A series of high-profile primary runoffs have seen winners and losers emerge in races that will help shape the country’s political future. For conservatives, the power of Trump the movement – if not Trump the man – was on full display. For those on the left, the progressive wing was once more kicked to the curb by the voting public.
Alabama Boots Brooks
Katie Britt won the GOP Senate runoff against Rep. Mo Brooks with an impressive 63%, after being endorsed by former president Donald Trump. With Alabama being a deep red state, Britt is virtually certain to be sitting in the Senate next year. In her acceptance speech, the winner highlighted her underdog status and initial low polling of just 4%, insisting that she would be fighting for the America First agenda in the Senate. Both candidates were supporters of Trump, but Brooks lost the coveted endorsement after the former president said that he “went woke.”
In his concession speech, Brooks warned, “We are sending to Washington, DC, the exact opposite of what we need in the United States Senate. But the voters have spoken … They might not have spoken wisely.”
Britt will face Democratic nominee Will Boyd in November.
A Georgia Puzzle
One of the biggest stories of the news cycle is sure to be how two Trump-backed candidates lost their primary runoffs in Georgia. In the 10th congressional district, Mike Collins defeated Vernon Jones with a huge 74.5%. The winner was supported by Governor Brian Kemp, who won his own primary against Trump-endorsed former Sen. David Perdue just three weeks ago. Collins will go on to face Democrat Tabitha Johnson-Green, who lost to outgoing Rep. Jody Hice in 2020 by more than 20 points.
The other significant runoff was in the 6th district, between candidates Jake Evans and Dr. Rich McCormick. Supported for the seat by a number of top GOP leaders, McCormick pulled in a convincing 66.5% of the ballots. An Evans win was always considered unlikely, even with the Trump nod.
In states across America, Trump endorsements are gold dust, but it seems that Georgia is bucking the trend. Certainly, a majority of the winning GOP candidates have backed the America First movement, even without the support of Trump, but for a state that flipped its two Senate seats blue in 2021, this rejection of Trump the man could signify trepidation among Republican voters.
Texas Recount Delivers for Pro-Life Dem
A closely watched recount for Texas’ 28th district Democrat runoff saw incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar beat challenger Jessica Cisneros by just 289 ballots. Known for his tough stance on border control and being the self-described lone anti-abortion Democrat in the House, Cuellar was destined to have an uphill battle to retain his seat and the nomination.
Cisneros, who was a high-profile endorsee of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), blamed the loss on anything but her political position. She lashed out at “a corrupt political machine, Republican-funded Super PACs, the Koch brothers, private prisons, Big Oil, the Chamber of Commerce, dark money groups, Big Pharma, and nearly the entire Democratic Party establishment in Washington.” She is not the first progressive candidate to cast aspersions on her own party.
In November, Cuellar will face former Ted Cruz staffer Cassy Garcia in a district that went for Joe Biden by just seven points.
Bowser on Track to Win
Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is on track to win her primary race against two challengers, making it almost certain that she will secure a third term in office. Since the current mayoral system began in 1975, DC has not elected a Republican for the role and is unlikely to do so any time soon, meaning that Bowser will follow in the footsteps of Marion Barry, the only other mayor to win three consecutive terms in the nation’s capital.
With 70% of the vote counted, Bowser (on 50%) has a convincing 12% lead over her nearest rival. Trayon White and Robert White both ran on a hard-left progressive platform that was critical of plans to restore police funds in the crime-ridden district.
Populist or Progressive?
Although the night brought mixed results for Trump’s endorsees, the overall pattern for the GOP remains very much an America First trend. The Republican Party seems to be finding its mojo in terms of political messaging, which could presage the red wave so feared in Washington, DC. Should the anticipated Democrat shellacking in November not occur, the GOP would only have itself to blame; it is not the first time the party has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
For the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, things are going from bad to worse. Perhaps realizing that far-left policies are turning off voters in droves, the party machine is backing more centrist candidates. But this shouldn’t put off the progressive hopefuls. After all, as Marion Barry once noted, “I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where’s Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less.”