2022 Midterms: What to Watch in Tuesday’s Elections in Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, DC

The two Republican candidates in Alabama’s U.S. Senate primary runoff on Tuesday can each boast that at one point they had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement in the race.

Trump first backed Rep. Mo Brooks in the spring of 2021. That endorsement stood for nearly a year until Trump rescinded it as the conservative congressman languished in the polls. The former president took his time in issuing a second endorsement, supporting Katie Britt in the race only after she emerged as the top vote-getter in the state’s May 24 primary.

In other races Tuesday, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser is facing voters amid growing concerns about crime. Runoffs in Georgia will resolve close contests in several congressional races and a secretary of state nomination, while primaries in Virginia will set up competitive congressional contests for the fall. Arkansas is holding primary runoffs for several legislative races.

What to watch in Tuesday’s primaries:

Alabama

Alabama Republican voters will choose between Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Katie Britt, a former chief of staff for retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who announced in February 2021 that he wouldn’t seek a seventh term.

In Alabama’s May 24 Republican U.S. Senate primary, Britt garnered 45 percent, Brooks got 29 percent, and Michael Durant collected 23 percent.

Because none of the contestants scored 50 percent or more, the top two—Britt and Brooks—are facing off in the runoff. Britt, in a May 24 post-vote statement, said Alabama Republican voters, like those in many states during the 2022 primary season, want change.

“It is clear tonight that Alabamians want new blood,” she said. “They want someone to go to Washington, D.C., and shake it up. It is clear that they want a true Christian conservative Republican who will lead on the America First agenda and doesn’t just talk about it but knows how to actually get something done.”

That same night in Huntsville, Brooks said the fact that he made it to a runoff after losing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement shows he has survived the worst, is on the rebound, and will defeat what he calls “the Mitch McConnell–Katie Britt team.”

“Just call me Lazarus, resurrected by Alabama citizens who figured out who the real MAGA conservative is,” he said.

US Congressman Mo Brooks speaking
Rep. Mo Brooks (C) (R-Ala.) speaks with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 15, 2021. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

The winner of the GOP primary in bright-red Alabama will be heavily favored to defeat Democratic U.S. Senate primary winner Will Boyd in November.

Georgia

Republican voters in two Georgia congressional districts will also be headed to the polls to cast runoff ballots, as will Democrats statewide to select a secretary of state candidate to take on incumbent Republican Brad Raffensperger. He easily cruised past Trump-endorsed Jody Hice in the state’s May 24 primary to earn the party’s November ballot berth.

Brad Raffensperger
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting in Atlanta on Nov. 6, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

In Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District (CD 2), which includes most of the cities of Columbus and Macon, a runoff between Chris West and Jeremy Hunt will determine which one will challenge incumbent Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) in November.

Hunt, a 28-year-old former U.S. Army captain and Fox News commentator who left Yale Law School to enter the race, garnered nearly 37 percent of the tally, while West netted about 30 percent of the May 24 preliminary tally.

Post-2020 census redistricting has made the Democratic-leaning CD 2 more attractive for Republicans, with nearly 45 percent of its registered voters in the GOP.

According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Bishop is one of the nation’s most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, meaning he will have a significant bankroll to defend his seat come fall.

In Georgia’s CD 6 Republican primary runoff, attorney Jake Evans and Dr. Rich McCormick vie to be the November opponent for Democrat Bob Christian.

The district was represented by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), but post-2020 census redistricting moved her into the 7th District, where she defeated fellow incumbent Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) in the district’s Democratic primary.

That makes CD 6 essentially a new and wide-open district. In the May primary, McCormick pulled 43 percent of the tally in the nine-candidate field over Evans at 23 percent.

Georgia Democrats will be casting ballots for the party’s secretary of state nominee in a runoff between state Rep. Bee Nguyen and former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler.

Virginia

In Virginia, Republican voters will be selecting candidates to challenge Democratic incumbents in two congressional districts that the GOP believes it can flip and turn the commonwealth’s 7–4 Democratic-majority congressional delegation to 6–5 in favor of Republicans.

Virginia’s 2nd and 7th districts are among 22 congressional districts nationwide occupied by incumbent Democrats that the Cook Partisan Voting Index (CPVI) rates as “tossups”—likely to produce significant congressional gains for Republicans.

In CD 2, Republican state Sen. Jen Kiggans, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and now a nurse practitioner, is considered the favorite. The GOP primary field also includes Jarome Bell, who retired as a chief petty officer after 27 years in the U.S. Navy; Tommy Altman, a U.S. Air Force special operations Iraq/Afghanistan veteran; and Andy Baan, a retired Navy captain awarded the Bronze Star in Iraq.

The winner will square off in November’s general election against Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), who was narrowly elected in 2018 and reelected in 2020 in the purple district. Luria, who wasn’t challenged in a primary, has raised more than $3.4 million in campaign funds.

In Virginia’s CD 7, six GOP candidates—including four who’ve raised more than $500,000 for their campaigns—are battling for the party’s nomination to advance to November’s general election.

The crowded—and contentious—field includes state Sen. Bryce Reeves, a former high school football coach, narcotics officer, and U.S. Army veteran; Derrick Anderson, an attorney and U.S. Army Green Beret veteran of six Afghanistan and Iraq combat deployments; Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chair Crystal Vanuch; Spotsylvania County Board Supervisor David Ross; and Prince William Board Supervisor Yesli Vega, a sheriff’s deputy who led Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Latinos for Youngkin campaign.

The winner will take on Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who isn’t facing a primary challenge. A former CIA officer seeking a third term, Spanberger’s June 1 Federal Election Commission campaign filing reported $4 million in cash on hand.

Washington

Bowser, the two-term mayor of Washington, is trying to fend off challenges from a pair of Council members as the district contends with rising crime rates and homelessness concerns.

Bowser has had a tumultuous second term that saw her repeatedly face off against Trump and walk a public tightrope between her own police department and a vocal coalition of activists led by Black Lives Matter. She is campaigning on the need for proven leadership and her history as one of the faces of Washington’s ongoing quest for statehood.

Her primary challengers are Robert White and Trayon White, who are not related to each other. Both accuse Bowser of favoring developers as spiraling costs of living drive black families out of the city and of mishandling public safety issues amid rising rates of violent crime, like a Sunday night shooting that left a 15-year-old boy dead and a police officer and at least two other adults wounded.

The Democratic primary essentially decides the mayoral race in deeply blue Washington.

Epoch Times reporter John Haughey and The Associated Press contributed to this report.