A roundup of results from Tuesday's key primaries that took place in 5 states
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
Voters in Kansas have given reproductive rights supporters a victory in the first ballot test of abortion rights since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. Kansans who went to the polls yesterday protected abortion rights by rejecting an effort to rewrite the state's constitution. As NPR's Domenico Montanaro tells us, it was one of the most notable results after a day of primary voting in five states.
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Well, it's a huge result. I mean, this isn't California or New York. And in talking to Republican strategists over the last few months, since the Roe decision was overturned by the Supreme Court, they've been concerned about how the Supreme Court's decision would affect the campaigns, you know? This is going to make them raise some eyebrows this morning because this result clearly shows where the energy is on this issue of abortion rights right now. And Republicans were on a glide path to take back the House and, potentially, the Senate. But this has the potential to help Democrats blunt some of those expected GOP gains. And it's partly why we've seen some Senate Democratic candidates, for example, inching ahead in some key places.
MARTINEZ: Let's get to some other results. I know former President Trump has weighed in on a lot of races in these primaries. How did his candidates do this time?
MONTANARO: Yeah. Let's start in Arizona. In the key Senate race there, Blake Masters, who had Trump's endorsement, won and will face Democrat Mark Kelly this fall. Masters, a venture capitalist who pushed Trump's policies and his election lies, by the way, he had big financial backing from his friend and mentor, PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who poured millions into this race.
In the secretary of state's race, a Trump-backed conspiracy theorist and election denier won the GOP nomination. Mark Finchem is now the sixth election denier across the country to win the Republican nomination for a job that would control election administration in states. Four of those places are in key presidential swing states, A - Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and now Arizona. And in a big race for governor there - the race is too close to call at this point. Polls had shown Trump's preferred candidate, Kari Lake, also an election denier, well ahead. But only a couple thousand votes now separate her from Karrin Taylor Robson, who had the endorsement of former Vice President Mike Pence.
MARTINEZ: What about Republicans who voted for Trump's impeachment? What were the results with them?
MONTANARO: Yeah. There were three Republicans on the ballot who voted for Trump's impeachment after January 6. And so far, one, moderate Republican Peter Meijer, lost in Michigan. The other two, both in Washington state, Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, are ahead of Republican challengers. But only, you know, about half the vote or so is in there. And we don't expect to see a final result immediately. Meijer's loss is pretty significant, I have to say, because it gives Democrats now a pickup opportunity. This was a district where President Biden won in 2020. And the man who ousted Meijer, John Gibbs, is a former Trump appointee to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He had Trump's endorsement and is far more hard line than Meijer. It's going to be a real test of whether a Trump candidate can win in a general election in a swing district.
MARTINEZ: What about this test in terms of Trump's weight and support in America today?
MONTANARO: Yeah. I mean, Trump clearly has a firm grip on the Republican Party. But he's still highly unpopular more broadly. And that - and, you know, like a district like that one in Michigan, we're going to see how candidates with his policies and backing fare in purple places like Arizona and Michigan. Can a Blake Masters, for example, with hard-right Trump policies, win in Arizona over a more moderate candidate like Democrat Mark Kelly? And this is a hugely important Senate race because of how narrow the control of the Senate is right now, with it being 50/50 with Democrats ahead. Do these election deniers win secretary of state races that used to be won by fairly nonpartisan people when it comes to elections? Pretty big questions ahead this fall.
MARTINEZ: That's NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Thanks a lot.
MONTANARO: A, you're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.