On Tuesday, there were primary races in four states. These races included two primaries for Democratic gubernatorial candidates, in Wisconsin and Vermont, as well as some key primaries for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. President Trump waded into at least one Congressional primary, though his shadow cast deep into some of the other GOP primaries including the GOP Senate primary in Minnesota. Here’s a breakdown of the headlines from each state, courtesy of the Associated Press.
In Connecticut, Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski emerged from a field of five Republicans seeking to replace the unpopular outgoing governor, Democrat Dan Malloy. Former gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont won the Democratic nomination.
Connecticut Democrats picked former teacher of the year, Jahana Hayes, to run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Elizabeth Etsy, who is leaving Congress after bungling sexual abuse claims levied against a former staffer. Hayes could become the first black woman from the state to serve in Congress.
In Minnesota, Republican County Commissioner Jeff Johnson defeated Pawlenty, who once called Trump “unhinged and unfit” and was hoping to regain his old post. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, endorsed just this week by Trump, won the right to seek a third term.
Nearly twice as many Minnesota Democrats as Republicans cast ballots in their parties’ respective gubernatorial primaries.
Pawlenty had been considered the heavy favorite in a two-person Republican contest for his old job. But he struggled to adapt to a GOP that had changed drastically since he left office in 2011 and flamed out early in a 2012 presidential bid.
The former two-term governor strained to live down his October 2016 comment that Trump was “unhinged and unfit for the presidency,” remarks that incensed many Republican voters in Minnesota and beyond. Johnson, his underfunded opponent, circulated Pawlenty’s critique far and wide, telling voters that he was a steadfast supporter of the president.
Johnson will face Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, who won a three-way race for his party’s nomination.
Three Minnesota women won Senate nominations, including incumbent Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.
Also in Minnesota, Democrat Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali-American legislator, won her party’s congressional primary in the race to replace Ellison.
In Vermont, Democrat Christine Hallquist won the Democratic nomination in her quest to become the nation’s first transgender governor. The former chief executive of Vermont Electric Cooperative bested a field of four Democrats that included a 14-year-old.
While she made history on Tuesday, Hallquist faces a difficult path to the governor’s mansion. Republican incumbent Phil Scott remains more popular with Democrats than members of his own party in the solidly liberal state.
Vermont Democrats also nominated Sen. Bernie Sanders, who hasn’t ruled out a second presidential run in 2020, for a third term in the Senate. The 76-year-old democratic socialist won the Democratic nomination, but he is expected to turn it down and run as an independent.
Democrats appeared particularly motivated in Wisconsin, where eight candidates lined up for the chance to take on Walker.
Walker’s strong anti-union policies made him a villain to Democrats long before Trump’s rise. State schools chief Tony Evers, who has clashed with Walker at times, won the Democratic nomination and will take on Walker this fall.
Once a target of Trump criticism, Walker gained the president’s endorsement in a tweet Monday night calling him “a tremendous Governor who has done incredible things for that Great State.”
Trump also starred, informally at least, in Wisconsin’s Senate primaries as Republicans try to deny Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin a second term.
Longtime state lawmaker Leah Vukmir, who was backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, won the Republican primary, even after struggling to explain footage recently unearthed from 2016 in which she called Trump “offensive to everyone.”