Updated May 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Five things to watch during Tuesday's primaries

Yard signs ahead of Georgia's primary. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Voters head to the polls in Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas and Minnesota on Tuesday as the 2022 primaries heat up.

Why it matters: Tuesday will be a test of former President Trump's dominance over the Republican Party and also will feature several battles in the ongoing war between progressives and moderate Democrats.

Here are five key storylines to watch on Tuesday night:

1. The power of Trump's endorsements

The big question in Republican primaries this year is just how much power does the ex-president have to shape his party.

  • That question will be put to the test in Georgia, where Trump has endorsed candidates for governor, Senate, House and a slew of statewide offices. Some of the Trump-backed backed bids, like former Sen. David Perdue's challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp, are likely to fall short.
  • Trump has also endorsed Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) in his bid against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Like Perdue, Hice has focused his campaign on questioning Trump's loss in the 2020 election.
  • In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton is fending off a spirited challenge from Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush. Paxton, who has Trump's endorsement, is favored to win, but the race has tightened in its final weeks.

2. Progressives vs. centrist Democrats

Progressives have been waging a fierce effort to take out centrist incumbents, which will be on full display Tuesday.

  • The marquee race is the South Texas runoff between centrist Rep. Henry Cueller (D-Texas) and progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros. Cuellar has been plagued by an FBI search of his home and a sudden national focus on abortion.
  • Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) faces three progressive challengers who have seized on the 76-year-old committee chair's centrist votes and absence from the district.
  • Reps. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.), the latter a member of the centrist Blue Dogs, are both vying for a single district in the Atlanta suburbs, though , asAxios' Emma Hurt has reported, they have similar voting records.

3. Big names poised to dominate

Several nationally prominent GOP figures, all endorsed by Trump, are on track to cruise to victory in their respective primaries.

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) faces four primary challengers, but she has managed to out-raise her closest GOP foe $9 million to $400,000.
  • Former NFL player Herschel Walker, who's also backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is heavily favored in Georgia's GOP Senate primary.
  • Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders faces only token opposition in the primary for Arkansas governor.

4. Scandal-prone candidates

Several Republicans on the ballot have significant baggage, though it may not stop them from winning anyway.

  • Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015, and in 2020 he was accused by top aides of bribery and abuse of office.
  • Jennifer Carnahan, the widow of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) is running in the 9-person primary to replace him. She resigned as Minnesota GOP chair last year 0ver her friendship with Anton Lazzaro, a GOP donor charged with sex trafficking, and allegations of a toxic work environment.

5. The power of Trump's un-endorsement

Trump rescinded his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) after Brooks failed to catch fire early in the hotly-contested three-way race and anger over Brooks statement urging voters to "move on" from the 2022 election.

  • Katie Britt, Shelby's former chief of staff, appears to be the leader of the pack, though recent polls show Brooks gaining steam against Army pilot Mike Durant and coming within striking distance of Britt.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Monday, May 23rd.

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