By Associated Press
But eventually even Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell ended up embracing Walker as the party’s best chance to oust Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. The bet is that voters won’t care as much about scandals in post-Trump America.
That theory certainly got a boost Tuesday in Texas. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted in 2015 on securities fraud charges and is still awaiting trial. He’s under investigation for corruption by the FBI and by the state bar of Texas for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Yet he easily won his primary against Land Commissioner George P. Bush, powered by his ability to use his office to cater to conservative causes by, for example, investigating the parents of transgender children.
Back in Georgia, firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene won her Republican primary, shrugging off challengers who complained Greene was giving the party a bad name by engaging in Holocaust denial and other headline-grabbing, bombastic behavior.
Trump set the model in 2016, and his followers are perfecting it — never let a scandal get in the way of winning an election.
A GAME OF INCHES The marquee Democratic matchup of the night — in Texas’ 28th Congressional District, between progressive Jessica Cisneros and centrist Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of the last abortion rights opponents in the Democratic caucus — was too early to call Wednesday.
The two candidates were separated by the thinnest margin of votes in a rematch two months after they were forced into a runoff. It drove home two realities: Elections are a game of inches, and even a victory won’t resolve the great left versus center divide in the Democratic Party.
After the collapse of much of Biden’s agenda in Congress, progressives have gotten a boost in recent primaries. Their candidate, Summer Lee, narrowly won the primary in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District last week. In Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader was trailing a progressive challenger after their primary last week; the results were delayed by ballot counting problems.
Also Tuesday, Rep. Lucy McBath handily defeated Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in the Democratic primary in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the Atlanta suburbs. While neither has embraced the left wing of the party, Bourdeaux was better known as a moderate than McBath.
Still, the left lost a key congressional primary in the Cleveland area just a few weeks ago. They had an awful track record in 2020. And some Democrats worry — and Republicans hope — that leftist wins in places like Oregon’s 5th or Texas’ 28th will make it harder for the party to hold those relatively moderate districts, especially in what’s looking like a dismal fall for Democrats.
Sometimes, though, races are so close that there’s eventually a winner but no resolution to the political debate they embody. Progressives can note Cisneros improved her margin after losing to Cuellar in 2020. Centrists can point to how the incumbent kept it close even amid the party’s fury about a possible end to the right to abortion.
After Texas, the struggle between the Democrats’ left and centrist wings seems poised to go on.