Here are key takeaways so far from Tuesday’s primaries
From CNN’s Eric Bradner, Dan Merica and Gregory Krieg
Kansas voters handed abortion-rights advocates a massive victory Tuesday, surging to the polls to defeat a measure that would have allowed the GOP-led legislature to impose new restrictions.
The vote in Kansas was one of the first tests of the potency of abortion rights at the ballot box since the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade and end the federal protection of abortion access.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, local elections officials were still counting votes to determine whether a slate of statewide candidates who were endorsed by former President Donald Trump and promoted his lies about election fraud won their Republican primaries.
In Missouri, the political comeback of a former governor was shut down. And in Michigan, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump was ousted, while the matchup was set for what will be one of the key gubernatorial races this fall.
Here are some key takeaways so far from Tuesday’s primaries:
- Kansas maintains constitutional right to abortion: Kansas voters sent a dramatic message on Tuesday, opting to maintain the right to an abortion in their state’s constitution just weeks after the US Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade. Polls have long shown that voters overwhelmingly support protecting abortions rights. But the win for the “no” vote in Kansas is proof of that and signals that the Supreme Court decision has further angered voters and possibly shifted the politics of the issue ahead of the November elections. The “no” leaves the state constitution unchanged. While lawmakers in the state can still try to pass restrictive abortion laws, courts in Kansas have recognized a right to abortion under the state constitution. The biggest warning to Republicans, many of whom have trumpeted the overturning of Roe and backed pushes to pass stricter abortions laws, is perhaps the turnout in Kansas. With 78% of the vote in on Tuesday night, nearly 700,000 people have cast ballots in the primary, a figure that already dwarfs the turnout in the 2020 presidential primary election.
- Greitens’ attempted comeback falls flat: Republicans in Missouri breathed a sigh of relief after state Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the wide-open Senate primary, according to a CNN projection. Perhaps more significant than who won, though, in the deep-red state, is who lost: disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens, who was attempting a political comeback. Greitens resigned in 2018 amid a sex scandal and accusation of campaign misconduct, and subsequently faced abuse allegations from his ex-wife, which he has denied. Schmitt, the attorney general, emerged from a crowded field that included two members of Congress, Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long. Former President Donald Trump stayed out of the race, issuing a tongue-in-cheek statement supporting “Eric” on the eve of the primary — leaving it up to voters’ interpretation whether that meant Schmitt or Greitens.
- A member of the “impeachment 10” is defeated: Rep. Peter Meijer became the second of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump to be ousted in a primary Tuesday, losing to Trump-endorsed conservative challenger John Gibbs, CNN projected. Democrats played a role in boosting Gibbs — a calculated decision that has become a flashpoint, angering some Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans. Meijer, a freshman, voted to impeach Trump just days after taking office, after the insurrection of January 6, 2021. Gibbs, meanwhile, backed Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Meijer’s loss means the Grand Rapids-based 3rd District seat will be one of the most competitive House contests in November’s midterm elections.
- Unknowns in Arizona: Arizona’s race for the Republican nomination for governor could depend on whether former President Donald Trump’s supporters turned out in force on election day in a state that conducts its contests largely by mail. Karrin Taylor Robson, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents who is backed by former Vice President Mike Pence and outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey, led former television journalist Kari Lake, a Trump-endorsed election denier, in the early returns Wednesday morning. But the early results were largely mail-in ballots. Votes cast on election day were expected to favor Lake — a result of Trump’s years-long effort to undermine faith in mail-in voting. The Arizona gubernatorial primary was the most significant contest in a set of primaries that tested Trump’s influence over the GOP.
- Dixon casts Michigan governor’s race as referendum on Covid policies: Tudor Dixon, the conservative commentator endorsed by Trump in the final days of the race and backed by large factions of the Michigan Republican establishment, won the state’s GOP primary to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, CNN projected. The clash in Michigan could be one of the nation’s most competitive governor’s races. Whitmer has cast herself as a bulwark for abortion rights in a state where Republicans have sought to enforce a 1931 law that would impose a near-total ban on abortion. Dixon, meanwhile, framed the race in her victory speech Tuesday night as a referendum on restrictions Whitmer imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dixon, a mother of four who is backed by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s family, is also an advocate of school choice — potentially positioning education as a marquee issue in November’s midterm election.
- Progressives suffer another defeat in Michigan: Rep. Haley Stevens’ projected Democratic primary victory in Michigan’s newly drawn 11th Congressional District over fellow Rep. Andy Levin marks another blow against progressives in what has been a mostly disappointing primary season. It’s also a resounding victory for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and its super PAC, United Democracy Project, which has spent millions backing moderate, more staunchly pro-Israel candidates in Democratic primaries. Stevens and Levin are both supportive of Israel, but Levin — who is Jewish — has been more willing to criticize its government’s treatment of Palestinians and is the lead sponsor of the Two-State Solution Act.
Keep reading more takeaways here.
CNN Projection: John Gibbs will win GOP nomination for Michigan’s 3rd District, defeating Rep. Peter Meijer
From CNN staff
Rep. Peter Meijer became the second of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump to be ousted in a primary Tuesday, losing to Trump-endorsed conservative challenger John Gibbs in the GOP primary for his seat in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, CNN projects.
Meijer, a freshman, voted to impeach the then-President just days after taking office, after the insurrection at the US Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021. Gibbs, meanwhile, backed Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Meijer’s loss means the Grand Rapids-based 3rd District seat will be one of the most competitive House contests in November’s midterm elections.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, eyeing the seat as a possible pick-up opportunity, spent more than $300,000 on television ads seeking to bolster Gibbs with pro-Trump GOP primary voters by portraying him as a Trump-aligned conservative.
Meijer, at his election night event at a bar in Grand Rapids, said he’d heard from House Democratic colleagues who were angry about the “hypocrisy that that represented.”
“Obviously the DCCC dropping a half-million dollar ad buy to prop up my primary challenger with seven days to go is not something we liked to see,” he said.
CNN Projection: Washington’s secretary of state will advance to November, as Democrats look to break streak
From CNN’s Andrew Menezes
Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs will advance to the general election in November for the remaining two years of his predecessor’s term, CNN projects.
Hobbs, a Democrat, was appointed to the position by Gov. Jay Inslee in November to succeed Republican Kim Wyman, who resigned to become the election security lead for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Wyman was in her third term when she resigned.
While Washington has become a reliably blue state in recent decades, Democrats haven’t won an election for secretary of state here since 1960.
CNN Projection: Democrat advances in Washington’s 3rd District race as Republicans fight to secure second spot
From CNN staff
Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez will advance to the general election in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, CNN projects.
Washington state has an open primary system, which sees all candidates run on the same ballot, regardless of party, with the top two vote-getters advancing to November.
Republicans are now fighting to secure the second spot. Incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump last year, is seeking a seventh term representing the 3rd District.
Other Republicans in the race include Joe Kent, who has Trump’s backing and says that the 2020 election was stolen. Kent has made Herrera Beutler’s vote for impeachment a center point of his campaign. Author Heidi St. John and state Rep. Vicki Kraft, both Republicans, are also running.
Biden praises Kansas vote to maintain right to abortion in state constitution
From CNN’s Brian Rokus in Washington, DC
President Biden released a statement on tonight’s vote in Kansas maintaining the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution.
“This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions. Congress should listen to the will of the American people and restore the protections of Roe as federal law,” Biden said in the statement.
“The Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade put women’s health and lives at risk. Tonight, the American people had something to say about it,” it adds.
Kansas voters voted “no” on a proposed constitutional amendment, according to a CNN projection.
More background: The vote comes after a 2019 state Supreme Court ruling found the state constitution does protect the right to an abortion. A “yes” vote on the amendment would have removed the right to abortion from the state constitution and allowed GOP lawmakers to pass further restriction or a ban on abortion, while a “no” vote maintains it.
Polls have consistently shown that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is broadly unpopular. A CNN poll released in late July found nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court decision, with even 55% of self-identified moderate or liberal Republicans saying they disapproved of the decision. But the results on Tuesday, the first electoral test of abortion rights after the Supreme Court decision, put an even finer point on that sentiment.
GOP Rep. Meijer slams Democrats for pumping money into primary challenger’s campaign
From CNN’s Eric Bradner in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Republican Rep. Peter Meijer slammed national Democrats for pumping money into his primary challenger John Gibbs’ campaign Tuesday night, saying he’d heard from House Democratic colleagues who were angry about the “hypocrisy that that represented.”
Meijer, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection, was locked in a tight race with Trump-backed Gibbs.
“Obviously the DCCC dropping a half-million dollar ad buy to prop up my primary challenger with seven days to go is not something we liked to see,” he told reporters and supporters in brief remarks at his election night gathering at a bar in Grand Rapids.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pumped more than $300,000 into an advertising campaign portraying Gibbs as too conservative and too closely aligned with Trump — ads designed to boost Gibbs among Republican primary voters.
Meijer said it “may well be in the early morning” when the final outcome is clear in the Grand Rapids-based 3rd District.
“We’re still feeling incredibly confident and incredibly proud of the support we have so far,” Meijer said.
CNN Projection: Kris Kobach will win the GOP nomination for Kansas attorney general
From CNN staff
Kris Kobach will win the GOP nomination for Kansas attorney general, CNN projects.
Kobach is a former Kansas secretary of state and lost bids for governor and US Senate in recent cycles.
Others running in the GOP primary Tuesday for state attorney general included former federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi and state Sen. Kellie Warren.
A staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, Kobach served on Trump’s voter fraud commission in 2017 and was endorsed by the President during his 2018 run for governor, a race he lost to Democrat Laura Kelly in deep-red Kansas.
Kobach has prioritized issues such as border control and was the general counsel and board member for a private border wall project that was at the center of a fraud investigation in 2020.
On the campaign trail, Kobach, who was endorsed by GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former US Attorney General John Ashcroft, vowed to take on the Biden administration if elected attorney general.
CNN Projection: Trudy Busch Valentine will win Democratic nomination in Missouri’s Senate race
From CNN staff
Trudy Busch Valentine will win the Democratic nomination in Missouri’s Senate race, CNN projects. She defeated several other candidates on the ballot.
Busch Valentine will now face Republican nominee Eric Schmitt in the general election in November to fill retiring Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat.
CNN Projection: Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Tiffany Smiley advance in Washington Senate race
From CNN staff
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Tiffany Smiley will advance to the November election in Washington’s Senate race, CNN projects.
The state uses a “top two” primary system where candidates of all parties appear on the same ballot and the top two finishers advance to the general election.
Murray, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate who was first elected in 1992, is seeking a sixth term in office.
Smiley was seen as the leading Republican candidate throughout the race and has the support of national Republicans. Washington voters, though, have not elected a Republican to the US Senate since 1994.
Election deniers, abortion rights and Trump’s influence are on the ballot tonight in several battleground states