Nebraska and West Virginia are holding the second round of their May primaries on Tuesday and will offer even more tea leaves for this November and the bipartisan state.

Nebraska is staging a competitive Republican race for governor, and two West Virginia House incumbents are facing off in a Republican primary after redistricting lumped them together. In Nebraska, businessman Charles Herbster, state Senator Brett Lindstrom and University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen are running for governor, and Reps David McKinley and Alex Mooney are running for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District Western newly plotted.

Former President Trump has endorsed both Herbster and Mooney.

Here’s what to look for as voters head to the polls.

Does Trump have another good night?

Trump scored a victory last week when JD Vance, his endorsed candidate in the Ohio GOP Senate primary, won his race after weeks stuck in the middle tier of the field.

However, Vance had been considered the favorite heading into Election Day after post-endorsement polls showed him with a lead. In Nebraska and West Virginia, things are less clear.

Polls in Nebraska show Herbster, Pillen and Lindstrom all together, and while recent polls have shown Mooney with a lead, polls have generally been thin.

If Trump continues to rack up victories on Tuesday, it will help solidify his status as the Republican leader and provide more protection should some of his candidates stumble in later primaries. But if he suffers losses in Nebraska and West Virginia, that will dent his power and provide less room for error going forward.

Governors’ influence put to the test

Both Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (R) and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) have endorsed candidates facing Trump-backed contenders, also setting Tuesday to be a test of the influence of governors in the mid-term elections.

Ricketts has gone after Pillen, and Justice backs up McKinley. Sen. Joe Manchin, a former West Virginia governor and one of the few Democrats still popular in Trump country, also backs McKinley.

Ricketts has long had a personal feud with Herbster, pressured Trump to stay out of the race and put a lot of force into getting Pillen across the finish line. Meanwhile, Justice and McKinley have been seen together in West Virginia since the governor’s endorsement in February.

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Those top executives often have more of an impact on the daily lives of residents of their states than Trump. But in a GOP dominated by the former president, it’s not clear whether his support matters as much as that of the party’s de facto leader.

Do allegations of sexual misconduct sink Herbster?

In a late-primary twist, multiple women have accused Herbster of sexual misconduct, including two who came forward publicly to say he groped them at a political event in 2019.

Herbster has denied the claims and purchased a broadcast ad attempting to link his accusers to Pillen and Ricketts, saying the allegations are “based on lies.”

Herbster, naturally, has come under fire for the allegations, with Pillen last month calling them “incredibly alarming,” and anything that has the potential to change a three-way race as close as the gubernatorial primary.

However, this is not the first time that a political candidate has been accused of misconduct just to continue his political campaigns. Notably, Trump himself was accused of harassment, abuse and rape, only to win the White House in 2016. Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R) is running for Senate and is still voting at or near the top from the top of the primary field. despite being accused of domestic and sexual abuse.

If the accusations hurt Herbster, it would indicate that such claims could still affect races and that Trump may be alone in being immune to the political ramifications. But if Herbster wins, it could signal that voters are increasingly taking these allegations of misconduct with a grain of salt.

Is infrastructure a blessing or a bust in West Virginia?

McKinley has campaigned heavily for his vote in support of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, though it’s unclear whether that vote will help or hurt him.

West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country and has a “D” infrastructure rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The state is expected to get $6 billion in infrastructure money.

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That vote earned McKinley plaudits from the likes of Justice, who hope the money will improve the state’s roads, bridges and more. But he also alienated the right wing of the Republican Party.

In Trump’s endorsement of Mooney, he noted that McKinley voted for the legislation, calling it a “bogus infrastructure bill that wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on the Green New Deal.”

Mooney has also called the bill “the master spending plan of Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

McKinley isn’t the only person running on the infrastructure plan: Democrats across the country are expected to make it a key part of their November filing. And if McKinley fails, he could not only doom another centrist in the House, but also spell trouble for Democrats’ already significant messaging battles this year.

Does the Supreme Court draft affect participation?

Last week’s leaked Supreme Court draft decision, which would overturn Roe v. Wade, striking down the constitutional right to abortion and leaving the decision to codify the right to the states, triggered a political earthquake across the country last week.

Questions were immediately raised, but not many answered, about the impact the ruling, if it reflects the final decision, would have on the midterm elections. Tuesday offers a first look now that the public has had time to digest the news.

Some observers have speculated that the news could prompt Democrats who may not have been enthusiastic about the vote to go to the polls to try to elect more pro-choice lawmakers. Others say Republicans might be fired up after seeing a long-cherished goal nearly realized.

Tuesday’s turnout could give clues as to who is right and what could happen in November.



Reference-thehill.com

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