Miss the June 14 primaries? Here's what happened: Trump's influence, S.C., Nevada and more

·4 min read
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace arrives at her election night party following the close of polls in South Carolina's primary elections on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace arrives at her election night party following the close of polls in South Carolina's primary elections on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump's revenge tour faced a split-decision Tuesday in South Carolina, highlighting a busy primary night that belonged mainly to favorites in Nevada, Texas, Maine and North Dakota.

While U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., defeated Trump-backed challenger Katie Arrington, another South Carolina Republican – pro-impeachment Rep. Tom Rice – lost his re-election bid to state legislator Russell Fry.

"Many great wins tonight, with more to come!" Trump said on the Truth Social website.

A few highlights from a busy evening.

Mace wins, Rice loses, Trump splits

In other posts, Trump congratulated Mace and said she "should easily be able to defeat her Democrat opponent!" He also lauded his candidate Fry for "running a great campaign!"

Fry won more than 50% of the vote and avoided a runoff with Rice, who earned Trump's opposition by voting to impeach the then-president over the in insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.

What happened:Primary Tuesday: South Carolina, Donald Trump, Nevada, abortion, Senate control

Mace's bid: GOP Rep. Mace voted to certify the 2020 election but says she backs Trump. Can she win her S.C. primary?

Trump had targeted Mace for her critical comments of him before the violent incident at the U.S. Capitol.

A bad sign?

Trump opponents celebrated Mace's win, but called Rice's defeat a bad sign for the Republican Party.

"Too often in today’s GOP, doing the right thing is career-ending," tweeted Sarah Longwell, founder of a group called The Republican Accountability Project. "Pour one out for a real one."

Rice, who described Trump as a "narcissist" who is "harmful to the Republican Party," had braced himself for defeat. A day before the primary, he told CNN: “If doing the right thing cost me an election, then I'll wear it like a badge of honor."

Senate showdown in Nevada

In Nevada, Adam Laxalt, the grandson of former Sen. Paul Laxalt, was favored to beat back a surge from war veteran Sam Brown to win a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. Laxalt had Trump's backing and has been a fervent supporter of his false voting fraud claims about the 2020 election.

Laxalt now faces incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in a pivotal race that will help decide which party will win control of the U.S. Senate.

Who is Laxalt?: Adam Laxalt is running in the Nevada Senate race. What to know.

Climate issue: Nevadans of color worry about climate change, but will that change their primary votes?

An Hispanic Republican wins in Texas

Republicans also had a satisfying night in Texas, where GOP candidate Mayra Flores won a special election to complete the term of a U.S. House member who retired early.

Flores, a respiratory care practitioner, won more than 50% of the vote and thereby avoided a runoff with Democrat Dan Sanchez, a Harlingen lawyer. She will now complete the term of resigned Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, representing a district that will no longer exist after this year.

Governor-vs-Governor in Maine

Voters in Maine set up an interesting fall race of governor-vs.-governor. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and former Republican Gov. Paul LePage won uncontested primaries.

LePage, who became nationally known for offensive comments about women and minorities, won election as governor in 2010 and 2014. The politician who once described himself as "Trump before Donald Trump became popular" could not run in 2018 became of term limits.

Mills won the Maine statehouse four years ago. Before that, she served as attorney general, a job in which she had opposed LaPage in court over attempts to expand gubernatorial powers.

Republican senators win big

Elsewhere, Republican Senate incumbents cruised to primary victories: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., ran opposed, while Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., easily defeated oil field worker Riley Kuntz.

Earlier this year, Hoeven survived a conservative challenge to his endorsement by the state Republican Party at its convention.

Domestic politics

On a more personal vote, the South Carolina Democrat whose ex-wife endorsed his opponent still managed to win his party's nomination for governor.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, R-S.C., defeated state Sen. Mia McLeod, despite her support from ex-wife Amanda Cunningham.

Cunningham now faces an uphill fight in the fall against incumbent Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in this GOP-leaning state.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: June 14 primaries: Trump's revenge tour stumbles again, Nevada, more