Four takeaways from Kansas, Michigan and Missouri primaries

Four takeaways from Kansas, Michigan and Missouri primaries



Kansas voters thing to protect abortion rights in their state. The political comeback of a former Missouri governor was shut down. And the matchup in what will be one of the key gubernatorial races this fall was set.

Kansas voters sent a dramatic message on Tuesday, opting to maintain the right to an abortion in their state’s constitution just weeks after the US Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Polls have long shown that voters overwhelmingly support protecting abortions rights. But the win for the “no” vote in Kansas is proof of that and signals that the Supreme Court decision has further angered voters and possibly shifted the politics of the issue ahead of the November elections.

The “no” leaves the state constitution unchanged. While lawmakers in the state can still try to pass restrictive abortion laws, courts in Kansas have recognized a right to abortion under the state constitution.

The biggest warning to Republicans, many of whom have trumpeted the overturning of Roe and backed pushes to pass stricter abortions laws, is perhaps the turnout in Kansas. With 78% of the vote in on Tuesday night, nearly 700,000 people have cast ballots in the primary, a figure that already dwarfs the turnout in the 2020 presidential primary election.

“This is further proof of what poll after poll has told us: Americans support abortion rights,” said Christina Reynolds, a top operative for Emily’s List, an organization that looks to elect women who support abortion rights. “They believe we should be able to make our own health care decisions, and they will vote accordingly, even in the face of misleading campaigns.”

Greitens’ attempted comeback falls flat

Republicans in Missouri breathed a sigh of relief after state Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the wide-open Senate primary, according to a CNN projection.

Perhaps more significant than who won, though, in the deep-red state, is who lost: disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens, who was attempting a political comeback. Greitens resigned in 2018 amid a sex scandal and accusation of campaign misconduct, and subsequently faced abuse allegations from his ex-wife, which he has denied

Schmitt, the attorney general, emerged from a crowded field that included two members of Congress, Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long.

Former President Donald Trump stayed out of the race, issuing a tongue-in-cheek statement supporting “Eric” on the eve of the primary — leaving it up to voters’ interpretation whether that meant Schmitt or Greitens.

Dixon victory in Michigan governor’s race sets up referendum on Covid policies

Tudor Dixon, the conservative commentator endorsed by Trump in the final days of the race and backed by large factions of the Michigan Republican establishment, won the state’s GOP primary to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, CNN projected.
8 things to watch in Tuesday's primaries

The clash in Michigan could be one of the nation’s most competitive governor’s races.

Whitmer has cast herself as a bulwark for abortion rights in a state where Republicans have sought to enforce a 1931 law that would impose a near-total ban on abortion.

Dixon, meanwhile, framed the race in her victory speech Tuesday night as a referendum on restrictions Whitmer imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dixon, a mother of four who is backed by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s family, is also an advocate of school choice — potentially positioning education as a marquee issue in November’s midterm election.

Progressives suffer another defeat in Michigan

Rep. Haley Stevens’ projected Democratic primary victory in Michigan’s newly drawn 11th Congressional District over fellow Rep. Andy Levin marks another blow against progressives in what has been a mostly disappointing primary season.

It’s also a resounding victory for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and its super PAC, United Democracy Project, which has spent millions backing moderate, more staunchly pro-Israel candidates in Democratic primaries.

Stevens and Levin are both supportive of Israel, but Levin — who is Jewish — has been more willing to criticize its government’s treatment of Palestinians and is the lead sponsor of the Two-State Solution Act.

Progressive Democrats, frequently targeted by AIPAC spending this primary season, have fumed at fellow Democrats for accepting or courting support from the group, which has also contributed to Republican election deniers. AIPAC has defended the practice, arguing that its policy goals need bipartisan support.

J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that has clashed with AIPAC, tried to boost Levin with a $700,000 July ad buy, but that sum paled in comparison to the millions bundled by AIPAC and more than $4 million spend by UDP.


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