2022 midterms: What to watch in Georgia, Texas, elsewhere

  • FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., departs the House chamber at the end of votes, at the Capitol in Washington, May 12, 2022. Greene is testing Republican voters' tolerance for controversy in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary.

    FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., departs the House chamber at the end of votes, at the Capitol in Washington, May 12, 2022. Greene is testing Republican voters' tolerance for controversy in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. Associated Press

  • FILE - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during an interview on Oct. 28, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday's primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump, who is seeking revenge for his 2020 election defeat in the state.

    FILE - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during an interview on Oct. 28, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday's primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump, who is seeking revenge for his 2020 election defeat in the state. Associated Press

  • FILE - Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2021. Hice faces Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary.

    FILE - Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2021. Hice faces Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. Associated Press

  • FILE - Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks with reporters, March 23, 2022, in Hueytown, Ala. Brooks faces Katie Britt, the former leader of the Business Council of Alabama and retiring Sen. Richard Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary.

    FILE - Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks with reporters, March 23, 2022, in Hueytown, Ala. Brooks faces Katie Britt, the former leader of the Business Council of Alabama and retiring Sen. Richard Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. Associated Press

  • FILE - Alabama Republican Senate candidate Katie Britt speaks to a GOP club meeting in Opelika, Ala., May 16, 2022. Britt faces Rep. Mo Brooks and retiring Sen. Richard Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary.

    FILE - Alabama Republican Senate candidate Katie Britt speaks to a GOP club meeting in Opelika, Ala., May 16, 2022. Britt faces Rep. Mo Brooks and retiring Sen. Richard Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. Associated Press

  • FILE - Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James speaks to a crowd in Pike Road, Ala., on May 16, 2022. James is part of a crowded field challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary.

    FILE - Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James speaks to a crowd in Pike Road, Ala., on May 16, 2022. James is part of a crowded field challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. Associated Press

  • FILE - Republican Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush makes a campaign stop, Feb. 10, 2022, in Austin, Texas. Bush is running for attorney general in Texas' Republican primary runoff election against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

    FILE - Republican Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush makes a campaign stop, Feb. 10, 2022, in Austin, Texas. Bush is running for attorney general in Texas' Republican primary runoff election against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Associated Press

  • FILE - Democratic Congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros speaks to the media before a rally, Feb. 12, 2022, in San Antonio. Cisneros is challenging nine-term U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas' Democratic primary runoff election on Tuesday May 24, 2022.

    FILE - Democratic Congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros speaks to the media before a rally, Feb. 12, 2022, in San Antonio. Cisneros is challenging nine-term U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas' Democratic primary runoff election on Tuesday May 24, 2022. Associated Press

  • FILE - U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, talks to a member of the media during a campaign event, on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in San Antonio. Cuellar, a 17-year incumbent is facing a May 24, 2022, Democratic primary runoff against progressive Jessica Cisneros.

    FILE - U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, talks to a member of the media during a campaign event, on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in San Antonio. Cuellar, a 17-year incumbent is facing a May 24, 2022, Democratic primary runoff against progressive Jessica Cisneros. Associated Press

  • FILE - Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., speaks during a hearing Oct. 21, 2021, in Washington. McBath and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux are facing off in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, after McBath switched districts following redistricting. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP, File)

    FILE - Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., speaks during a hearing Oct. 21, 2021, in Washington. McBath and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux are facing off in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, after McBath switched districts following redistricting. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP, File) Associated Press

  • FILE - Lindy Blanchard announces her campaign for governor of Alabama in Wetumpka, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Blanchard is part of a crowded field challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

    FILE - Lindy Blanchard announces her campaign for governor of Alabama in Wetumpka, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Blanchard is part of a crowded field challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File) Associated Press

  • FILE - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey delivers her state of the state address at the State Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday evening, Jan. 11, 2022. Ivey is attempting to avoid a runoff as she faces several challengers in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

    FILE - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey delivers her state of the state address at the State Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday evening, Jan. 11, 2022. Ivey is attempting to avoid a runoff as she faces several challengers in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File) Associated Press

  • FILE - Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association on Sept. 10, 2020, in Austin, Texas. Paxton faces Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a Republican primary runoff election on Tuesday May 24, 2022. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

    FILE - Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association on Sept. 10, 2020, in Austin, Texas. Paxton faces Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a Republican primary runoff election on Tuesday May 24, 2022. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File) Associated Press

  • FILE - This July 6, 2016, file photo, shows Republican Jennifer Carnahan, the widow of U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died of cancer in February 2022. Carnahan is running for her late husband's U.S. Senate as Voters in southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District will choose candidates in a special primary, Tuesday, May 24, 2022 in the first step in a complicated process for filling the seat of Rep. Jim Hagedorn. (Brian Bakst/Minnesota Public Radio via AP, File)

    FILE - This July 6, 2016, file photo, shows Republican Jennifer Carnahan, the widow of U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died of cancer in February 2022. Carnahan is running for her late husband's U.S. Senate as Voters in southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District will choose candidates in a special primary, Tuesday, May 24, 2022 in the first step in a complicated process for filling the seat of Rep. Jim Hagedorn. (Brian Bakst/Minnesota Public Radio via AP, File) Associated Press

  • FILE - U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux speaks during a news conference in downtown Atlanta on May 21, 2021. Rep. Lucy McBath and Bourdeaux are facing off in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, after McBath switched districts following redistricting. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

    FILE - U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux speaks during a news conference in downtown Atlanta on May 21, 2021. Rep. Lucy McBath and Bourdeaux are facing off in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, after McBath switched districts following redistricting. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File) Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/24/2022 7:24 AM

ATLANTA -- Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday's primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who is seeking revenge for his 2020 election defeat in the state.


U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is testing Republican voters' tolerance for controversy in her primary. On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux are facing off after McBath switched districts because of redistricting.

 

In Alabama, three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor.

In Texas, two runoffs are drawing outsize attention: Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to hold off Land Commissioner George P. Bush, while Rep. Henry Cuellar is trying to fend off his progressive challenger in a rematch from 2020.

What to watch in Tuesday's primaries in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Minnesota:

GEORGIA


Trump's desire for vengeance has fueled the primary challenges to Kemp and Raffensperger, both of whom defied his pressure to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results.

Trump recruited former U.S. Sen. David Perdue to take on Kemp for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, but Perdue has lagged in polls and fundraising. Kemp has been increasingly confident the GOP will send him forward to a November rematch with Stacey Abrams, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

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Raffensperger, the state's top elections official, is facing a tough challenge from U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who has promoted Trump's lies that widespread voter fraud or tampering cost him the 2020 election.

Trump's candidate for U.S. Senate, football legend Herschel Walker, appears to be cruising to the Republican nomination despite some GOP leaders warning that Walker will be unelectable in November against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock. Walker has been accused of threatening his ex-wife's life, exaggerating his business record and lying about graduating from the University of Georgia.

Greene, a political lightning rod, is trying to stave off multiple Republican challengers. The Trump-backed firebrand was stripped of her committee assignments last year over racist remarks, her embrace of conspiracy theories and a past endorsement of violence. A group of voters tried but failed to knock her off the ballot, accusing her of helping foment the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In the Atlanta area, an unfavorable new district led Rep. McBath to jump into a Democratic primary against fellow Rep. Bourdeaux. McBath said her push to stay in Congress was about fighting for gun safety on behalf of her son Jordan, who was killed in a shooting 10 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

ALABAMA


Shelby's retirement launched a heated and expensive primary for the GOP nomination for the seat.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks faces Katie Britt, the former leader of the Business Council of Alabama and Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant, best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held captive in the events chronicled in 'Black Hawk Down.'

Trump initially endorsed Brooks last year but withdrew the endorsement in March after their relationship soured. Trump has not made another endorsement in the race. The fractured field increases the chances the race will go to a June 21 runoff.


Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is attempting to avoid a runoff as she faces several challengers from her right flank.


Lindy Blanchard, who was Trump's ambassador to Slovenia, and businessman Tim James have criticized Ivey's support of a gas tax increase and her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that included a temporary mask mandate and appeals for people to get vaccinated. They also criticized Ivey over a charter school that welcomed LGBTQ students.

Ivey has emphasized her conservative record, including signing legislation - now blocked by the courts - to make abortion a felony at any stage of pregnancy. In one campaign commercial, the governor pulls a handgun out of her purse to note her support of permitless concealed carry.

ARKANSAS

In Arkansas, two-term U.S. Sen. John Boozman hopes to fend off a challenge from three Republican rivals in a race in which he's had to rely on his endorsement from Trump as well as the state's top GOP figures.


The mild-mannered Boozman has taken a more aggressive tone in his campaign ads, vowing to complete the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Boozman's rivals include former NFL player Jake Bequette, who has the support of a super PAC that's aired ads attacking Boozman as not conservative enough, and Jan Morgan, a conservative activist and former TV reporter.


Sanders, Trump's former spokesperson, is heavily favored in her Republican primary for governor. She faces a long-shot primary challenge from former talk show radio host Doc Washburn.

Sanders has shattered fundraising records and has focused mainly on national issues, running spots criticizing President Joe Biden on issues like inflation while ignoring her rivals.

Five Democrats are seeking the party's nomination for governor, with nuclear engineer and ordained minister Chris Jones the front-runner.

The candidates are running to succeed Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection.

TEXAS

Texas held the first primary of 2022 back in March, but runoffs will finally settle two major races.

One puts the Bush family dynasty on the line: Republican George P. Bush, a son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has spent the past year mounting a primary challenge to Paxton, the two-term attorney general.

George P. Bush is the last of his family still in public office and finished 20 percentage points behind Paxton in a four-way primary. Since then, Bush's efforts to close the gap have centered on emphasizing Paxton's legal troubles, including an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption accusations and a separate 2015 indictment on securities fraud charges.

Paxton, who has denied wrongdoing, has broad party support and Trump's endorsement.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Cuellar's bid for a 10th term has run head-on into a reenergized national battle over abortion rights. His position as one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress has become a central issue in his runoff against Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney and abortion rights supporter.


Democratic House leaders have lined up behind Cuellar. Cisneros trailed Cuellar by roughly 1,000 votes in March, but Cuellar didn't hit the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff.

MINNESOTA


A primary Tuesday in southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District is a first step for replacing Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died of cancer in February. A special general election to fill the rest of Hagedorn's term in the Republican-leaning district is scheduled for Aug. 9.


Hagedorn's widow, Jennifer Carnahan, has been making the most overt appeals to Trump's supporters. She was state chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota until being forced out last August after a prominent donor was indicted on sex trafficking charges.


State Rep. Jeremy Munson, a founder of a hard-right faction that broke from the main Minnesota House GOP Caucus, has been endorsed by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Former state Rep. Brad Finstad has the backing of several Minnesota GOP officeholders. He has reminded voters he was Trump's Minnesota director for USDA Rural Development.

On the Democratic side, the candidate endorsed at the party's district convention earlier this month is former Hormel Foods CEO Jeffrey Ettinger. His opponents include University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.

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Associated Press writers Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Ala.; Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Ark.; Paul Weber in Austin, Texas; and Steve Karnowski in St. Paul, Minn., contributed to this report.

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Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

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Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.

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