WASHINGTON — Republicans on Tuesday nominated a Donald Trump-backed state senator to take on Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, NBC News Projects, in November in a win for both conservatives and Democrats who tried to covertly elevate Darren Bailey over his more moderate primary opponent in the blue state.
Abortion becomes a defining issue between: baileywho opposes abortion in nearly all cases and hailed the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as “historic and welcome,” and Pritzker, who wants to make Illinois a safe haven for women seeking abortions in other countries. states where it will now be banned.
Meanwhile, the GOP primaries in other states Tuesday will further test the strength of Trump’s influence en route into November.
On the Democratic side, voter turnout in Colorado, Illinois and New York could provide clues as to how much the Supreme Court decision will boost the party’s grassroots this fall.
And meddling in the GOP primaries by both Trump and Democrats could have major ramifications in November’s general election.
In New York, NBC News projects Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul to win her party’s nomination, about a year after she took over from disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo. She handily defeated moderate Rep Thomas Suozzi and progressive New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, despite early expectations that she would travel a difficult path to win on her own.
Hochul’s Lt. gov. Antonio Delgado also easily won his primary against two other candidates, NBC News Projects.
The race for lieutenant governor took on added significance after Cuomo’s departure led to the elevation of Hochul—she was his lieutenant governor—and after Hochul’s first hand-picked lieutenant governor arrested on federal corruption charges in April.
In Illinois, where Democrats have long controlled the government and have taken swift action to protect abortion rights, Pritzker wants to go further by making his state a destination for women from neighboring states where abortion will no longer be available.
“We will potentially see 10 to 20,000 more women crossing state lines – we saw 10,000 last year – to exercise their reproductive rights. And we’ve prepared for this,” Pritzker, a member of the wealthy family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain, told MSNBC Tuesday. “We believe that people have a right that has been diminished, but we are going to guarantee it in the state of Illinois.”
Pritzker and Democratic allies took the unusual step of spending real money to meddle in the GOP primaries by attacking Richard Irvin, the first black mayor of Aurora, a suburb of Chicago, and boosting Bailey, from who they think will be tough to win statewide in November.
According to the data analytics firm AdImpact, the Pritzker campaign donated $32 million in TV ads in a primary in which it faced only token opposition, with the bulk of the spending directed toward Irvin. The Democratic Governors Association spent $18.4 million more. Irvin spent more than $50 million on his campaign, including more than $30 million in TV ads.
All of this made the Illinois governor’s race the most expensive in the nation in TV ad spend, totaling at least $100 million, according to AdImpact.
Under attack from multiple quarters, Irvin was forced to shift his reporting from talking out his biography and qualification to responding to attacks, undermining his momentum.
Democrats also injected themselves into the GOP primaries in Colorado in an effort to elevate right-wing candidates who wanted to oust Democratic administration Jared Polis and Senator Michael Bennet. They bet those Republicans will have a harder time winning in a state where President Joe Biden defeated Trump by more than 13 percentage points in 2020.
In the Senate race, a mysterious super-PAC called Democratic Colorado has more than… $4 million state Representative Ron Hanks and portray businessman Joe O’Dea, seen as the tougher Bennet opponent, as a “phony” conservative.
in a similar attempt in the governor’s race, Democrats spent $1.5 million to boost Greg Lopez, the former mayor of suburban Denver, over Heidi Ganahl, a member of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, who is seen as the most formidable opponent against Polis.
Democrats also tried to help a Republican senator, Don Coram, who was running against conservative Republican Lauren Boebert, but she ended up winning by a lopsided margin, NBC News projects, and will be the clear favorite in the Republican district. in Nov.
In New York, the congressional primaries have been postponed to August due to legal battles over reclassification, but both parties will select nominees for governor and lieutenant governor on Tuesday.
The GOP side, meanwhile, is a tossup. Rep. Long Island’s Lee Zeldin, a close ally of Trump in Congress, is the nominal frontrunner, but he faces 2014 GOP nominee for governor Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani, the son of the former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani.
With several allies in the running, Trump has stayed away, deciding not to support any of the candidates in his former home state.
In Utah, NBC News projects Sen. Mike Lee, a Trump ally, defeated two primary challengers who did not vote for Trump in 2020 and accused Lee of forgetting Utah as his national profile rose.
Vocal anti-Trump critic Evan McMullin will take on Lee as an independent in November. The Democratic Party of Utah voted not to nominate his own candidate and instead support McMullin in the scarlet state, where a Democrat would have little chance of winning.
In Mississippi, two Republican members of Congress faced the prospect of losing their seats on Tuesday after being forced into primary elections.
Rep. Michael Guest, one of the Republicans who voted to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riots in the Capitol, won his runoff election, NBC New Projects.
It is too early to bring in Representative Steven Palazzo, who has faced ethical issues and allegations of misuse of campaign funds.
Nebraska, meanwhile, will hold a special election to replace former Representative Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned in March and was sentenced Tuesday to two years’ probation after he was convicted of lying to federal agents in a corruption investigation. Two state senators — Republican Mike Flood and Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks — will face off in the Republican-leaning 1st Congressional District.
In more than one state with a primary Tuesday, redistricting has pitted members of Congress against each other.
In Illinois, Trump supports Rep. Mary Miller, a first-term lawmaker who received national attention for: proverb shortly after she was sworn in that “Hitler was right about one thing” and then again earned scorn at a meeting with Trump when she called the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling a “victory for white life.” Her spokesperson later said she wanted to say “right to life.”
Miller is confronted by longtime Rep. Rodney Davis, who voted to create the committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riots.
On the Democratic side, NBC News projects Rep. Sean Casten, whose 17-year-old daughter died unexpectedly this month, defeated Rep. Marie Newman, who herself is best known for ousting anti-abortion Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in a 2020 primary.
And in Oklahoma, an open Senate seat has caused a Republican pile-up. sen. Jim Inhofe’s retirement announcement sparked a crowded GOP primary field that Rep. Markwayne Mullin includes; Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the Trump administration; and former state president TW Shannon.