(Reuters) – Voters in states including Wisconsin and Minnesota picked candidates for the U.S. Congress and other offices in primaries on Tuesday, in another test of former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party ahead of the Nov. 8 midterms. Vermont and Connecticut also held nomination contests, while Minnesota held a special election for […]
Factbox-Four key races in Wisconsin, Minnesota midterm primaries
(Reuters) – Voters in states including Wisconsin and Minnesota picked candidates for the U.S. Congress and other offices in primaries on Tuesday, in another test of former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party ahead of the Nov. 8 midterms.
Vermont and Connecticut also held nomination contests, while Minnesota held a special election for its currently vacant 1st Congressional District. Following are four key races:
WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR’S PRIMARY
In its final stretch, the Republican nomination contest for Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race became another proxy battle between Trump and his estranged former vice president, Mike Pence.
Trump endorsed construction company owner Tim Michels in June, upending a race that until then was led by former state Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who Pence endorsed in July.
On Tuesday, Michels defeated Kleefisch, according to Edison Research. It was the third high-profile race this year in which Pence and Trump backed opposing candidates. In the previous contests, Pence-backed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp won the party nomination for his re-election bid, while Trump-backed Kari Lake, a former news anchor, won the Republican nomination for the Arizona governor’s race.
Pence, who like Trump is considering running for president in 2024, has recently distanced himself from Trump’s repeated falsehoods that the 2020 election was stolen.
WISCONSIN DEMOCRATIC U.S. SENATE PRIMARY
In the race to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, a progressive backed by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, easily won the Democratic nomination after a leading moderate opponent dropped out of the race in late July. The focus now shifts to Barnes’ ability to appeal to moderate voters in the race against Johnson, which could be one of November’s tightest and most consequential Senate races.
MINNESOTA REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR’S PRIMARY
Former Minnesota state senator Scott Jensen, who has vowed he will try to ban most abortions in the state, won the Republican Party nomination for the governor’s race.
Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion remains legal under state law in Minnesota. Jensen recently said he supports abortion rights in cases of rape or incest.
Jensen, a physician who has cast doubt on the seriousness of COVID-19, will now face Democratic Governor Tim Walz in November. Walz is seen as potentially vulnerable.
MINNESOTA SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION
Republican Brad Finstad won an election to fill a U.S. House of Representatives seat for Minnesota left vacant after the death of Republican lawmaker Jim Hagedorn, Edison Research projected.
Finstad, a former agriculture official in the Trump administration, defeated Democrat Jeff Ettinger, a former CEO of Hormel Foods, to keep Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District in Republican hands.
(Reporting by Jason Lange and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Alistair Bell, Ross Colvin and Daniel Wallis)