“Trump’s REVENGE as Ultra MAGA Candidates DOMINATE Primaries,” exulted far-right Christian nationalist Steve Turley in his Wednesday newsletter. Indeed, Tuesday’s primary elections in several states gave major wins to Big Lie-promoting allies of former President Donald Trump, though there were exceptions to the Trumpist wave.
In a major defeat for anti-abortion activists, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum to remove abortion rights from the state constitution, which would have given legislators the ability to pass the kind of outright ban anti-abortion forces have put into place in other states. The huge margin of victory and massive voter turnout suggest that the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade could be a powerful motivator for pro-choice voters this fall. Pundit Todd Starnes called the Kansas vote a “crushing defeat” for anti-abortion forces. Anti-choice activist Lila Rose called it a “tragic setback.”
Here are some highlights:
Arizona was a blowout win for Trumpism, extremism, and threats to elections. Election conspiracy theorist and Oath Keeper Mark Finchem won GOP primary for secretary of state. Blake Masters, backed by anti-democracy billionaire Peter Thiel, won the Senate primary and will have unlimited funds to attack incumbent Mark Kelly.
In very close race for governor nomination, Trump’s candidate Kari Lake pulled ahead of Mike Pence-backed developer and former member of the Arizona board of regents Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake has claimed victory even though news organizations have said the race is too close to call. Like Finchem, Lake is a hard-core promoter of lies about election fraud and says as gov she will refuse to “take orders” from the “illegitimate” Biden; she has said if she wins she will direct the attorney general to seize election equipment from 2020. “We have God on our side,” she declared.
Rep. Paul Gosar and state Sen. Wendy Rogers, associates of white nationalist Nick Fuentes, won their primaries.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who testified before the Jan 6 committee about the abuse he faced for resisting Trumpists’ demands to try to overturn the election, was defeated in his bid for state senate. Former state AG Tom Horne has won the primary for state superintendent of education, an office he has held previously and used to push hard-right agenda such as a ban on ethnic studies; he has pledged to ban bilingual education and create a hotline for reporting suspected teaching of critical race theory.
In the U.S. senate primary in Missouri, scandal plagued Eric Greitens and Rep. Vicky Hartzler were defeated by Erick Schmitt, who ran on “America First” themes; as state attorney general he had led the state into legal challenges of the 2020 presidential election results. Schmitt has pledged not to support McConnell for Majority Leader.
In Michigan, Trump and his allied successfully targeted Rep. Peter Meijer, who had backed Trump’s impeachment; Meijer was defeated by former Trump official John Gibbs. Winning the gubernatorial nomination was Tudor Dixon, who had been backed by the DeVos family and endorsed late in the race by Donald Trump. During the campaign, Dixon vowed to sign legislation “that creates severe criminal penalties for adults who involve children in drag shows.” A “no exceptions” supporter of abortion bans, she made a national media splash when she insisted that a 14-year-old raped by her uncle should be forced to carry the child to term. Kristina Karamo, who hopes to become the GOP nominee for secretary of state, is among the Big Lie promoters hoping to be in positions to run elections in 2024.
In Washington state, Trumpists did not fare so well. They targeted two incumbent Republicans who had voted for Trump’s impeachment, Jaime Herrera Beutler in 3rd CD and Dan Newhouse in the 4th. Their races have not been called, but both incumbents appear set to make the runoff in WA’s top-two all-party primary, while their Trumpist challengers Joe Kent and Loren Culp are currently trailing.