Trump-Backed Candidates Sweep Primaries

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Former President Donald Trump had a successful night in several primaries on Tuesday, as many of his endorsed candidates advanced to the general election in November.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, granted his favor in a number of races during the June 11 primary elections, including Senate, House, and gubernatorial primaries in South Carolina, Nevada, Maine, and North Dakota.

Almost all of his picks saw outright success, with a notable exception of Pastor Mark Burns in South Carolina’s 3rd district GOP primary, who is heading for a runoff against nurse Sheri Biggs after failing to reach a majority of the vote. On a night where Trump’s picks saw favorable outcomes, the runoff stands as a notable mark on his almost perfect record.

Burns or Biggs will face Democrat Bryon Best in the November contest to replace Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), who decided not to run for reelection in his solidly red district.

Here are the races where Trump’s favor proved formidable:

South Carolina

Early on, Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) paid off after she defeated top challenger Catherine Templeton, 56.8% to 29.8%, respectively as of 11 p.m. The former president threw his support behind the incumbent this year after campaigning against her in 2022. Mace has, in turn, endorsed Trump, choosing him over former candidate and fellow South Carolinian, Nikki Haley.

Meanwhile, in the Palmetto State’s 4th District, Trump-backed Rep. William Timmons won, with the Associated Press calling the race at 11:55 p.m. Eastern at 51.6% with 99% of votes counted. The race took more than five hours to call after polls closed at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Timmons previously won his 2022 primary against Burns, narrowly avoiding a runoff. This year, Timmons, with Trump’s support, faced challenger Adam Morgan. Morgan, who led the state’s Freedom Caucus, had endorsements from House Freedom Caucus members like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and chairman Bob Good (R-VA).

Maine

Trump also saw victory in Maine, after endorsed GOP candidate Austin Theriault defeated fellow state Rep. Michael Soboleksi, 66.5% to 33.5%, respectively as of 11 p.m. Eastern.

Theriault will go on to face Rep. Dan Golden (D-ME), who is one of five Democrats running for reelection in a district Trump won in 2020. The Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up with Republicans with a +5 advantage.

North Dakota

In the Roughrider State, Trump saw his pick for governor win the GOP primary. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) defeated Tammy Miller, 72.9% to 27.1% as of 11 p.m. Miller was endorsed by current Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), who is on the shortlist to be Trump’s vice presidential pick.

For Armstrong’s open at-large House seat, Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak defeated former state Rep. Rick Becker, 46.2% to 28.1%, respectively as of 11 p.m. Fedorchak secured Trump’s endorsement, as well. She will go on to face Democrat Trygve Hammer in the November election.

Nevada

In Nevada, where polls closed at 10 p.m. Eastern, Trump-endorsed candidate and military veteran Sam Brown won the GOP primary for the state’s U.S. Senate seat.

Brown faced Jeffrey Gunter, a former ambassador to Iceland who served in Trump’s administration, defeating him just days after securing the former president’s support over the weekend. The Associated Press called the race for Brown more than one hour after polls closed. Brown won nearly 57% with 58% of votes counted.

Republicans are hopeful that Brown will be able to oust Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) this year after losing the Republican Senate primary in 2022 to Adam Laxalt. Laxalt went on to lose to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) that year.

On the House side, Republican Trump-endorsed candidate John Lee is facing a competitive 4th District primary to challenge incumbent Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV). The primary has not been called as of 12:47 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Rachel Schilke
Rachel Schilke
Congress Reporter.

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