Republican voters in Michigan and Arizona — states at the center of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 rejection campaign — are choosing their nominees in key Senate and gubernatorial races on Tuesday as 2022 The form of the midterm elections came into focus with less than a hundred people just days after Election Day.
Trump’s loss in these battleground states two years ago sparked outrage on the right and swung the Republican primary campaign up and down the ballot into a referendum on its electoral lies. Allies of the former president are looking for positions critical to the balance of power in Washington and state governments, with Republicans looking to gain control of the electoral agency ahead of the 2024 presidential race.
The three House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riots also faced voters for the first time. Michigan Rep. Peter Mayer and Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler — only 10 Republicans to support Trump’s second impeachment Three – each facing a challenger from their own party.
Tuesday also offered voters their first chance to directly respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer to repeal federal abortion rights — an issue Democrats across the country hope will spark their support in the fall. A ballot measure in Kansas asks voters, regardless of political affiliation, whether to amend the state constitution to remove the protected abortion right. The procedure is currently legal for up to 22 weeks in Kansas, where people from Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri travel to seek services amid the Republican-led effort to eliminate abortion rights.
The results of Arizona’s Senate primary, where Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly awaits a Republican challenger, and Missouri, an increasingly conservative state that Trump won by double digits in 2020, will illuminate Democrats’ efforts to maintain a narrow majority the way forward.
In both states, the crowded Republican field has been dominated by election deniers. Late Monday, Trump delivered a simple “Eric” endorsement in the high-stakes race in Missouri, without specifying whether he was referring to state Attorney General Eric Schmidt or former Gov. Gretens, who resigned in 2018 over a sex scandal and allegations of campaign misconduct, also recently faced allegations of abuse by his ex-wife. Gretens has denied all of those allegations, but is seen as an unnecessary risk by some Republican leaders as a potential general election candidate.
Trump said earlier this month that he would not support Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who has the backing of junior Senator Josh Hawley in the state. As one of two members of Congress seeking the nomination, she was critical of Trump after Jan. 6 but still voted against approving the presidential vote and touted her voting record with Trump.
Arizona’s long list of Republican primaries will provide a series of tests for Trump’s allies. Republicans will choose a candidate to face the endangered Democratic Senate incumbent Kelly. Blake Masters, an aide to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, is Trump’s choice in this race. He’s facing off with businessman Jim Lamon, who has invested heavily in a partisan “audit” of Maricopa County and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, The latter recently returned with a report debunking popular right-wing myths surrounding “dead voters” but conflating his defense of the nation’s electoral integrity with condoning conspiracy theory activists.
The race to replace limited-term Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has split the party, with Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence backing Karrin Taylor Robson ), Trump backed former TV reporter Kari Lake, whose campaign was fueled by ex-presidential election lies.
On the Arizona ballot, the Republican favorite for the nomination for secretary of state — and the chance to run the state’s next election — is Trump-backed reject state Rep. Mark Finchem, who appears in January 2021 On the 6th, a rally in Washington. Arizona Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is running for governor and faces Marco Lopez in her primary.
Michigan, another state to switch from red to blue in the 2020 presidential race, will also be a hot spot on Tuesday night as Republicans choose a challenger to Democratic Gov. are seeking re-election. Whitmer is a key Democratic bulwark against Republican power in Michigan, which controls two legislative chambers. The GOP’s long-running campaign to defeat her was complicated by a signature-gathering fiasco that disqualified a handful of hopefuls.
Tudor Dixon, who won Trump’s backing last week, is also backed by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Businessman Kevin Link has become Dixon’s number one competitor.
But the most anticipated race of the night, at least in Michigan, was the Republican nomination in the Western House District, which has become a spark for national infighting between the two parties. Meijer, who was first elected in 2020, is facing a primary challenge from John Gibbs, a fervent election denier running with Trump’s support.
Still, Gibbs was also a beneficiary of Democratic intervention. The party’s House campaign, which sees Gibbs as an unlikely general election candidate, placed more than $300,000 in ads ostensibly attacking his alliance with Trump in an effort to boost his standing in the primary. But that strategy has angered some on the left who think it undermines their broader messaging against political extremism in the GOP, while sparking fears the gamble could backfire if Gibbs is actually elected and makes it to Congress.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the newly drawn 11th Congressional District will have to choose between Rep. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens, who both choose Entering the newly drawn seat presents competing claims to the district and its constituents.
The campaign has become the latest chapter in the proxy fight between moderates and progressives, with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) backing Stevens and his new super PAC, the United Democracy Project, spending more than $4 million to raise her bid. The UDP spending, along with the AIPAC bundling, spurred another pro-Israel group, liberal J Street, to join on Levine’s behalf, buying him a $700,000 ad in July.