May 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Primaries pave way for Trumpier Senate as Republicans select strong contenders

Table showing the Maryland Democrat Senate primary results as of 1:00am ET on May 15, 2024.
Data: AP; Table: Axios Visuals

In primaries Tuesday, Republicans chose strong Senate nominees in Maryland and West Virginia — boosting the GOP's chance of knocking Democrats out of their 51-49 majority.

Why it matters: A GOP-controlled upper chamber would be vital to former President Trump's ability to enact his sweeping 2025 agenda should he win reelection this November.

Driving the news: Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan — a Trump critic — won the Republican nomination in what will be a must-watch Senate race against Angela Alsobrooks, the Prince George's county executive.

  • She could become the fourth Black woman in U.S. history to serve in the Senate, AP reports.
  • Alsobrooks won one of this year's only competitive Senate primaries. Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) spent $60 million of his own money on the race, Axios' Stef W. Kight and Stephen Neukam report.

Another popular Republican, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, won the GOP Senate nomination.

  • With Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) retiring, the seat is almost guaranteed to turn red — the GOP's best pickup shot.

The big picture: Justice will join a Senate Republican caucus that's grown steadily Trumpier, as critics of the former president retired and were replaced by MAGA allies, AP notes.

  • Trump endorsed Justice, a wealthy coal magnate-turned-Democratic politician-turned-Republican, whose folksy demeanor and omnipresent English bulldog — Babydog — endeared him to West Virginia voters.

Go deeper: Democratic Senate candidates rout GOP in fundraising

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