Tuesday’s last round of primaries before the midterm election season takes a brief summer hiatus and could be the last stand for a handful of high-profile incumbents facing challenges for their seats or clashing with each other to keep their places on Capitol Hill.
There are also far-reaching implications in down-ballot, statewide races – none more so than in Colorado, where a 2020 election denier is running in the Republican primary to be the state’s top elections official.
Republicans could choose an election denier for Colorado’s top elections post
Colorado Republicans are set to decide whether to nominate Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, an election denier who has faced criminal charges over her efforts to justify falsehoods about voting machines, for secretary of state, a position that would make her Colorado’s top elections official.
Peters’ primary opponent is Pam Anderson, a former county clerk and former head of the state’s clerks’ association who has defended Colorado’s all-mail elections system and offered herself as a competent manager of that system.
Peters and her top deputy were indicted in March after an investigation by local authorities into a security breach that resulted in confidential voting machine logins, and forensic images of their hard drives, being published in a QAnon-affiliated Telegram channel in early August 2021. In May, after a lawsuit brought by Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a district judge stripped Peters of her duties overseeing this year’s elections in Mesa County. She has pleaded not guilty.
The winner of Tuesday’s election will take on Griswold in the fall.
A Peters primary victory would make her the latest in a line of election deniers nominated by Republicans for roles that would position them, if they win this fall, to take over their states’ election machinery in time for the 2024 presidential race.
Republicans will also choose their nominee to take on Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. The GOP candidates are Heidi Ganahl, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents and the founder of the dog care franchise Camp Bow Wow, and Greg Lopez, a former mayor of Parker, a town southeast of Denver. Republicans last held the Colorado governor’s office in 2007.
House incumbents square off in two Illinois primaries
Last year’s redistricting process in Illinois resulted in two incumbent vs. incumbent primaries in Tuesday’s primary.
In Chicago’s western suburbs, two Democrats, Sean Casten and Marie Newman are squaring off for the newly drawn 6th District seat. It’s an awkward fit for both incumbents. Newman lives outside the new district, while Casten lives in it. But more of Newman’s constituents from the district she currently represents are in the new 6th District, while most of Casten’s current constituents were shifted to another district.
Meanwhile, in a Republican clash in southern Illinois’ 15th District, Miller, a freshman who appeared onstage alongside former President Donald Trump at a rally over the weekend, faces the more moderate Rodney Davis. Miller has a history of incendiary comments. At the rally, she thanked Trump for the “victory for White life” after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Her campaign quickly backtracked, saying she’d meant to call it a “victory for right to life.”
Another Chicago-area House race to watch is in the 7th District, where longtime Rep. Danny Davis, 80, faces a challenge from the left in 31-year-old activist Collins, who is backed by the progressive group Justice Democrats.
And in the 8th District, on the south side of Chicago, Jonathan Jackson, the son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, is among a slew of candidates vying to replace retiring Rep. Bobby Rush, who is the only politician to ever defeat former President Barack Obama, holding off the then-state senator’s primary challenge in 2000.
Trump wades into GOP race for Illinois governor
The Republican primary field vying to take on Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker in November includes Richard Irvin, the first Black mayor of Aurora, who is backed by the billionaire Ken Griffin, and Darren Bailey, a conservative state senator who was endorsed by Trump and is backed by another billionaire Republican donor, Dick Uihlein.
Bailey, in a debate, called Chicago a “crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole,” though he is seeking to become governor of the state for which Chicago is the economic center. In the state legislature in 2019, he sponsored a resolution that would separate Chicago from the rest of Illinois; as a candidate for governor, he has backed away from that position.
Trump campaigned with Bailey over the weekend, using a rally with Bailey and Miller to praise the Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade and to criticize the House committee that’s investigating the January 6 insurrection. “Darren is just the man to take on and defeat one of the worst governors in America,” the former President said at the rally.
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