Trump tries for impeachment revenge against House Republicans on busy primary day

0
7

A trio of House Republicans who risked their political careers to support the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump will face voters on Tuesday amid primary challenges from opponents backed by the onetime commander in chief.

Their races are among several key primaries being held Tuesday as the election calendar heats up, just three months out from the general election.

Reps. Peter Meijer (MI), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), and Dan Newhouse (WA) were among the 10 House Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote in favor of impeachment last year. Four of those Republicans chose not to seek reelection this year. Only one, Rep. David Valadao (CA), has survived a primary so far, and he faces a tough general election fight in his Central Valley district.

Another, Rep. Tom Rice (SC), lost a primary in June.

Tuesday will provide the biggest test so far of whether GOP voters can forgive members who rebuked Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

Meijer’s contest has attracted national attention in recent weeks thanks to meddling from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which ran a controversial ad boosting Meijer’s Trump-backed opponent, John Gibbs, in the primary.

Peter Meijer
Rep. Peter Meijer

Joey Cappelletti/AP

Meijer noted Monday that the Democrats spent more money boosting a candidate whose beliefs they decried as dangerous than Gibbs spent on the entirety of his own campaign.

Redistricting has also made Meijer’s western Michigan district more competitive, further complicating his effort to stay in Congress after only two years in office.

In Washington state, Herrera Beutler and Newhouse both face crowded fields in all-party primaries — meaning that the top two finishers on Tuesday, regardless of party, will advance to the general election in November.

That structure gives both candidates more insulation against pro-Trump forces, though candidates endorsed by the former president could keep either from making it on the ballot.

Top primaries in several other states Tuesday will center on Trump’s influence in different ways, from how potent his endorsement remains to whether the message behind his election denial is still appealing to voters.

Here are some of the races to watch.

ARIZONA SENATE 

Trump-endorsed candidate Blake Masters appears to be leading in the primary race for Arizona Senate after taking heat for incendiary comments that his opponents used to paint him as extreme.

Businessman Jim Lamon, who trails in recent polling, has come the closest to Masters in recent surveys. Lamon accused Masters in an ad of being antisemitic.

Lamon has also attacked Masters as insufficiently committed to border security — a huge issue in a state directly feeling the pressure from the Biden administration’s immigration crisis.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, retired veteran Michael McGuire, and Justin Olson, a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, are also in the race.

Trump endorsed Masters in June and helped solidify his front-runner status in the crowded primary.

But some Republicans are concerned the controversial candidate could blow the party’s chance of flipping a Senate seat in November. If he wins on Tuesday, Masters will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who has vastly outpaced his possible GOP rivals in fundraising and who may be a better fit for a state that narrowly swung for President Joe Biden in 2020 than a conservative firebrand.

ARIZONA GOVERNOR

Polls suggest a relatively close contest in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Arizona, where Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have waged something of a proxy war.

Karrin Taylor Robson enjoys the backing of Pence and current Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who is term-limited. Pence traveled to Arizona to campaign with Taylor Robson in late July — touting his chosen candidate the same day Trump traveled to the state to campaign on behalf of his own.

Donald Trump, Kari Lake
Former President Donald Trump and Kari Lake

Ross D. Franklin/AP

That would be Kari Lake, an election denier whose campaign has received a boost from Democrats hoping to face her, rather than Taylor Robson, in the fall.

ARIZONA’S 2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran is hoping to defy unfavorable math in November and win reelection in a newly redrawn district that Trump won by 8 points in 2020.

A trio of Republicans is vying for the chance to make sure he doesn’t.

State Rep. Walt Blackman, former Navy SEAL Eli Crane, and businessman Mark DeLuzio have all raised significant amounts of money and cast themselves as the GOP’s best shot at unseating O’Halleran in November.

Crane is the likely favorite, according to data analysis site FiveThirtyEight, and is running with the benefit of Trump’s endorsement.

Whoever wins on Tuesday will likely be the recipient of piles of cash and lots of attention, as the race in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District will be among the most competitive.

ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE 

Scrutiny of the 2020 election has factored significantly in the GOP primary for Arizona’s secretary of state — a role that came with outsize importance during the last election cycle, when Trump challenged the results in this state.

State lawmaker Mark Finchem is among the most prominent, and controversial, candidates for the job. Finchem attended the Trump rally in Washington, D.C., that preceded the Jan. 6 riots last year and has made questioning the 2020 results a focal point of his campaign.

Mark Finchem
Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem

Steve Helber/AP

Finchem has Trump’s backing.

He faces state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and state Rep. Shawnna Bolick, who proposed a state bill that would allow the Arizona legislature to select its own slate of electors in place of the voter-selected ones in certain circumstances.

Beau Lane, a businessman, is also in the running and has raised significant amounts of money. Lane has Ducey’s backing.

KANSAS’S 3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids will endure a rematch with Republican candidate Amanda Adkins, whom she defeated in 2020.

Adkins lost by 10 points to Davids the last cycle, but the political landscape has tilted considerably away from Democrats since then.

John McCaughrean is hoping to deny Adkins the ability to reprise her role as Davids’s rival in the general election.

Davids’s district is on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s list of targets for the midterm election, as she is believed to be vulnerable heading into November.

KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE

The GOP primary race for Kansas secretary of state has focused heavily on the 2020 election — and whether incumbent Scott Schwab properly handled the results that year.

Republican rival Mike Brown has accused Schwab’s office of being responsible for minor election administration mistakes in recent local contests, such as a printing error last fall that resulted in some voters in Douglas County receiving duplicate ballots.

Election 2022 Secretary of State
Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab

John Hanna/AP

Schwab has defended the way his state counted ballots after the 2020 election and dismissed claims that his team received an outsize number of voter fraud allegations.

The primary could be a test of whether voters will side with a Republican aligned with Trump’s unsupported claims about the 2020 election over an incumbent who has defended election integrity at a time when many Republicans were suspicious of the outcome.

KANSAS ABORTION REFERENDUM

The Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn precedent that protected abortion access has left Kansas, like other states, searching for a path forward on abortion policy.

Voters will have the chance to weigh in on that path this week with a referendum on whether the state should amend its constitution to remove the right to abortion from its text.

It will be the first statewide referendum on abortion since the Supreme Court case.

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR

Republican candidate Tudor Dixon has risen in the polls in Michigan’s gubernatorial primary after languishing for months behind other rivals in the crowded field.

Dixon’s rise came in large part thanks to Trump’s endorsement, as well as the big-money backing of the DeVos family, the wealthy Michiganders whose ranks include former Trump-era Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Kevin Rinke, Garrett Soldano, and Ryan Kelley are also competing for the chance to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whose strict pandemic response earned scorn from the Right and helped make her relatively vulnerable heading into her reelection effort.

MISSOURI SENATE

The crowded GOP field in Missouri’s Senate primary has featured an attempted comeback from a disgraced former governor, a bid from the man whose claim to fame was pointing a gun at protesters during the 2020 riots, and the steady rise of the state’s attorney general.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in 2018 amid sexual misconduct allegations, was once viewed as a formidable primary candidate before slipping in more recent polls. Some Republicans had feared a Greitens victory would put at risk a Senate seat the party expects to win in November with relative ease.

Eric Greitens
Eric Greitens

Jeff Roberson/AP

The seat is open due to the retirement of Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.

Mark McCloskey, the gun-toting attorney whose attempt at protecting his property went viral, made headlines when he jumped into the race but never gained traction.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has led in several recent polls. Rep. Vicky Hartzler is also running.

On the Democratic side, Trudy Busch Valentine, heiress to the Anheuser-Busch beer fortune, has a slight edge in polls against Marine veteran Lucas Kunce. Their primary has also been competitive, though the state is solidly red.

Democrats have pulled off upsets in Missouri Senate races before. Former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill was headed for a possible defeat in the 2012 election when her Republican opponent, Todd Akin, made controversial comments about women who are impregnated during rape that cost him a shot at flipping the seat.

She was defeated handily during her next reelection attempt, even though Democrats overall performed well in the 2018 midterm elections.

MISSOURI’S 1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 

Rep. Cori Bush, a liberal member of the House “Squad” whose far-left positions have made her the occasional object of derision from the Right, faces a primary challenge from the center in her St. Louis district.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Democratic state Sen. Steve Roberts has promised to pursue bipartisanship if voters send him to Washington, and he’s been highly critical of Bush’s approach to crime.

Bush was a vocal supporter of the “defund the police” movement in 2020 and beyond, a position that earned her charges of hypocrisy for employing her own private security.

Roberts has seized on her security detail and her inattention to the crime rates in her district in his long-shot bid to unseat her.