after losing a bid in 2020 for the seat against the Democratic incumbent in addition to several others such as attorney Matt Larkin (R) and King County Council Member Reagan Dunn (R).
Schrier, who flipped her district blue in 2018, has won her last two elections by close margins, including by less than 5 percentage points in 2018 and more than 3 percentage points in 2020.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has used the issue of inflation to target Schrier and other vulnerable Democrats earlier this year, one of several headwinds for Democrats ahead of the November midterms.
Cook Political Report rates the House seat as a “toss-up.”