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Rep. Rice Loses; GOP Gains TX Seat

Voters in several more states cast final ballots for their 2022 nominees on Tuesday, yielding an upset and a flipped seat. 

South Carolina

The first of six Republican House members who are seeking re-election and voted to impeach former President Donald Trump went down to defeat last night. South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice* (R-Myrtle Beach) lost outright to Mr. Trump’s endorsed candidate, state Rep. Russell Fry (R-Murrell’s Inlet). Mr. Fry defeated Rep. Rice, 51-24%, with the remaining 25% being split among the other five candidates.

Rep. Rice, originally elected in 2012, is denied re-nomination for a sixth term, failing to even force a runoff. He lost all eight counties to Mr. Fry, even placing third in two of the district’s local entities.

Elsewhere, Rep. Nancy Mace* (R-Charleston) defeated Republican primary challenger and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington by a close 53-45% that proved a defeat for a Trump endorsed candidate. Fourth District Rep. William Timmons (R-Greenville), in a race that Mr. Trump did not affect, was also renominated but only by a 52.7% vote share opposite three challengers.

Statewide, both Republican incumbents, Sen. Tim Scott* and Gov. Henry McMaster, were easily re-nominated. Gov. McMaster will now face former Congressman Joe Cunningham (D), who won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination outright with 56.5% of the vote, while the Democratic Senate candidates fell into a tight three-way finish. Two of the contenders will advance to a runoff election on June 28, presumably author Catherine Bruce and state Rep. Krystle Matthews (D-Ladson).

TX-34

Republican Mayra Flores, a health care professional, won the open special election last night in a 51-43% spread over former Cameron County Commissioner Dan Sanchez (D) and two others. The district was left vacant when then-Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned from the House to accept a position with a legislative advocacy firm.

Ms. Flores’ win will boost the Republican count to 214 in the House, just four away from creating a new majority, but winning a full term in November is a more difficult challenge for her in the regular election. The new 34th is rated 12 points more Democratic than the seat she won last night and will face 15th District Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) in the impending general election.

Mr. Gonzalez chose to seek re-election in the new South Texas 34th when Mr. Vela announced his retirement, and thus won the party primary in March. We can expect the Republican national political apparatus to pull out all of the stops in an attempt to re-elect Ms. Flores in the Autumn, thus making the 34th CD a political battleground.

Maine

The only contested race on the Maine ballot was the 2nd Congressional District Republican primary. As expected, the winner is former Congressman and State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, though his margin of victory over an opponent who had only spent $7,000 at the end of May was just 60-40%. This has to be viewed as an underperformance in preparation for the general election re-match of the 2018 campaign opposite incumbent Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston).

Both Gov. Janet Mills (D) and former Gov. Paul LePage (R) were unopposed for their party nominations last night. Polling suggests that this will be a competitive gubernatorial contest in November.

North Dakota

Easy re-nomination wins were on tap for the two North Dakota federal officials on the ballot, Sen. John Hoeven* (R) and at-large Rep. Kelly Armstrong* (R-Dickinson). Sen. Hoeven recorded a 78% victory, while Rep. Armstrong was unopposed. Both will have easy re-election bids in November.

Nevada

The Nevada elections are not totally complete at this writing, but it appears clear that Clark County Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo will oppose Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November, while GOP former Attorney General Adam Laxalt wins the right to challenge Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D).

Sheriff Lombardo, with a plurality of 37.8% of the vote within a field of 15 candidates, including former US Sen. Dean Heller who placed third in the primary vote, captured the party nomination for the state’s top post. Mr. Laxalt scored a majority 54.6% over disabled Afghan War veteran Sam Brown (35.7%) and six others. Both of these statewide races will be battleground contests in November.

In the state’s four congressional races, 1st District incumbent Representative Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) will face financial planner Mark Robertson who placed first in a field of eight Republican candidates that included former US Rep. Cresent Hardy.

In the northern Nevada 2nd CD, Rep. Mark Amodei* (R-Carson City) was re-nominated with 54.5% of the vote against perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (32.7%) and three others. In the general election, Rep. Amodei will face Democrat Elizabeth Krause. The Congressman becomes a heavy favorite for re-election.

In competitive District 3, another of the Clark County seats, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) was easily re-nominated and will face Republican attorney April Becker* who captured two-thirds of the Republican vote.

The remaining 4th District that stretches from northern Clark County into the central part of the state will feature another competitive general election contest for Rep. Steven Horsford* (D-Las Vegas), who was unopposed for re-nomination. Insurance agency owner and 2020 congressional candidate Sam Peters has a ten point lead over state Assemblywoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite) with almost half the vote still outstanding. Since Mr. Peters holds a significant lead (47-40%) in Clark County, where most of the outstanding ballots lie, it is probable that he will capture the GOP nomination.

Considering these results and that it appears more Republicans voted in this primary than Democrats (about one-third of the vote is still unaccounted for), Nevada will be one of the key battleground states in the nation’s 2022 midterm election.

* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle. 


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