Republican Primary Elections Today Will Be a Barometer for Trump
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Several pivotal Republican Primary races will take place today in key states where Trump-endorsed candidates are facing challenges. These elections, primarily in the South, will give us all a better glimpse of the actual level of power Trump still wields within the Republican Party leading into the 2022 Midterm Elections. Today’s elections will be the last real chance that conservative voters have to show that they are breaking away from the stronghold Trump still maintains over the GOP.
Georgia (polls close at 7:00 pm ET)
According to early polls, incumbent Republican Brian Kemp is headed for a big win in Georgia’s gubernatorial primary. Kemp made an enemy of Trump early on when he called the 2020 Presidential Election in his state for Biden, and Trump has used David Perdue to primary Kemp.
If Perdue loses as expected, Donald Trump will have lost millions that went to the Perdue campaign, and he will lose face after staring in Perdue’s TV ads. This would also be Trump’s third loss in a gubernatorial primary this month, following the primary races in Nebraska and Idaho.
Another Georgia race to watch is the Republican Primary for Secretary of State. The race is between current Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Rep. Jody Hice, and it pits an incumbent who refused to bow to pressure from Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election in his favor and a challenger who voted to undo the will of his state’s voters. Hice, whom Trump endorsed hours after he announced his campaign, voted to reject the state-certified election results in Georgia and Pennsylvania on Jan. 6, even after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
While elections typically favor an incumbent candidate, if Republican voters decide to keep Kemp and Raffensperger in Georgia, after both politicians decisively stood up to then-President Trump, it will be a clear indication of whether Trump’s election lie is still a viable strategy within the GOP.
Alabama (polls close at 8:00 pm ET)
Congressman Mo Brooks (R) is attempting to make a comeback in the Republican senate race despite having lost Trump’s endorsement earlier this year. Brooks is running in the Alabama Republican Senate Primary against Army veteran Mike Durant and former Alabama Business Council president Katie Britt.
Brooks drew the ire of Trump when he called on his supporters to start “moving on” from the 2020 election after sinking in the polls. Brooks has continued to campaign with pictures of himself speaking outside the White House on January 6, 2021. This race will provide us with more detail on Trump’s political grip in Alabama.
Opposing Brooks are Britt, a former top Shelby aide, and Mike Durant, who have spent more than $4.4 million attacking each other. Until a few days ago, there were no TV ads highlighting Trump’s rejection of Brooks. Brooks’ campaign saved up for a final push, airing more than $600,000 worth of ads in the last month of the race.
Arkansas (polls close at 8:30 pm ET)
In Arkansas, former President Trump's White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is expected to easily win the Republican primary gubernatorial race. While Huckabee Sanders maintained the loyal support of Trump, she also hails from a political dynasty within Arkansas.
Texas Run-Off Election (polls close at 8:00 pm ET in most of the state and at 9:00 pm ET in the most western part)
A Texas Democratic Congressional Runoff Election will test whether there is still space for anti-abortion Democrats like Rep. Henry Cuellar, a congressman whose reelection bid was complicated in January when the FBI raided his home. Cuellar faces progressive activist Jessica Cisneros, who has made Cuellar's anti-abortion stance central to her campaign following the leaking earlier this month of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. While Texas is still a predominantly conservative state that has its moments of turning purple, this race will be a great measure of how popular or unpopular the impending Supreme Court abortion decision might be in predominantly Republican areas.
I will be live tweeting the election results as we get them along with my assessment of what this means for Trump’s ability to continue to sell his election lie. I would also recommend giving my latest SHERO podcast a listen, where we discuss these impending primary races in more detail here:
Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and hosts the live SHERO podcast on Callin. She is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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