Greene, McBath Win U.S. House Races, Cuellar in Tight Runoff

WASHINGTON — One of the last remaining anti-abortion Democrats in Congress was facing his toughest primary challenge yet in Tuesday’s runoff, while a staunch gun safety advocate ousted her House colleague in a fierce member-on-member congressional primary in suburban Atlanta.

While this was happening in north Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene of far right, a conspiracy-peddling prodigiteur, won the election despite having to face a few GOP primary challengers from her Republican-leaning constituency.

For both Republicans and Democrats, Tuesday’s primary elections in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas pitted members of the party’s activist base against more moderate candidates. These races give a hint of the future Congress.

Below are some races that you can follow.

The last House Democrat to oppose abortion

Progressives have been focusing on Henry Cuellar (moderate Texas Democrat), a nine-term incumbent. However, the pro-abortion congressman is still the victor in close races across the district, which stretches from San Antonio to Rio Grande.

Whether his winning streak will continue was not clear early Wednesday as Cuellar was locked in a close race against Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney and abortion rights supporter who once interned in Cuellar’s Washington office.

Unfortunately, Wednesday was not yet time to start the race.

The race is Cisneros’ second attempt at ousting Cuellar, whom she lost to by 4 percentage points in 2020. She came within 1,000 votes of Cuellar in Texas’ March primary, forcing Tuesday’s runoff.

As she entered the night, it seemed that her edge had been restored by a leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion. It showed how the justices were poised to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which granted a constitutional right for abortion.

Adding to Cuellar’s headwinds, the FBI earlier this year raided his home in the border city of Laredo. Though Cuellar’s attorney says he had been exonerated, the issue was enough of a liability that his allies sent out direct mail ads with a mock newspaper headline proclaiming him “cleared.”

Cassy Garcia won the Republican runoff to win the seat. The victor will be facing Cassy Garcia.

Jones, Georgia Runoff

For the vast majority of Vernon Jones’ nearly three-decade-long Georgia political career, he was a Democrat. The scandal-plagued politician reimagined his self as a pro Donald Trump Republican this year and entered the race to win a seat in the House that spans from Athens to the Atlanta suburbs.

“Hell, they even call me the Black Donald Trump!” Jones tweeted after entering the race while challenging his rivals to “Bring it on, liars!”

Jones, one of the most well-known Black politicians who endorsed Trump, spoke at the 2020 Republican Convention. He even had Trump’s endorsement. Jones will be facing Mike Collins (a trucking company president) in the June 21 race. Collins’ father was an ex-Georgia congressman. Both candidates failed to reach the threshold of 50% required for a win.

Collins has already telegraphed that Jones’ considerable baggage will be an election issue.

As DeKalb’s executive, Jones faced investigations over his expensive security detail, and a woman accused Jones of raping her in late 2004. Although she dropped all charges, Jones never denied the allegations. Jones claimed they had a sexual encounter that was consensual. A grand jury later alleged that as CEO he was part of an endemic culture of “incompetence, patronage, fraud and cronyism.”

McBath wins

After the 2020 census, Georgia’s Republican-dominated Legislature redrew the boundaries of Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath’s suburban Atlanta district, transforming it into a GOP stronghold. They also redrew another Atlanta-area swing seat, making Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeux’s district solidly Democratic.

So McBath, a nationally renowned gun-safety advocate, went district shopping — and decided to challenge Bourdeaux, a college professor in her first term. And on Tuesday, McBath ousted her colleague-turned-rival, boosted by $4 millions in ad spending by the gun safety lobby, as well as a cryptocurrency billionaire.

McBath ran on an inspiring personal story. She’s a Black woman whose son was killed by a white man during a dispute over stereo volume in 2012. McBath’s rallying cry since her 2018 election has been passing gun legislation through Congress.

It’s a message that took on added poignancy Tuesday after an 18-year-old gunman entered a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 children.

“We are exhausted, all of us,” McBath told supporters late Tuesday. “We are exhausted because we cannot continue to be the only country in the world where we let this happen again and again and again.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene is victorious

Marjorie Taylor Greene was a flashpoint for controversy ever since she won her 2020 congressional election. After social media posts revealed that she had supported calls for the assassination of prominent Democrats, Taylor Greene was stripped from her assignments to her committees just a month into her term.

But her provocations haven’t ebbed since then. And that’s apparently what voters in her conservative northwest Georgia district like about her.

On Tuesday, they overwhelmingly voted to send her back for a second term, dispatching a field of five GOP challengers, including a health care consultant who marketed herself as a “no-nonsense conservative” alternative.

Even before Greene was first elected, her antics enraged Democrats — and made her a rising Republican star.

In the short term, Democrats’ decision to strip Greene of her committee assignments reduced her influence in a chamber where the hard work of legislating is what builds power and influence.

However, if Republicans win the House majority, which history shows they will, McCarthy could be ahead. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who is in line to become House speaker, has said she won’t just get her committee assignments back; she’ll likely receive a promotion.

It’s too soon to call Minnesota

When Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn died of kidney cancer in February, his widow, former Minnesota GOP chair Jennifer Carnahan, said her husband’s wish was for her to succeed him and represent southern Minnesota in Congress.

However, the GOP primary race didn’t go as planned. Carnahan finished third. The race is still not called yet by the Associated Press.

Even before announcing her bid, Carnahan’s friendship with a GOP donor who was federally indicted for sex-trafficking minors sparked a firestorm. Then a recording surfaced last year in which she said, “Jim’s gonna be dead in two years. So be it.” Last week, she was sued by her deceased husband’s family as they attempted to recoup money they loaned him for cancer treatment, which they say she was supposed to pay back to them.

The drama, which local GOP officials have likened to a “dumpster fire,” allowed two other candidates to surge ahead.

Brad Finstad, a former state legislator, held a slight lead over Jeremy Munson on Wednesday. However, it was too soon to make a decision.

Jeff Ettinger of Hormel Foods, who was nominated for the Democratic nomination, will compete with the winner.

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