May 24 primary elections: What to watch for in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Minnesota

Here are seven things to watch for in Tuesday’s election in Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas and Minnesota:

Georgia tests the limits of Trump’s grievances in 2020

Trump has made Georgia the centerpiece of his effort to punish Republicans who dismissed his lies about widespread voter fraud that cost him the 2020 presidential race. He pushed Perdue – who lost his seat in the same election cycle that Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate since Bob Dole in 1996 to lose Georgia — to run in the primaries.

But polls show most Republicans in Georgia ignoring Trump’s mission against Kemp and the first-term governor is poised to win easily.

That’s partly because Perdue was a one-note candidate focused on reviving the 2020 election, while Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, aside from his clash with Trump, has a record that makes him popular with voters. of the GOP. He reopened Georgia so early in the coronavirus pandemic that even then-President Trump said it was “too soon.” He enacted a new restrictive voting measure that limited mail-in voting. He imposed a gas tax exemption. He sided with the conservatives by brewing cultural battles over schools.

And perhaps most importantly, Kemp – unlike Perdue – is a proven winner. He beat Democrat Stacey Abrams in one of the nation’s most contested gubernatorial races in 2018. Four years later, Republicans who saw the party lose the presidential race and Georgia’s two Senate seats in the Georgian elections 2020 are all about eligibility, and the winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Abrams again.

“I think Stacey Abrams is a great unifier. I think all Republicans in Georgia will be unified after Tuesday,” Kemp told reporters over the weekend.

Another race will further test Republicans’ readiness to address Trump’s grievances: Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who rose to national prominence after Trump pressured him in early 2021 to cancel Georgia election results, faces several primary opponents, including the Trump-backed representative. Jody Hice.

Can a rejected Republican Trump win a primary?

When Rep. Mo Brooks sought to outline his campaign two days before his Republican Senate primary against Army veteran Mike Durant and former Alabama Business Council Chair Katie Britt, he turned biblical.

“Just call me a modern-day Lazarus,” Brooks told CNN’s Gabby Orr on Sunday, using a resurrection to describe his campaign — one where Trump withdrew his endorsement two months ago because Brooks argued that it was time to look to 2022 and the 2024 election, not Trump’s presidential defeat in 2020.
The primary in Alabama is another test of whether Trump’s sway — or in this case, Trump’s antipathy — is enough to sink a candidate. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the primary, the race between Brooks, Britt and Durant will head to a runoff next month, which Brooks admitted was “very little” to happen.

Alabama is also hosting a gubernatorial primary in which incumbent Republican Governor Kay Ivey faces challenges from the right centered on her decision to use her office to push Alabamians to get vaccinated amid the coronavirus pandemic. As with the Senate race, it’s possible that Ivey could be forced into a runoff.

Georgia prepares key Senate showdown

There’s less drama in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary: Former football star Herschel Walker, who is backed by Trump, has a sizable lead in the polls and is almost certain to become the nominee to take on the Democratic senator Raphael Warnock in November.

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The clash between Warnock and Walker will be one of the showpiece races in the nation’s Senate. With 50-50 control of the Senate up for grabs, Republicans see Georgia as a prime opportunity to win a Democratic seat just two years after Warnock beat Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a special election.

The race sets up a clash over racial issues: Warnock is the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, and has a long history as a civil rights champion . Walker, meanwhile, has long expressed ambivalence on racial issues.

For Republicans, Walker is a risky choice: Women have accused him of violent behavior. He’s also a first-time candidate who largely skipped events that would have forced him to answer tough questions in the primary, so he enters the midterm spotlight largely untested. But he’s also a legend in Georgia, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1982 and became one of the greatest college running backs of all time.

First test of Georgian electoral law

Tuesday’s primary is the first major test of the restrictive election law Georgia Republicans signed into law in 2021.

The law imposes new identification requirements for mail-in ballots and prohibits election officials from sending mail-in ballot requests to those who have not specifically requested them; it also restricts the use of drop boxes for these ballots. Additionally, it is illegal to provide food and water to people waiting to vote – a provision that civil rights groups say was particularly unfair to residents of urban areas facing long lines. waiting.

Republicans signed the law into law amid Trump’s lies about the widespread fraud that cost him the 2020 election. Trump and Republicans in Georgia and other states that have implemented similar new laws have been particularly focused on postal voting.

Despite the new law, early voting broke Georgia’s previous records, with more than 710,000 people having already voted Friday, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Yet assessing the impact of the new law – including any potential issues that arise on Election Day – will only be fully possible after it is in place for a general election.

Sanders looks set to return to Arkansas governor’s mansion

Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders looks set to win the Arkansas governor’s primary on Tuesday, bringing her one step closer to returning to the governor’s mansion she grew up in when her father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee led the state.

Sanders announced his candidacy in January 2021, and his strength in the race — along with an endorsement from Trump — has largely cleared the field, forcing both Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Lt. Arkansas Tim Griffin to end their campaigns.

If Sanders wins in November — while Arkansas has a history of electing Democratic governors, most recently including Mike Beebe, Jim Guy Tucker and Bill Clinton, it has made a dramatic rightward shift in recent years — she will be the first woman to lead the state.

It’s getting tense in Texas

Texans of both parties will return to the polls for a series of ballots to decide primary contests beginning March 1.

For Democrats, the signature race is along the US-Mexico border in the 28th congressional district, where incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar, the latest Democrat in Washington to oppose abortion rights, hopes fending off progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros for a second straight year. cycle.

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Cuellar, who led Cisneros after the first vote but failed to secure a decisive majority, was backed in the campaign by millions in outside spending, led by the United Democracy Project, which is funded by American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Progressive groups Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party, along with a late craze from EMILY’s list, have helped Cisneros stay competitive in the race for money.
On the Republican side, Tuesday evening could mark the end of an era. Lands Commissioner George P. Bush – son of Jeb, nephew of George W. and grandson of George HW – is the underdog in a runoff against incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Despite his myriad legal troubles, Paxton led a group of four with nearly 43% of the vote in the March primary. Bush finished second, with less than 25%. Paxton is seen as a good bet to sufficiently shore up the electorate — about 35% of which was split between Rep. Louie Gohmert and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman — to win the renomination.

Republican-leaning House seat gets special election

Voters along Minnesota’s southern border will head to the polls on Tuesday in the special primary election for the 1st Congressional District to fill the seat left vacant after the death of Rep. Jim Hagedorn in February. Hagedorn’s widow, Jennifer Carnahan, is among the primary candidates.

The district, which spans the entire southern border of the state, leans toward Republicans but was represented by Democrat Tim Walz, now governor of Minnesota, from 2007 to 2019.

The winners of the primary will qualify for the special general election on August 9. Republicans are confident they can keep the red seat in August and possibly November.

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