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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Primaries in several states put the Trump effect to the test

LAS VEGAS ( Associated Press) — Donald Trump scored a victory Tuesday when voters in South Carolina ousted a five-term Republican who supported the former president’s impeachment last year. But another Trump critic in the state withstood the primary challenge, and a Senate vote in Nevada posed an even greater test of Trump’s influence over the GOP.

The primaries were initially expected to be a done deal for Adam Laxalt, one of Nevada’s most prominent Republicans who had already won state elections and received the support of Trump and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

In the final weeks before the US Senate primary, however, the former Nevada attorney general found an unexpected challenge in Sam Brown. Brown, a retired Army captain and purple heart recipient, has drawn crowds drawn by his political outsider status. His campaign was bolstered by strong fundraising, especially from modest donors who often represent the rank and file of the party.

Nevada and South Carolina were two of the states holding elections, in a primary round that could transform American politics. The races offered an opportunity for Trump to regain momentum after his flashy setbacks last month as he tries to dominate the party before another presidential campaign. The Trump-endorsed governor for governor of Georgia, for example, lost by a 50 percentage point margin.

But on Tuesday, in neighboring South Carolina, one of Trump’s main targets, Rep. Tom Rice, lost his primary after supporting the former president’s second impeachment trial last year. Trump endorsed Rice’s rival, Russell Fry, and even traveled to the region this year to urge people to vote against his congresswoman.

In another vote in South Carolina, however, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace won the nomination despite Trump recruiting someone to try to unseat her. Mace defeated former state legislator Katie Arrington despite drawing Trump’s ire when she criticized her role in the Jan. 6 uprising.

Much of the attention on Tuesday was focused on Nevada, where the winner of the Republican senate bid would face Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. It could be the Republicans’ best chance to win a Senate seat and regain control of the chamber.

Cortez Masto easily won his party’s support against little-known competitors.

Republicans in Nevada were also choosing their candidate to face Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak, who won his primary. In South Carolina, they were deciding whether to support two members of the House of Representatives who have angered Trump. And two old rivals in Maine appeared to have made it out of the running for what is likely to be one of the nation’s most closely contested gubernatorial elections in the fall.

Among the many contenders for Nevada governor, Clark County Police Chief Joe Lombardo was the favorite with Trump’s support.

The former president clearly ignored another Republican, former Sen. Dean Heller, who criticized Trump and received a public scolding from then-president.

Also vying for the job was Joey Gilbert, a lawyer from northern Nevada and a former professional boxer, who was on the outskirts of the U.S. Capitol when it was stormed on Jan. 6, 2021. Like Brown in the Senate primary, Gilbert has garnered support of the party base.

Trump’s bogus accusations of voter fraud in 2020 were a key part of some of Tuesday’s votes, such as the normally inconspicuous Nevada secretary of state primary. Republican Barbara Cegavske, who was censured by the Nevada GOP for declaring there was no fraud and defending the legitimacy of the results, is barred from running because of term limits. A large number of Republicans who have embraced “electoral integrity” concerns to varying degrees were vying to succeed her.

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Price reported from Washington.

World Nation News Desk
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