2020 Election Live Updates: Takeaways From Tuesday’s Primaries

2020 Election Live Updates: Takeaways From Tuesday’s Primaries

Tuesday’s winners: mainstream Republicans, progressive Democrats and the act of voting — maybe.

Tuesday’s primaries in states including Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Arizona offered a little bit of everything for everyone.

In Kansas, mainstream Republicans got what they wanted, watching the polarizing conservative Kris W. Kobach crash to defeat in his Senate primary against Representative Roger Marshall, widely seen as a safer general election candidate.

In Missouri, progressive Democrats cheered Cori Bush’s upset triumph over a longtime House incumbent, the latest in a string of victories over the party establishment. In Michigan, they were buoyed by Representative Rashida Tlaib’s win, announced on Wednesday morning.

And for anyone worried about the challenges mail voting will pose in a general election transformed by the coronavirus, the contests on Tuesday provided some cautious encouragement. Problems persisted in Michigan and beyond, but no full-scale meltdown akin to those this year in Georgia and Wisconsin appeared to have unfolded.

And in Arizona, Joe Arpaio was locked in a tight Republican primary race as he tries to reclaim his old job as sheriff of Maricopa County, where he presided for nearly a quarter-century and acted as something of a trailblazer for President Trump’s aggressive treatment of immigrants.

Taking stock of Tuesday’s grab bag of results, different factions of both parties could cherry-pick signs for hope. Hovering over it all, though, were the ultimate questions of voting, and whether Americans will be able to exercise their rights in November despite the pandemic. No firm answers arrived, but hints of optimism emerged.

Ms. Tlaib beat back a primary challenge Tuesday from a repeat rival, significantly widening her 2018 margin of victory and helping to cement the staying power of the progressive women of color who have shaped the party’s House majority.

Ms. Tlaib, 44, defeated Brenda Jones, 60, the president of the Detroit City Council, according to The Associated Press. With 87 percent of the vote counted, Ms. Tlaib was leading Ms. Jones by a 61,090 to 31,487 margin.

It was a flag-planting moment for Ms. Tlaib in her predominantly Black district, which includes portions of Detroit and its suburbs, as she easily defeated a prominent African-American leader with whom she split election wins two years ago.

“Headlines said I was the most vulnerable member of the Squad. My community responded last night and said our Squad is big,” Ms. Tlaib said in a tweet. “It includes all who believe we must show up for each other and prioritize people over profits. It’s here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger.”

Catapulted to national prominence by a profane call to impeach President Trump uttered on the day she was sworn in, and insulted with racist tropes by Mr. Trump, Ms. Tlaib has become one of the best-known members of Congress. She is a member of the so-called “squad,” a group of progressive Democratic women of color who were elected to the House in 2018 and have come to embody the vanguard of the party.

Two years ago, Ms. Jones eked out a two-point victory over Ms. Tlaib in a special primary election to finish the remainder of the term of long-serving Representative John Conyers after his abrupt resignation. In a six-way primary held the same day, Ms. Tlaib then defeated Ms. Jones to win the nomination for the race to succeed him, effectively ensuring she would win the election for the next full term in the solidly Democratic district.

Ms. Bush, a progressive activist and a leader of the swelling protest movement for racial justice, toppled Representative William Lacy Clay Jr. of Missouri in a Democratic primary on Tuesday, notching the latest in a stunning string of upsets against the party establishment.

Ms. Bush, 44, captured nearly 49 percent of the vote, compared with 45.5 percent for Mr. Clay, according to The Associated Press. She had tried and failed to unseat Mr. Clay in 2018, but this year rode a surge in support for more liberal, confrontational politics within the Democratic Party amid the coronavirus pandemic and the national outcry over festering racial inequities.

Ms. Bush’s victory, which came on the same night that Missouri voters decided to expand Medicaid eligibility, was a significant milestone for insurgent progressive candidates and the groups, like Justice Democrats, that have backed them across the country.

It showed that the same brand of politics that has helped young, liberal candidates of color unseat party stalwarts in places like Massachusetts and New York could also resonate deep in the heartland against a Black incumbent whose family has been synonymous with his district for decades.

If elected in November, Ms. Bush would be the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. The plurality of the district, which encompasses St. Louis and some of its innermost liberal suburbs, is African-American and considered safely Democratic.

“Tonight, Missouri’s 1st District has decided that an incremental approach isn’t going to work any longer,” Ms. Bush told supporters at a jubilant news conference. “We decided that we the people have the answers, and we will lead from the front lines.”

Kansas Republicans on Tuesday soundly rejected the Senate bid of Mr. Kobach, a polarizing figure in state politics and a staunch ally of Mr. Trump’s, choosing instead to nominate a conservative congressman who was the preferred choice of party leaders.

Mr. Kobach was defeated in the primary by Representative Roger Marshall, The Associated Press reported, a major relief to G.O.P. officials in Kansas and Washington who had worried that Mr. Kobach would uniquely jeopardize the seat in the general election and would be a thorn in the side of party leadership if he won. Mr. Marshall will face State Senator Barbara Bollier, a former Republican herself who switched parties, in November.

Mr. Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state known for his hard-line views on immigration and voting rights, was seen by party leaders as an especially weak potential general election candidate, even in a state that has not sent a Democrat to the Senate in 88 years.

In the 2018 governor’s race, Mr. Kobach lost to Laura Kelly, a Democrat, and heading into this week’s contest, Senate Republican polling showed that nearly 30 percent of Republican primary voters indicated they would support Ms. Bollier in the general election if Mr. Kobach were the nominee.

Early results indicated that Mr. Kobach lost counties he had won handily in the 2018 primary, and in some places he lost last cycle, the margins of defeat were bigger this time. A rival candidate, Bob Hamilton, a businessman who started a successful plumbing company and has lent his own campaign several million dollars, also took some counties Mr. Kobach had won in the 2018 primary. (His slogan: “Send in a plumber to drain the swamp.”)

Trump denounces Obama’s eulogy for John Lewis as ‘ridiculous.’

In his eulogy for Representative John Lewis last week, former President Barack Obama condemned police brutality against Black men, denounced efforts to curtail voting rights and criticized the Trump administration’s removal of peaceful protesters using chemical irritants.

Mr. Trump delivered his verdict on the speech on Wednesday morning, calling it a “ridiculous” display of anger that showed that his predecessor had “lost control.”

Mr. Obama “showed anger there that people don’t see,” Mr. Trump said during a nearly hourlong telephone interview with “Fox and Friends.” “He lost control and he’s been really hit very hard by both sides for that speech.”

In his speech honoring the civil-rights leader, Mr. Obama said, “Bull Connor may be gone, but today we witness, with our own eyes, police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans,” a reference to the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis. “George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators,” he added.

Mr. Trump, who was asked about the eulogy on “Fox and Friends,” said, “I thought the speech was totally inappropriate, very bad.” At another point, he said, “I thought the speech the other day at the funeral was a terrible, terrible representation of what our country is all about. I thought it was absolutely terrible, but he fought very hard for Hillary Clinton.”

Mr. Trump also falsely denounced Black Lives Matter as a “Marxist group. It’s a Marxist group that is not looking for good things for our country.”

The president reiterated in the interview that he was considering using a venue at the White House to accept his party’s nomination, a decision that would lead to criticism given that the White House is not supposed to be used for formal political events.

Mr. Trump is not personally subject to the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on the job. But by holding the event at the White House, he would effectively be telling others to engage in political activity on his behalf there.

Biden announces a $280 million fall ad buy across 15 states.

Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign announced a $280 million fall advertising blitz on Wednesday, outlining plans for $220 million in television and $60 million in digital ads across 15 states in the lead-up to the November election.

The ad reservation, which will begin on Sept. 1, is by far the biggest of the 2020 race by either campaign and is a sign of the swift turnabout in Mr. Biden’s finances, as both small and large donors have rallied behind him since he became the presumptive Democratic nominee against Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has reserved more than $145 million in television ads in 11 states starting after Labor Day; he has not announced the size of his digital reservations.

In a conference call outlining their fall strategy, Mr. Biden’s top advisers laid out a fairly simple and straightforward case heading into November: The 2020 election will be about Mr. Trump in general, and his stewardship of the nation during the coronavirus pandemic in particular.

“This election is a clear referendum on Donald Trump and his failed leadership on Covid and also on the economy,” said Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager.

Ms. O’Malley Dillon said the ad buy reflected the campaign’s efforts to open “multiple pathways” to achieving 270 electoral votes, with spending slated for states both in industrial strongholds that Mr. Trump won in 2016, like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and in more traditionally conservative corners of the Sun Belt, including Georgia and Texas.

For six days last week, there was not a single Trump campaign ad on any television across the country. While it was an unusual time to go completely dark on the TV airwaves, with less than 100 days left before the election, the Trump team said it was part of a necessary review by its new campaign manager, Bill Stepien, who took the reins in mid-July.

What returned on Monday was a more streamlined ad campaign in four battleground states: North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Arizona.

Why those four? Early voting.

With its new advertising strategy, the Trump campaign is returning to an older message: fighting the threat of “socialism.” Gone are the scattershot attacks on Mr. Biden’s relationship with China, or his age, or his position on defunding the police. Returning in one of Mr. Trump’s new ads are the familiar faces of Republican boogeymen and women like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, as the Trump campaign attempts to paint Mr. Biden as beholden to the far left of his party.

If that feels familiar, it is: The Trump team ran an extensive ad campaign during the impeachment process that often cast it as a far-left conspiracy, with television and digital ads full of imagery of prominent progressive figures like Mr. Sanders, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

The new ad, which also features familiar hard-line immigration positions, appears to be a recognition that the previous attempts to define Mr. Biden had largely failed. The Trump campaign had spent more than $30 million in attack ads that mischaracterized Mr. Biden’s position on defunding the police, but the former vice president continued to climb in key battleground state polling.

6 weeks later, winners are declared in 2 New York primaries.

After six weeks of delays caused by a huge expansion of voting by mail, election officials in New York City declared results in a pair of Democratic congressional races Tuesday evening.

One winner was a young city lawmaker, Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, who won a 12-way race for a soon-to-be-open seat. Mr. Torres, who is Afro-Latino, could become one of the first openly gay Black and Latino members of Congress.

The other was a longtime incumbent, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, who represents parts of New York City and who just managed to sidestep a wave of youthful progressivism that has tilted New York’s congressional delegation leftward.

The primary had been held June 23. The extensive delays in reaching final results, in elections with extraordinary numbers of mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus, have been seen as possible portents of problems in the nation’s general election in November. On Monday, Mr. Trump had called for Ms. Maloney’s race to be rerun.

Both races were in solidly Democratic districts, making both Ms. Maloney, 74, and Mr. Torres, 32, overwhelming favorites to win in November.

Even if Michigan’s primary election Tuesday wasn’t plagued by the long lines seen in some other states this year, there are a number of things that keep Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson up at night.

“First, just preparing for November,” she said in a call with reporters late Tuesday. “Next, how many otherwise valid votes will be rejected because of significant increases in absentee voting.”

In Michigan, ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but aren’t delivered to local clerks until after the election must be rejected. In the state’s March presidential primary election, 4,683 ballots were rejected for that reason. And Ms. Benson expects that even more will be thrown out later this week when clerks receive tardy ballots from the U.S. Postal Service.

A record number of Michigan voters — more than 1.6 million — returned absentee ballots for Tuesday’s election. But 2,065,411 had requested them. It’s not clear if the gap was because of mail delays or people declining or forgetting to fill the ballots out.

In a battleground state like Michigan, where the 2016 presidential election was decided in Mr. Trump’s favor by the narrow margin of 10,704 votes, Ms. Benson said it was critical that all votes be counted.

She said there were a number of things that the federal and state governments could do to make it easier to run elections: The federal government should provide up to $15 million more in funding to pay for things like additional high speed tabulators for absentee ballots and fully fund the U.S. Postal Service to ensure timely delivery of the mail; the State Legislature should pass laws that would allow clerks to begin processing absentee ballots before Election Day and allow absentee ballots postmarked by then to be counted.

“In November, we’ll have potentially three million ballots sent through the mail,” she said. “And we’ve essentially reached the limits of our system.”

While in-person voting went smoothly in Michigan, the surge in absentee voting has led to delayed results, as local clerks continued to count ballots through the night and into the day Wednesday.

“None of us want to be the last state to report our results in November,” she said.

A Georgia W.N.B.A. team defies its co-owner, Senator Kelly Loeffler, by wearing T-shirts backing her opponent.

Players for the Atlanta Dream and other teams across the W.N.B.A. have begun a public show of defiance by wearing T-shirts endorsing a Democratic opponent of the Dream’s co-owner, Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, who is in a tightly contested race for her seat and has spoken disparagingly of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Images of players, including the nine-time All-Star Diana Taurasi, wearing the shirts endorsing Dr. Raphael G. Warnock flooded social media on Tuesday ahead of a nationally televised matchup between Atlanta and the Phoenix Mercury.

Across the chest of the T-shirts were the words “Vote Warnock,” a reference to the Atlanta pastor who is one of the top Democrats running against Ms. Loeffler in a special election in November.

Elizabeth Williams, who has played for the Dream since 2016, said on Monday that the players plan to “vocally support” Dr. Warnock in the coming weeks, and that players have had “several” conversations with him.

“When we realized what our owner was doing and how she was kind of using us and the Black Lives Matter movement for her political gain, we felt like we didn’t want to feel kind of lost as the pawns in this,” Ms. Williams said.

At least three people who have been active in Republican politics are linked to Kanye West’s attempt to get on the presidential ballot this year. The connection raises questions about the aims of the entertainer’s effort and whether it is regarded within the G.O.P. as a spoiler campaign that could aid Mr. Trump, even as those close to Mr. West have expressed concerns about his mental health as he enters the political arena.

One operative, Mark Jacoby, is an executive at a company called Let the Voters Decide, which has been collecting signatures for the West campaign in three states. Mr. Jacoby was arrested on voter fraud charges in 2008 while he was doing work for the California Republican Party, and he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

Mr. Jacoby, in a statement, said his company was nonpartisan and worked for all political parties. “We do not comment on any current clients, but like all Americans, anyone who is qualified to stand for election has the right to run,” he said.

New York Magazine reported Monday evening on the campaign’s links to two other people with partisan ties. One is Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, who has been listed as a contact for the campaign in Arkansas. Mr. Keller, who did not respond to a message seeking comment, is a Missouri-based strategist. He was under consideration to be Mr. Trump’s campaign manager in 2015, a role that was ultimately filled by Corey Lewandowski, according to a former campaign official.

Another person linked to the West campaign is Chuck Wilton, who is listed as a convention delegate for Mr. Trump from Vermont and as an elector with the West operation who could potentially cast an Electoral College vote for Mr. West. Mr. Wilton could not be reached. He and his wife, Wendy, a Trump appointee at the United States Department of Agriculture, have been political supporters of the president. She hung up immediately when called at her office.

The nature of the financial relationships between the West campaign and the operatives, if any, was not immediately clear.

Reporting was contributed by Nick Corasaniti, Sopan Deb, Nicholas Fandos, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Katie Glueck, Shane Goldmacher, Kathleen Gray, Maggie Haberman, Danny Hakim, Astead W. Herndon, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Elaina Plott and Hank Stephenson.


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