Three Republican members of the US House who voted to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 riot are being challenged in Tuesday’s primary by challengers endorsed by the former president.
The primary for Reps. Peter Meijer, Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse is the biggest test yet for GOP incumbents who broke with Trump after crowds of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in a bid to keep him in charge. Trump has vowed to retaliate against the 10 House Republicans who crossed party lines for the impeachment vote.
Of the 10, four chose not to run for re-election in this year’s midterm elections. As for those who did, Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina lost to a Trump-endorsed challenger in June, while Rep. David Valladao of California survived a challenge the same month from a fellow Republican to advance to the general election . Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is bracing herself for a loss in her Aug. 16 primary against a Trump-backed challenger.
In other races Tuesday, two Democratic incumbents in Michigan are facing off in a new congressional district, and two members of the progressive “Team” have primary challengers in Missouri and Michigan. In Arizona, GOP voters will decide whether to nominate a prominent QAnon figure for a congressional seat.
Some of the top picks:
TREATMENT OF VOTERS AFTER ROLLOUT VOTE
The three House Republicans facing primary challenges Tuesday to impeach Trump say they don’t regret their vote.
In Michigan, Meijer voted for impeachment just days after being sworn in for his first term. The former president has endorsed Meijer’s opponent, John Gibbs, a businessman and missionary who served in the Trump administration under Housing Secretary Ben Carson.
Gibbs argued that Major is not a true Republican because he voted to impeach Trump, and Gibbs criticized Major for supporting gun control legislation signed by President Joe Biden in June.
Meijer, an Army reservist who served in Iraq, has criticized Biden over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as his handling of the economy. The congressman’s family is widely known in the Midwest as the owners of the major Meijer grocery store chain and has a major fundraising advantage over Gibbs. The winner will face Democrat Hillary Solten in November in the state’s Democratic-leaning 3rd Congressional District.
In Washington state, the two Republicans who voted for impeachment are competing in a crowded primary, from which the top two vote-getters, regardless of political party, will advance to the November general election.
Herrera Beutler’s primary against eight challengers, four of them Republicans, in Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District will be one of the toughest of her career. Trump is endorsing Joe Kent, a former Green Beret who promoted the former president’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen.
Herrera Beutler has been in Congress since 2011 and represents a district that has favored Republicans.
In central Washington, Newhouse, a four-term congressman, faces seven challengers, six of them Republicans, in the staunchly conservative 4th Congressional District. His opponents include Lauren Culp, a former small-town police chief who has refused to concede the governor’s race in 2020. Culp has Trump’s support but lags other candidates in fundraising.
CANDIDATE ASSOCIATED WITH QANON
Ron Watkins, one of the most prominent figures in the QAnon conspiracy movement, is running for a House seat in Arizona’s sprawling 2nd Congressional District.
He served as a long-time administrator of online message boards that helped grow the conspiracy movement whose supporters believe a group of satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles secretly rule the world.
Watkins no longer manages the message boards and has denied fueling the QAnon movement. He said he is running for Congress because he hopes to “fix the machine from within.”
He is considered a long-shot in the crowded GOP field, having outperformed other candidates in campaign fundraising.
State Rep. Walter Blackman and Eli Crane, a former Navy SEAL who owns a bottle opener business and was endorsed by Trump, are considered the leading GOP candidates. The winner will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran in November in a Republican-leaning district.
FROM COLLEAGUES TO COMPETITORS
Two Michigan Democratic incumbents, Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens, are running against each other for a newly drawn 11th Congressional District in suburban Detroit. They are competing for a left-leaning district, meaning the winner of Tuesday’s contest will likely win the seat in November.
Stevens flipped a district in 2018 that had long been held by Republicans. Before running for office, he led the auto bailout under President Barack Obama.
Levin also won his first term in 2018, taking over the seat long held by his father, Rep. Sander “Sandy” Levin. It has been endorsed by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Two members of the Caucus in Congress face primary challenges on Tuesday.
In Michigan, Rep. Rashida Tlaib faces three Democratic challengers as she seeks a third term in office. He is running in a newly drawn Detroit-area district, where the winner is expected to easily carry the 12th Congressional seat in November. Tlaib’s main competition is longtime Detroit city employee Janice Winfrey, who has strong name recognition in the city.
In Missouri, first-term Congresswoman Cory Bush faces a challenge in the state’s 1st Congressional District. State Sen. Steve Roberts is betting that Bush, a staunch supporter of defunding the police and shifting money to social services and mental health programs, is too liberal even for heavily Democratic St. Louis.
Roberts has twice faced rape charges, though prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence to warrant charges. She accused the Bush campaign of spreading the allegations to distract from her record.
Bush has touted her accomplishments, including getting the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up radioactive waste near a creek in St. Louis County, pushing for action on climate change and resisting evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.
10 YEARS AFTER THEIR BRIEF, SETTLEMENT SEEKS GIFFORDS SEAT
Daniel Hernandez Jr., the hero in training credited with saving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life after an assassination attempt in 2011, is running for her former congressional seat.
Hernandez, who recently resigned from the state legislature to focus on his campaign, faces another former congressman in the Democratic primary. However, the once highly competitive Tucson-centered district now favors Republicans after redistricting.
Hernandez was a 20-year-old college student in his first week interning for Giffords when he went to the “Congress on your corner” campaign event. A gunman there opened fire, killing six and wounding 13. Hernandez kept the Democratic congresswoman conscious and applied pressure to her head wound until paramedics arrived.
Associated Press writers Sara Burnett in Chicago, Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Ariz., Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Mich., Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix, Chris Grygiel in Seattle and Jim Salter in St. Louis contributed to this report.
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