February 9, 2023

Three House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump could see the end of their political careers on Tuesday night as Republican primary voters in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington head to the polls.

Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington and Peter Meijer of Michigan all face tough challenges from Trump-backed primary opponents.

They are just three of the high-profile races that will test the former president’s approval power ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Meanwhile, Republican incumbent figures have rushed to back candidates who would have wider appeal among independent and suburban voters, amid concerns that Trump’s more right-wing picks could cost the GOP critical swing districts in November.

In Washington’s Third Congressional District, Beutler faces Trump-backed retiree Green Beret Joe Kent, who believes the former president has alleged electoral fraud and has claimed that “deep state” agents were behind the Jan. 6 violence.

Beutler, who was elected in 2010, also faces off against Heidi St. John, a Christian podcaster who competes with Kent for the district’s most conservative voters.

In the adjacent scarlet Fourth Congressional District, Newhouse faces seven primary challengers, including Trump-backed military veteran and former police chief Loren Culp.

Meijer faces the steepest battle to keep his place, but with a competitive primary challenger on Tuesday and an increasingly blue district to pursue overall in November as he gets past the first round.

The former army officer made a national name for his outspoken criticism of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

But he’s now up against former Trump administration official John Gibbs, who wildly accused Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta of participating in a satanic ritual.

See also  Buyers are dropping premium supermarkets in favor of cheaper alternatives amid a cost-of-living crisis

Gibbs had served under Ben Carson in the Housing and Urban Development Department.

Beutler, Newhouse and Meijer are three of ten Republican lawmakers in the House who voted to impeach Trump during the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.

Four have already announced their retirement. GOP Rep. South Carolina’s Tom Rice lost his primary in June after getting less than half the vote his Trump-backed challenger, Russell Fry, received.

Many of Tuesday’s primary races are expected to be endurance tests of Trump’s influence on the Republican party

California Republican Rep. Dave Valadao is the only anti-Trump president to win his primary. Jan. 6, Committee Vice President Liz Cheney is expected to lose her primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman later this month.

Another closely watched race on Tuesday is the Arizona Republican gubernatorial primary, where former local news anchor Kari Lake will take on Karrin Taylor Robson, who was a staff member in Ronald Reagan’s administration.

Lake, who has been vociferous in promoting Trump’s election fraud lies in her battlefield, has appeared at two rallies in Arizona this year alongside the former president.

Robson, meanwhile, has the backing of former Vice President Mike Pence and current GOP state governor Doug Ducey.

After months of early polls that showed Lake with a comfortable lead, Robson quickly caught up thanks to her high-profile backers. An Emerson poll taken in late July shows Robson had 49 percent of the vote, compared to Lake’s 48 percent, a virtual dead heat.

Also in Arizona, Trump-backed Senate candidate Blake Masters has a commanding lead in his GOP primary race.

According to Emerson’s research, he is 18 points ahead of his closest opponent, businessman Jim Lamon.

The winner of those primaries will face Democrat Senator Mark Kelly in November.

In Kansas, the closest race will not be for a candidate, but rather a ballot measure where residents decide whether to keep or revoke the state’s abortion protections.

Voting ‘yes’ would nullify the state of Kansas’ abortion rights, leaving the door wide open for Republican legislators to ban or restrict the procedure.

The bill would likely face a veto from Democrat Governor Laura Kelly, which the legislature has the votes to ignore.