Tuesday may be the most significant primary day yet — potentially of the entire election season — for former president Donald Trump. That’s largely because of one state: Georgia.
Democrats have some drama Tuesday, too, with liberal challengers poised to score a big win against the party’s establishment.
Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s primaries:
GOP Georgia governor: Ground zero for Trump’s attempts to rewrite his 2020 loss
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is as conservative as they come, but he refused to help Trump overturn his 2020 loss in the state.
So Trump recruited a marquee name to challenge him — former Republican senator David Perdue. Perdue has had a windy path to Trumpism. Once an establishment Republican figure, Perdue lost his Senate seat in the 2021 runoff — a loss GOP Senate leaders blame on Trump and his fraud claims. But now Perdue is wholeheartedly embracing false election claims in his bid to unseat Georgia’s sitting governor. This month, a federal judge threw out his lawsuit claiming election fraud in 2020.
Kemp is heavily favored to win, and has the backing of the Republican Governors Association — which normally stays out of primaries, The Washington Post previously reported — as well as an endorsement from Trump’s former No. 2, Mike Pence.
“It’s not easy to beat a sitting governor,” Trump told The Post in an interview, setting expectations low for this primary. (He has had mixed success in the party’s recent contests in Idaho, Nebraska, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.) Of Kemp, he said: “I’m the one who got that guy elected. I endorsed him, and he won. He’s not good on election integrity, and he did a terrible job on election integrity. We’ll see what happens.”
The winner will face Stacey Abrams, a Democratic superstar who narrowly lost to Kemp in 2018.
GOP Georgia secretary of state: Trump backs another election-denier
As with the governor’s race, Trump has planted his flag in Georgia’s secretary of state race to show his party is behind him on his false election fraud claims. The incumbent, Brad Raffensperger, played a major role in 2020 in standing up to Trump’s false claims, though the outgoing president put enormous pressure on him. After votes were counted and confirmed, Trump called a reluctant Raffensperger, urging him to “find” just enough votes to flip the state.
Two years later, Trump is backing Rep. Jody Hice (R). This race is very tight — offering Trump a potentially major win.
GOP Georgia Senate: All eyes on Trump’s chosen candidate, Herschel Walker
This Republican primary is crowded, but former football star Herschel Walker is expected to win easily. But he’s a somewhat risky choice. Walker has been accused of domestic violence — his ex-wife alleges he pointed a gun at her head — and of exaggerating his financial success. Walker has said he struggled with mental illness and framed his political career as a story of resilience. He’s a first-time candidate and has the backing of both Trump and top Senate Republicans.
The bigger test for Walker will be in November, when the winner of the Republican Senate primary in Georgia tries to unseat Raphael G. Warnock (D). Warnock won his Senate seat last year in a runoff, and is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for election this year. Just netting Georgia would put Republicans back in the majority.
GOP Alabama Senate: A Republican loyalist who lost Trump’s backing
Few Republican politicians championed Trump’s false 2020 fraud claims as vocally as Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who spoke at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally and is running for the state’s open Senate seat. He had Trump’s endorsement — then Trump revoked it after Brooks said he wanted to focus on future elections. (Saying you want to focus “on the future” is often the code GOP politicians use when they don’t agree with Trump’s false claims.) Now Brooks is trying to win without Trump against well-funded opponents Katie Britt and Mike Durant.
Britt has particularly strong ties to Alabama politics. She’s the former chief of staff for the senator vacating the seat, Richard C. Shelby, who has said he’ll spend millions of his own money to get her elected.
GOP Arkansas governor: Trump’s former press secretary runs for governor
One of Trump’s most visible defenders during his term is now running for governor of Arkansas. Sarah Sanders is the former White House press secretary for Trump. Her father, Mike Huckabee, also served as the governor of Arkansas. She’s the leading name running on the Republican side, and she’s distancing herself somewhat from Trump: “I constantly get asked, ‘will you be more like your dad?' or ‘will you be like Trump?' I’m going to be Sarah Sanders,” she told the Associated Press.
Outgoing Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is term limited — and a potential 2024 presidential contender.
Sanders is also campaigning for the reelection of Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), who is facing a somewhat unexpected challenge from a former NFL football player, Jake Bequette, who has the backing of a conservative billionaire.
Texas Democratic runoff: A liberal challenging the last Democrat in Texas to oppose abortion rights
In March, a 28-year-old liberal forced one of Texas’s longest-serving House Democrats into a runoff, which takes place today. Jessica Cisneros is actually a former intern for Rep. Henry Cuellar. She has the backing of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and argues that in this heavily Hispanic district, voters support more liberal policies like Medicare-for-all.
By contrast, Cuellar is the last remaining House Democrat to oppose abortion rights, an issue that has suddenly become elevated thanks to an impending Supreme Court ruling that could knock down abortion rights across the nation.
Cisneros also ran against Cuellar two years ago and nearly won. If Cuellar loses, he could be the second Democratic member of Congress in a week to lose to a liberal challenger. Votes are still being counted in last week’s Democratic primary in Oregon where Rep. Kurt Schrader (D), whom President Biden endorsed, could lose.
Texas GOP attorney general runoff: A scandal-plagued incumbent vs. a Bush
Trump’s penchant for endorsing candidates mired in controversy has cost him several primary wins already.
In Nebraska’s gubernatorial primary this month, Trump endorsed one of his political donors, Charles Herbster, who is accused by eight women, including a Republican state senator, of inappropriately touching them. Herbster lost. Earlier in this election cycle, Trump endorsed Sean Parnell, who dropped out of the GOP Pennsylvania Senate contest after losing custody of his children in a divorce battle in which his wife accused him of domestic violence.
That brings us to Texas, where attorney general Ken Paxton (R) was forced into a runoff against George P. Bush. (Yes, of that Bush family. His dad was governor of Florida; his uncle and grandfather were both presidents.) Bush has been the state land commissioner, an elected office in Texas.
Paxton has spent the past few years mired in serious scandal. He is facing a federal investigation, and has been indicted by a state grand jury on felony charges of securities fraud. His top aides have accused him of abuse of office and bribery; he fired whistleblowers in his office; the top U.S. Senate Republican in Texas, John Cornyn, said he is “troubled” by the allegations.
Georgia Democratic House: Two well-known Democrats face off due to redistricting
Every decade, based on new census data, every state redraws its congressional and state legislative districts. Politicians try to draw lines that benefit their party (called gerrymandering), but sometimes they wind up with new districts that pit some of their own lawmakers against each other. In Georgia, two popular House Democrats are facing off in a primary after Lucy McBath decided to leave her district, which was redrawn to be more Republican, and challenge Carolyn Bourdeaux in this safer Democratic district. McBath has more national prominence, running for office after her son was killed by gun violence. The loser will lose their seat in Congress — a tough hit for Democrats as they try to hold onto their three-seat majority in November’s midterm elections.