Welcome to special coverage of primary elections in Maine, Nevada, South Carolina and North Dakota and a special congressional election in Texas from Post Poltics Now.
Today, voters are heading to the polls in four more states, including in South Carolina, which poses the latest test of former president Donald Trump’s influence on the Republican Party. Trump is backing GOP primary opponents of two Republican incumbent members of Congress — Reps. Tom Rice and Nancy Mace — who did not back his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Trump is also playing in other GOP primaries Tuesday, including races for governor and U.S. senator in Nevada, where Democrats currently hold both seats. Meanwhile, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) is facing a challenger from her left, Amy Vilela, a former state co-chair for the 2020 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Here’s what to know
In Maine, former governor Paul LePage, who left the state in 2019 after his second term, is running unopposed in the GOP primary. Incumbent Gov. Janet Mills (D) is seeking a second term.
In South Carolina, Rice is being challenged by state Rep. Russell Fry. Mace is being challenged by former congresswoman Katie Arrington. Both Fry and Arrington are backed by Trump.
In Nevada, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombard is leading in the GOP gubernatorial primary polls and hasTrump’s endorsement. He is seeking to replace incumbent Steve Sisolak(D).
Also in Nevada, Adam Laxalt, the former Nevada state attorney general who has Trump’s backing, is the front-runner is the GOP primary for U.S. Senate. He is seeking to replace first-term Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a top target for Republicans in November.
Polls close at 7 p.m. in South Carolina, 8 p.m. in Maine, and 9 and 10 p.m. in parts of Nevada and North Dakota. All times are Eastern.
What to watch in Texas: Republicans try to grab a border district
In South Texas, Republicans have a chance to underscore their growing influence among Texas’s Latino voters, especially Mexican Americans. Rep. Filemon Vela (D), who for a decade has represented Texas’s 34th District along the U.S.-Mexico border, left earlier this year to join a law firm. So on Tuesday, there will be a special election to fill the seat until November, when there will be another election.
Republicans have a good opportunity to flip this slightly Democratic-leaning seat now that there is no incumbent Democrat. Republican political newcomer Mayra Flores will be on the ballot against local commissioner Dan Sanchez (D). Sanchez is running as a placeholder for the candidate who will run in November, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D). In November, the district will be more friendly to Democrats due to redistricting, although the national environment favors Republicans.
For the general election, Gonzalez will move from his nearby district to challenge Flores. If she wins on Tuesday, she will technically be the incumbent for the 34th district.
This could be one of three border-area districts in Texas that Republicans flip in November.