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Sunday August 14th, 2022 8:13PM

Midterm updates | Sen. Boozman clinches GOP nod in Arkansas

By The Associated Press
  Contact Editor

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sen. John Boozman has won the Republican primary in Arkansas, fending off efforts by challengers on the right after relying heavily on his endorsement from Donald Trump and the state’s top GOP figures.

Boozman defeated three rivals in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Three Democrats were seeking the party’s nomination for Boozman’s seat in Tuesday’s primary.

The soft-spoken two-term senator had Trump’s backing, which featured prominently in every ad and mailer, and had adopted a more combative style during his reelection bid. Boozman is in the line to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee if Republicans win control of the Senate and he had the backing of groups like the National Rifle Association.

But his challengers had tried to portray the incumbent lawmaker as not conservative enough. They included former NFL player Jake Bequette, who had the support of a super PAC that spent more than $1.5 million on ads supporting his bid and attacking Boozman.

Conservative activist Jan Morgan and pastor Heath Loftis also sought the nomination.

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Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas and Minnesota are holding primary elections Tuesday.

HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

— Kemp wins Georgia GOP governor’s race in stinging rebuke of Trump

— 2022 midterms: What to watch in Georgia, Texas, elsewhere

— Georgia US Senate race will pit Warnock against Walker

— Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger faces Trump ally

— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wins GOP primary in test of her divisive politics

— Unopposed Stacey Abrams still a target in Republican primary

— Ex-Trump press secretary Sarah Sanders wins GOP bid for Arkansas governor

Follow all AP stories on the midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath has defeated fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in a Georgia primary race between two incumbents who became rising stars after flipping districts long held by Republicans.

The contest in metro Atlanta’s 7th Congressional District cost Democrats one of the two Georgia lawmakers who had picked up House seats for the party since 2018.

McBath elected to run for Bourdeaux’s seat rather than stand for reelection in the neighboring 6th District, which she had represented for two terms. McBath left her former district after the Republican-controlled state legislature redrew it to be more conservative.

Bourdeaux, who was seeking a second term, said she was shocked by the challenge from a colleague she had called a “sister.” McBath said her decision was driven by her desire to keep advocating for gun safety in memory of her teenage son, who was fatally shot in 2012.

In the November election, McBath will face the winner of Republican primary between five candidates.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nuclear engineer and ordained minister Chris Jones has won the Democratic nomination for governor in Arkansas as he mounts an uphill bid for the extremely red state’s top office.

Jones defeated four rivals in Tuesday’s primary, winning the majority needed to claim the nomination without a runoff. He’ll face Republican Sarah Sanders and Libertarian nominee Ricky Dale Harrington in the November election.

Jones is among dozens of Black Democrats running for office in areas that former President Donald Trump won. Arkansas has never elected an African American to statewide or federal office before.

He launched his campaign last year with an online video last year that quickly went viral. In the video, Jones talked about his faith, love of science and his family’s history in the state.

Jones is running to succeed Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection and is considering running for president in 2024.

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ATLANTA — Former Sen. David Perdue said he called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to congratulate him on his victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Perdue had been recruited by Donald Trump to challenge Kemp, who had attracted the former president’s wrath for rejecting his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. But Perdue never gained much traction in the race and was easily beaten by the incumbent Tuesday.

Perdue said he would work to ensure Kemp beats Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in the November election, a rematch of their contest four years ago.

“Everything I said about Brian Kemp was true, but here’s the other thing I said was true: He’s a much better choice than Stacey Abrams. We are going to get behind our governor,” Perdue said.

“We are going to do everything we can to make damn sure Stacey Abrams doesn’t take over this state and let the woke mob take over our beloved children and grandchildren,” he said.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has won the Republican nomination for governor in Arkansas after a campaign where she focused primarily on national issues and criticizing President Joe Biden.

Sanders defeated former talk radio host and podcaster Doc Washburn, who mounted a longshot bid for the GOP nomination in Tuesday’s primary. Five Democrats were also seeking their party’s nomination for governor in Tuesday’s primary.

Sanders was endorsed by her former boss, former President Donald Trump, and shattered fundraising records since entering the race last year. Sanders, the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, blanketed the state with ads targeting Biden on issues like inflation and vowing to fight the “radical left.”

She’s running to succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection and is considering a run for president in 2024.

Trump had publicly encouraged Sanders to run for governor when she announced in 2019 she was leaving the White House to return to her home state.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is again the GOP nominee for his job in a primary runoff victory over Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

Bush is the only member of his famous family still in office, but the loss means he will now exit in January. That will leave the Bush dynasty out of elected office for only one of the few times in the last 40 years.

The coming end of the Bush era — at least for now — came at the hands of a two-term incumbent still dogged by a 2015 felony indictment and a separate FBI investigation into accusation of corruption. But importantly in Texas, Paxton had the backing of Donald Trump — the former president who has mocked and antagonized the Bush family on his way to taking their mantle as the GOP’s standard-bearer.

Paxton, who has denied wrongdoing, is now within reach of a third term in Texas, where a Democrat hasn’t won statewide office in nearly 30 years.

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ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene defeated five fellow Republicans in a Georgia primary that tested conservative voters’ tolerance of the first-term congresswoman’s divisive politics.

Greene, a celebrity among the GOP’s right-wing fringe, will be on the ballot again in the November general election. She will face the winner of a three-way Democratic primary in northwest Georgia’s 14th District, a seat drawn to give Republicans a huge advantage.

Jennifer Strahan and other Republican challengers sought unsuccessfully to convince voters that Greene’s combative rhetoric and willingness to embrace baseless conspiracy theories did little to benefit her constituents.

Greene raised more than $9 million to defend her seat and spent more than $6.6 million in the primary fending off attacks from within her own party. She remained on the ballot after voters mounted a failed effort to disqualify her by claiming she encouraged the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and riots that disrupted Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

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ATLANTA — Georgia’s Republican attorney general has defeated a GOP primary challenger who entered the race with the backing of former President Donald Trump.

Unofficial election returns show Attorney General Chris Carr winning the Republican nomination over John Gordon, who largely campaigned on Trump’s baseless allegations of widespread election fraud.

Gordon said he wanted an investigation into the 2020 election and blamed Carr for not doing enough. Carr said flatly that Trump and Georgia’s two Republican senators lost that election and there was no need to investigate.

Appointed to the attorney general’s office by the governor in 2016, Carr is seeking his second full term. He counts his top achievements as prosecuting human trafficking, securing a $636 million opioid settlement, and defending the 2021 Georgia voting law.

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ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has defeated his Donald Trump-backed challenger David Perdue after a furious push by the former president to punish Kemp for not overturning the 2020 election results.

Kemp’s victory on Tuesday sets up another general election race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, who was unopposed in her primary. The November rematch of their 2018 contest is likely to be one of the nation’s most expensive and closely watched.

Perdue was courted by Trump to enter the race as retribution for Kemp not going along with the former president’s effort to overturn his defeat in Georgia’s 2020 election. Perdue embraced Trump’s election lies, opening two debates between the candidates with the claim that the 2020 balloting was “rigged and stolen.” Election officials found no evidence of fraud after multiple reviews.

Kemp survived the challenge by using the power of his incumbency to push a raft of legislation through Georgia’s Republican-controlled legislature. He signed measures that cut taxes, allowed people to carry concealed handguns without permits and helped ban transgender girls from high school sports.

The governor also tapped bountiful state coffers to give pay raises for public employees and announced two large electric vehicle factories.

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ATLANTA — Football great Herschel Walker, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won Georgia’s GOP Senate primary.

Walker defeated five fellow Republicans, including Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and former Trump administration official and Navy veteran Latham Saddler.

Walker is a political newcomer but has nearly unmatched name recognition in Georgia from his days as a college football running back. He led the University of Georgia football team to a national title during the 1980 season and won the Heisman Trophy in 1982.

Trump, a close friend of Walker’s, backed his run despite questions about Walker’s business dealings and history of violence against women. Walker has been open about his long struggle with mental illness and acknowledged violent urges.

He won the primary despite skipping debates with his Republican opponents and making some gaffes.

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ATLANTA — U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock won Georgia’s Democratic primary as he seeks to hold on to his Senate seat in the upcoming midterm elections.

Warnock defeated beauty industry professional Tamara Johnson-Shealey.

The junior senator and pastor is seeking a full, six-year term in the Senate after winning a special election in 2021 for the final two years of former Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. Republicans believe Warnock is vulnerable and are targeting his seat in their efforts to regain a Senate majority.

Warnock is the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. On Capitol Hill, he has attacked Republicans’ push for tighter voting rules as “Jim Crow in new clothes.”

In Georgia, he has stressed his work in bringing home funding for health care, national security research and other projects. He has also highlighted his efforts to try to cap the cost of insulin and temporarily suspend the federal gas tax.

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ATLANTA — Stacey Abrams has won the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor after narrowly losing the 2018 race to current Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

Abrams became a star in the Democratic Party after her first gubernatorial election and ran unopposed in this year’s primary. She has become a leading advocate for voting rights and is credited with laying the organizational groundwork for Joe Biden to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in 28 years.

Abrams is likely to face either Kemp or former U.S. Sen. David Perdue in a November contest that is gearing up to be one of the nation’s most expensive and closely watched.

The centerpiece of Abrams’ platform is a call to expand Medicaid to all adults. But she is also highlighting her support for abortion rights and opposition to state laws abolishing the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public.

Abrams has showed the ability to raise millions, but Republicans have raised the specter of her becoming governor to try to unify a party fractured by former President Donald Trump’s attempts to unseat Kemp.

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ATLANTA — Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, says she expects the personal attacks to continue as she moves toward the general election in November.

Abrams was asked at a news conference Tuesday in Atlanta about a comment the day before from Republican rival David Perdue, who said Abrams had been “demeaning her own race” with remarks she had made. She turned the conversation back to Perdue’s opponent, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who is leading in polls and fundraising.

“I had an inelegant delivery of a statement that I will keep making — that is Brian Kemp is a failed governor who doesn’t care about the people of Georgia,” Abrams said.

On the eve of Tuesday’s primary, Perdue took a shot at Abrams’ remarks Saturday at a Democratic dinner. She had said, “I am tired of hearing about being the the best state in the country to do business when we are the worst state in the country to live,” and went on to explain that when Georgia has dismal rankings for mental health access and maternal mortality, “then you’re not the No. 1 place to live.”

“She is demeaning her own race when it comes to that,” Perdue said Monday in an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks and former Trump adviser Peter Navarro.

Abrams said she expects Republicans to continue to attack her personally.

“I have listened to Republicans for the last six months attack me, but they’ve done nothing to attack the challenges facing Georgia,” Abrams said.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Tuesday’s primary runoff election in Texas will test how much weight the Bush family name still carries in America’s biggest red state in the race for attorney general.

But George P. Bush, who’s challenging embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton for the Republican nomination, says Tuesday’s vote isn’t about family dynasty.

Speaking in Austin after casting his ballot, Bush says the election is “about doing the right thing and supporting the right people for the right offices.”

Paxton is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation over accusations of corruption, and he’s still awaiting trial on securities fraud charges after being indicted in 2015.

Bush, who now serves as Texas’ land commissioner, called Paxton “a crook ... who continually abuses his office.”

Bush forced a runoff against Paxton during a crowded four-way primary election in March. But he still trailed Paxton by 20 points in the March election, underscoring Paxton’s continued political durability in Texas.

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