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Wisconsin's GOP gubernatorial primary tests Trump's clout amid political ramifications of FBI investigation

InWisconsin, Republicans are picking a candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in a pivotal election in November. , offers a headline contest, but three other states -- Minnesota,Vermont,Connecticut -- also went to vote andare racing up and down the ballotsare poised to provide a clearer picture of the increasingly high-stakes midterm election season.

Wisconsin is the third state Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have endorsed for a rival Republican gubernatorial candidate. Pence initially endorsed former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Creefish, the party's frontrunner in the primary. But Creefish, who served two terms as former governor Scott Walker's second-in-command, is embroiled in fierce competition from construction company owner Tim Michels. By indulging in efforts to revoke recognition of the president's victory. Kleefisch was more cautious, provoking an attack from Trump.

Trump and Pence have mixed records: Kari Lake, Trump's pick in ArizonaConservative commentator and election deniers win the nomination by a narrow margin Meanwhile, Pence's pick in Georgia was incumbent Brian Brian Kemp, who overwhelmed the first Trump-backed challenger, former Senator David Perdue.

In each state that turned from Trump to Biden four years after him in 2016 (Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania), the GOP gubernatorial nominees will settle. become.

All five are expected to be hotly contested again in 2024, and a Republican win on these political battlefields this fall could mean Trump's run for the White House again.

Wisconsin is also home to a key Republican primary in the state legislature, where President Trump's 2020 Longtime Speaker of the House Robin Voss, the largest conservative who has nearly been in favor of, is being challenged by Adam Steen. Mr. Trump's endorsement came because former President Voss presumed he was not bullish enough about right-wing efforts to force the country to prove his defeat.

Democrats, meanwhile, are reveling in the unexpected outcome of what many expected to be a closely contested Senate primary. After polls showed Lt. Mandela Burns withdrawing from the opposition, his top rivals all dropped out within days, effectively handing him the nomination and becoming one of Trump's main defenders. One handed the November showdown with Republican Senator Ron Johnson. In Washington, he is the number one target for Democrats hoping to retain or potentially expand the Senate majority.

Also on Tuesday in the Upper Midwest, Minnesota's Republican nominee will face off against Democratic Governor Tim Waltz, who is seeking a second term.

Doctor and former state legislator Scott Jensen nearly secured his nomination with the support of the state party. He faces Joyce Lynn Lacy and Bob "Again" Kearney Jr. in the primary.Jensen has long been a critic of the waltz, mainly because he's a statewide lockdown in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. was against But he also suggested that hospitals inflated the number of sick people and questioned the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, which Jensen said had not received them. 35} A rivalry between Walz and Jensen could also help decide the fate of abortion rights in Minnesota. Mr. Jensen told Minnesota Public Radio in March that if elected he would "try to ban abortion," a statement Mr. Waltz and other Democrats have already embraced. Mr. Jensen said late last month that he supported exceptions to allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is in danger, and he retracted the more offensive language. ButDemocrats, emboldened by last week's Kansas referendumto vote to uphold abortion rights in a statewide referendum, decided to address the issue in the fall campaign. It is expected to be centered.

Voters in the current Southern Minnesota First Congressional District will choose to replace the late Republican Rep. Jim Hegedon, who died earlier this year. Republican district special elections will select Republican Brad Finstad and Democrat Jeffrey Ettinger. The winner will almost immediately head to Capitol Hill to serve Hagedorn's term.

However, both candidates are also participating in the regular primary vote as they contest their respective party's nominations in new versions of the districts that are re-drawn ahead of the midterm elections. Ettinger, the former chief executive of Hormel Foods, is expected to win easily on the Democratic side, while Finstad, a former state legislator and Trump administration U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, is expected to run a reserve in May. Rep. Jeremy Manson faces a tougher challenge as he reruns the election. , was decided by just a few hundred votes.

History is made in Vermont

Vermont Democrats nominate Rep. Peter Welch to replace retired Sen. Patrick Leahy I am preparing to do so. The next year after working for nearly 50 years. Welch's decision to run for the Senate created a rare open Democratic primary for the state's only House seat, starting a contest that would almost certainly end in a history-making election.

Acting State Senate Speakers Becca Balint and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray are front-runners in a three-way race to replace Welch in the House of Representatives. If elected in the fall, she could be elected from Vermont, the only state in Vermont not to have a female legislator for the first time.

It rarely separates Balint and Gray on important issues. Sanders and leading progressives across the country support Balint. Gray has the support of Leahy, who said he donated to her cause and voted for her, although he was not formally endorsed in the race.Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Madeleine Cnin also support Gray.

But in an election campaign where candidates themselves are looking at levels of funding, a flood of external spending on Balint could help tip the scales. The Victory Fund invested about $1 million in the campaign for Balint, who is gay. She has also benefited from spending by the campaign arm of the Congressional Progressive Party Caucus, whose chair, Washington Rep. and Ed Markey, all in favor of Balint.

Connecticut will also vote on Tuesday, but there is little danger for Democratic Governor Ned Lamont and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. Neither has been opposed in the primary.

On the Republican side, former state legislator Themis Clarides is the frontrunner to win his November Blumenthal nomination. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanovski, like Lamont, was alone in Tuesday's poll, setting the stage for a rematch in the 2018 election.