Three takeaways from the Vermont, Wisconsin and Michigan primaries

Oconomowoc, Wis.

Vermont is on track to send a woman to congress for the first time, as the game unfolds in a Wisconsin Senate race that could be one of the most competitive this year midterm elections. And in Minnesota, meanwhile, progressive “team” member Representative Ilhan Omar survived a surprisingly close contest for her House seat in Minneapolis.

The votes are counted in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut on Tuesday evening after a series of primaries that will further clarify several of November’s key contests.

The Republican primary for governor of Wisconsin is the most watched race of the night. It turned into a proxy battle between former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence over the direction of the GOP. Trump-endorsed businessman Tim Michels faces former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who is backed by Pence as well as former Governor Scott Walker, for whom she spent eight years as a as #2 in the state.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut:

State Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Becca Balint’s victory in the Democratic primary for Vermont’s only House seat, according to a CNN Screeningputs her on the path to becoming the first woman to represent the state in Congress.

Balint, who was backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, defeated Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, a more moderate candidate backed by incumbent Sen. Patrick Leahy.

The seat of the Chamber opened following Leahy’s retirement. Rep. Peter Welch, who has held the seat since 2007, won the Democratic Senate primary for Leahy’s seat, CNN projected.

Balint will enter the general election in November as a heavy favorite to win the seat.

A former schoolteacher, Balint had the support of other prominent progressive groups and politicians. Gray drew support from more moderate heads of state, including Leahy, who did not issue an official endorsement but said he voted for her. Past Governors of Vermont. Howard Dean and Madeleine Kunin also supported Gray.

But in a contest that provided few notable political distinctions between the leading contenders, Balint’s success in claiming the progressive mantle – she was also endorsed by the senses. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of neighboring Massachusetts — likely helped her among primary voters, who tend to lean even further left than even the average Vermont Democrat.

The general election for the Wisconsin Senate has been going on subtly for weeks. But Tuesday night, it started in earnest.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson easily won his primary for re-election, while Democratic Senate candidate and Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes won his bid to unseat the Republican.

The race began unofficially two weeks ago when the top three Democrats ran against Barnes abandoned of the race and endorsed the Lt. Governor.

Johnson’s race against Barnes is likely to be one of the most watched campaigns of the 2022 cycle. It pits a Republican who has drawn the ire of Democrats for his ties to former President Donald Trump and his embrace of a series of theories of the plotting against a Democrat who holds several progressive positions that Republicans say puts him out of step with most Wisconsin voters.

Although Johnson and Barnes are political opposites, they’ve already begun using strikingly similar language to define the other, calling themselves “out of touch”, extreme and someone out of step with state voters. .

Wisconsin is one of two Senate seats for this cycle which is currently held by Republicans in a state that President Joe Biden won in 2020. The state has been a political hotbed since the 2011 fights over union bargaining rights, which led the electorate of the State to polarize well before Trump’s election in 2016.

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar survived a main challenge On Tuesday, CNN screened — but barely — and the skimpy result could tempt critics of the progressive “squad” member to try again in two years.

Omar, who is seeking a third term in Minnesota 5th congressional districtwithstood a primary challenge from former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels and three other Democratic primary candidates.

Samuels had presented himself as a pro-police critic of Omar’s calls to “defund the police”. Samuels and his wife successfully sued the city of Minneapolis to force it to increase police numbers to the 741 officers required by the city charter.

Momentum behind what had been widely seen as a long-running challenge built after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey endorsed Samuels last week. He was also backed by construction unions, several suburban mayors and more moderate DFL leaders. His close call could inspire another effort to oust Omar in 2024.

Omar’s Victory comes the following week after two other liberal “team” members, Missouri Rep. Cori Bush and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, also fended off major challenges.

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