Primary Elections Live: Calls to Race in Arizona, Missouri and News Updates

As Donald J. Trump’s Republican Party wing flexed its muscles in primaries across the country on Tuesday, a remarkable victory for abortion rights in Kansas, coupled with a few losses for Trump-style candidates, suggest that this year’s midterms are a trickier environment for hardline conservatives than Republicans once believed.

But there’s a twist: In places where the night has been the roughest for the far right, the Republican Party may well benefit in November.

In Missouri, the defeat of former Gov. Eric Greitens in the Republican Senate primary means the seat of retiring Sen. Roy Blunt will likely remain safely in GOP hands. And in Michigan, Tudor Dixon, a GOP gubernatorial candidate backed by the state’s powerful DeVos family (and, in recent days, Mr. Trump), has defeated several far-right rivals to organize what could be a competitive general election against Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.

Where Trump-backed candidates have prevailed, Democrats can thrive. This is especially true in West Michigan, where a candidate backed by former President John Gibbs narrowly beat one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, Representative Peter Meijer. Mr Gibbs’ victory gave Democrats a golden opportunity to grab a seat that has been redrawn to lean towards their party.

Here are five takeaways from a big election night in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

Kansas is rocking the nation and the midterm elections with its vote on abortion.

Voters in dark red Kansas delivered a wake-up call to Republicans across the country, signaling that abortion has the potential to energize voters whom the GOP had hoped would remain disengaged. Democrats will likely use the vote to try to build momentum and paint Republicans as out of step with the majority of Americans on the issue.

The vote in Kansas, which resoundingly rejected a referendum that would have removed the right to abortion from the state Constitution, was the first test of Americans’ political attitudes on the issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. He revealed that from the bluest to the reddest counties, abortion rights have surpassed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s performance in the state in 2020.

Credit…Arin Yoon for The New York Times

As the polls began to close, Scott Schwab, the Kansas secretary of state, said election officials expected voter turnout to hit around 50% – well above the 36% his office had predicted before Election Day, and particularly stunning for a primary in a non-presidential election year.

It’s too early to tell the partisan breakdown, but early results indicated that strength on the abortion rights side was not limited to Democratic areas.

The referendum was defeated not only in moderate and increasingly blue areas like suburban Kansas City, but also in some conservative parts of the state. The swing zones rotated to the left.

As both parties eye elections this fall in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona that could help decide the future of abortion rights, Kansans showed that the political winds on the issue were changing.

Another impeachment vote loses his seat.

For much of this year, a 2021 vote to impeach Mr. Trump for instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has seemed like a career-ending move for a House Republican.

Of the 10 who voted, four retired before they could face the primary electorate. One of them, Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina, was defeated by a Trump-backed Republican. One of them, Representative David Valadao of California, survived the night of the primaries to remain on the ballot in November.

Tuesday was a major defensive position for the anti-Trump GOP, with three of the four remaining Republicans who voted for impeachment facing the former president’s wrath on the ballot. Races for two in Washington, Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, were too close to call – and one, Mr. Meijer, did not survive.

There was a lot of drama. Mr. Meijer was fighting not only Mr. Trump-backed Mr. Gibbs, but also the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which spent more than $400,000 on publicity aimed at uplifting the unrecognized Mr. Gibbs, in hopes that he might be more easily defeated. by Hillary Scholten, the Democrat, in November.

Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

Ms. Beutler’s Trump-backed opponent, Joe Kent, is a square-jawed retired ranger whose wife was killed by a suicide bomber in Syria. Mr Kent has turned to the hard right, expressing sympathy for the January 6 rioters and repeating false claims of a stolen 2020 election.

The Democrats’ high-risk strategy of raising an election-denying conspiracy theorist in Michigan has worked so far: Mr. Gibbs will be the Republican nominee in a newly drawn seat that Mr. Biden would have won by nine points. percentage in 2020. If Mr. Si Gibbs wins in November, the recriminations against the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will be brutal.

But if both impeachment supporters win in Washington, that would mean more of the 10 who faced primary voters survived than they were defeated. Later this month, Rep. Liz Cheney will be the last of 10 to face voters.

Meanwhile, the former president’s winning streak in the Republican Senate primaries continued to roll in Arizona, where political newcomer Blake Masters won the nomination after receiving an endorsement from Mr Trump. .

Another conspiracy theorist comes closer to overseeing elections.

While Mr. Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is loosening slightly, his false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen have persisted and spread among top Republican candidates. And the primary victories of some candidates on Tuesday could make the issue of democratic elections a central theme in their November general elections.

Mark Finchem, who has identified himself as a member of the Oath Keepers militia in the past and brandished wild false allegations of election irregularities, won the Republican nomination for secretary of state in Arizona.

He will be vying in November for a job overseeing future elections in a state Mr Biden narrowly won in 2020 and where election conspiracy theorists have wreaked havoc ever since.

Credit…Rebecca Noble for The New York Times

The Arizona gubernatorial race between Kari Lake, a conspiracy-minded, Trump-backed candidate, and Karrin Taylor Robson, an establishment-favored rival, was too close to call. If Ms. Lake wins on top of Mr. Finchem and Mr. Masters, it would wipe out the non-election candidates backed by the top-ranked former president in Arizona.

In Missouri, Republican primary winner for the open state Senate seat, Eric Schmitt, led several other state attorneys general to appeal to the Supreme Court in 2020 to retake and possibly overturn the election victory of Mr. Biden in Pennsylvania.

And in Michigan, Ms. Dixon, a conservative commentator who won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, wavered when asked if Mr. Biden’s 154,000-vote win in her state was legitimate.

Election officials also continue to battle conspiracy theories. In Michigan, prominent election deniers who clung to the lies of a stolen 2020 presidential contest organized to sign up as scrutineers and forced officials to respond to a series of specious allegations and security concerns.

In Arizona, Republican lawmakers who questioned Mr. Biden’s victory in their state on Tuesday called on people to stake out drop boxes to make sure no one illegally stuffed them with ballots, according to advocacy groups. voting rights and local reporting.

Shame still exists in politics (but it’s a low bar).

Mr. Greitens’ decisive defeat in the Missouri Senate Republican primary showed that after all the tumult of the past six years, there are still lines that cannot be crossed in politics. Mr. Trump once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and not lose any supporters.

Credit…Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

Mr Greitens resigned as governor of Missouri in 2018 amid accusations he lured a former girlfriend into his home, tied her up, ripped her clothes off, photographed her partially naked , for threatening to publish the photos if she spoke and for forcing her to perform. oral sex.

He thought he might make a political comeback as a United States Senator. Even after his ex-wife accused him in an affidavit of physically assaulting her and one of their young sons, he continued, denying the allegations and arguing that his accusers had been manipulated by the RINOs of the establishment, or Republicans in name only.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Greitens had collected less than 19% of the vote, a distant third place. The rancid mud still sticks.

The results set up three competitive gubernatorial races.

Governor Whitmer has maintained much higher approval ratings than Mr. Biden as she led Michigan through a pandemic, economic crisis and dam collapse.

But she could face a tough competitor in Ms Dixon, who has managed to unite the warring factions of her party allied with Mr Trump and the state’s wealthy DeVos family. Ms Dixon said she decided to run for office out of anger at Ms Whitmer’s policies, particularly health restrictions at the start of the pandemic which were among the strictest in the country.

Races in Arizona and Kansas could prove even closer.

In Arizona, Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state and now the party’s gubernatorial candidate, has become a leading advocate for the state’s 2020 election results who has resisted death threats that have prompted 24 hour security from state troopers.

She will face Ms. Lake or Ms. Taylor Robson, who has the endorsements of former Vice President Mike Pence and Governor Doug Ducey, whose time is limited.

In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, will take on Derek Schmidt, the state’s Trump-backed attorney general. It’s a tough landscape for Democrats, but Ms. Kelly’s approval ratings are relatively strong. A former state senator, she rose to higher office in 2018 after defeating Kris W. Kobach, a Republican known for his specious warnings about voter fraud and illegal immigration. Mr. Kobach won the Republican primary for Kansas attorney general on Tuesday.

Maggie Astor and Nate Cohn contributed report.

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