Democrats also have key primaries, including for the battleground Arizona governor’s contest. And in a race outside Detroit, Rep. Haley Stevens won a primary in a blue district that pitted two sitting House members against each other.
But one of Tuesday’s biggest votes doesn’t involve candidates. Instead, Kansans rejected a state a constitutional amendment that would have said there is no explicit right to an abortion, the first time voters have been able to weigh in on abortion policy since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision earlier this year. The stunningly wide margin in the otherwise red state is an early sign that the Supreme Court’s decision could totally upend the midterms.
Still uncalled, along with the key Washington state primaries, is the Arizona GOP gubernatorial nomination, with Trump-endorsed Kari Lake in the lead and counting continuing. Here is the latest.
Schmitt wins in Missouri
Schmitt’s path to victory in Missouri careened to a bizarre end Monday when Trump endorsed “ERIC” — a reference to both Schmitt and the former governor.
Trump hemmed and hawed about getting involved in a race, before ultimately trying to back both men on Monday.
It is a victory for both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies. Republicans in D.C. were pulling for anyone but Greitens to win the nomination, believing that the former governor’s checkered past — he is facing accusations of abuse and sexual assault from his mistress and his then-wife, which he denies — would put the seat in play.
Trudy Busch Valentine, an heir to the Busch beer empire, won the Democratic primary, and there is also an independent seeking a spot on the ballot: John Wood, who has support from a well-funded super PAC backed by former GOP Sen. John Danforth. But with Schmitt beating out Greitens, the Republican will likely be a strong favorite going into November.
Impeachment on the ballot
A trio of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the beginning of 2021 are facing voters Tuesday as well.
Meijer lost to Gibbs in the Republican primary, in a district that got significantly bluer during redistricting. Gibbs had a low-spending campaign on his own — but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee swooped into the district in the closing weeks of the race to run TV ads “attacking” him, with the end goal of hoisting him over the finish line in the GOP primary. The Democrats are hoping Gibbs is easier to beat in November than Meijer would be.
And in Washington State, two other Republicans are facing impeachment-fueled primary challengers: Newhouse and Herrera Beutler. Both have the benefit of running in open, all-party primaries, where all voters cast ballots and the top two candidates of any party advance. Newhouse is in first place in his district, narrowly running ahead of a Democratic candidate and outpacing the 2020 GOP gubernatorial nominee by about 7 points. Herrera Beutler is fighting for second place in her district with the Trump-endorsed Joe Kent.
Setting up major statewide battleground races
Arizona has a trio of major statewide contests on the ballot, with Trump right in the middle of each of them.
Republicans also picked Masters to face off against Kelly in a race that could decide control of the Senate. Masters, a protege of tech titan Peter Thiel who also had Trump’s endorsement, defeated a GOP field that also included Jim Lamon, a businessman who has spent millions of his own money to try to keep pace, and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
At the top of the ticket is the race for governor, which pits former TV anchor Kari Lake against former state board of regents Karrin Taylor Robson in the GOP primary. Trump backed Lake early, while term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence threw their support behind Robson. Lake has built a small lead through Wednesday morning as ballot counting continued through the night.
Democrats also had a primary, but Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — a sitting statewide elected official — easily won the nomination.
In the race to replace Hobbs as the state’s chief elections officer, Republicans nominated one of the most prominent election conspiracy theorists in the country. Mark Finchem, a state lawmaker who scored an early endorsement from Trump, outpaced a splintered field that also includes Beau Lane, an advertising executive running out of the business wing of the party, with Ducey’s support.
Another big statewide race is in Michigan, where Republicans landed on their nominee to face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November. After an incredibly messy primary, Tudor Dixon captured the GOP nod Tuesday evening.
Kansas voters reject abortion amendment
Voters in Kansas were the first since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision to vote on a state ballot measure affecting abortion policy, rejecting the “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment on the ballot on Tuesday.
The amendment would have explicitly stated there is no right to an abortion in Kansas, after the state Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that there was one. Kansas voters rejected the amendment by a little under two-to-one, a stunning rebuke that could be the first sign of major voter backlash to the Supreme Court’s decision.
Member-on-member clash highlights House battlegrounds
Tuesday features one incumbent-versus-incumbent race in Michigan, Stevens beating out Rep. Andy Levin for the Democratic Party’s nomination in a deep blue district after redistricting. The race was a proxy war between different ideological wings of the Democratic Party, and it has also been a battleground over Israel policy, with the super PAC arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) spending millions on the race supporting Stevens, while Levin got backup from J Street.
Outside of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) may be the Republican incumbent facing the most danger on Tuesday. Schweikert — who has faced ethics complaints over his campaign spending — is facing a well-funded primary from businessman Elijah Norton. The district, which narrowly tilted Democratic in the 2020 presidential election, could be competitive in the fall, too.
Three other Arizona districts could be competitive in November. The Republican primary winner in Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran’s district will be favored in the fall in a seat Trump won by 9 points in 2020, while Republicans also hope to challenge for the Democratic-held 4th and 6th Districts, too.
Other competitive districts include one in Kansas, where Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids and Republican Amanda Adkins are headed to a November rematch. And in Washington, Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier is watching to see who will emerge to face her in November.