WASHINGTON, May 23 (Reuters) – Voters in Georgia and Alabama will pick candidates for the U.S. Congress and other offices in Tuesday primaries testing former President Donald Trump’s power over his Republican Party ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Arkansas will also hold nomination contests while Texas will hold run-off elections for races that were unresolved in that state’s March 1 primaries. Here are seven races to watch:
HERSCHEL WALKER’S U.S. SENATE BID
In Georgia, Trump-backed Herschel Walker, a former professional football player with scant political experience, is expected to come in first in the contest against five other Republican hopefuls. But if he falls short of 50%, he will face the second-place Republican in a June 21 run-off. The eventual winner will likely face Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. The November contest is widely seen as a toss-up.
DAVID PERDUE VS BRIAN KEMP
Trump-backed former U.S. Senator David Perdue has heavily trailed incumbent Republican Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp in polls. Perdue might not even force a run-off with Kemp, who sparked Trump’s ire by declining help the former president’s effort to overthrow Trump’s loss in the state during the 2020 presidential election. The winner will take on Stacey Abrams, the lone Democrat seeking her party’s nomination, in what is expected to be a close contest.
MORE REVENGE: HICE VS RAFFENSPERGER
Like the race against Kemp, Trump also backed a challenger to Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on grounds that he did too little to bolster his false allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. Trump-endorsed U.S. Representative Jody Hice, who has been close to Raffensperger in recent polls, could be Trump’s best chance at unseating an incumbent in Georgia.
DEMOCRATIC DUEL: BOURDEAUX VS MCBATH
Georgia’s newly-drawn 7th congressional district pits two Democratic U.S. Representatives – Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath – against one another. Bourdeaux was the only Democrat to flip a Republican House seat in the November 2020 elections, while McBath was a gun control advocate before winning a congressional seat in 2018. The 7th congressional district is heavily Democratic.
MO BROOKS HOLDS ON
U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, a Republican firebrand from Alabama, has shown a recent recovery in the polls ahead of his attempt to return to the U.S. Senate. He was an early supporter of Trump, but the former president in March withdrew his endorsement of Brooks’ then-struggling campaign after Brooks told Alabama voters it was time to move on from Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. Katie Britt, a former chief of staff to retiring U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, is still the favorite, but Brooks has made it a race.
MODERATE DEMOCRAT VS PROGRESSIVE CHALLENGER
U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, a moderate Democrat, will against face progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros in party nomination contest after neither garnered 50% in their March 1st primary election. The winner will compete in one of Texas’ few competitive House races in November. Cuellar is the House of Representatives’ sole Democrat who opposes abortion rights, which Cisneros has attacked along with his opposition to legislation making it easier for workers to get union representation.
WILL PAXTON SURVIVE?
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already won one re-election campaign since his indictment in 2015 on state securities fraud charges. This time around, he will face state Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a runoff after neither won 50% in a March 1st primary contest. Bush is the grandson of former President George H. W. Bush.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Aurora Ellis)