The Election Recap: Aug. 8, 2022

·6 min read
Pro-choice voters react to Kansas successfully maintaining the right to abortion
Pro-choice voters react to Kansas successfully maintaining the right to abortion DAVE KAUP/AFP via Getty Images

Welcome back to The Election Recap, your weekly, one-stop shop for the last seven days of midterms news. Let's get into it:

So many primaries, so little time

Last week was a big one — voters in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, and Washington decided multiple highly consequential races, including the gubernatorial primary contest that pit former President Donald Trump's proxy against that of his vice president, Mike Pence. To that end, the Trump-backed Kari Lake narrowly won the Republican nomination for Arizona governor over Pence's pick, Karrin Taylor Robson, and will face off against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in November. Lake has served as a dutiful mouthpiece for Trump's false claims of election fraud. The former president saw even more success in Michigan, having endorsed conservative commentator and eventual winner Tudor Dixon in the GOP primary for governor, while Rep. Peter Meijer — one of the 10 House Republicans who voted for Trump's second impeachment — lost his bid for re-election against former Trump official John Gibbs. In Kansas, voters roundly rejected an amendment to the state's constitution that would have allowed the state legislature to regulate (and likely ban, down the line) abortion in one of the first big tests of the post-Roe political landscape. Over in Missouri, disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens (R) was unsuccessful in his bid for U.S. Senate, losing squarely to Attorney General Eric Schmitt. And finally, in Washington, pro-impeachment Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse advanced to the general election in the state's 4th District, while his pro-impeachment counterpart Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is still waiting on news of her fate in the 3rd. Interested in an even deeper dive? David Faris penned an incredibly helpful (and longer) Aug. 2 primaries recap for The Week.

The dos and don'ts of 2022

Both GOP Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have some advice for their party ahead of November. For her part, Mace — who describes herself as "staunchly pro-life" — suggests her party meet "somewhere in the middle" on abortion restrictions, lest extreme takes deter GOP gains in the fall. "I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record," she told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday. "I do think that it will be an issue in November if we're not moderating ourselves," specifically by including exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. "This is a place where we can be in the center. We can protect life, and we can protect where people are on both sides of the aisle," she continued. Haley, meanwhile, wants to cement focus on upcoming midterms races rather than the 2024 presidential contest, in which Trump has all but officially announced his candidacy. "We should not take our eyes off of 2022. If we don't win in 2022, there won't be a 2024," Haley told Fox News Sunday. "So we need to stay humble, disciplined, and win that."

It passed

They did it, Joe — after securing the support of one Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Senate Democrats at long last passed their languishing climate and health legislation by a 51-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris coming in to break the tie. The Inflation Reduction Act arose from a deal between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the latter of whom initially killed President Biden's signature Build Back Better agenda last year. The new spending package includes $369 billion for climate and energy initiatives and $64 billion for health care, while raising roughly $739 billion in revenue. "It's been a long, tough, and winding road but at last, at last, we have arrived," Schumer said Sunday. Having cleared the Senate hurdle, Democrats and Biden are now on the cusp of a "crucial achievement" ahead of the midterms, writes CBS News. "I ran for president promising to make government work for working families again, and that is what this bill does," Biden said in a statement: "Period." The House is expected to approve the legislation on Friday. Meanwhile, Republicans are knocking the left for "raising taxes on families during a recession," Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, per Fox News.

'He knows it'

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R) is pulling out all the stops in her bid for re-election, even going so far as to rope in her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. In a campaign video released last week, George W. Bush's running mate calls Trump a "coward" and a "threat to our republic." ​​"A real man wouldn't lie to his supporters," the ex-VP continued. "He lost his election, and he lost big. I know it, he knows it, and deep down I think most Republicans know it." Liz Cheney has been dealing with intense inter-party fallout following her criticism of Trump, as well as her work as a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Consequently, she's now a target of the former president, who has endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman in a bid to oust her. For Cheney, the crusade is worth it: "If the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat, then that's a price I'm willing to pay," she told The New York Times. Hageman is widely expected to win.

Hanging chads:

Coming up…

  • It's primary o'clock again tomorrow, this time in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. As always, expect a deeper dive into the results of those races next week, but in the meantime, here's a quick primer, courtesy of The Associated Press: In Vermont, voters will have the chance to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and perhaps send a woman to represent the state in Congress for the first time ever. In Wisconsin, keep an eye on another Trump-Pence proxy battle, again in the state's gubernatorial primary contest, as well as the Democrat that emerges from the primary to take on GOP incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson in November. Meanwhile, Minnesota's progressive "Squad" member Rep. Ilhan Omar is up against a Democratic primary challenge, while Connecticut Republicans work to unseat incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D).

  • Hawaii voters also head to the polls this week, on Saturday, Aug. 13.

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