Tuesday primary preview: QAnon ally could secure ticket to Congress in safely red Georgia seat
Primaries are taking place on Tuesday in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin for congressional and state offices. Georgia is also holding runoffs in races where no candidate cleared 50% of the vote in the state's June primary.
As we always caution, we may not know all the winners on election night. With the coronavirus pandemic fueling a surge in mail voting, election watchers everywhere should expect that we might not learn the results in every race for some time—perhaps days or even weeks.
Our live coverage will begin at 7 PM ET Tuesday night at Daily Kos Elections when the polls close in Georgia and Vermont. You can also follow us on Twitter for blow-by-blow updates. And you’ll want to bookmark our primary calendar, which includes the dates of the presidential and down-ballot primaries in all 50 states—many of which have been changed—as well as our separate calendar tracking key contests further down the ballot taking place nationwide this year.
Polls close at 8 PM ET.
Polls close at 7 PM ET.
● GA-09 (R) (78-19 Trump, 78-20 Romney): State Rep. Matt Gurtler narrowly led gun store owner Andrew Clyde 21-18 in the first round of the Republican primary for this extremely red open seat in the northeastern part of the state. Both men have spent comparable sums during the runoff. Gurtler, though, has benefited from $1.3 million in outside spending from two groups, the well-known Club for Growth and the completely unknown Concerned American Voters.
Both men are running as ardent conservatives, though there are some differences between the two. Gurtler has long had a hostile relationship with the state party establishment, which has made him all the more attractive to groups like the Club. Gurtler’s allies also weren’t troubled in May after a picture emerged of him at an event hosted by a local white supremacist. Clyde, by contrast, is a first-time candidate who has emphasized his military career and his successful battle against the IRS after it seized close to $1 million from him in 2013.
● GA-14 (R) (75-22 Trump, 73-25 Romney): Wealthy businesswoman Marjorie Greene, a defender of the notorious pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon, outpaced neurosurgeon John Cowan 40-21 back in June in this safely red seat in the northwest part of the state. Days later, state and national Republican leaders distanced themselves from Greene after Politico reported on her litany of racist and anti-Semitic rantings. The group included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose spokesperson called Greene’s words “appalling.”
However, national Republicans haven’t done much to actually stop Greene. No major super PACs have run ads against her, and not only has McCarthy remained neutral over the following two months, his team said just before the election that he has “a good and productive relationship with both” candidates. Greene also maintains the backing of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Cowan, who has been endorsed by five of his former rivals, has said of Greene: “She is the antithesis of the Republican Party. And she is not conservative—she’s crazy.” Cowan, though, notably has focused his ads not on the crazy but instead on allegations that Greene’s construction company didn’t take part in a federal program meant to screen out undocumented immigrants. Greene, for her part, has argued that her opponent is backed by a corrupt party establishment that’s tried to undermine both her and Donald Trump.
Politico reports that Cowan has a small $50,000 advertising advantage. The only poll we’ve seen in the last month was a late July survey for Cowan from Guidant Polling and Strategy that showed the race deadlocked 38-38.
Other Georgia Races to Watch
● MN-05 (D) (74-18 Clinton, 74-24 Obama): Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is one of the most prominent members of Congress, faces a well-funded primary challenge from attorney Antone Melton-Meaux in this safely blue Minneapolis seat.
Melton-Meaux has received an influx of money from contributors across the country who dislike Omar, and he’s argued that she hasn’t been a presence in her district. Melton-Meaux has also received over $2 million in outside support from Americans for Tomorrow's Future, a group that says it backs candidates across the political spectrum who seek to “advance America’s positive role in the world, including through support for our strategic alliance with Israel.”
Omar, though, has the backing of several prominent Minnesota Democrats, including Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison, who held this seat for six terms prior to Omar's victory in 2018. Omar’s team has also run ads charging that Melton-Meaux’s law firm is “one of the worst union-busting law firms in the country.” The only poll we’ve seen was an early July Omar internal from Change Research that showed her with a wide 66-29 lead over Melton-Meaux, though it was taken largely before both sides had the chance to spend much on TV advertising.
Polls close at 7 PM ET.
● VT-Gov (D) (57-30 Clinton, 67-31 Obama): Three candidates are competing for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who is seeking a third two-year term this fall. (Vermont and New Hampshire are the only states that elect governors to two-year terms.)
Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman is the only Democratic contender who has been elected statewide, and he has the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Former state Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe, though, has outspent Zuckerman heading into the primary. Holcombe has run ads attacking Zuckerman’s 2015 vote when he served in the legislature against a bill to eliminate the state's so-called "philosophical" exemption to the state's mandatory vaccination laws. The third candidate, attorney Patrick Winburn, has been decisively outspent by both his opponents despite self-funding his campaign.