From Las Vegas to Lewiston, Maine, the contours of critical midterm contests entered the picture on Tuesday as Americans voted in major federal and state races in five states.
In Nevada, where the House, Senate and Governor races will be held this fall, Republicans have put forward several candidates who have embraced former President Donald J. Trump’s lies about a stolen election — even as the candidates he supported having a mixed night in South Carolina, where he had sought revenge on two incumbent House officials.
In Maine, a well-known cast of characters ran in highly competitive general election races for governor and for a House seat that is arguably one of the hardest-fought in the nation. But in Texas, Republicans overturned a seat in Rio Grande Valley — albeit only towards the end of the year — as the party tries to get through to Spanish voters.
Here are a few takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries:
Election deniers have the upper hand in Nevada.
Republican candidates who have embraced Mr Trump’s lies about voter fraud have been nominated for several positions of considerable power in one of the most competitive political battlefields in the nation.
Among them Jim Marchant, an organizer of a network of election deniers in 2020. Mr. Marchant, who won Nevada’s Republican primary for secretary of state, is also a failed congressional candidate who declared himself a “victim of voter fraud” after being defeated in 2020, and his “No. First priority will be to overhaul Nevada’s fraudulent electoral system.”
Mr Marchant was among an alternate list of pro-Trump voters trying to undo President Biden’s 2020 Nevada victory, and he has said he would have refused to certify the election had he been secretary of state at the time.
Adam Laxalt, the former Nevada attorney general who won his party’s Senate nomination on Tuesday with Trump’s backing, was one of the leaders of Trump’s campaign to reverse the Nevada results.
And in the Republican primaries to challenge Representative Steven Horsford, a Democrat, the top two finishers had been tallied with 40 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press, Annie Black, a state legislator who said she would sit outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. used to be. , 2021, and Sam Peters, who has suggested he would not have voted to confirm the 2020 election results and questioned the legitimacy of Mr Biden’s victory.
Their victories come as a bipartisan House panel investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack has shown testimony from Mr Trump’s former top advisers discussing Mr Trump’s claims.
“He’s disconnected from reality if he really believes this,” William P. Barr, the former attorney general, told the panel.
Critical racing in Nevada comes into the picture.
Nevada reaffirmed its status as the focal point of the political universe on Tuesday as several major general election contests took shape that will have significant implications for the balance of power in Washington.
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, will face off against Mr. Laxalt, who comes from a prominent political family. His stances on issues like election integrity may conflict with some voters in a state that hasn’t supported a Republican for president since 2004.
But Ms. Cortez Masto is arguably the Senate’s most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. And there are signs that Nevada, which currently has one of the highest gas prices in the nation, could be especially difficult terrain for Democrats this year as they grapple with a brutally challenging political environment shaped by issues like rising inflation and the President Biden’s weak approval rating.
Those dynamics will also affect the governor’s race as Governor Steve Sisolak prepares for a challenge from Clark County Sheriff’s Joe Lombardo. And all three incumbent members of the state’s Democratic House sit in highly competitive seats.
South Carolina shows the power, and some limits, of a Trump endorsement.
After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, two members of the House from South Carolina broke with most of their fellow Republicans to thrash Mr. Trump as complicit in the attack. On Tuesday, only one of them won against a Trump-backed primary challenger.
Representative Nancy Mace, who had said she held Mr Trump “responsible for the events that took place, for the attack on our Capitol,” defeated her challenger, Katie Arrington, a former state legislator. But Rep. Tom Rice, who stunned many observers with his vote to impeach Trump, lost to State Rep. Russell Fry while campaigning in a more conservative district.
A Trump endorsement isn’t always positive, as other primary election results this year have shown. But the lingering influence of the former president on the Republican base is undeniable. And openly challenging him remains politically dangerous for Republican candidates, as several people who voted to impeach have experienced.
Despite her initial sharp criticism of Mr Trump, Ms. Mace – who did not vote for impeachment – continued rapprochement with Trump loyalists, including appeal from outside Trump Tower as part of its wider campaign pitch.
Mr. Rice, on the other hand, appeared to be sharper in his denunciations of the former president in the final stretch of the race.
“It’s not about my voting behaviour. It’s not about my support for Trump. It’s not about my ideology. It’s not because the other man is good,” Mr. Rice said. “There’s only one reason why he’s doing this. And it is only for revenge.”
Making that argument proved fruitless for Mr. Rice. On Tuesday, he became the first Republican to vote for impeachment and was defeated in a primary.
Republicans are winning in the Rio Grande Valley and calling it a whistleblower.
Republicans are trying to get through to Spanish voters this year after faring much better than expected in parts of South Texas in 2020 — and they went straight to a special election victory in the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday as a whistleblower for the region. .
Understand the 2022 midterm elections
Why are these midterms so important? This year’s races could tip the balance of power in Congress to Republicans, shattering President Biden’s agenda for the second half of his term. They will also test former President Donald J. Trump’s role as GOP kingmaker. Here’s what you need to know:
Mayra Flores, a well-funded conservative, won a seat vacated by former Representative Filemon Vela, a Democrat, who stepped down earlier this year. Ms. Flores avoided a runoff that some had anticipated, and her fundraising greatly surpassed that of her closest Democratic competitor, Dan Sanchez.
She becomes the first Republican from the district and the first Latina Republican from Texas in Congress. Her term ends at the end of this year.
In a November election that will decide who will represent the district for a full two-year term beginning in January, Ms. Flores will face Representative Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat from a neighboring district. The district has been redrawn so that the general election is overwhelmingly democratic, and Mr. Gonzalez prefers to win.
Democrats also say they are more focused on other races that they expect will be more competitive in the general election.
But Republicans were quick to emphasize what they saw as greater significance in Ms. Flores’ victory.
“Mayra has sent a resounding message to the Democratic Party in South Texas and across America — Democrats don’t have the Spanish vote,” said New York Representative Elise Stefanik, whose political action committee endorsed Ms. Flores.
Mrs. Flores envisioned her race as having national and even celestial implications. “Today is the day we can make history together and jump start the great red Divine wave!” she declared.
In a rematch at Maine House, changing political winds cause trouble for Jared Golden.
Representative Jared Golden of Maine is the rare Democrat representing a district that Mr. Trump won. Former Representative Bruce Poliquin, a Republican who narrowly defeated Mr. Golden in 2018, will now urgently work to change that.
Poliquin, who won his primaries easily on Tuesday, is embarking on a rematch against Mr. Golden in a vastly different political environment from their last game, when opposition to Mr. Trump fueled a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives.
This time, the Democrats face dizzying political headwinds.
Golden, a naval veteran who has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, has often broken with the national party — last week he voted with Republicans against some Democratic gun control measures — and the race for Maine’s second congressional district is now set to test how many independent personal brands can help candidates avoid a brutally challenging political environment.
Maine’s race for governor is also expected to be fiercely contested. On Tuesday, former Governor Paul LePage – a bombastic Republican – became his party’s nominee. He will be up against Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat.