5 things to watch in Tuesday’s primaries in Nevada, South Carolina and beyond

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Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday in four states for congressional primaries that will test the influence of former President Trump’s endorsements.

Nevada, South Carolina, Maine and North Dakota are holding primaries for congressional as well as state and local races, and Trump has made endorsements in all the key contests. They will determine if a few incumbents can hang on against serious primary challengers and nominees for key seats the GOP is targeting in November.

Here are the five races to watch for from Tuesday’s primaries:

Does Trump score a win in Nevada?

For months, Trump largely stayed out of the crowded Republican primary for Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen’s (D) Senate seat, one of the prime potential pickup opportunities for the GOP this year.

But he issued a last-minute endorsement late Sunday night for retired Army Capt. Sam Brown, who is seen as the front-runner for the nomination. That came after a rally the former president gave in Las Vegas earlier in the day in which he praised Brown, who was in attendance, as a “good man” but stopped short of endorsing him.

Numerous candidates are seeking the nomination, but Brown’s most notable opposition comes from former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter and former state Assembly member Jim Marchant.

Both Gunter, who served during the Trump administration, and Marchant, the 2022 Nevada GOP Secretary of State nominee who has been an ardent backer of Trump’s false election fraud claims, have tried to demonstrate themselves as more loyal to Trump than Brown, who at least initially distanced himself from Trump.

Brown had already gained the support of many Senate Republicans, and many early votes had already been cast before Trump’s endorsement, but the added boost puts Brown in an even stronger position.

Can Mace avoid a runoff?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) has generated considerable controversy over her past term as a House member representing South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. She’s faced accusations of flip-flopping on issues and been attacked over switching from opposing Trump to supporting him and joining with other Republicans to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

She’s facing two primary challengers on Tuesday, chiefly from former state official Catherine Templeton. Veteran Bill Young, who founded a nonprofit supporting homeless veterans, is also challenging Mace.

But Mace appears to be the favorite to win her primary as she seeks a third term in office with support from top GOP leaders, including Trump, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R). Templeton does have the backing of longtime Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).

Polling has also shown Mace holding an advantage over Templeton and Young. She led in an Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey from last month with 47 percent to Templeton’s 22 percent and Young’s 7 percent.

Still, Mace could be forced into a runoff in this race because candidates in South Carolina are required to receive a majority of the vote to advance, raising the chance that Mace could be well ahead of her opponents but short of the majority. If necessary, the runoff would be held on June 25.

Who will face off against Golden in Maine?

Maine’s 2nd Congressional District is a battleground area that Trump carried in both 2016 and 2020 despite Democratic Rep. Jared Golden having represented the district since 2019. Republicans will target it in November to try to flip one House seat red in an otherwise mostly blue New England.

Golden narrowly won reelection in 2022 with 53 percent of the final vote count against his predecessor, former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R).

Two candidates are facing each other for the GOP nomination to challenge Golden this year: state Reps. Austin Theriault and Mike Soboleski.

Theriault, who is a former NASCAR driver, is the favorite to win the nomination. He has endorsements from Trump, Johnson and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), and has significantly outraised Soboleski.

An April poll that Theriault’s campaign commissioned showed him leading with 30 percent to Soboleski’s 7 percent, though most respondents said they were undecided.

But the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine, reported that Soboleski has received the support of many conservatives in the district, including the 2020 GOP nominee, former state Rep. Dale Crafts.

Who will be Burgum’s likely successor?

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced in January after an unsuccessful presidential bid that he would not seek a third term in office as governor, opening up the race for his successor.

The contest quickly drew two candidates who are major players in the state: Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R) and Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller (R). Armstrong has served as North Dakota’s lone House member since 2019, and Miller has served in the state’s second-highest office since Burgum appointed her to the position last year.

Armstrong has racked up most of the key endorsements in the race, including from Trump, North Dakota Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, and the state GOP. He has also led comfortably in the few polls taken of the primary.

But Miller has the support of Burgum, who endorsed her shortly after she entered the race in February. She also previously served as the chief operating officer of the governor’s office before becoming lieutenant governor.

Whoever wins the Republican primary is almost certain to be elected the next governor of the solidly red state.

Do hard-right Republicans score a win?

No incumbent member of the House has yet lost a primary for renomination this election cycle, but a group of far-right House Republicans are trying to help pull off an upset against Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.).

Timmons is facing a challenge from state Rep. Adam Morgan (R), who founded the South Carolina state House’s Freedom Caucus. Morgan has received the support of several of the most conservative members of the U.S. House, including Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R-Va.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

Timmons has a strongly conservative voting record, but Morgan is trying to portray Timmons as a “do-nothing moderate.” He told NBC News in an interview that Timmons’s support for keeping McCarthy as Speaker was a factor in deciding to run.

Timmons has received backing from many high-profile Republicans, including from Trump, Johnson, McMaster and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette. McMaster and Evette campaigned for Timmons on Monday.

Timmons has also outraised Morgan considerably, but past elections suggest some potential vulnerability. He only narrowly avoided a runoff in his primary in 2022 in a four-person race.

But with a two-person race this year, the primary will be another test of a battle between factions of the GOP.

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