Gubernatorial primary pits Trump against Pence as five states head to polls today

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Voters are headed to the polls today in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and Minnesota in another round of midterm primary elections, with one race pitting Donald Trump against his former vice president, Mike Pence, in what could be the biggest challenge to Trump’s influence over his party to date. 

In Georgia, Trump is backing former Senator Dave Purdue in a bid to unseat incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, considered the favorite. Kemp incurred Trump’s wrath for blocking efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. Whoever comes out the victor will take on Democrat Stacey Abrams in the midterms.

Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, who infamously angered Trump by also refusing to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, is fighting to retain his seat, which the former president hopes will fall to Rep. Jody Hice. Hice, like Purdue, focused a good portion of his campaign around questioning Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, former NFL player and Trump supporter Herschel Walker is favored to win the state’s GOP senate primary. Walker has the backing of both Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has been a frequent target of the former president’s scorn.

Residents in Alabama will cast their votes in a number of primaries today. Two Republican races to watch are bids for a U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby and the battle for who will contend for the governor’s mansion.

Leading contenders for the Republican nomination in the Senate race are Katie Boyd Britt, former head of the Business Council of Alabama; Rep. Mo Brooks, an outspoken congressional conservative who received Trump’s endorsement only to have it rescinded after calling on voters to put the 2020 election behind them; and Mike Durant, a business owner and former Army pilot who was involved in the “Black Hawk Down” incident. Observers say that the heavily-fractured field could easily result in a runoff, which is required in Alabama unless one candidate manages to harness more than 50% of the vote.

Several other prominent GOP figures, all endorsed by Trump, are on track to glide into easy victories in their respective primaries. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an outspoken Trump supporter, faces four primary challengers but is nonetheless expected to retain her seat. Elsewhere, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appears poised to take the GOP nomination for Arkansas’ gubernatorial race.

Meanwhile, Texas is holding run-off elections for races that were unresolved in the state’s March primaries. In one, Attorney General Ken Paxton is fending off a spirited challenge from a member of the Bush political dynasty, land Commissioner George P. Bush, who is the son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Neither candidate managed to win 50% of the vote in the March 1 primary contest, resulting in the run-off. 

Trump has endorsed Paxton, who is favored to win; however, the race has tightened in the last stretch amid a flurry of Bush campaign ads focusing on his rival’s seven-year-old securities fraud indictment. 

To date, Trump-endorsed candidates are 81-3 in midterm primary races.