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Nancy Mace
Rep. Nancy Mace speaks to reporters after the House voted to hold former White House Senior Adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee investigating the violent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection on Oct. 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C.Andrew Harnik / AP, file

What to watch as five states hold June 14 contests

With key races in five states, up and down the ballot, there will be plenty for campaign watchers to follow in the June 14 contests.


The dust hasn’t yet settled on last week’s primaries — several important contests, including congressional primaries, have not yet been called — and it’s apparently time to once again shift our focus to another round of notable and consequential contests. Let’s take them in alphabetical order.

In Maine, the expectation months ago was that there’d be a crowded GOP field eager to take on incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, but the opposite has happened: Controversial former Gov. Paul LePage, who vowed to leave Maine for Florida after his second term ended, is running unopposed for the GOP nomination as he seeks a third term.

Also notable in the Pine Tree State is the race in the 2nd congressional district, where incumbent Rep. Jared Golden, one of Congress’ more conservative Democrats, will face off against the winner of tomorrow’s Republican primary, where former two-term Rep. Bruce Poliquin is expected to prevail.

In Nevada, there are several races worth watching tomorrow, up and down the ballot. In the Silver State’s gubernatorial race, for example, Democratic incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak is seen as potentially vulnerable, and there’s a crowded Republican primary field. The top two contenders appear to be Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Reno attorney Joey Gilbert, the latter of whom was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Former Sen. Dean Heller, on the comeback trail following his 2018 defeat, is also in the mix.

Similarly, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is generally considered one of the cycle’s most vulnerable incumbents, and several would-be GOP challengers are running. Polls suggest former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who’s become a little too fond of election conspiracy theories, is the Republican frontrunner, though he’s facing a tougher-than-expected fight against retired Army Capt. Sam Brown.

There are also some competitive congressional primaries tomorrow, including in Nevada’s 4th district, where Assemblywoman Annie Black, who was in Washington, D.C., for Jan. 6, is among the contenders.

Also keep an eye on Nevada’s secretary of state race, where term limits are forcing out a respected incumbent, and where former Assemblyman Jim Marchant is a prominent Trump-backed GOP contender who’s invested a fair amount of time peddling nonsense about the 2020 race. Marchant’s campaign website, for example, condemns Nevada’s existing system of elections as “fraudulent,” reality notwithstanding.

Further down the ballot, there’s a crowded Republican primary field in the Nevada state Treasurer’s race, and Michele Fiore, whose far-right antics often generate national attention, is among the contenders.

In North Dakota, Sen. John Hoeven is generally seen as a safe bet for third term, though he’s a facing Republican primary rival — oil worker Riley Kuntz — who’s argued that the conservative incumbent just isn’t far enough to the right.

Also keep an eye on the GOP’s secretary of state primary, where longtime incumbent Al Jaeger is retiring, and the party has rallied behind state Rep. Michael Howe. He’s facing Marvin Lepp, who’s publicly said he’s “not sure“ about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster is seeking re-election with Donald Trump’s backing, and the incumbent is not expected to have too much trouble with primary challenger Harrison Musselwhite. In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, meanwhile, there’s a relatively crowded field led in part by former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham and state Sen. Mia McLoud.

Sen. Tim Scott, meanwhile, who appears increasingly open about his national ambitions, does not have a GOP challenger, though a few Democrats are competing for the right to take him in the fall, including state Rep. Krystle Matthews.

Meanwhile, what I consider to be tomorrow’s most interesting races in any state are the Republican congressional primaries in South Carolina. In the 1st district, Rep. Nancy Mace’s idiosyncratic approach to Trumpism led former state Rep. Katie Arrington to launch a challenge against the incumbent congresswoman. Arrington, who failed in 2018 to keep this district “red,” is running with Trump’s backing, and has vowed to, among other things, pursue President Joe Biden’s impeachment in the next Congress if elected.

As for South Carolina’s 7th congressional district, Republican Rep. Tom Rice has a conservative voting record, but he’s also one of the 10 GOP House members who voted to impeach Trump early last year. The incumbent congressman will face six intra-party challengers tomorrow, though much of the focus has been on state Rep. Russell Fry, who’s picked up the former president’s endorsement.

And in Texas, Primary Day was in March, but there’s a closely watched congressional special election in the 34th district tomorrow, in a race to fill former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela’s vacancy. Republicans like their chances of flipping the seat from “blue” to “red” and shrinking the Democratic majority in the U.S. House by one: Republican Mayra Flores has a significant financial advantage, and she and her allies have flooded the district in advertising.

She’s facing off against Democratic attorney Dan Sanchez. Note, the House Majority PAC has run a Spanish-language ad in the district tying Flores to Republican “violence and terror,” including the Jan. 6 attack.