What to see in Georgia, Texas and elsewhere

ATLANTA – Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday’s primary election as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to battle challengers backed by former President Donald Trump, who is seeking revenge for his 2020 election loss in the state. .

US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is testing Republican voters’ tolerance for controversy in her primaries. On the Democratic side, US Rep. Lucy McBath and US Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux face off after McBath switched districts due to redistricting.

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In Alabama, three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retiring US Sen. Richard Shelby. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is one of the favorites for the Republican nomination for governor.

In Texas, two runoffs are getting a lot of attention: Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to hold off Land Commissioner George P. Bush, while Rep. Henry Cuellar is trying to fend off his progressive challenger in a rematch of 2020.

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What to watch in Tuesday’s primaries in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Minnesota:

GEORGIA

Trump’s desire for revenge has fueled major challenges for Kemp and Raffensperger, who defied his pressure to overturn the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

Trump recruited former US senator David Perdue to take on Kemp for the Republican nomination for governor, but Perdue has fallen behind in polls and fundraising. Kemp is increasingly confident that the GOP will send him to a November rematch with Stacey Abrams, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

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Raffensperger, the state’s top election official, faces a tough challenge from U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who has promoted Trump’s lies that widespread voter fraud or rigging cost him the 2020 election.

Trump’s candidate for the US Senate, soccer legend Herschel Walker, appears to be sailing toward the Republican nomination despite some GOP leaders warning that Walker will be ineligible in November against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock. Walker has been accused of threatening the life of his ex-wife, exaggerating her business history and lying about graduating from the University of Georgia.

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Greene, a political lightning rod, is trying to avoid multiple Republican challengers. The Trump-backed firebrand was stripped of her committee assignments last year for racist comments, her espousal of conspiracy theories and a previous endorsement of violence. A group of voters tried unsuccessfully to remove her from the ballot, accusing her of helping to foment the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

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In the Atlanta area, a new unfavorable district led Rep. McBath to enter a Democratic primary against fellow Rep. Bourdeaux. McBath said his drive to stay in Congress was about fighting for gun safety on behalf of his son Jordan, who was killed in a shooting 10 years ago.

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ALABAMA

Shelby’s retirement launched a heated and expensive primary for the Republican nomination for the position.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks is up against Katie Britt, former Alabama Business Council leader and Shelby’s former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant, best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held captive in the events chronicled in “Black Hawk Down.” ”

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Trump initially endorsed Brooks last year but withdrew the endorsement in March after their relationship soured. Trump has made no other endorsement in the race. The fractured field increases the chances that the race will go to a second round on June 21.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is trying to avoid a runoff as she faces several rivals on her right flank.

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Lindy Blanchard, who was Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia, and businessman Tim James criticized Ivey’s support for a gas tax increase and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that included a temporary mask mandate and calls for people get vaccinated. They also criticized Ivey for a charter school that welcomed LGBTQ students.

Ivey has emphasized his conservative record, including signing legislation, now blocked by the courts, to make abortion a felony at any stage of pregnancy. In a campaign commercial, the governor pulls a gun from her purse to signal her support for concealed carry without a permit.

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ARKANSAS

In Arkansas, US Senator John Boozman is hoping to fend off a challenge from three Republican challengers in a race in which he has had to rely on support from Trump and the state’s leading Republican figures.

The mild-mannered Boozman has taken a more aggressive tone in his campaign ads, promising to complete the wall along the US-Mexico border.

Boozman’s rivals include former NFL player Jake Bequette, who has the support of a super PAC that has run ads attacking Boozman for not being conservative enough, and Jan Morgan, a conservative activist and former television reporter.

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Sanders, the former Trump spokeswoman, is heavily favored in her Republican gubernatorial primary. She faces an unlikely primary challenge from former radio host Doc Washburn.

Sanders has broken fundraising records and focused largely on national issues, running ads criticizing President Joe Biden on issues like inflation while ignoring his rivals.

Five Democrats are seeking the party’s nomination for governor, with nuclear engineer and ordained minister Chris Jones the favorite.

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The candidates are running to succeed Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, who is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election.

TEXAS

Texas held the first primary of 2022 in March, but the runoffs will ultimately settle two important races.

One brings into play the Bush family dynasty: Republican George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has spent the past year challenging Paxton, the two-term attorney general.

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George P. Bush is the last of his family still in public office and finished 20 percentage points behind Paxton in a four-way primary. Since then, Bush’s efforts to bridge the gap have focused on highlighting Paxton’s legal problems, including an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption allegations and a separate 2015 indictment on securities fraud charges.

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Paxton, who has denied any wrongdoing, has broad party support and the backing of Trump.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Cuellar’s candidacy for a 10th term has run into a reinvigorated national battle for abortion rights. His standing as one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress has become a central issue in his runoff against Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney and abortion rights supporter.

House Democratic leaders have lined up behind Cuellar. Cisneros trailed Cuellar by about 1,000 votes in March, but Cuellar fell short of the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff.

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MINNESOTA

A primary election Tuesday in southern Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District is a first step toward replacing Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died of cancer in February. A special general election to fill out the remainder of Hagedorn’s term in the Republican-leaning district is scheduled for August 9.

Hagedorn’s widow, Jennifer Carnahan, has been making the most outspoken appeals to Trump supporters. She was state chair of the Minnesota Republican Party until she was ousted last August after a prominent donor was indicted on sex trafficking charges.

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State Rep. Jeremy Munson, founder of a far-right faction that broke away from the main Republican caucus in the Minnesota House of Representatives, has been endorsed by US Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Former state Rep. Brad Finstad is endorsed by several Minnesota Republican officials. He has reminded voters that he was Trump’s Minnesota director for USDA Rural Development.

On the Democratic side, the endorsed candidate at the party’s district convention earlier this month is former Hormel Foods CEO Jeffrey Ettinger. His opponents include University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, a former White House ethics attorney for President George W. Bush.

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Associated Press reporters Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Ala.; Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Arkansas; Paul Weber in Austin, Texas; and Steve Karnowski in St. Paul, Minnesota, contributed to this report.

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Follow AP for full midterm election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

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Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.

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