By WILL WEISSERT
WASHINGTON (AP) — In Colorado, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, one of the most polarizing members of Congress, is trying to fend off a challenge from a more traditional Republican in her primary on Tuesday.
Two Republican House incumbents from Mississippi are facing a runoff to retain their seats, including one who voted in favor of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.
In Illinois, Republican Rep. Mary Miller, who called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for white life” at a rally with former President Donald Trump – her doorstep -spokesman said she misspoke – clashes with fellow incumbent GOP.
A total of six states are holding congressional primaries, primaries or special elections on Tuesday. Many Republican races will test Trump’s national influence, and others could provide the first clues as to how voters are reacting to the High Court’s decision on abortion.
Some of the best elections:
Boebert, a first-term arsonist, watched his GOP-leaning 3rd congressional district in western Colorado become even more Republican after the redistricting. She faces Don Coram, a moderate state representative, a breeder and hemp grower, who denounces what he calls Boebert’s extremism.
Coram argues that the incumbent’s loyalty to Trump has meant neglecting the biggest agricultural issues in her sprawling turf as she seeks social media and conservative stardom. Boebert railed against the “Biden regime” and the “socialist” Democrats. She’s also trumpeting her Second Amendment credentials and her opposition to the COVID-19 restrictions that briefly closed her “Shooters” restaurant.
Boebert criticizes Coram for working with legislative Democrats. His opponent is betting voters alienated by Boebert’s provocations will choose someone more in the tradition of centrists who have played well in the region, including five-term Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, who lost to Boebert in a a last upset cycle.
Also on Tuesday, in deeply conservative El Paso County, Colorado, eight-term Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn faces a right-wing challenge from state Rep. Dave Williams for his 5th congressional district seat. Williams failed to get the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” code for an obscenity against Biden, added to his name on the ballot.
Lamborn, who faces an ongoing House ethics inquiry into whether he misused official resources for personal gain, has survived major challenges in the past as a staunch opponent of abortion and a supporter of the large US military presence in Colorado Springs. Earlier this year, Williams led a 24-hour filibuster in the state house over a bill allowing unlimited access to abortion. The bill eventually became law.
ILLINOIS HOLDERS AGREEMENT
Miller, first elected in 2020, is no stranger to controversy. She quoted Adolf Hitler shortly after winning her seat, saying at a rally that “Hitler was right about one thing. He said: “He who has youth in the future”. She later apologized after Illinois Democrats called for her resignation. She also voted against certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election and is a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus.
On Saturday night, she made the “white life” comment as Trump stood behind her at a rally in Mendon, drawing cheers from the crowd. Miller has since said she is not racist, and her spokesperson said she intended to call the decision a victory for the “right to life.”
She faces five-term Republican Rep. Rodney Davis on Tuesday for the GOP nomination for the 15th congressional district, a sprawling, heavily red district in central Illinois that was redrawn after the state’s population dwindled. cost him a seat in Congress.
Davis was Trump’s 2020 Illinois campaign co-chair but voted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. He has the support of nearly all of the district’s 35 party chairmen and stood committed to “re-enforcing” Trump’s policies, including closing the US-Mexico border.
In suburban Chicago, meanwhile, the redistricting means Democratic Representatives Sean Casten and Marie Newman are running for the state’s 6th congressional district, a blue-leaning seat.
Newman is a progressive elected for the first time in 2020, when she defeated longtime Representative Dan Lipinski, one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress. She faces an ongoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee into whether she promised a federal job to a political opponent.
Casten overturned a suburban seat in 2018 that Republicans have held for decades.
FLOOD OF CANDIDATES FOR ILLINOIS OPEN SEATS
More than 20 candidates are vying for the chance to replace 15-term Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, the only lawmaker to ever beat Barack Obama in a race. Obama challenged Rush in a US House primary in 2000 and lost.
The heavily Democratic 1st Congressional District was redrawn after the 2020 census and now stretches from Chicago’s South Side to Kankakee.
Among the candidates to replace Rush are Jonathan Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson; Karin Norington-Reaves, a Rush-approved federal workforce trainer; Pat Dowell, a member of the Chicago City Council whose ward is in the district; and businessman Jonathan Swain.
Nor is Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos seeking reelection in northwestern Illinois’ 17th congressional district, a largely rural swath that Republicans hope to topple in November.
Republican Esther Joy King, who nearly defeated Bustos in 2020, is running for the GOP nomination again and has a big fundraising lead over her main rivals. The Democratic field includes former meteorologist Eric Sorenson, Rockford City Councilman Jonathan Logemann and educator Angie Normoyle, who has served on both her local school board and county council.
TWO RARE MISSISSIPPI RUISSIONS
Republican Representative Michael Guest is seeking a third term after voting to create an independent commission to investigate the January 6 uprising at the United States Capitol. GOP Rep. Steven Palazzo is seeking a seventh term after being accused in a congressional ethics report last year of abusing his office by spending campaign funds.
Guest and Palazzo failed to clear the 50% threshold to win outright in their June 7 primaries. Guest now takes on former Navy fighter pilot Michael Cassidy, while Palazzo goes up against Mike Ezell, the sheriff of a coastal county.
Congressional runoffs are rare. The Associated Press searched state records dating back 70 years, to 1952, and found that no U.S. representative from Mississippi had participated in a party runoff during that time.
NEBRASKA SPECIAL ELECTIONS OVERLAP WITH CONVICTION
Former Republican Representative Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska will be sentenced on Tuesday for lying to federal agents as voters choose a replacement for the remainder of his term.
Fortenberry resigned in March after being found guilty of intentionally misleading FBI agents about his knowledge of an illegal $30,000 campaign contribution from a Nigerian billionaire during a fundraiser in 2016 in Los Angeles.
Two state lawmakers, Republican Mike Flood and Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks, are running in a special election to succeed Fortenberry, who served nine terms in the densely Republican district that includes Lincoln and dozens of small rural communities . They will compete again in November to determine who serves a new term, starting next January.