Republican voters in Georgia showed Tuesday that there are limits to how seriously the party deals with former President Donald Trump’s grievances.
Trump-backed election deniers were defeated in a series of primaries against Republican officials who had rejected the former president’s lies about stealing the 2020 election but otherwise enacted conservative policies popular with GOP Republican voters.
Tuesday’s primaries in Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas and the primary runoff in Texas were overshadowed by the deadly shooting at a Texas elementary school.
But the results could have implications throughout the GOP, forcing Trump to recalculate his share of intra-party races, giving candidates not endorsed by the former president a road map to win without his support, and offering, albeit briefly, a look at a game where Trump’s fights aren’t the only thing that matters.
Here are six takeaways from Tuesday’s election:
Georgia Republicans reject Trump’s revenge attempts
Trump spent more than a year vowing revenge and vowing to recruit and support primary hopefuls, after Republican officials in the state of Georgia rejected his lies about fraud that cost him the 2020 election there.
On Tuesday, those Republicans singled out by the former president not only won, they crushed their Trump-backed opponents.
Gov. Brian Kemp beat his challenger, former Sen. David Perdue, by 50 percentage points. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger overcame a stronger challenge from Rep. Jody Hice. And Attorney General Chris Carr handily defeated attorney John Gordon.
It was Trump’s most embarrassing primary result yet, and it showed that while the former president remains the dominant figure in the GOP, able to steer the outcome in some open seat races, there are limits to his influence, and many Republican voters are willing to ignore your wishes.
“Conservatives across our state didn’t hear the noise,” Kemp said at his victory party at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Tuesday night. “They were not distracted. They knew of our record of fighting and winning for working Georgians.”
Georgia will once again be the center of the political universe
A hotly contested government rematch and a star-studded Senate showdown: Tuesday’s primaries made it clear that, just like in 2020, Georgia will be the center of the political universe in 2022.
Kemp is set for a rematch against Stacey Abrams, the former state legislative leader who rose to national prominence during and after her near miss against Kemp in the 2018 gubernatorial race.
The pressure is on Abrams, who must now show that his strong performance in 2018, in a favorable year for Democrats, was not the high point of his political career. She surprised some with her strength four years ago – something that will not happen this November after four years on the national stage – but her political operation is also more developed.
Meanwhile, now that former football star Herschel Walker is officially the Republican candidate for the Senate in Georgia, he will face Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, whose election in an early 2021 runoff helped give Democrats their scarcest majority in the Senate.
The race will be expensive — Warnock has become a fundraising powerhouse and Republicans have shown they are willing to spend millions on Walker — but it will go a long way toward determining which party controls the Senate for the next two years.
Walking the tightrope in South Texas
The second round between Congressman Henry Cuellar, the only anti-abortion Democrat remaining in the House of Representatives, and progressive candidate Jessica Cisneros is very close as the last votes are known.
Regardless of who ultimately wins, their close race offers a preview of Democratic intra-partisan battles to come, especially over whether support for abortion rights should be a litmus test for candidates, and the influence of money. outsider in the party’s primaries.
A Cuellar victory would also highlight the continuing divide between moderate House leaders and the younger progressive Democrats in their ranks.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and South Carolina Representative James Clyburn, who traveled to Texas to campaign for Cuellar, supported the congressman despite voter frustration in favor of abortion rights and – as seen in a series of tweets late Tuesday night – from progressive lawmakers such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“On the day of a mass shooting and weeks after the Roe news, the Democratic Party leadership joined a pro-NRA, anti-election incumbent under investigation in a closed primary. Robocalls, fundraisers, all of it,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez, calling her endorsement of Cuellar “an utter failure of leadership”.
The Bush dynasty falls to the Trumpist Texans
Two-time Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, buoyed by an endorsement from Trump after leading a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election, won Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the Republican primary runoff. .
The result, while not surprising, registers as a knockout blow against the Bush family political dynasty.
George P. Bush, son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George HW Bush, fought his way to the runoff and lost to an incumbent who is accused of alleged securities fraud and who he was accused by his own staff of abusing his power.
But Paxton, addressing the pro-Trump crowd in Washington on January 6, 2021, before the storming of the US Capitol, never seemed like he was losing what had initially been a four-way race.
Alabama Senate race advances to second round
The Alabama Senate candidate that Trump rejected will go to the second round.
In the Republican primary to replace retired Sen. Richard Shelby, Shelby’s former chief of staff and executive director of the Alabama Business Council, Katie Britt, was leading the race but fell short of the 50% required to avoid a runoff.
In second place, and poised to take on Britt in the runoff, is Congressman Mo Brooks, a staunch conservative whom Trump had previously supported. But when Brooks fell in the polls months before the primary, Trump nullified his endorsement.
Trump alleged that he had withdrawn his support for Brooks because he had become “woke” in suggesting that Republicans should look ahead to 2022 and 2024, rather than focusing on Trump’s complaints about the 2020 election. abortion rights and other Republicans, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, stayed with the Alabama congressman.
The winner of the June 21 runoff is almost certain to win in November in the heavily red state.
Sanders one step closer to the Arkansas governor’s mansion
Former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is one step closer to being part of the first father-daughter combo to run the same state — albeit years apart — and returning to the governor’s mansion in which he grew up.
Citizen Free Press predicted Tuesday that Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, would win the Republican primary for governor of the state. Victory was expected after Sanders cleared the air, forcing Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Arkansas Lt. Governor Tim Griffin to end her campaigns.
Sanders’ victory is also one for Trump, who endorsed his former press secretary, and positions her for an almost certain victory in November: Although Arkansas has voted Democrat in the past -see: former Governor Bill Clinton-, the state it has moved much further to the right in recent decades.
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