The country’s political focus will shift south on Tuesday with elections in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas that will signal voters’ views on national issues and the strength of former President Donald J. Trump’s support powers.
In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp appears to be easily fending off a challenge from former Senator David Perdue in the Republican primary for governor, who would set up a rematch with Stacey Abrams, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Mr. Trump recruited Mr. Perdue to run after Mr. Kemp refused to help undo the results of the 2020 presidential election. A Trump-backed challenger is also trying to oust the Republican secretary of state.
In Alabama, a competitive Republican primary for the Senate is unfolding after Representative Mo Brooks lost Mr Trump’s approval in the race in March. The elections could lead to a second round.
In Texas, voters will decide the second round for the attorney general and a seat in the House in the Rio Grande Valley. The congressional race will pit Representative Henry Cuellar, an anti-abortion Democrat who remains part of an FBI investigation, against Jessica Cisneros, a progressive challenger.
And in Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former Trump press secretary, is expected to win the Republican primary for governor.
Here are a few of the topics we’ll be covering on Tuesday:
In Georgia, Trump’s ‘big lie’ is put to the test.
Mr Trump put Georgia at the center of his crusade against what he falsely claimed was a “stolen” election. But his influence on state politics seems to be waning.
Perdue, a former Kemp ally, has made challenging the results of the 2020 election the focal point of his campaign. He opened all three debates against Mr. Kemp by falsely claiming that he and Mr. Trump were victims of fraud in the Georgia presidential election and the second round of the Senate in early 2021.
Understand the Georgia primaries
The May 24 primaries will feature several Trump-backed candidates in close-quarters races.
Still, Georgian Republicans have been drawn to issues after the last election, focusing on the state’s economy, education and rising crime rates in Georgia’s cities. Partly because of this, Mr. Kemp mr. Outperformed Perdue in recent polls by more than 30 percentage points, surpassing the former senator in fundraising by nearly $10 million.
The only other race in which the 2020 election — and Mr Trump’s influence — is equally prominent is the Secretary of State contest. Republican incumbent Brad Raffensperger fends off a primary challenge from Representative Jody Hice, who has Mr Trump’s backing. Polls show neither candidate has received more than 30 percent of voters’ support, suggesting the race is likely to lead to a runoff election.
Still, there are signs of life among Georgia’s voters: The turnout during the state’s three-week early voting period was 850,000, a big increase from the same time during the 2018 primaries.
This week, Georgia will also kick off one of the country’s most important Senate elections, between Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat who is running for reelection, and Herschel Walker, a Republican backed by Mr. Trump who is widely expected to that he is in his party’s primary.
How will an Alabama Senate candidate fare after being abandoned by Trump?
Representative Mo Brooks, a longtime ally of Mr Trump who was implicated in the effort to undo the 2020 election results, is creating a last minute wave among conservative Alabamans that could see him into a runoff.
But the race continues to be won for everyone. An Emerson College poll of voters in Alabama conducted just days before the primaries showed that Mr. Brooks left two rivals behind: Katie Britt, a businesswoman and former chief of staff to Senator Richard Shelby, who leads the pack, and Mike Durant, an Army veteran.
Mr. Brooks faces headwinds both at home and in Washington. Trump’s move to withdraw his approval in March damaged the congressman’s reputation with the state’s Republican base.
The House Committee investigating the 2021 Capitol riots has asked to interview Mr. Brooks about his comments on the former president’s request to retract the 2020 election results.
And the congressman has made an enemy of minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell, who has put $2 million into a super PAC that opposes his campaign. Mr McConnell supports Mrs Britt for the chair.
Outside money plays a big part in this race, with all three candidates in the top poll being helped by groups that spend millions to beat opponents and label them as out of touch with voters in Alabama. One group, the pro-Durant Alabama Patriots PAC, cut a television commercial that goes after Mr. Brooks and Ms. Britt as “Trump-trashing, tax-raising insiders.” Another, the Britt-supporting group of the Alabama Christian Conservatives, has placed a negative ad targeting Mr Durant, saying he is lenient on immigration and gun ownership.
“Vote Katie Britt,” says the narrator. “She’s one of us.”
Could the abortion issue be decisive in a Texas House primary?
Mr Cuellar is the last anti-abortion Democrat in the House of Representatives. The leak of a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion ruling, this summer could be the second time charm for Jessica Cisneros in her bid to overthrow him.
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:
The renewed struggle for access to abortion has underscored internal democratic tensions as progressives rally behind Ms Cisneros and a handful of moderates defend Mr Cuellar. On Thursday, Representative Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, approved Ms. Cisneros. National abortion rights organizations such as Emily’s List have also financially supported her bid, booking television commercials criticizing Mr. Cuellar.
Ms. Cisneros has the support of several other prominent progressives in Congress, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who have held fundraising pitches on her behalf.
Ms. Cisneros fell 3.6 percentage points short in her 2020 challenge to Mr. Cuellar, for whom she once interned. This time around, his campaign will face not only his record on abortion, but also an FBI raid on his home and campaign office in February. Mr Cuellar has promised he did nothing wrong, and his lawyer has said that although he cooperated in the investigation, he was not the target.
The Texas Attorney General’s Democratic primary has also put abortion center stage, as both candidates frame themselves as potential advocates of abortion access against their Republican opponents, who are likely to be the overwhelming favorites in November.
Rochelle Garza, a civil rights attorney, leads the race, taking more votes in the primary than the other Democrat in the race, former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski. Ms. Garza called the office a “last stand” in protecting Texans from strict abortion laws.
Will the scandal-ridden Texas Attorney General prevail?
Mr. Cuellar is not the only candidate in Tuesday’s Texas runoff who has been the subject of law enforcement investigations for the use of his office.
Ken Paxton, the state attorney general, was indicted and arrested in 2015 on charges of securities fraud. Former aides have said he violated state law by using his office’s influence to help a donor.
But he has maintained his viability in the Republican primary by pursuing a laundry list of conservative priorities, including defending an abortion law passed by the state last year and joining efforts to criminalize transitional care for transgender youth.
With Trump’s backing and relatively strong support from Texas Republicans, Mr. Paxton won a larger share of the vote in the March primaries than his second-round opponent, George P. Bush, the state commissioner of state. .
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is on her way to become governor of Arkansas. What’s next?
Ms. Sanders, a White House press secretary under Mr. Trump, is also political royalty in Arkansas, as the daughter of former Governor Mike Huckabee.
Her status has put her on a slide to the Republican nomination for governor in a scarlet state. It could also position her for higher political office, outside the governor’s mansion.