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2022 Midterms: How the Key Primaries Went in AZ, MO, and MI

Lacayo, El American

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Voters from five states went to the polls to elect the Republican and Democrat candidates for Senate, the House, and statewide offices. Although some of the results from Tuesday’s primaries are still too close to call, we can make a quick summary and analysis of the results of the latest saga of the 2022 GOP primaries.

Most analysts and pundits were paying close attention to the election results in Arizona, Missouri, and Michigan, as they would give us important insight into the dynamics within the Republican Party and the fate of the senate later this year. Hence, let’s start checking what happened yesterday in the Arizona, Missouri, and Michigan races.

Arizona 2022 GOP primaries: Masters wins, Lake has a slim advantage over Robson

In the Grand Canyon State, the election for the Republican candidates for Senate and Governor was seen as another proxy test of the strength former President Trump has over the Republican electorate, as speculations over a potential 2024 bid seem to be all but confirmed by Trump himself. The 45th President endorsed entrepreneur Blake Masters and former TV news anchor Kari Lake in the senate and governor races, respectively, and it appears that Trump will get a perfect score in Arizona.

In the Senate, Blake Masters managed to win the election while only getting 39% of the vote.  However, Masters’s victory margin was pretty comfortable as his closest competition, fellow entrepreneur Jim Lamon, was more than 10 points behind Masters, and former front-runner Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich was more than 20 points behind Masters.

2022-Gop-primariesKari Lake looks poised to narrowly win her primary for the Arizona Governorship (Kari Lake by Gage Skidmore| Gage Skidmore| CC BY-SA 2.0)

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The Senate race was, as many primaries, a competition over who could present himself to the voters as the most reliantly conservative candidate. Lamon decided to present himself as the self-made outsider who would challenge the Washington establishment; Masters followed a similar strategy. Still, he used Trump’s endorsement well, while Brnovich ran on his record as Attorney General. It appears that in Arizona, like in Ohio, Trump’s endorsement can play a crucial factor in a crowded and fragmented race.

The governor’s race is closer than the Senate election. When this article was written, former TV news anchor Kari Lake led the election by less than 2 points over lawyer Karrin Taylor Robson. While no candidate has yet conceded and no major outlet has declared a winner, it appears that the Trump-endorsed candidate will score a narrow victory over her Pence-endorsed rival.

Despite her probable defeat, Robson significantly over-performed her poll numbers. The RCP poll aggregator showed Lake leading Robson by 9 points, and one poll even had Lake with an 18-point advantage. However, Robson had a solid showing with early mail-in ballots and jumped to the lead in the first hours after the polls closed — a lead that Lake erased as election day and late mail-in ballots started to be counted in the night.

Lake and Robson had viciously clashed during the campaign. Lake accused Robson of being a “RINO” and attacked her over her refusal to support Trump’s fraud claims of the 2020 election. Robson responded to these attacks by saying that Lake was “fake” and that her claims questioned the integrity of the election were “meritless.”

Missouri and Michigan: “the battle of the Erics” ends, and a Trump impeacher narrowly loses

In Missouri, the main show was the Senate race between former governor Eric Greitens, current Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler. The polls before the election showed AG Schmitt with a clear advantage over Greitens, who resigned in 2018 after being indicted over tampering with computers and has been accused of sexual assault by a former mistress and of domestic abuse by his ex-wife.

The campaign’s final days were filled with rumors over which Eric would be the Trump endorse candidate in the race, a move that could make or break the campaign. Eventually, Trump released a non-committal statement saying he was endorsing “ERIC” in the election. Bizarrely, both candidates began to campaign claiming they were the Eric that Trump endorsed, which is technically true.

Former President Trump endorsed both Erics in the Missouri Senate primary (EFE)

On election day, Greitens performed even worse than the polls predicted. Schmitt easily won the election with 45.7% of the vote, with Hartzler coming second (22.1%) and Greitens in a distant third. Schmitt will face Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine in the general election, a race he is widely expected to win.

In Michigan, voters elected political commentator Tudor Dixon as the GOP nominee to challenge governor Gretchen Whitmer in the fall. However, one of the races that got the most attention was the primary for the 3rd congressional district of the state, where Rep. Peter Meijer was defending his seat from challenger John Gibbs, who served under the Trump Administration.

Meijer was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after January 6th, and Trump-endorsed John Gibbs narrowly defeated him. Meijer got 48.2% of the vote to Gibbs’ 51.8% and conceded the election soon after the clear trend. This district is considered a competitive one in the fall, and it was reported that Democrats spent $450,000 in a media blitz supporting Gibbs as they calculated he would be an easier candidate to defeat than Meijer.

Whether the Democrats’ analysis is accurate or not, Gibbs will have to do his best to convince Meijer voters to support him and court enough moderates to defeat Democrat Hillary Scholten this fall.

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