- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Anti-Trump Republicans hoping the Jan. 6 hearings are breaking the former president’s hold on the party’s base were disappointed this week after another round of Trump-backed GOP primary candidates marched to victory in Republican strongholds.

That was the case in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District where Rep. Mary Miller defeated Rep. Rodney Davis, who ran afoul of former President Donald Trump’s supporters in the newly drawn ruby-red district by voting to certify the results of the 2020 election and to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot.

The election results clashed with the picture put forth by witness testimony on Capitol Hill that has painted Mr. Trump as singularly focused on retaining the presidency at any cost.

Indeed, Republican voters in a majority of races have rallied behind candidates who have Mr. Trump’s blessing and go all-in on Mr. Trump’s stolen-election claims that others blame for inciting the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

It’s not all good news for the Trump base. Blowback has surfaced in some primary races, mostly in purple states and congressional districts that lean GOP but are not solidly red.

Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger beat back Trump-backed candidates in Georgia, and Rep. Nancy Mace did the same in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

The closest thing to that from Tuesday’s primaries came out of statewide races in Colorado, which has been trending blue.

Pam Anderson, a critic of Trump’s stolen-election claims, beat pro-Trump candidate Tina Peters in Colorado’s GOP primary for secretary of state.

Plus, state Rep. Ron Hanks, who attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington and fully embraced the stolen election claims, fell to businessman Joe O’Dea in the Senate GOP primary.

Mr. O’Dea repeatedly recognized President Biden as the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. He now is set to take on Sen. Michael Bennet, a two-term Democrat, in the November election.

But in Colorado’s deep-red 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Lauren Boebert, one of Mr. Trump’s most vocal allies, easily dispatched a challenge by state senator Don Coram.

Mr. Coram positioned himself as a moderate who could work with Democrats and rejected Ms. Boebert’s claim that massive voter fraud skewed the 2020 election in a major way.

“Moms, freedom fighters, and professional RINO hunters!,” Ms. Boebert tweeted, alongside a picture of herself with Ms. Miller, who are both expected to win in the general election.

The Trump wing of the GOP notched another win in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Illinois after state Sen. Darren Bailey emerged victorious in a six-person race.

Mr. Bailey, like Ms. Miller and others who have emerged victorious in primary races, received Mr. Trump’s endorsement in the final days of the race.

Mr. Bailey faces an uphill battle against Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, in the fall.

Overall, Trump-backed candidates on Tuesday went 12 for 12 in the primary contests, according to a running tally from The Washington Post that shows the ex-president’s primary picks have won 135 out of 147 primary contests this election cycle.

Critics accuse Mr. Trump of delivering late-in-the-game endorsements in safe GOP districts to shore up his image as a kingmaker.

Rounding out the list of Trump-blessed winners Tuesday are Illinois Reps Mike Bost and Darin Lahood; Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole, Kevin Hern and Frank Lucas; Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt; Utah Sen. Mike Lee; and Utah Reps. Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart, also of Utah.

The primaries on Tuesday also saw the liberal wing of the Democratic Party come up short in Illinois after Rep. Sean Casten defeated Rep. Marie Newman in the newly drawn 6th Congressional District, and Rep. Danny Davis defeated Kina Collins, a 31-year-old liberal activist who had the support of progressive groups.

Gov. Kathy Hochul also beat back a challenge from Jumaane D. Williams, a left-leaning New York City public advocate, and Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi in the New York primary races.

Mrs. Hochul is running for her first full term after taking over the reins from disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She is set to square off against Rep. Lee Zeldin. Mr. Zeldin seized the Republican nomination in a race that also featured Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York mayor and Trump confidante Rudy Giuliani.

Rep. Mike Flood, meanwhile, was projected to win a special election to fill the remainder of the term of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District.

Mr. Fortenberry resigned in March after being charged with lying to the FBI about illegal campaign contributions from a foreign billionaire.

In Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, Republican Rep. Steve Palazzo lost his runoff race to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell. Mr. Palazzo, a member of the House since 2010, was dogged by an ethics investigation into whether he misspent campaign funds.

Mr. Ezell is favored to win in the strongly Republican district.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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