Republican primary voters in Colorado on Tuesday resolutely rejected Donald Trump’s political form, choosing more moderate nominees for key positions over a group of candidates who had embraced the former president’s lies about voter fraud.
In Illinois, however, GOP voters sided with Trump, siding with the conservative state senator he had approved as their candidate to run against Democratic administration JB Pritzker and single out Trump’s preferred candidate in a down-state congressional contest. .
Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma and Utah held primaries on Tuesday. Mississippi and South Carolina held second elections, while Nebraska held a special election to replace former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, which was won by Republican Mike Flood.
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s election:
Many Republicans in Colorado were stunned at the prospect of Tina Peters, the indicted Mesa County clerk who has copied Trump’s lies about voter fraud and takes over the state’s electoral machine. On Tuesday, those GOP voters rejected Peters’ bid to run against Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Instead, they nominated Pam Anderson, a former county clerk who has championed the integrity of Colorado’s vote-by-mail system.
It was one of several races in which Colorado Republicans chose more moderate candidates over those who embraced Trump’s election lies and took conservative stances on social issues.
In the primaries against Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, businessman Joe O’Dea, who supports abortion rights in addition to late-term abortions, defeated state representative Ron Hanks, who is against abortion in all cases. Hanks was in the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but told DailyExpertNews he hadn’t gone in and spawned false conspiracy theories about voting machines and widespread voter fraud.
And in the governor primaries to face Democratic Governor Jared Polis in November, Heidi Ganahl, a member of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, Greg Lopez, defeated Parker’s former mayor who falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
It was a very different story in Illinois, another Democratic-oriented state where Republicans hope that economic and historical factors that tilt in their favor this year will lead to surprises in November.
Darren Bailey, a conservative state senator backed by Trump and backed by billionaire Republican donor Dick Uihlein, won the gubernatorial primary.
“Darren is just the man to take it on and beat one of the worst governors in America,” the former president said at a rally over the weekend.
Bailey called Chicago a “crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hell” in a debate, though he wants to run for governor of the state for which Chicago is the economic center. In the 2019 state legislature, he sponsored a resolution that would separate Chicago from the rest of Illinois; as a candidate for governor, he has withdrawn from that position.
Meanwhile, in the 15th Congressional District, where incumbent Representatives Mary Miller and Rodney Davis were drawn into the same district last year, Miller had the upper hand.
Miller, a controversial first-term lawmaker, voted to object to the 2020 Electoral College results in Pennsylvania and Arizona and won Trump’s approval despite being pushed back from the House GOP leadership.
In a speech last weekend with the former president, Miller declared the Supreme Court’s quashing of Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life.” (A spokesperson claimed she was mistaken and wanted to say “right to life.”)
Elsewhere in Illinois, Democratic Rep. Sean Casten win his party’s nomination for the 6th Congressional District, by another Democratic House member, Rep. Marie Newman, to be defeated in another incumbent vs. incumbent as a result of last year’s reclassification process.
Newman was serving her first term but faces a House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations that she may have promised federal employment to a primary challenger in exchange for their political support. Newman has denied the allegations, saying the complaints were politically motivated.
A pro-Israel group had advertised against Newman, criticizing her for voting against $1 billion last year to fund Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo lost his seat in a Mississippi primary on Tuesday, falling to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell.
Like Newman, Palazzo joined the campaign and was confronted with a whole host of ethical issues. Those include alleged misuse of campaign and congressional funds and criticism of his use of proxy voting. Still, earlier this month, he finished atop a field of seven candidates, but with only about 31% of the vote. The opposition consolidated in the second round and likely sent Ezell to Congress from the heavily Republican Gulf Coast district.
Palazzo, a military veteran, was first elected during the 2010 tea party wave. But last year, a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial” evidence that he used campaign and congressional funds for personal use, dispatched staff to do personal errands, and tried to exercise his official power to help his brother re-enlist in the navy.
The report has been submitted to the House Ethics Committee for review. He has denied any wrongdoing.
The congressman has also been criticized for his use of proxy voting, despite having previously denounced the practice, leading critics to label him as a “No-Show Palazzo.”
Palazzo did not help his reputation in the neighborhood when he canceled a performance at a candidates forum in May, citing “national security meetings”. Later that evening, he posted photos online of him and his son eating at a local restaurant during the event.
Two years ago, Danny Davis, the former Illinois Democratic representative, easily defeated a progressive challenger, community organizer Kina Collins. Collins, 31, tried again this year to oust the 80-year-old incumbent – but Davis again triumphed, although the race was much closer than it was in 2020.
This time, Collins was supported by a progressive infrastructure, including Justice Democrats. But the race in Chicago’s 7th district also underscored some voters’ frustrations over aging Democratic leadership, in a party where the top three members of the House are all 80 years of age or older and President Joe Biden is 79.
Edward Solan, a 75-year-old retiree from Oak Park, said he voted for Collins because Davis has “been around too long and it’s time for a change.”
“Danny Davis is older than me. I knew when it was time to retire, and I think it’s time for him to do so,” Solan said. “Not that I disagree with his record, but it’s time to move on.”