Ousters, upsets halfway through 2022 primary election season

Trump has played a role in several races

Washington DC: More than halfway through a tumultuous primary season, voters have rendered verdicts in a number of contests, many of which featured candidates arguing they best represented a continuation of policies favored by former President Donald Trump. While not on the ballot himself, Trump has played a role in several races.

Here’s what’s happened so far in primary races across the country:

Fallen Incumbents

Eight incumbents — three Democrats and five Republicans — lost their U.S. House seats already this year after being defeated in their primary elections.

Four of those losses came in incumbent-on-incumbent races, a result of the once-a-decade redistricting process. But the other four were defeated by insurgent challengers after finding themselves vulnerable as a result of scandal, investigation, irritating progressives or crossing Trump.

Seven-term centrist Democratic U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon fell to progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina was defeated by state Sen. Chuck Edwards after a whirlwind of scandals. Five-term GOP Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina lost his reelection bid to state Rep. Russell Fry after voting to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Six-term Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo lost a runoff to Sheriff Mike Ezell after being accused in a congressional ethics report of misspending campaign funds.

Trump’s Targets

Trump zeroed in on Georgia, recruiting challengers to Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, but he fell short, with Kemp easily turning back former Sen. David Perdue, and Raffensperger defeating Rep. Jody Hice.

Trump also directed his rage toward the 10 House Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach him for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Four decided against seeking reelection. But of those who stayed to fight, Rice became the first to lose. Another, Rep. David Valadao of California, finished second in his primary, meaning he advanced to the November general election as one of the top two finishers. Four of the House Republicans still await their primaries.

In South Carolina, Trump targeted another GOP incumbent, Rep. Nancy Mace, following her criticism of his role in the Jan. 6 attack and her vote to certify Biden’s win. Mace withstood her challenge from Katie Arrington, a Trump-backed opponent.

Trump: Keeping Score

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 win Trump’s favor. Dr. Mehmet Oz got Trump’s seal of approval about five weeks before Pennsylvania’s primary. Oz eked out a slim 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 14-candidate field to win the GOP Senate nomination.

Republican voters in Nebraska rejected Trump’s gubernatorial pick, businessman Charles Herbster, going instead with University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen as their nominee. In a U.S. House race in Georgia, GOP voters picked trucking company owner Mike Collins over Vernon Jones, a Trump-backed Democrat-turned-Republican.

Election Deniers

Doug Mastriano

Voters handed primary wins to some candidates who supported Trump’s assertions that Biden’s election victory was illegitimate. State Sen. Doug Mastriano won Pennsylvania’s crowded Republican gubernatorial primary. Trump’s pick for Nevada secretary of state, former state lawmaker Jim Marchant, won his primary after spending months arguing 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. In Colorado, GOP voters chose Pam Anderson as their nominee for secretary of state over Tina Peters.

What’s Next?  

The primary season resumes in earnest in August, with a number of high-profile races still to be decided.

Rep. Liz Cheney faces a stiff primary challenge in Wyoming on Aug. 16 after voting to impeach Trump and becoming vice-chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. In the governor’s race in Arizona, Trump backed former TV news anchor Kari Lake over developer Karrin Taylor Robson for the GOP nomination to replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who resisted Trump’s election-year pressure and is barred from another term.

In Michigan, one of the country’s top battleground states, Republicans have faced setbacks in their bid to defeat Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November. Five GOP candidates failed to qualify for the Aug. 2 primary after submitting fake signatures collected by paid petition circulators. Another candidate, Republican Ryan Kelley, was charged last month with misdemeanors related to the Jan. 6 attack.

Establishment Republicans are worried about the Aug. 2 GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Missouri, where former Gov. Eric Greitens is trying to make a political comeback. Some Republicans fear Greitens would be a weak general election candidate who could cede a safe seat to Democrats.

Images courtesy of (Image Courtesy: LGT), (Image Courtesy: NDTV), (Image Courtesy: AP), (Image Courtesy: The Boston Globe) and (Image Courtesy: NPR)

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