2022 midterms: Georgia primary takes center stage, Texas holding runoffs
Much is at stake in the U.S. this midterm election season. Both chambers of Congress and dozens of governorships and state offices are up for grabs, effectively putting the direction of the country at a crossroads.
The midterm elections are sure to be historically significant as the nation crawls out of a global pandemic amid continuing concerns of inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All this comes as President Joe Biden has experienced low approval ratings.
Thirteen states are holding primaries throughout the month of May, with five happening this week: Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota and Texas.
The weight of an endorsement from former President Donald Trump is on the line again, especially in Georgia where he lost in 2020.
RELATED: 2022 Midterm Elections: Everything you need to know
Donald Trump endorsements
Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday's primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Trump, who is seeking revenge for his 2020 election defeat in the state.
Both Kemp and Reffensperger defied Trump’s pressure to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results.
Trump has endorsed former U.S. Sen. David Perdue for the Republican gubernatorial bid, but Perdue has lagged in polls and fundraising. Raffensperger is facing a tough challenge from U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who has promoted Trump's lies that widespread voter fraud or tampering cost him the 2020 election.
In the state’s U.S. Senate race, Trump has thrown his support in the crowded GOP field behind football legend Herschel Walker. Walker has been accused of threatening his ex-wife’s life, exaggerating his business record and lying about graduating from the University of Georgia. Some GOP leaders fear, if Walker wins the bid, that he’ll be unelectable come November against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.
In Alabama, Trump withdrew an endorsement in the House race after their relationship soured. Trump had backed U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and has not made another endorsement in the race.
In Arkansas, Trump has endorsed two-term Sen. John Boozman, who’s vowed to complete the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in his campaign ads.
And in Texas, where runoffs will settle two major races, Attorney General Ken Paxton has broad party support and Trump’s endorsement to win a third term, despite legal troubles that include an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption accusations and a separate 2015 indictment on securities fraud charges.
Paxton is up against the last member of the Bush family still in public office, George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Campaign signs compete for attention along a roadway on May 22, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The winner of Georgia’s GOP gubernatorial bid will take on Stacey Abrams, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
Another notable race is the congressional District 14 race, where the controversy-stricken U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is fighting off several Republican challengers.
The Trump-backed firebrand was stripped of her committee assignments last year over racist remarks, her embrace of conspiracy theories and a past endorsement of violence. A group of voters tried but failed to knock her off the ballot, accusing her of helping foment the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Texas held the first primary of 2022 back in March, but runoffs will finally settle two major races: the aforementioned state’s attorney general race and the congressional 28th District race.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, who’s seeking a 10th term, is one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress. His run has led straight into a reenergized national battle over abortion rights. He’s up against 28-year-old Jessica Cisneros, an immigration attorney and abortion rights supporter.
Democratic House leaders have lined up behind Cuellar. Cisneros trailed Cuellar by roughly 1,000 votes in March, but Cuellar didn't hit the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff.
Three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, and Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is attempting to avoid a runoff as she faces several challengers from her right flank.
She’s been criticized for her support of a gas tax increase and her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that included a temporary mask mandate and appeals for people to get vaccinated. She’s also been criticized for a charter school that welcomed LGBTQ students.
Ivey has emphasized her conservative record, including signing legislation — now blocked by the courts — to make abortion a felony at any stage of pregnancy. In one campaign commercial, the governor pulls a handgun out of her purse to note her support of permitless concealed carry.
RELATED: Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary too close to call, recount likely
Former White House press secretary to Trump Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. She has shattered fundraising records and has focused mainly on national issues, running spots criticizing President Joe Biden on issues like inflation while ignoring her rivals.
Five Democrats are seeking the party’s nomination for governor.
The current governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson, is barred by term limits from seeking reelection.
Voters are looking to fill the Congressional House seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Representative Jim Hagedorn.
His widow and former state GOP Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan is running to win his vacant seat. State Rep. Jeremy Munson, a founder of a hard-right faction that broke from the main Minnesota House GOP Caucus, has been endorsed by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Former state Rep. Brad Finstad has the backing of several Minnesota GOP officeholders. He has reminded voters he was Trump’s Minnesota director for USDA Rural Development.
On the Democratic side, the candidate endorsed at the party's district convention earlier this month is former Hormel Foods CEO Jeffrey Ettinger. His opponents include University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.
This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.