Michigan, Kansas, Arizona and Missouri will all hold primary elections Tuesday evening. As usual, former president Donald Trump has made endorsements in multiple Republican primaries, hoping to expand his influence in the GOP as he promotes candidates who will spread his lies about the 2020 presidential election.
He might also be getting some help from Democrats in Michigan, as they hope to elevate an election-denier to beat a Republican congressman who voted to impeach Mr Trump. Meanwhile, Kansas will be the first test for abortion rights in a post-Roe v Wade world.
Here’s what to watch in tonight’s primaries.
Arizona: Will Trump’s election deniers overtake the GOP establishment
In May, Mr Trump’s attempt to knock off Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and secretary of state Brad Raffensperger failed. But few states captured Mr Trump’s ire and are the focus of his lies that the 2020 election was stolen like Arizona. As a result, he is locking horns with the state’s GOP establishment as he’s endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Blake Masters in the primary to challenge Democratic Senator Mark Kelly and Mark Finchem to serve as secretary state, the top elections oversight official in the state.
Governor Doug Ducey, who passed on running for Senate largely after catching the former president’s ire, and former vice president Mike Pence have endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson for governor. Mr Trump largely spurned attorney general Mark Brnovich, who is running for Senate, for not defending his lies about the election enough. Mr Masters enjoys the financial support of venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who also played a large role in supporting author JD Vance in Ohio’s Senate race.
Kansas: The first abortion referendum in a post-Roe world
Kansas is often–rightly–seen as a Republican bastion. But after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in late June, the state will serve as a weathervane on where even the reddest states are on abortion rights. Anti-abortion advocates want to amend the state’s constitution so that it does not guarantee the right to terminate a pregnancy. If the amendment passes, Kansas’s legislature is likely to pass strong restrictions on abortion. Conservative groups like the Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America traveled to the state to support the passage of the ballot question. In Douglas County, where the University of Kansas is located, 5,800 people cast early in-person ballots, more than double the typical number
Michigan: A Republican who voted to impeach Trump faces a challenge, with help from Democrats
Freshman Republican Representative Peter Meijer joined nine other Republicans to impeach former president Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. In turn, Mr Trump has endorsed John Gibbs, a primary challenger in Michigan’s 3rd district. Mr Meijer, whose family founded the grocery store chain located throughout the midwest, would likely face major challenges by virtue of his vote to impeach Mr Trump.
On top of that, Democrats have gotten involved, as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been running ads highlighting Mr Gibbs’s extreme record. That has earned consternation from Democrats ranging from moderates like Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who told The Independent last week: “I don’t think we should be elevating dangerous elements of the right-wing.”
Missouri pits Josh Hawley against Trump
Throughout the Republican Senate primary in Missouri to replace retiring Senator Roy Blunt, many Republicans have tried to sell themselves as the “MAGA” candidate. In the end, Mr Trump stumped many when he simply endorsed “Eric” on Monday evening, namely because two of the major candidates — attorney general Eric Schmitt and former governor Eric Greitens — have the first name. Many Republicans fear a Greitens victory, given that he resigned from his his role as Missouri’s governor after he allegedly tied a woman to a piece of exercise equipment, blindfolded her and snapped an explicit photo of her to sexually blackmail her.
Similarly, his ex-wife Sheena has accused him of abusing her and her children in a sworn affidavit. Nonetheless, he’s enjoyed some support from Trump-world personalities like Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiance of Donald Trump Jr., who backs Mr Greitens.
Conversely, Senator Josh Hawley has endorsed Representative Vicky Hartzler, whom Mr Trump expressly said he would not endorse. Polling has been scant in the Show-Me state and shown decidedly mixed results, with Mr Schmitt leading many polls but Mr Greitens and Mr Hartzler landing in second place in differing polls.