The West Virginia and Nebraska primaries will be the ultimate test for Trump’s approval

West Virginia and Nebraska haven’t been fluctuating, meaning today’s Republican primary will decide (for the most part) who wins the 2022 election within them. And as has already happened in multiple GOP primary in this cycle, the biggest question tonight is whether voters choose candidates more or less aligned with former President Donald Trump. According to our research, Trump personally approved only four candidates running for the House or Governor today, but at least nine candidates for those posts have embraced or flirted with his “Big Lie” conspiracy theory, which falsely claims that the election of 2020 were stolen. On the other hand, we found at least eight who recognized President Biden’s victory, albeit not always with confidence.

Two of those electoral doubters seem destined to win today, while two electoral affirmers seem likely to prevail as well. But there are also several primaries where the winner is uncertain, including two all-time barnstormers. So without further ado, here’s a complete guide to today’s racing.

West Virginia

Races to watch: 2nd District of Congress

The polls close: 7:30 pm Eastern

One of only three states a free population between the 2010 and 2020 censuses, West Virginia lost a home spot when the districts have been redeployed last year, which meant that at least one of the state’s three Republican representatives would find himself out of a job. Today we find out who will be that unfortunate statesman, as the reigning Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney face to face in West Virginia just drawn 2nd District.

As FiveThirtyEight wrote earlier this year, it’s the first incumbent vs. primary incumbent of 2022and based on the geography of their old boroughs, McKinley started with the advantage: 66% of the 2nd borough overlaps its old turf in northern West Virginia, while only 34% overlaps the old eastern borough of Mooney and in central West Virginia.

However, Mooney has Trump’s approvalthe Holy Grail in every Republican primary but especially in West Virginia, which was Trump’s second best state in the 2020 presidential election. Mooney is a staunch Trump follower who voted do not certify the results of the 2020 elections; McKinley, meanwhile, is more of a bridge builder, both literally (he voted for Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package) and figuratively (he voted in favor of a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol on 6 January).

The McKinley infrastructure vote was a main point of contention in the running, too, with Mooney and his Club for Growth allies using it as a line of attack. But during the election campaign, McKinley actually leaned on his vote, as West Virginia should receive at least 6 billion dollars from the bill over the next five years, although he still tried to tie himself to Trump in his own campaign announcements. McKinley, a seventh generation citizen of West Virginia, has also repeatedly scratched Mooney, an ex Maryland state senator, for Carpet bagging in West Virginia in the last decade to run for Congress, as well as attacking him for a while ethical investigation itself Mooney spent the campaign funds for personal use.

It is Mooney’s messages, however, that have gotten the most airtime. As of April 20, Mooney had passed more than $ 5.1 million in the race while McKinley had spent less than $ 2 million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, that a Survey from April 27 to May 4 conducted by Research America on behalf of West Virginia MetroNews gave Mooney a 48% to 33% lead over McKinley. With 13 percent still undecided, however, and the fact that both House polls Other primary polls they have a lot of room for error, Mooney hasn’t sewed it yet.


Races to watch: governor; 1st and 2nd congress district; general Attorney; Secretary of State

The polls close: 21:00 Eastern

If you thought about the one from last week Senate primary in Ohio it was a gripping contest between a Trump prosecutor and other ambitious party wings, just waiting to hear about the Republican primary for Nebraska governor. With the retirement of limited term gov. Pete Ricketts, the job is open and the Republican primary winner will be almost guaranteed to be elected in this deep red state.

As a result, there are many contenders for the crown, and they come from three large wings of the party (Trumpist, Old Guard Establishment and Moderato). Last year, Trump approved businessman Charles Herbster, a loyalist who supported Trump’s political ambitions from start to finish: He claims he was at Trump Tower when Trump announced his presidential candidacy in 2015, and he also attended the Trump rally that preceded the January 6 attack on the Capitol. However, this approval sat very badly with Rickettswho saw Herbster as a political rival ever since Herbster funded Ricketts’ opponent in his first government campaign, in 2014. Ricketts has even taken the rare step of criticizing Trump’s approval, attacking Herbster for allegedly moving his farm out of state. A few months later, in January, Ricketts approved University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, a wealthy pig farmer with links with the state agricultural industry.

But instead of Republicans uniting behind Herbster or Pillen, this rift has created an opening for a third candidate, state Senator Brett Lindstrom, who has a solid base of support around Omaha, the state’s largest city. A relatively moderateLindstrom has earned the support of even some Democratsand there are anecdotal reports of Democrats re-registering as Republicans to vote for him. (Voter registration data show that 8,256 Nebraskans have not registered as Democrats or Independents in the past two months, and nearly the same number have recently registered as Republicans. If these folks switch sides to vote for Lindstrom – and that’s a big if – it could give him a small but non-trivial push in a tight run.)

Supported by 11.5 million dollars of their own money, Herbster drove the first polls of the racealso those from the countryside of his rivals. But on April 14, the Nebraska Examiner dropped a bomb report that eight women had accused Herbster of unwanted sexual advances: six who claimed to have groped their buttocks on their clothes, one who said he forcibly kissed her and one – a Republican senator – who said he put a hand up her skirt .

Trump defended his supporter, even holding a demonstration on his behalf last week, but Herbster appears to have lost his status as a favorite. The latest non-sponsored survey from one of the campaigns, conducted by the Neilan Strategy Group on April 19-20, proved that the race is now a game for everyone, with Lindstrom at 28 percent, Herbster at 24 percent and Pillen at 24 percent. (A most recent survey from the Pillen campaign he claims to have jumped in the lead, with 31 percent, but you know what they say internal surveys.)

Depending on who wins, Nebraska’s next governor – who will co-certify the results of the 2024 election, even in Nebraska’s fluctuating 2nd District – will believe in fair elections or something more ambiguous. Lindstrom and Pills both have accepted Biden’s election in 2020, and even Herbster has … in the end. He was once a full supporter of Big Lie (he said in a SMS for January 2021 that “these elections have really been stolen from us and anyone who doesn’t believe it’s not true is totally inaccurate”), so it is questionable how he would react if a Democrat gained an electoral vote in Nebraska in 2024.

There are also two Congressional primaries worth mentioning in Cornhusker State. A couple of months ago, I thought I’d write a lot more about the Republican primary for the 1st Districtwhere the incumbent Jeff Fortenberry, who had been accused of lying to the FBI about the illegal donations made to his campaign, he was facing a serious challenge from state Senator Mike Flood. However, on March 24, Fortenberry was condemned Other he resigned from Congress soon after. This left the 1st district with an open seat, and although there are still four Republicans in the running, Flood now looks the favorite in terms of odds; he’s the only Republican left in the race he reported raise money from 20 April.

Meanwhile, the only notable Democratic primary in today’s ballot is the one based in Omaha 2nd District, the only competitive House seat in either of these two states. Having raised more than 1 million dollars As of April 20, State Senator Tony Vargas appears to be the favorite to defeat mental health consultant Alisha Shelton, who only intervened to $ 319,000. Both would have made history if they had beaten Republican Don Bacon in the fall: Vargas would be the first Latino elected to Congress by Nebraska, while Shelton would be the first black.

Finally, this year we will also keep an eye on the Attorney General and the Secretary of State Tenders, given these offices’ power to influence and even help overturn elections. While the Nebraska Republican primaries for these positions don’t seem on paper, the lack of polls and the stark contrast between pro and anti-democracy candidates still make them worth looking at. For the outdoors general Attorneyoffice, basically from Nebraska entire political apparatus has sided behind state legislature president Mike Hilgers, but still faces a challenge from home school mother Jennifer Hicks, who believes that The 2020 elections were fraudulent. (As best we can tell, Hilgers took no position on the matter.) And incumbent Secretary of State Bob Evnen, who defended the 2020 elections against allegations of fraud, he faces two challengers who both questioned the integrity of the election and nodded to the conspiracy theory that voting machines changed people’s votes.

We won’t be blogging about the returns live as they come tonight, but don’t worry – in the morning we’ll have a quick analysis that summarizes all the results and what they mean for the future of the GOP.