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Primary election: Colorado race tests endurance of 2020 election lies as 7 states pick nominees for 2022

The GOP primary in Colorado took on added significance with Tuesday’s stunning revelations in Washington. Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the House select committee that the then-President had been aware that many in the crowd before the Capitol riot were heavily armed and then, after his speech that morning, lunged at the steering wheel in his limousine after being told by the Secret Service they would not take him to the Hill.

Victory for Peters in Colorado would add to the list of election deniers who have already been nominated by Republicans to seek influential offices, both for state office and in Congress, this midterm season.

One of the three GOP congressional runoff elections pits challenger Michael Cassidy against Mississippi Rep. Michael Guest, who has come under attack from his party over a vote to establish an independent commission to investigate the deadly Capitol violence.

In Oklahoma, evangelical pastor Jackson Lahmeyer has criticized Republican Sen. James Lankford over his refusal to endorse Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. The Republican Senate primary in Colorado also features a candidate, state Rep. Ron Hanks, who showed up at the Capitol on January 6 and, though he has said he did not enter the building, has gone on to spread false claims and debunked theories about voter fraud.

The shadow of the Supreme Court’s decision last week striking down Roe v. Wade also looms over Tuesday’s elections. Hanks’ opponent in the Colorado Senate primary, businessman Joe O’Dea, supports abortion rights in most circumstances. Hanks has advocated for a total ban on the procedure. The winner of that race will face Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet this fall.
Democrats across the country will also keep close track of turnout on Tuesday as they gauge whether the ruling has motivated a base that’s been demoralized by the party’s performance during President Joe Biden’s time in office.
7 things to watch for in primaries in Colorado, Illinois and other states

Republican primaries have also attracted some gamesmanship from Democratic groups, who have sought to elevate GOP candidates they believe will be less viable in general elections. In the Colorado Senate race, Democrats have tried to boost Hanks, for example. In the gubernatorial race, they’re hoping Greg Lopez, a former mayor of Parker, southeast of Denver, will claim the nomination over Heidi Ganahl, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The winner will take on Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

It’s a similar story in Illinois, where former Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, the first Black candidate elected to the office, is the establishment choice to square off with Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. But the favorite in the primary, now equipped with an endorsement from Trump, is state Sen. Darren Bailey — another candidate Democrats expect to be less competitive when facing the full electorate in November.

Illinois primaries

Illinois is home to the largest and most competitive slate of congressional primaries.

Two of them pit incumbents who were drawn into the same seat during the state’s redistricting process. For Democrats, that means deciding whether to send Rep. Marie Newman or Rep. Sean Casten back to Washington, this time from the new 6th District. Newman has come under fire over potentially damning findings from an ethics probe. (She has denied the allegations against her.) But the race is expected to be tight, largely because Casten’s current constituents were mostly drawn into a different district.

On the Republican side, southern Illinois’ new 15th District is the site of another clash of incumbents — Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller. Davis is considered the more moderate choice of the two. Miller, a freshman, is a Trumpist flamethrower who, in a speech alongside the former President over the weekend, declared the Supreme Court’s Roe ruling a “victory for White life.” (A spokesman claimed she had misspoken and meant to say, “right to life.”)

Three more Democratic primaries, two of them for open seats and another featuring a challenge to a longtime incumbent, are also competing for headlines. In Chicago’s 7th Congressional District, gun violence prevention activist Kina Collins, 31, is seeking to unseat Rep. Danny Davis, 80. Collins, who lost badly in a 2020 challenge to Davis, has the support of progressive groups led by Justice Democrats — and the fundraising might that comes with it — this time around.

Progressives are also hoping to gain influence in the Democratic House caucus by winning the open seat in Illinois’ 3rd District, which includes areas previously represented by Reps. Chuy García, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Casten.

State Rep. Delia Ramirez has won endorsement from some of the left’s biggest leaders, including García, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The campaign arms of the Working Families Party, Congressional Progressive Caucus, EMILY’s List and Indivisible have all spent significant sums backing Ramirez.

Her leading rival in the four-way race is Chicago Alderman Gil Villegas, who has been boosted by the moderate-backing outside groups Democratic Majority for Israel and Mainstream Democrats PAC.

Chicago’s 8th District provides another open-seat contest, where Jonathan Jackson, a son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, is one of more than a dozen candidates vying to succeed the retiring Rep. Bobby Rush. Jackson is generally regarded as the leading contender and, like Ramirez, has support from García, Sanders and CPC — but faces strong competition from state Sen. Jacqui Collins, who also has progressive support, and the race’s leading moderate, Alderman Pat Dowell.

The first New York primary day

It is also primary day in New York — the first of two, this one for statewide contests, after a protracted redistricting process pushed the congressional races into late August.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, a notable if unsurprising resolution after more than a year of national speculation that he might draw a challenger from the left.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul will face voters for the first time as the top of the statewide ticket. She took over the job last year following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation. Hochul has been flanked, on the left, by New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and, on the right, by New York Rep. Tom Suozzi, but is widely expected to win without much drama.

Down the ballot, the result is less of a sure thing.

Hochul’s lieutenant governor, former Rep. Antonio Delgado, took office only a little more than a month ago, following the resignation of her first pick, Brian Benjamin, who stepped down after being indicted on federal corruption charges. (He’s pleaded not guilty.) But in what has generally been a sleepy campaign with low turnout numbers expected by all sides, Delgado is seen as vulnerable to a challenge from Ana María Archila, a longtime progressive organizer recruited to run earlier this year by the Working Families Party after she stepped down as co-executive director at the Center for Popular Democracy. Archila, though significantly outraised by Delgado, has run a more active campaign and has deep connections from her base in New York City to more progressive enclaves around the state after years of advocacy work.

The Republican gubernatorial primary has also proved a difficult one to predict. New York Rep. Lee Zeldin has the lion’s share of state GOP establishment support but has been locked in a tense and testy campaign featuring former Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani, son of Trump ally and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; businessman Harry Wilson; and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Mississippi runoffs

Republicans have three nominations to determine in Mississippi after candidates in each race failed to notch a majority in their June 8 primaries.

In the 2nd District, Brian Flowers and Ronald Eller are vying for a chance to take on Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the House’s January 6 select committee.

Rep. Steven Palazzo, facing a slew of ethics issues, including alleged misuse of campaign and congressional funds (he has denied any wrongdoing), and criticism over his use of proxy-voting, finished atop a seven-candidate field earlier this month, but with only about 31% of the vote. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell came in second, setting up their runoff contest.

Guest, his colleague in the 3rd District, will have to make up some ground against Cassidy after coming in a close second in the initial round of voting.

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