Voters head to the polls in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, and Texas on Tuesday to vote in a series of primaries that will determine who moves on to compete in the midterm election showdown.
Contests in Georgia and Alabama have generated the most headlines, featuring high-profile primaries for governor and Senate, respectively.
But a special congressional election in Minnesota, where the widow of the late Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn is competing to run for his seat, and a gubernatorial primary in Arkansas that is likely to see former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders clinch the Republican nomination are also notable storylines heading into the next wave of primaries this week.
Here are five other factors to watch on Tuesday.
DO GOP TURNOUT LEVELS CONTINUE TO SOAR?
In the states that have held primaries so far this year, more Republican voters have shown up to cast their ballots than Democratic voters.
That could be an indication that the high GOP enthusiasm predicted by polls this year is real. It could also confirm some fears on the Left that President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and the dismal economic outlook are keeping Democratic voters home.
If Republican primary voters continue on Tuesday to show up in higher numbers than Democratic primary voters, that could be a strong indication that the midterm election landscape is as tilted toward the GOP as experts have predicted.
Turnout levels are also exceptionally high in Georgia, where Democrats accused state Republicans of conspiring to suppress the vote with their new election law.
Georgia set an early voting record ahead of Tuesday’s primaries, with a 168% increase in early voting turnout over 2018, despite the new law.
Texas also recently passed a set of election reforms that critics characterized as restrictive.
However, when the state held its primaries in March, turnout was higher than in the past six midterm primaries, according to the Texas Tribune.
The Texas contests to watch on Tuesday are the ones headed to runoffs after close results in March.
CAN AN AOC-BACKED LIBERAL UNSEAT A PELOSI-BACKED DEMOCRAT?
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) narrowly defeated progressive lawyer Jessica Cisneros in the March primary for Texas’s 28th Congressional District, but not by enough to avoid a runoff against her.
Cuellar enjoys the support of top House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Cisneros has attracted endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), effectively pitting the strength of the party’s liberal wing against its established leadership.
The leaked Supreme Court opinion in a key abortion case has also scrambled the dynamics of the race.
Cuellar is the only Democrat in the House who does not share his party’s pro-abortion rights stance, and Cisneros has seized on the abortion debate in the weeks since the primary.
Over that time period, Cisneros has raised significantly more money than her incumbent opponent, raising further questions about whether Cuellar can hold on to his seat amid such a strong primary challenge.
GEORGIA'S DAVID PERDUE SET TO BE BIGGEST TRUMP ENDORSEMENT FACE-PLANT TO DATE
WILL THE TRUMP ENDORSEMENT RECORD REMAIN STRONG?
Former President Donald Trump has maintained a relatively successful endorsement record in the primary elections so far this year. He backed J.D. Vance, who won the Republican nomination for Senate in Ohio; Rep. Ted Budd, who won the Republican nomination for Senate in North Carolina; and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, who has clung to a small lead in a Pennsylvania Senate primary that remains too close to call.
But Tuesday is likely to deal Trump the biggest, and perhaps most embarrassing, blow to his endorsement record yet.
Trump encouraged former Sen. David Perdue to challenge Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in a primary over what Trump viewed as Kemp’s insufficiently loyal response to his 2020 election fraud claims.
Despite all the support Trump has thrown behind Perdue, however, Kemp remains ahead of his primary challenger by an average of 25 points in the latest polls, according to RealClearPolitics.
If Kemp earns more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday, he will avoid a runoff against Perdue and reveal the limits of a Trump endorsement in unfavorable territory. Biden narrowly carried Georgia in 2020, and both Republican candidates for Senate lost runoffs in early 2021.
Trump’s influence could also be put to the test in Alabama.
After throwing his support behind Republican Rep. Mo Brooks in the Alabama Senate primary, Trump changed his mind and yanked back his endorsement in March, sending former Senate staffer Katie Britt to the top of the polls.
More recent surveys have shown Brooks with a late surge in support, however, raising the possibility that he could advance to a runoff against Britt or even clinch the GOP nomination himself.
A Brooks victory, or just an advancement to a runoff, could raise more questions about how Trump makes his political calculations, given that Brooks has for years been a loyal Trump supporter and was a viable candidate for the Republican Senate nomination.
CAN A BUSH STILL WIN REPUBLICAN VOTES IN THIS ERA?
A member of the Bush political dynasty is on the ballot Tuesday in what could be a test of whether the Bush brand retains any support among today’s Republican primary voters.
George P. Bush, the grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush and the current Texas land commissioner, is locked in a runoff battle to challenge Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for his seat.
Paxton comes to the race with a load of political baggage, including a years-old indictment for securities fraud, but also with high levels of support given his record of fighting Democratic administrations in court.
Paxton has Trump’s backing, legal victories from two previous terms, and what some political observers in the state say is the most momentum heading into Tuesday.
WILL MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE GO THE WAY OF MADISON CAWTHORN?
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) lost a primary last week for his seat after suffering through weeks of unflattering headlines about his personal life and a series of missteps during his short time in Congress.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has aligned herself with the far-right wing of the party and has made controversial statements throughout her term in office, a reality that invited primary challengers interested in ending her representation of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District.
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Jennifer Strahan, a political newcomer who is running against Taylor Greene, has raised a significant amount of money and spawned national headlines for her attempts to unseat the provocative incumbent.
Taylor Greene, however, has raised far more campaign cash and still looks poised to cruise to victory in the primary and the general election in November.
Lightly polled races can produce election night surprises, and the size of Taylor Greene’s primary victory could provide an indication as to how much the voters of Georgia’s 14th remain behind her despite her political antics.