By BRIAN SLODYSKO – Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — After an uneven start, that of Donald Trump The election-year revenge tour succeeded in ousting Republican members of Congress, boosting Trump-backed “America First” candidates who pushed back against the establishment, and tightening his grip on the party.
Meanwhile, Ron Johnson, the most vulnerable Republican senator awaiting re-election, will face the Democratic lieutenant governor of Wisconsin in November in one of the most watched Senate contests this year.
And a member of the Brigade of Progressive Legislators survived a difficult primary challenge of a Democratic rival running on a pro-police platform, while Vermont voters are poised to send a woman to Congress for the first time in the state’s 231-year history.
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Takeaway meals from Election results Tuesday evening:
As the midterm primary season reaches its final contests, Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is tightening.
In the spring and early summer, his approval record, a metric he touts as a testament to his enduring popularity, was spotty. In Georgia, a fixation by Trump after top Republican officials rejected his pleas to cancel the 2020 election, most of the candidates hand-picked by the former president were defeated at the polls.
But as the season progresses, its lasting influence is evident.
Trump opened August with his slate of outspoken Holocaust deniers beating establishment-backed candidates in Arizona.
By the time the race has reached Wisconsin On Tuesday, Tim Michels, a wealthy Trump-backed businessman, won the Republican primary for governor of Wisconsin. He defeated former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, an establishment-backed candidate.
And in Connecticut on Tuesday, Leora Levy surged to an unexpected victory over a more moderate rival in a liberal-leaning state that has historically drawn moderate GOP candidates. On Monday, just hours after the FBI raided her Florida estate, Trump staged a TV rally for her. Another rival credited his late endorsement for his victory.
Meanwhile, most of the 10 Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach him have either retired or lost. That includes Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost his race last week to Washington State Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, which gave way on Tuesday. Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee investigating Trump’s efforts to nullify the 2020 election, will be on the Wyoming ballot next week and is expected to lose significantly.
These developments, combined with the support rush Republicans after the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s estate in Florida on Monday, were stark reminders of Trump’s looming presence.
Critics of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar have spent big money to oust the divisive lawmaker and member of the progressive team.
Omar narrowly beat his centrist challenger, former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels, all but guaranteeing victory in November in a majority Democratic district centered around Minneapolis. It was the second time a well-funded group had unsuccessfully mobilized against her.
Almost since arriving in Congress, Omar has drawn bipartisan criticism. First, she was condemned after suggesting in 2019 that supporters of Israel were pushing US lawmakers to swear “allegiance to a foreign country” and claiming Congressional support for Israel was “all about of the Benjamins, baby,” which many considered an anti-Semite. trope about Jews buying influence.
This attracted a $2.5 million negative publicity blitz, which was funded by the pro-Israel lobby, attacking it ahead of the 2020 election.
This year, pro-police groups as well as a mysterious super PAC have spent more than $750,000 criticizing Omar and supporting Samuels. His base in north Minneapolis suffers from more violent crime than other parts of the city, and he helped organize a campaign to stop sharp cuts in police funding pushed by progressive activists, including Omar, at the following the police killing of George Floyd.
Other team members — Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — picked up easier wins last week.
TOUGH FIGHT IN WISCONSIN SENATE RACE
If you take him at his word, Johnson shouldn’t be running. The Wisconsin Republican had pledged to step down after two terms, only to step down this year.
Now, after claiming victory in his primary on Tuesday, Johnson’s reward will be a hard-fought campaign against Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes that could determine the balance of power in the tightly divided U.S. Senate. It’s also certain to saturate the airwaves as millions of dollars in political advertising flood the state.
It will be the first time Johnson has not run against former Sen. Russ Feingold, the Democrat he ousted from office and defeated again six years later. He is also the only Republican senator to win re-election in a state that Joe Biden won in 2020.
The matchup offers a study in contrasts. Johnson, 67, is a multimillionaire businessman whose father was a corporate treasurer. At 35, Barnes is nearly half his age and the product of a working-class Milwaukee family. He would be Wisconsin’s first black senator if elected.
Johnson has the support of the former president. He was also a major ally.
After the 2020 election, an aide to Johnson told then-Vice President Mike Pence’s staff in a text message that he wanted to hand-deliver to Pence fake votes from voters in his state and neighboring Michigan. . Pence staff denied their request.
Johnson also met with Wisconsin lawmakers in 2021 and spoke about dismantling the state’s bipartisan Elections Commission and the GOP-controlled Legislature’s takeover of presidential and federal elections.
Vermont has been represented in Congress by white men since becoming the 14th state to join the union in 1791.
That’s about to change after the head of the state senate Becca Balint advanced from Tuesday’s Democratic primary to face Republican Liam Madden in a general election contest that will determine who will be Vermont’s next representative in the United States House.
Vermont is a liberal-leaning state and a Republican last won the seat in 1988, making Balint the overwhelming frontrunner in November. If she wins, Balint will not only be the first woman to represent Vermont in Congress, but also the first openly gay person.
It may seem unusual that such a liberal state has not elected a woman to Congress. But there weren’t many opportunities. As the second least populous state, Vermont sends only one representative to the United States House.
Current Democratic Representative Peter Welch has held the seat for 15 years, giving it up to run for the Senate. Current US Senator Bernie Sanders had it 15 years before. And Republican Jim Jeffords also held the seat for 15 years before being elected to the Senate.
Although the pace of turnover has moved at the speed of a glacier, there is one upside for Balint: the seat provides a reliable stepping stone to the US Senate. Sanders’ term ends in 2024. So far, the 80-year-old has not said whether he intends to run again.
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