Battlefield Comes Into Focus With Primaries in Five States

August 3, 2022 · 1:04 PM EDT

By Nathan L. Gonzales & Jacob Rubashkin

Venture capitalist Blake Masters won the GOP primary with 39 percent followed by solar energy CEO Jim Lamon (29 percent) and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich (18 percent). Masters will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in one of the most important Senate races in the country, in a state Biden won very narrowly in 2020. Masters has the national environment in his favor but Kelly had a 16-to-1 cash advantage in mid-July. Toss-up. 

Governor. Former local news anchor Kari Lake leads former Arizona Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson in a close race for the GOP nomination. Lake is stridently pro-Trump and a major promoter of false stolen election theories; she could make it more difficult for Republicans to hold the governorship. GOP Gov. Doug Ducey is term-limited and could not seek re-election. The GOP nominee will face Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who dispatched former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez, 73-22 percent in the Democratic primary, in the general election. Toss-up. 

1st District. Embattled GOP Rep. David Schweikert survived a competitive primary challenge from wealthy insurance executive Elijah Norton, 44-34 percent. Another Republican, gym chain owner Josh Barnett, received 22 percent, so the congressman benefited from having multiple opponents dividing votes against him. Business consultant Jevin Hodge won the Democratic nomination and faces a difficult general election race, even though Biden would have won the district with 50 percent. Lean Republican.

2nd District. Retired Navy Seal Eli Crane won the GOP primary with 34 percent and will face Rep. Tom O’Halleran, one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the country, in the general election. Army veteran/state Rep. Walt Blackman, who had some previous controversial statements and was viewed as a potential liability for the GOP, finished second with 24 percent. Trump would have won the newly-drawn district with 53 percent, so Crane should defeat O’Halleran in this environment. Lean Republican. 

4th District. The GOP race between restaurant owner/Marine Corps veteran Kelly Cooper and former Arizona Bankers Association CEO/former Phoenix Suns senior vice president Tanya Wheeless is too close to call. The GOP nominee will face Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton in a race that is on the edge of the House battleground, considering Biden would have won the district with 54 percent in 2020. Likely Democratic. 

6th District. Former state Sen. Kirsten Engel defeated state Rep. Daniel Hernandez 60-34 percent in the Democratic primary. Hernandez was the intern who aided Rep. Gabby Giffords after she was shot at a constituent event in 2011. Juan Ciscomani, senior advisor to Gov. Doug Ducey, won the GOP primary with 47 percent in the open seat race to replace Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who is not seeking re-election — Ciscomani benefited from a burst of late spending from the Kevin McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund. This is a top GOP pickup opportunity in a district Biden would have won with just 49.3 percent. Tilt Republican.

State Attorney General Derek Schmidt won the GOP nomination with 80 percent of the vote and will face Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly in one of the best Republican takeover opportunities in the country. A conservative independent candidate recently submitted signatures to appear on the fall ballot, which could make life slightly easier for Kelly, but those have to be verified first. Kelly benefitted from a third-party candidate in 2018, winning with just a 48-percent plurality. Toss-up. 

Amendment 1. A statewide initiative to remove the right to an abortion from the state constitution was soundly defeated, 59-41 percent. It also likely sparked high turnout, which could reach closer to what general election turnout was in 2018. That would be a good sign for Democrats, who are hoping that reaction to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision and reversal of Roe v. Wade will alter what was looking like a dismal set of midterm elections.

3rd District. Admanda Adkins easily won the Republican primary with 77 percent and will face Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids in a rematch of their 2020 race that Davids won by 10 points. Biden would have won the district with 51 percent in 2020, although by a more narrow margin than the district where the two candidates faced off last cycle. This could also still be a more challenging cycle for the congresswoman. Toss-up. 

Conservative commentator Tudor Dixon won the GOP nomination with 40 percent atop a field of candidates that did not include a handful of top contenders, who had failed to even make the ballot due to fraudulent signatures. Dixon will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in what should be a GOP takeover opportunity after Biden’s narrow victory in 2020. But Republicans are still playing catch up from the primary fiasco. Tilt Democratic.

3rd District. Rep. Peter Meijer became the latest GOP incumbent who voted to impeach Trump to lose in the primary. He was unseated by former Trump administration official John Gibbs, 53-47 percent, who will now face attorney 2020 Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten. Biden would have won the newly-drawn district by 8 points (compared to the old district that Trump won by 3 points), giving Democrats a legitimate opportunity to win the seat, particularly with the more moderate Meijer out of the picture. Move from Toss-up to Tilt Democratic. 

7th District. Former Army helicopter pilot/state Sen. Tom Barrett was unopposed for the GOP nomination and will face Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin in the general election. Biden would have won the district with 50 percent, giving the congresswoman a tiny bit of breathing room, but this will be a tough hold for Democrats. Tilt Democratic. 

8th District. Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement official/Fox47 news anchor Paul Junge easily won the Republican primary with 54 percent, more than 30 points ahead of the next candidate. While Junge lost a close race to Slotkin in 2020, he’ll face Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee in this redrawn district that Biden would have won with 50 percent. Kildee is already airing a negative TV ad full of opposition research on Junge. Tilt Democratic.

10th District. After two consecutive unsuccessful statewide runs, Republican John James is coming to Congress. He won the GOP nomination with nearly 90 percent and will face Democrat Carl Marlinga, a former Macomb County judge, in a district Trump would have won with 50 percent. In this political environment, that should be more than enough for James and Democrats haven’t been particularly optimistic about this race for a while. Move from Tilt Republican to Lean Republican.   

11th District. Rep. Haley Stevens defeated fellow Rep. Andy Levin 60-40 percent in one of the last member vs. member primaries of the cycle. Stevens had support from more moderate groups including Democratic Majority for Israel and AIPAC, while Levin is backed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Biden would have won the district with 59 percent, so Stevens is the heavy favorite against Republican Mark Ambrose. Solid Democratic.

13th District. State Rep. Shri Thanedar leads a crowded field of Democrats with 31 percent, followed by state Sen. Adam Hollier (23 percent) and Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner Portia Roberson (17 percent). John Conyers III (the son of the late longtime Detroit Rep. John Conyers) was running a distant fourth with 8 percent. Biden would have won the Detroit-area seat with 74 percent, so the Democratic nomination is critical. This will be the first time since the 1950s that Detroit does not have a Black representative in Congress. Solid Democratic.

State Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the GOP nomination with 46 percent over Rep. Vicky Hartzler (22 percent) and others. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who some Republicans feared would jeopardize the party’s hold on the seat if he won the primary, finished third with 19 percent after a super PAC spent late money going after him. Rep. Billy Long was fourth with 5 percent. Nurse/wealthy philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine won the Democratic primary 43-38 percent over Marine veteran Lucas Kunce, but she’ll be an underdog in the general election. Solid Republican. 

1st District. Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, a member of The Squad, turned back an aggressive challenge from state Sen. Steve Roberts 70-27 percent. Roberts called for a more pragmatic approach and tried to make the case that Bush’s “Defund the Police” mentality was hurting her constituents. That message lost by more than 40 points. Solid Democratic.

4th District. In the race to replace Hartzler, former news anchor Mark Alford won the GOP primary with 35 percent amidst a crowded field. Alford wasn’t the choice of establishment-friendly Gov. Mike Parson (that was farmer Kalena Bruce) or the party’s conservative wing (that was American Conservative Union-endorsed state Sen. Rick Brattin).  Trump would have won the west-central district by 40 points, so Alford will be a member of Congress next year. Solid Republican. 

7th District. In the race to replace Long, state Sen. Eric Burlison won the GOP primary with 38 percent in another crowded race. Burlison was backed by the Club for Growth and the House Freedom Caucus. Trump would have won the southwestern district by 41 points, so Burlison will be a member of Congress next year. Solid Republican. 

It wasn’t a surprise, but Democratic Sen. Patty Murray (54 percent) and Republican nurse/veterans advocate Tiffany Smiley (32 percent) finished first and second in the all-party primary and will advance to the general election. Fifty-four percent is what Murray received in the 2016 primary, the cycle she went on to win the general election 59-41 percent. But this will likely be a less favorable environment for the senator. Likely Democratic.

3rd District. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, is in second place in the all-party primary with just 25 percent, in a race that hasn’t been called yet. She’d face Democratic auto repair shop owner Marie Gluesonkamp Perez in the general election. Since Trump would have won the district with 51 percent, getting through the primary was key because the general election should be easier. But the congresswoman was fortunate there was a divided field against her. Other Republican candidates combined to receive 35 percent. Solid Republican. 

4th District. Rep. Dan Newhouse, one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, finished first in the top two primary with 27 percent. He’ll face Democratic business consultant/restaurant owner Doug White (26 percent) in November. Six other Republican candidates combined for 46.6 percent, so Newhouse was fortunate to have a divided field. Trump would have won the district with 57 percent, so the general election should be easier than the primary. Solid Republican. 

8th District. Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier finished well ahead of the crowded field with 49 percent of the vote. She’ll face a Republican in November but the race is still too close to call. Attorney Matt Larkin, Iraq War veteran/2020 nominee Jesse Jensen and King County Councilman Reagan Dunn (son of former Rep. Jennifer Dunn) are in contention. Dunn has some serious personal baggage. Schrier received 43 percent in the 2020 primary, and went on to win the general election 52-48 percent. Toss-up.