Two Trump Targets Fall, Two Survive June 28 Primary Challenges

Two Republican congressional incumbents who incurred former President Donald Trump’s wrath were defeated, while two survived inter-party challenges in June 28 runoffs and primaries.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), who is being investigated for federal campaign violations, fell in a Republican runoff while a Trump-endorsed incumbent defeated Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) in their GOP primary.

They join Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) as GOP incumbents who have fallen into the former president’s disfavor and lost their primary battles.

Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.),  who voted in favor of forming the Jan. 6 commission, survived a runoff, and Blake Moore (R-Utah), who supported bipartisan legislation to create the commission to investigate the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol, easily won his GOP primary.

Those races are among the dozens of local, state, and congressional races on tap as voters in seven states cast ballots in June 28 runoffs and primaries, capping a busy month of preliminary contests to set November general election ballots.

The June 28 contests included five Senate primaries in four states and three governor primaries, including in New York, where Gov. Kathy Hochul easily won her Democratic primary and will face off in November against Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).

Zeldin was the top vote-getter in a four-way primary to win the GOP’s gubernatorial berth. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulian’s son Andrew Giuliani finished second.

Despite his former personal attorney’s son being in the race for governor, former President Donald Trump did not issue any endorsements in the primary.

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Oklahoma Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) talks to voters at a primary day campaign event in Oklahoma City on June 28, 2022. (Jeff Louderback/Epoch Times)

Oklahoma

In the race to replace 87-year-old Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who was elected to a fifth term in 2020 before announcing his retirement in February, Republicans will need to go to the polls again.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) outpolled T.W. Shannon by 26 percentage points in the Republican primary but could not garner the state-mandated 50 percent plurality in the 10-candidate field to avoid an Aug. 23 runoff.

With 92 percent of the tally counted, Mullin had 155,969 votes, or 43.6 percent of the total, to second-place Shannon’s 62,696 ballots, which amounted to just 17.5 percent, but good enough to get him to a runoff.

The winner will take on former Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), who represented the state’s CD 5 in 2019–2020. She faced no opposition in the Democratic primary.

Oklahoma’s junior Republican Sen. James Lankford, easily swept past pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, who had been endorsed by Mike Lindell and Michael Flynn in his primary.

The Associated Press called Lankford the winner with just 8 percent of the vote counted and the incumbent holding a 72–22 percent advantage.

He will be heavily favored in November to defeat the winner of an Aug. 23 runoff between Jason Bollinger, a former State Department employee, and Madison Horn, a cybersecurity executive, who finished first and second in a six-candidate Democratic primary but failed to accrue a 50 percent plurality.

As projected, Gov. Kevin Stitt brushed aside three challengers in his Republican gubernatorial primary, capturing nearly 70 percent of the vote.

Stitt will seek a second term in November against Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who switched parties last year to run as a Democrat. She defeated Connie Johnson in the Democratic primary.

Mississippi

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell has unseated five-term incumbent Palazzo by winning the runoff rematch of their June 7 GOP primary in the state’s CD 3.

With 95 percent of the vote tallied, Ezell had 30,196 votes, or 53.8 percent, to Palazzo’s 25,928, or 46.2 percent.

While Palazzo is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for potentially violating campaign finance laws, Ezell’s win is a bit of an upset, considering he raised and spent half the money the incumbent’s campaign did.

In the other Mississippi congressional district where an incumbent was challenged from within party ranks, Guest easily outpolled U.S. Navy veteran Michael Cassidy in their runoff.

Guest, who voted in favor of forming the Jan. 6 commission, had more than 41,100 votes to Cassidy’s 20,264, with 95 percent of the vote tallied, doubling the challenger’s ballots and advancing to November’s general election.

South Carolina

State Rep. Krystle Matthews defeated author and preservationist Catherine Fleming Bruce in their runoff to secure the party’s nod in challenging incumbent Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in November.

Matthews outpolled Bruce despite the release of a Project Veritas audio of her strategizing on utilizing Democrat “sleepers” to run as Republicans in local elections and requesting drug money from a Perry Correctional Institution inmate in a February phone call.

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A campaign sign for billionaire incumbent J.B. Pritzker is seen outside an early voting location in Chicago, Ill., on June 24, 2022. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)

Illinois

Voters picked party candidates for 17 U.S. House seats while Republicans selected Kathy Salvi to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IIl.) and Darren Bailey to take on incumbent Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker in November.

Bailey, a “downstate” pro-Trump conservative state senator and staunch critic of pandemic mandates, had captured nearly 60 percent of the vote with 60 percent of the tally counted in his three-way GOP gubernatorial race.

He was easily outpacing venture capitalist and first-time candidate Jesse Sullivan and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin; neither had garnered more than 15 percent. Pritzker did not face a competitive primary.

In the GOP U.S. Senate primary, Salvi, an attorney from Mundelein, emerged from a seven-candidate scrum to advance to November’s general election against Duckworth, who was unopposed in her party’s primary and will be the odds-on favorite to win a second term in November.

Salvi lost a six-candidate 2006 GOP primary bid for Congress and survived being labeled “the establishment pick” by several of her opponents, most notably Navy veteran Peggy Hubbard, who campaigned as “the Washington Elite’s worst nightmare” and finished second.

Among the state’s 17 U.S. House seats, Cook Political Report rates five in Democratic-leaning districts as winnable for Republican candidates in 2022.

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A voter fills out his ballot in Palos Hills, Ill., on June 28, 2022. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)

In the newly refashioned CD 15, Trump-endorsed Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) cruised past Davis in a post-2020 Census clash of redistricted GOP incumbents.

Davis incurred Trump’s enmity when he supported the independent commission that never convened. He did not back the House panel now probing the Capitol attack, but Miller won the former president’s nod, which included attending a June 25 rally on her behalf.

With more than 84 percent of the tally counted, Miller held a 25-point edge over Davis, who had represented CD 13 since 2013 but was denied a sixth term in the district by post-Census remapping.

In the CD 13 Republican primary to succeed, Davis, educator and small business owner Regan Deering was neck-and-neck with Jesse Reising, founder of the Warrior-Scholar Project and a former federal prosecutor. They were separated by 1.5 percent, with 65 percent of the vote tallied.

The winner will face Nikki Budzinski, a former union organizer and former chief of staff of the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden administration, who easily won the Democratic CD 13 primary.

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Campaign signs are seen outside of a polling location in Palos Hills, Ill., on primary day on June 28, 2022. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)

In CD 17, redrawn to annex more Democratic-leaning urban centers into the district, meteorologist Eric Sorensen won the Democratic primary and, in November, will face Esther King, a real estate lawyer and former U.S. Army captain who easily captured the GOP nod in the party’s primary.

Sorensen and King will battle for the seat being vacated by the retirement of five-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).

In another matchup of incumbents fostered by redistricting, two-term Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) defeated first-term Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) in the CD 6 Democratic primary. Casten will face GOP primary winner Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau in November.

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Lauren Boebert, now representative-elect, speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Colona, Colo., on Oct. 10, 2020. (Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images)

Colorado

In a prickly purple state where the rural-urban divide is a significant factor, three congressional races were drawing national attention, most notably CD 3, where Trump-endorsed Republican incumbent Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) convincingly defended her seat, sweeping past rancher and state senator Don Coram in the district’s GOP primary.

In the state’s CD 7, Erik Aadland, an Iraq/Afghanistan combat veteran awarded the Bronze Star for valor, edged economist Tim Reichert and 2020 Republican National Convention delegate Laurel Imer to win the GOP nod. He will take on state Sen. Brittany Pettersen in November’s general election.

In the newly-created CD 8, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer edged three rivals in the Republican primary to advance to the general election against state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Utah

All four of the state’s incumbent Republican U.S. House representatives were challenged by party rivals but survived their primaries to advance to November contests as overwhelming favorites.

In CD 1, Moore captured nearly 60 percent of the tally to outpace Andrew Badger and Tina Cannon easily. Moore voted twice to keep Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as Republican House conference chair and supported bipartisan legislation to form the commission to investigate the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol.

Five-term Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) crushed Erin Rider in the CD 2 Republican primary. Reps. John Curtis (R-Utah) and Burgess Owens (R-Utah) also won their primaries in routs.

In the GOP primary for U.S. Senator, incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Lee tallied twice as many votes as challenger Becky Edwards. He is a virtual lock to win a third term in November.

After the June 28 elections, 29 states will have completed inter-party rounds leading up to fall’s 2022 midterm elections.

The primary pace slackens in July, with only Maryland on the docket before picking up in August. Of the 19 states with primaries still on tap—Louisiana and Rhode Island do not have primaries—15 will stage them between Aug. 2–23.

From The Epoch Times