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Polls are closed in Virginia, which holds congressional primaries on Tuesday, and in Georgia, where there are primaries in two congressional districts.
And while former President Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot, his influence in the GOP is once again being tested in Georgia’s two Republican contests.
In Georgia’s 10th congressional district, Trump is backing Vernon Jones, a former state legislator and Democrat-turned-Republican who was one of the then-president’s top black surrogates in Peach State in the Washington election. 2020. Jones will face trucking company owner Mike Collins on Tuesday.
Collins or Jones will be considered favorites against the winner of the Democratic primary runoff in the district, in the race to succeed Republican Rep. Jody Hice, who launched an unsuccessful campaign for Georgia’s secretary of state rather than to get re-elected.
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Collins was endorsed last week by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, just three weeks after Kemp crushed former Sen. David Perdue, who was the first to challenge the conservative governor with significant support from Trump. Kemp edged Perdue by more than 50 points in last month’s Republican gubernatorial primary, which was a crushing defeat for Trump. Kemp had angered Trump for certifying the then-president’s electoral defeat to current President Biden in Georgia in the 2020 election.
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Perdue wasn’t the only high profile Trump-backed candidate to be defeated in the Georgia primary. Hice lost by double digits to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump had also repeatedly attacked. And Trump-backed GOP Attorney General challenger John Gordon was taken down by incumbent Chris Carr.
Jones was originally running for governor this cycle, hoping to win Trump’s endorsement in the primary against Kemp. But after endorsing Perdue, the former president convinced Jones to end his bid for governor and instead run for Hice’s open seat in Congress. Trump endorsed Jones when launching his House offer.
The neighborhood, which is reliably red, stretches from the eastern outskirts of Atlanta through rural areas east to the outskirts of Augusta, Georgia, and up to the border. from South Carolina.
“Trump’s anger has outstripped his influence in Georgia,” said Georgia-based veteran Republican consultant Dan McLagan.
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In Georgia’s 6th congressional district, which mostly covers rural areas north of Atlanta, Trump is backing Jake Evans, former chair of Georgia’s ethics commission and son of Randy Evans, who served as ambassador to Luxembourg under the Trump administration. Trump headlined a tele-rally for young Evans on the eve of the primary.
The other candidate in the race, physician Rich McCormick, is backed by conservative Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative outside group that spends heavily in the Republican primaries.
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This is the third high-profile Republican primary showdown in the past two months where Trump and Cruz — who could become potential rivals in the 2024 GOP presidential nomination race — have backed rival Republican primary candidates. .
The winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff will face veteran Democratic nominee Bob Christian in November. The current incumbent, Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath, is running for re-election this year in Georgia’s 7th congressional district, after the seat was redrawn in the once-a-decade redistricting process to heavily favor Republicans.
It’s also primary day in Virginia, where Republican candidates from the state’s 2nd and 10th congressional districts are vying to face off in November with two House Democrats facing tough re-elections as their party faces historical headwinds and a very difficult political climate.
Four Republicans — all of whom are veterans — are running in the highly competitive 2nd District, a seat in the southeastern part of the Commonwealth anchored by Virginia Beach. Among them is State Senator Jennifer Kiggans, the only one to have held elected office.
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The winner will face Rep. Elaine Luria, a former U.S. Navy commander who became a two-term Democratic congresswoman, in November. Luria has been highly visible this month, as the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol held high-profile hearings that garnered national attention. Luria is the only endangered Democrat on the panel.
In the newly drawn 7th District, which has been moved heavily by redistricting and will now stretch from the Fredericksburg area north to the southern suburbs of Washington DC – including parts of heavily populated Prince William County – six Republicans are vying to challenge former CIA officer turned two-term Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger.
Among the GOP candidates is Yesli Vega, a military wife, mother and law enforcement officer born to Salvadoran immigrants after fleeing the civil war.
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In the very blue 8th congressional district – located in the Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital – former Lt. Governor and four-term representative Don Beyer faces a major challenge from progressive Victoria Virasingh.
And in the dark red 6th congressional district, which spans much of west-central Virginia, GOP Rep. Ben Cline faces a primary challenge from former Navy officer and political newcomer Merritt. Tan.
Fox News’ Jessica Loker contributed to this report
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