By Rachel Janfaza and Andrew Menezes, CNN
It’s Election Day in Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas and Minnesota (well, at least in the latter’s 1st Congressional District).
The Republican primaries for governor and Senate in Georgia have captured national attention, with former President Donald Trump flexing his endorsement muscle for former US Sen. David Perdue, who is challenging incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, and for former football star Herschel Walker, who is the front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination.
The Republican primary for the open Senate seat in Alabama is likely heading to a June runoff, with none of the leading candidates expected to secure a majority of the primary vote Tuesday. In March, Trump rescinded his endorsement of US Rep. Mo Brooks in that race. The state’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey, is favored to win her primary in her bid for a second full term, potentially without a runoff.
Arkansas GOP Sen. John Boozman, who has Trump’s backing as he seeks a third term, will be hoping to avoid a runoff in Tuesday’s primary that features three challengers. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as press secretary in the Trump White House, is favored to win the Republican primary for Arkansas governor, an office her father, Mike Huckabee, held from 1996 to 2007.
There are also key US House primaries taking place Tuesday, especially in Georgia and Texas, where the top two vote-getters from the Lone Star State’s March 1 primaries face off in runoffs. There are also competitive primaries for seats seen as safe for either party, where the winners will be overwhelming favorites in November. And in Minnesota, voters in the 1st Congressional District will pick their nominees in the special election for the seat of the late Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn.
House elections are taking place under new congressional lines that were redrawn in redistricting following the 2020 census. Republicans drew the new maps in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas. The special election in Minnesota — which is for the term that ends in January 2023 — is taking place under the existing boundaries.
Here’s a look at the House races we’re watching Tuesday:
Georgia’s 2nd District
Longtime Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop is running for a 16th term representing this southwestern Georgia district that became slightly less Democratic in redistricting but still would have backed Joe Biden by 10 points. Republicans are targeting the seat this cycle, and their fundraising leader in the primary is Army veteran Jeremy Hunt, a West Point graduate who was recently recognized as an “on the radar” candidate by the National Republican Congressional Committee. Hunt is among several Black Republicans running for Congress this year in competitive seats.
Georgia’s 6th District
Two-term Democratic incumbent Lucy McBath opted to run in the neighboring 7th District after redistricting transformed her suburban Atlanta seat from one that backed Biden by 11 points to one that Trump would have won by 15 points. The winner of the nine-way Republican primary will be the favorite for the general election, but it remains to be seen if a candidate will be able to win without a runoff. Emergency room doctor and Marine veteran Rich McCormick, who narrowly lost a bid for the 7th District in 2020, and Trump-endorsed attorney Jake Evans, the former chairman of Georgia’s State Ethics Commission, are seen as the front-runners on the GOP side. Other Republicans running include former state Rep. Meagan Hanson and self-described “Maga Mom” Mallory Staples.
Georgia’s 7th District
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux was the only Democrat to flip a competitive US House seat in 2020. Biden carried her suburban Atlanta district under its current lines by 6 points, but he would have won the new version of the seat by by 26 points. McBath’s decision to run for the redrawn seat sets up an incumbent-versus-incumbent primary with Bourdeaux. McBath, who has a national profile as an advocate for gun violence prevention, raised $4.4 million through May 4, compared with $3.2 million for Bourdeaux. The presence of state Rep. Donna McLeod in the primary could mean this race heads to a runoff.
Georgia’s 10th District
With GOP Rep. Jody Hice running for Georgia secretary of state, several Republicans are looking to succeed him in this district east of Atlanta that stretches to the South Carolina border. The primary will offer a test of Trump’s endorsement power — former Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones, who switched parties in 2021, ended his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in February and switched to the 10th District race with Trump’s backing. But Jones has lagged in fundraising, bringing in $337,000 through May 4. Businessman Mike Collins, the son of the late Georgia GOP Rep. Mac Collins, is the fundraising leader, raising $1.1 million through May 4, including a $531,000 personal loan. This is Collins’ second bid for the seat after losing in a primary runoff to Hice in 2014. Other Republicans seeking the party nod include former state Revenue Commissioner David Curry and businessman Marc McMain, both of whom have partly self-funded their campaigns, and former US Rep. Paul Broun, who held this seat before Hice. The winner of the GOP primary would be favored for November in a seat Trump would have carried by 23 points in 2020.
Georgia’s 13th District
Democratic Rep. David Scott, a member of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, narrowly avoided a primary runoff in 2020 against a progressive challenger, and he again faces primary challenges from his left this cycle, including from former state Sen. Vincent Fort, who is backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. But Scott has held a commanding edge in the money race, raising $1.4 million through May 4, compared with $87,000 for Fort. The winner of the Democratic primary should not have much difficulty in the general election in a district in the southwestern Atlanta suburbs that Biden would have won by 59 points.
Georgia’s 14th District
Controversial Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene holds a significant fundraising advantage over her five primary opponents in her bid for a second term representing this northwest Georgia district. While Greene raised almost $12 million through May 4, her nearest GOP challenger, health care consultant Jennifer Strahan, brought in $392,000. Strahan has the support of some GOP outside groups, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to overcome Greene, who has cultivated a national following and beat back a bid by voters and advocacy groups to keep her off the ballot over her alleged role in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol. On the Democratic side, Army veteran Marcus Flowers has raised more than $8 million through May 4, but the Democratic nominee is unlikely to be a factor in November in a district that would have backed Trump by 37 points in 2020.
Texas 15th District
Democratic Rep. Vincente Gonzalez’s decision to run for a more Democratic-leaning neighboring seat has opened up this South Texas district, where Republicans will be hoping to consolidate their gains with Hispanic voters. Redistricting transformed the seat from one that Trump lost by 2 points in 2020 to one he would have carried by 3 points. His endorsed candidate, 2020 nominee Monica De La Cruz, won the Republican nomination in March. The Democratic primary will be decided in a Tuesday runoff between progressive activist Michelle Vallejo and Army veteran Ruben Ramirez, who also ran for the seat in 2016.
Texas’ 28th District
Progressive immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros forced moderate Rep. Henry Cuellar into a runoff after neither candidate crossed the 50% threshold in the March primary for this South Texas seat. The third-place finisher in that race, Tannya Benavides, has endorsed Cisneros. Cuellar made headlines in January when his home and campaign office were searched by the FBI. He has denied any wrongdoing and his attorney said last month that the congressman was not a target of the probe. The issue of abortion rights has come to the forefront of the campaign, with Cisneros attacking Cuellar’s record as the only House Democrat to vote against legislation that would codify abortion rights into federal law. Cuellar maintains the support of top House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Redistricting made the district more Democratic — Biden would have carried the redrawn version by 7 points — but Republicans sense an opening after recent gains with Latino voters in South Texas. The GOP nominee will also be decided in a runoff Tuesday: Cassy Garcia, a former staffer to Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, faces Sandra Whitten, the 2020 nominee who lost to Cuellar by 19 points.
Texas 30th District
Longtime Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson‘s retirement has opened up this deep-blue Dallas-area seat. State Rep. Jasmine Crockett, a civil rights attorney who was recruited to run by Johnson, narrowly missed winning the primary outright in March when she finished with 48.5% of the vote. She faces Jane Hope Hamilton, a longtime Democratic aide and campaign adviser, in Tuesday’s runoff. Crockett is backed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC and other progressive groups, including the Working Families Party and Our Revolution. Hamilton’s supporters include her former boss, US Rep. Marc Veasey, who represents a neighboring district, and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk. The winner would be heavily favored in November in a seat Biden would have carried by 57 points.
Alabama’s 5th District
The Republican primary for this deep-red northern Alabama seat will likely decide the successor to GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who is running for US Senate. Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong has led the money race, raising $1.1 million through May 4, including some self-funding. Army veteran Casey Wardynski, who was an assistant Army secretary under Trump and served as superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, raised about $553,000 through May 4, which also included some self-funding. Wardynski has the endorsement of the House Freedom Fund, the political arm of the House Freedom Caucus. With six candidates seeking the GOP nomination, the race could be heading for a June runoff if no one clears 50% of the vote Tuesday. Trump would have carried the district by 27 points in 2020.
Minnesota’s 1st District special election
A number of candidates are running in the special primary election for the southern Minnesota seat left vacant by the death of Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn. Leading GOP hopefuls for the nomination include the late congressman’s widow, Jennifer Carnahan, a former chair of the Minnesota Republican Party; state Rep. Jeremy Munson, who has the backing of the House Freedom Fund; and former state Rep. Brad Finstad, an ex-US Agriculture Department official who has benefited from spending by Defending Main Street PAC. Republicans are favored to hold the seat — Trump carried the district by 10 points in 2020. Democrats in the race include Jeff Ettinger, the former CEO of Hormel Foods, and Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration. The primary winners will face off in an August special election to fill the remainder of Hagedorn’s term. The regular primary election for a full term will also take place in August under new district lines.
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