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GOP voters set to rebuke Trump in Georgia gubernatorial primary

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Tuesday is another busy night of primaries, with voters going to the polls to decide hotly contested races in Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia. There are also runoffs taking place in Texas and a special House primary in Minnesota.

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of races to watch:

Georgia

Republican voters in the Peach State are expected to deal a heavy defeat to Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue and nominate incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp to another four-year term.

Trump has blamed Kemp in part for his 2020 loss to Joe Biden and fumed that the governor wouldn’t overturn the Georgia election results that allowed Biden to become the first Democrat to win the state since 1992.

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The 45th president endorsed Perdue in December of last year, ripping Kemp as a “very weak” governor who let “liberals and RINOs … run all over him on election integrity.”

However, the attacks haven’t stuck, and as polls opened Tuesday, Kemp led Perdue in the polls by an average of 22 points, according to RealClearPolitics. So grim is the outlook for the Perdue campaign that Trump was forced last week to angrily deny reports that he had pulled his support for the former senator.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed David Perdue for Georgia’s governor in December of last year,
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“That is completely FALSE!” Trump said Friday on his social media platform Truth Social. “I am with David all the way because Brian Kemp was the WORST Governor in the Country on Election Integrity!”

Perdue would be the third Trump gubernatorial endorsement to lose a Republican primary this year, joining Charles Herbster in Nebraska and Janice McGeachin in Idaho.

The winner of the GOP primary will go on to face Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is running unopposed, in November.

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Mike Pence and Brian Kemp.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and former Vice President Mike Pence attend a campaign event at the Cobb County International Airport.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In the Republican Senate primary, Trump-backed former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, is expected to cruise to victory and face incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in the fall.

Elsewhere in Georgia, controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is favored to survive a primary challenge from five opponents, having already defeated a bid by voters to have her removed from the ballot over her comments about last year’s Capitol riot.

Also on the ballot is state Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has defended Georgia’s election procedures in the aftermath of the 2020 vote and is being challenged by former Rep. Jody Hice, who has the support of the 45th president.

Ivanka Trump speaks during a campaign event with Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue.
Ivanka Trump speaks during a campaign event with Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Alabama

All eyes are on the Republican race to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby.

The top three contenders are Rep. Mo Brooks; Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff; and Mike Durant, a businessman and former Army helicopter pilot whose aircraft was shot down in Somalia in 1993 — events recounted and dramatized in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

Trump had endorsed Brooks, who spoke at the infamous “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, but later pulled his support in March after the lawmaker accused the former president of asking him to “rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back in the White House, and hold a new special election for the presidency.”

Trump, for his part, accused Brooks of turning “woke” by encouraging voters to move on from Trump’s claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential race.

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Former President Donald Trump dances as he leaves the stage during a rally for Georgia GOP candidates.
Former President Donald Trump rescinded his support for Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama after he told voters to move on from claims of election fraud.
Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

In the governor’s race, incumbent Kay Ivey faces seven challengers — including Lindy Blanchard, Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia, and businessman Tim James.

Arkansas

Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, is heavily favored to win the Republican nomination for governor, facing only a long-shot challenge from radio host Francis “Doc” Washburn.

Sanders, the daughter for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, is favored to win election in November to replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman, who has Trump’s endorsement, is seeking a third six-year term. His main primary rival is Jake Bequette, a former NFL and University of Arkansas football player.

Texas

After holding its primary elections in March, Lone Star State voters will settle key runoff races Tuesday night, the most notable of which is between incumbent Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar and progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros in the 28th Congressional district.

Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney and abortion activist, forced the runoff after she garnered 46.8% of the vote in March compared to Cuellar’s 48.5% – both shy of the 50% needed to avoid the showdown. 

Cuellar, a pro-gun and anti-abortion Democrat, has been backed by several key members of his party including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. But he has also faced scrutiny over an FBI raid of his Laredo home and campaign office earlier this year. Cuellar has denied wrongdoing.

George P. Bush.
In March, George P. Bush was 20 percentage points behind Trump-endorsed state AG Ken Paxton. 
Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On the Republican side, the big race is for state Attorney General between incumbent Ken Paxton and Republican Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and one of the last scions of the famous political dynasty

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Bush garnered approximately 22% of the vote in March, 20 percentage points behind Trump-endorsed Paxton. 

The winner of the runoff will face off against the winner of the Democratic run-off between Rochelle Garza and Joe Jaworski. 

Minnesota

While Minnesota won’t hold its full primary election until Aug. 9, voters in the 1st Congressional District will make their picks for a special election held on that date to fill the seat of the late GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died in February after a battle with cancer.

Most notable among the Republicans looking to hold the seat is Hagedorn’s widow, Jennifer Carnahan – the former chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota who was ousted after a donor was induced on sex trafficking charges. 

Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan.
Jennifer Carnahan is facing off against nine other candidates to fill the seat of her late husband, Rep. Jim Hagedorn.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Carnahan is also facing a lawsuit from her late husband’s family, who claim she has not paid medical expenses related to Hagedorn’s cancer treatments, according to Fox 9

Carnahan is facing off against nine other candidates, including state Rep. Jeremy Munson, who received 55% support from the GOP district convention in April and is backed by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — as well as Hagedorn’s own sister. 

Trump has not endorsed in the race. 

The winner of the special Republican primary will likely face off against Minnesota DFL-endorsed businessman Jeff Ettinger in the special general election to fill the remainder of Hagedorn’s term.

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