4 takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries in Nebraska and West Virginia

A federal candidate backed by former President Donald J. Trump won a contested primary for the second straight week on Tuesday, as Representative Alex Mooney resoundingly defeated Representative David McKinley in West Virginia in the first primary race. incumbent versus incumbent of 2022.

But Mr. Trump’s approval scorecard took a hit in Nebraska, where his favorite gubernatorial candidate, Charles W. Herbster, lost in a three-way race to Jim Pillen, a regent of the University of Nebraska which had the support of outgoing Governor Pete Rickettes.

Here are four takeaways from primary night in Nebraska and West Virginia:

On paper, West Virginia’s new second congressional district should have given an advantage to Mr. McKinley, 75, who had previously represented more of his territory as he sought a seventh term. But Mr. Mooney, 50, who once led the Republican Party in neighboring Maryland, nevertheless drove through almost the entire district except the upstate begging on Tuesday.

Mr Trump’s endorsement is widely seen as fueling the Mooney campaign in one of the states where the former president was most popular.

Throughout the race, Mr. Mooney slashed Mr. McKinley as a “RINO” – “Republican in name only” – and took aim at some of his cross votes, including for the bipartisan infrastructure bill which was passed by Congress last year and the bipartisan legislation to create the commission investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Trump sided with Mr Mooney early on and invited him to stand with him at a rally in Pennsylvania last week. There Mr Trump joked that Mr Mooney should defeat Mr McKinley “easily”. It largely did, with landslide margins exceeding 70% in some of the eastern counties that border Maryland.

The race comes a week after Mr Trump helped JD Vance win a costly Ohio Senate primary, and it again showed his influence when approving House and Senate candidates.

President Biden was not on the ballot in the race for the West Virginia House. But his belief that voters will reward members of Congress who set aside partisanship to get things done has taken another hit.

Mr. McKinley is apparently very much in line with the long West Virginia tradition of lawmakers bringing home the bacon (see: Robert C. Byrd).

Mr. McKinley had campaigned alongside Gov. Jim Justice, a Democrat-turned-Republican, and turned to Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, in the home stretch as a pitchman.

But Republican primary voters were in no mood to compromise.

“Liberal David McKinley has sided with Biden’s trillion-dollar spending spree,” said a Mooney ad that began with the narrator saying he had a “breaking MAGA alert.” .

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Biden delivered a speech acknowledging that he miscalculated in his belief that Trump-style republicanism would fade with Mr. Trump’s departure. “I didn’t expect – let me say – let me say this carefully: I didn’t expect the Ultra-MAGA Republicans, who seem to be controlling the Republican Party now, to have been able to control the Republican Party,” Mr. Biden said.

On Tuesday night, voters in West Virginia reaffirmed where the power lies in the party.

Mr. Herbster had tried to turn the Nebraska governor’s primary into a referendum on Mr. Trump. He called it a “proxy war between the entire Republican establishment” and the former president. He quoted Mr. Trump at every opportunity. He appeared with him at a rally.

But the race has become Mr Herbster’s business himself, after he was accused of groping and unwanted touching by several women in the final weeks of the race.

Voters instead opted for Mr. Pillen, a former University of Nebraska football player, who had also run as a conservative choice with the backing of the incumbent governor. A third candidate, Brett Lindstrom, a state senator from outside Omaha, had campaigned for support from the party’s more moderate faction.

Mr Herbster becomes the first Trump-endorsed candidate to lose in a 2022 primary – but likely not the last.

Mr. Trump’s picks for the House and Senate so far in 2022 have been successful (Mr. Mooney and Mr. Vance). His first choice in the race for a governor has stumbled. Over the next two weeks, Mr. Trump will endorse two other Republican gubernatorial candidates, in Idaho and Georgia, both of which are challenging Republican incumbents and neither of which is favored to win.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s Senate picks in North Carolina and Pennsylvania both have a chance of winning in next week’s primaries.

The divide between America’s urban and rural politics isn’t just a problem between the Republican and Democratic parties — it’s also a problem within the Republican Party.

For the second week in a row (after the Senate race in Ohio), the results map showed that urban areas remain a stronghold for more moderate and traditional Republican voters – and that rural areas are extremely hostile to this form. of politics.

In Ohio, State Senator Matt Dolan, who did not pursue support for Mr. Trump, was successful in the cities of Cleveland and Columbus but was passed almost everywhere else.

In Nebraska, Mr. Lindstrom, another Republican state senator, performed best in Douglas County, home to Omaha, while getting wiped out in much of the rest of the state. In more rural parts of Nebraska, Mr. Lindstrom rarely topped 20% of the vote and in some places dropped into single digits.

In Cherry County, with most votes counted, Mr. Lindstrom was less than 7%; Mr Herbster, backed by Trump, meanwhile was above 50% – even en route to a statewide defeat.

It was Mr Pillen who won, finishing in a virtual tie with Mr Lindstrom in Lancaster County, home to Lincoln and the state’s second-largest electoral center, while edging out his two rivals in most of the rest of State.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: