In Missouri, scandal-plagued former governor Eric Greitens is attempting a political comeback. In Michigan, the crowded field of Republican gubernatorial candidates includes a man charged in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack. In Arizona, a prominent figure in the QAnon conspiracy movement is running for the US House.
Those are among the most notable contests in Tuesday’s primary elections in five states.
Arizona, narrowly won by Democrat Joe Biden in June 2020, is a top target for former President Donald Trump, who has tried in vain to reverse his defeat. He has endorsed a slate of candidates up and down the ballot who have promoted false claims of a stolen election.
There were also zero among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the Jan. 6 coup. Three of them are on the ballot Tuesday in Washington state and Michigan, as are two members of “The Squad,” Democratic Reps. Cory Bush of Missouri and Rashida Taleb of Michigan.
Meanwhile, Kansas voters could clear the way for the Republican-controlled Legislature to further restrict or restrict abortion if they approve a proposed state constitutional change. In June, the US Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. This is the first state referendum on abortion policy since Wade was overturned.
Ohio is also holding primaries for state legislative races on Tuesday, three months after its statewide and congressional contests — a divided system that resulted from legal wrangling over redistricting.
Trump’s endorsed candidates in Arizona all have one thing in common: They vehemently spread misinformation about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, despite election officials and Trump’s own attorney general saying there was no credible evidence the race was tainted.
In the governor’s race, Trump has endorsed former television news anchor Kari Lake, who has said she will not certify Arizona’s 2020 election results. Lake faces businesswoman Karyn Taylor Robson, who is backed by former Vice President Mike Pence and the outgoing governor. Doug Ducey.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a staunch defender of the 2020 election, is strongly favored to win the Democratic nomination for governor.
In the Republican primary for the US Senate, Trump has endorsed tech investor Blake Masters as a candidate against Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly in the fall. Masters, whose campaign is bankrolled by billionaire Peter Thiel, has called for reducing legal immigration and espouses a baseless “great replacement” conspiracy theory, claiming Democrats are trying to “replace Americans born here.”
Attorney General Mark Brnovich, another Senate candidate, has been weighed down by Trump’s poor funding and harsh criticism, which says Brnovich has done little to advance his election fraud claims. Another top candidate, Jim Lamon, founder of a solar energy firm, was a fake elector for Trump in 2020, signing a false certificate saying the then-president had won the state.
The Republican primary for secretary of state includes Trump-backed Legislator Mark Finchem, a state representative who worked to reverse Trump’s 2020 deficit; State Rep. Shawanna Bolick, who introduced a bill to allow legislators to ignore election results and choose their own presidential electors; and state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who has long pushed to overhaul election laws. The GOP establishment race has rallied around advertising executive Beau Lane.
QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins is considered a long shot for his House run. Watkins, a Republican, served as a longtime administrator of the online message boards that became the home of the anonymous “Q.” Conspiracy theories center around the baseless belief that Trump has waged a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and that a group of diabolical, cannibalistic child abusers secretly run the world.
In the state legislature, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who testified at a Jan. 6 hearing about Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 election, faces a Trump-backed candidate to run for state Senate.
The Republican primary for governor was wild from the start, with five candidates kicked off the ballot for failing to file enough valid nomination signatures.
Many of the remaining candidates have baggage that could hurt the general election against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Real estate broker Ryan Kelly has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges after authorities said he rallied Trump supporters to attack the US Capitol. Businessman Kevin Reinke was sued in the 1990s for sexual harassment and racial discrimination — allegations that were false. Chiropractor Garrett Soldano hawks supplements that claim to be a cure for COVID-19. Conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, who Trump has endorsed, has previously starred in low-budget horror films.
All the candidates say the 2020 election was rigged, with Dixon, Kelly and Soldano saying the election was stolen from Trump.
Rep. Peter Meier, a Republican, hopes to hold on to his seat after voting to impeach Trump. The former president has endorsed businessman and missionary John Gibbs, who served in the Trump administration under Housing Secretary Ben Carson.
Greitens’ political career ended when he resigned as governor in 2018, after he admitted to an extramarital affair and was accused of blackmail and campaign finance violations. On Tuesday, the former Navy SEAL officer has a chance to unseat GOP U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt in the Republican primary.
Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmidt and U.S. Rep. Vicki Hartzler lead a crowded 21-person GOP field that includes U.S. Reps. Billy Long and Mark McCloskey, a St. Louis attorney who takes a gun on racism with his wife. Injustice protesters who took to their private streets.
On Monday, Trump expressed support in a social media post for “ERIC,” meaning Schmidt or Greitens, without choosing between them.
The GOP winner in Missouri, a solidly Republican state, will be the favorite in November. But Republican leaders have long worried that Greitens — whose ex-wife has also accused him of abuse, allegations Greitens called “baseless” — could win the primary but lose the general election.
On the Democratic side, the nomination appears to be a contest between Lucas Coons, a Marine veteran and self-proclaimed Democrat, and Trudy Bush Valentine, heir to the Bush Bear fortune, who has largely self-financed her campaign.
Two Republican House members from Washington state who voted to impeach Trump face primary challenges to those who supported him.
Rep. who has been in Congress since 2011. Jaime Herrera Beutler said she voted for impeachment because she had an “obligation to the Constitution.” Trump has endorsed Joe Kent, a former Green Beret and a conservative cable show regular who echoes the former president’s complaints about the outcome of the 2020 election.
Since 2015, Congress Rep. Dan Newhouse said he voted to impeach Trump for refusing to immediately stop and incite the January 6 uprising. Among his challengers is Lorraine Culp, a Trump-backed former small-town police chief who refused to endorse Democrat Jay Inslee for the 2020 gubernatorial race.
In Washington, the top two vote-getters in each race, regardless of party, advance to November.
Voters will decide whether to approve changes to the state constitution in 2019 despite the state Supreme Court ruling that abortion access is a fundamental right. This is the first state referendum on abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
In statewide races, Republican Kris Kobach is running for attorney general as he attempts a political comeback after losing races for governor and U.S. Senate in previous years. Kobach, a former secretary of state, served as vice chairman of the short-lived Trump Commission on Election Fraud after the 2016 election.
Associated Press writer Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix; Sarah Burnett in Chicago; Jim Salter in O’Fallon, Missouri; Chris Grygiel in Seattle; and John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; Contribution to this report.