What to watch in the Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas primaries on May 24

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Tuesday is perhaps the most important primary day yet — potentially of the entire election season — for former President Donald Trump. This is largely because of one state: Georgia.

In 2020, Trump became the first Republican president to lose the state since 1992. He focuses heavily on Georgia’s intraparty battles as a test of the Republican Party’s support for his bogus voter fraud allegations.

Democrats also had drama on Tuesday, with liberal challengers poised for a big victory against the party establishment.

Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s primaries:

GOP Georgia governor: Ground zero for Trump’s attempts to rewrite his 2020 loss

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) is as conservative as they come, but he refused to help Trump reverse his 2020 defeat in the state.

So Trump recruited a big name to challenge him – former Republican Senator David Perdue. Perdue had a windy road to Trumpism. Once an establishment Republican figure, Perdue lost his Senate seat in the 2021 runoff — a loss GOP Senate leaders blame on Trump and his fraud allegations. But now Perdue is wholeheartedly embracing false election claims in his bid to unseat Georgia’s incumbent governor. This month, a federal judge dismissed his 2020 voter fraud lawsuit.

Kemp is heavily favored to win and has the support of the Republican Governors Association — which normally stays out of the primaries, The Washington Post previously reported — as well as the endorsement of former Trump No. 2 Mike Pence.

“It’s not easy to beat a sitting governor,” Trump told the Post in an interview, setting low expectations for this primary. (He’s had mixed success in recent party contests in Idaho, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.) Of Kemp, he said, “I got this guy elected. . I supported him and he won. He’s not good at election integrity, and he’s done a terrible job of election integrity. We’ll see what happens.”

The winner will face Stacey Abrams, a Democratic superstar who narrowly lost to Kemp in 2018.

Georgia GOP Secretary of State: Trump backs another election denier

As with the race for governor, Trump planted his flag in the race for Secretary of State from Georgia to show that his party is behind him in his false allegations of voter fraud. Incumbent Brad Raffensperger has played a major role in 2020 in resisting Trump’s false claims, despite the incumbent president putting enormous pressure on him. After the votes were counted and confirmed, Trump called a reluctant Raffensperger, urging him to “find” just enough votes to overthrow the state.

Two years later, Trump is backing Rep. Jody Hice (R). This race is very close – offering Trump a potentially major victory.

GOP Georgia Senate: All eyes are on Trump’s chosen nominee, Herschel Walker

This Republican primary is crowded, but former football star Herschel Walker should win easily. But it is a somewhat risky choice. Walker has been accused of domestic violence – his ex-wife claims he pointed a gun to her head – and of exaggerating his financial success. Walker said he struggled with mental illness and presented his political career as a story of resilience. He is a first-time candidate and has the support of Trump and top Senate Republicans.

The biggest test for Walker will come in November, when the winner of the Republican Senate primary in Georgia tries to unseat Raphael G. Warnock (D). Warnock won his Senate seat last year in a runoff and is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in the election this year. Simply eliminating Georgia would put the Republicans back in the majority.

GOP Alabama Senate: A Republican loyalist who lost Trump’s support

Few Republican politicians have defended Trump’s bogus 2020 fraud allegations as vocally as Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who spoke at the Jan. 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally and is running for the open seat. of the State Senate. He had Trump’s endorsement – then Trump revoked it after Brooks said he wanted to focus on future elections. (Saying you want to focus “on the future” is often the code GOP politicians use when they disagree with Trump’s bogus claims.) Now Brooks is trying to win without Trump against well-funded opponents, Katie Britt and Mike Durant.

Abandoned by Trump, Brooks finds second wind in Alabama Senate race

Britt has particularly strong ties to Alabama politics. She is the former chief of staff to outgoing senator Richard C. Shelby, who said he would spend millions of his own money to get her elected.

GOP Arkansas governor: Former Trump press secretary is running for governor

One of Trump’s most visible defenders during his tenure is currently running for governor of Arkansas. Sarah Sanders is the former White House press secretary for Trump. His father, Mike Huckabee, also served as governor of Arkansas. She’s the most prominent name on the Republican side and she distances herself somewhat from Trump: “I’m constantly asked, ‘will you be more like your father?’ or ‘will you be like Trump?’ I’m going to be Sarah Sanders,” she told The Associated Press.

Incumbent Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) has a limited term – and a potential 2024 presidential candidate.

Sanders is also campaigning for the re-election of Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), who faces a somewhat unexpected challenge from former NFL football player Jake Bequette, who has the support of a conservative billionaire.

Texas Democrats runoff: Liberal challenges last Texas Democrat to back abortion rights

In March, a 28-year-old liberal forced one of Texas’ longest-serving House Democrats into a runoff, which takes place today. Jessica Cisneros is actually a former intern of Rep. Henry Cuellar. She has the support of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) and argues that in this heavily Hispanic district, voters support more liberal policies like Medicare-for-all.

By contrast, Cuellar is the latest House Democrat to oppose abortion rights, an issue that has suddenly come to the fore thanks to a looming Supreme Court ruling that could overturn abortion rights in any the country.

Cisneros also ran against Cuellar two years ago and almost won. If Cuellar loses, he could be the second Democratic congressman in a week to lose to a liberal challenger. Votes are still being counted in last week’s Democratic primary in Oregon, where Rep. Kurt Schrader (D), who President Biden endorsed, could lose.

Texas GOP attorney general’s run-off: Incumbent plagued by scandal over Bush

Trump’s penchant for endorsing candidates mired in controversy has already cost him several primary victories.

During the Nebraska gubernatorial primary this month, Trump endorsed one of his political donors, Charles Herbster, who was accused by eight women, including a Republican senator, of touching them inappropriately. Herbster lost. Earlier in this election cycle, Trump endorsed Sean Parnell, who dropped out of the GOP contest for the Pennsylvania Senate after losing custody of his children in a divorce battle in which his wife accused him of domestic abuse. .

This brings us to Texas, where Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was forced into a runoff against George P. Bush. (Yes from that Bush family. Her father was Governor of Florida; his uncle and grandfather were both presidents.) Bush served as the commissioner of state lands, an elected office in Texas.

Paxton has spent the past few years mired in a serious scandal. He faces a federal investigation and has been indicted by a state grand jury for felony securities fraud. His top aides accused him of abuse of power and corruption; he fired whistleblowers into his office; the top U.S. Senate Republican in Texas, John Cornyn, said he was “troubled” by the allegations.

Georgia Democratic House: Two well-known Democrats face off over redistricting

Each decade, based on new census data, each state redraws its congressional and state legislative districts. Politicians try to draw lines that benefit their party (called gerrymandering), but sometimes they end up with new districts that pit some of their own legislators against each other. In Georgia, two popular House Democrats face off in a primary after Lucy McBath decides to leave her district, which has been redesigned to be more Republican, and challenge Carolyn Bourdeaux in the safer Democratic district. McBath has greater national prominence, running for office after her son was killed by gun violence. The loser will lose their seat in Congress – a blow to Democrats as they try to hold on to their three-seat majority in November’s midterm elections.


Washington

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