Progressives, establishment Dems set for major clashes in Aug. 4 primaries
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Though much of Americans' political focus has turned to the general election battle looming between President Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, primary season is not quite over, and another round of consequential races is upcoming on Tuesday, including a primary challenge to high-profile Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
Tlaib is facing a challenge from Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones – who she beat out in a crowded primary race in 2018 – to retain her seat in Congress. But now it's just Jones and Tlaib going head to head. And despite Tlaib's massive fundraising advantage, Jones is a popular politician with deep connections in the Detroit political establishment.
There's also a major establishment versus progressives battle set for Tuesday in Missouri, with longtime Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay facing a primary challenge from Cori Bush, who is supported by the Justice Democrats — a far-left group with a history of backing successful challenges to establishment Democrats.
Kansas, Arizona, and Washington state will also hold primaries Tuesday. Here's your guide to the top stories ahead of (yet another) primary election day.
Voters will decide the contentious primary between Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and her primary challenger Brenda Jones Tuesday.
Because of Tlaib's national name recognition as a member of the Squad, her race will likely be the most-watched on Tuesday. Jones — who has a long history of intra-party tangles with Tlaib — has criticized Tlaib for being too fond of the limelight and is running on a platform of focusing on the city of Detroit the district.
"As Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Representative, Tlaib has worked hard to become an international rock star," Jones tweeted in late July. "Representative Tlaib has a huge war chest of nearly $2 million. The money in Rashida Tlaib’s war chest is mostly from people around the world."
She added: "This means Tlaib is beholding (sic) to her money people, & not focused on the citizens of the 13th Congressional District."
Jones also previously knocked Tlaib for calling Trump a "m—–f—–."
“You can be vocal, but the things that were being done — like calling the president a ‘MF’ or booing Hillary — every time something like that happened, I was getting calls from people saying ‘You’re more professional than this,’” Jones told The New York Times.
But as a much better funded, yet still unsuccessful primary challenge of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., showed, the progressive Squad members are hard to unseat. And Tlaib has touted her progressive credentials, amplifying endorsements from the Detroit Democratic Socialists of America, Center for Popular Democracy, the EPA workers union and other progressive groups.
And like Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib has been a prolific fundraiser. She had more than $900,000 cash on hand as of mid-July, per FEC records, whereas Jones had just over $21,000.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also endorsed Tlaib this week. Meanwhile, Tlaib, after initially declining to endorse Biden citing her primary race, later said that "I support Vice President Biden defeating Donald Trump in November, and I am doing to do everything I can do ensure that Biden wins in Michigan."
Additionally, Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., is retiring from his 10th District seat. State Rep. Shane Hernandez and retired Air Force Brigadier General Doug Slocum appear to be the top two candidates in the GOP primary in the generally safe Republican district. And there is a highly-competitive primary Republican to replace Rep. Justin Amash, L-Mich., as the GOP nominee for the state's 3rd Congressional District.
In Kansas, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is retiring, leaving an open seat that many speculated U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might run for. Instead, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is running in a crowded primary with at least two well-funded opponents.
Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., is also in the mix, and received the endorsement of the incumbent Roberts, as is Bob Hampton, who frames himself as a pro-Trump outsider.
In this Feb. 1, 2020 file photo, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., a candidate for the U.S. Senate, awaits the start of a debate in Olathe, Kansas. Establishment Republicans who’d been coy for months about the GOP primary for Kansas’ open Senate seat are increasingly putting their thumbs on the scale. They’re hoping to push western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall to victory over polarizing conservative Kris Kobach. (AP Photo/John Hanna, File)
Kobach, a hardline conserve on many issues, including immigration, is endorsed by former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. But he's worried some in the GOP that he may be too controversial to be elected.
The winner of the Tuesday primary will most likely face well-funded Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier.
Marshall is leaving his congressional seat open and former Lieutenant Gov. Tracey Mann and Finney County Commissioner Bill Clifford are likely the favorites to become the Republican nominee in that district. And interestingly, in the state's 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Steve Watkins Jr., who squeaked out a win in 2018, is facing a primary challenge from state Treasurer Jake LaTurner.
Topeka Mayor Democrat Michelle De La Isla will likely face the winner of that primary in the general election.
Clay, who represents the St. Louis area, is facing a tough primary challenge from Justice Democrats-backed Bush. Justice Democrats are an organization aligned with Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic "squad" in the House.
Clay last week was endorsed by Jamaal Bowman, the Ocasio-Cortez-backed New York Democrat who toppled longtime Rep. Eliot Engel in the New York primary earlier this year. If Clay falls, it would continue a trend of highly-progressive Democrats successfully unseating powerful moderates in big cities, as was seen in Bowman's victory, as well as Ocasio-Cortez's primary win over former Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., in 2018.
She's also gotten backing from former Democratic presidential candidate and self-declared democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.
Meanwhile, incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Parson faces an unusually high-profile field of primary challengers for an incumbent. State Rep. Jim Neely and Saundra McDowell, who previously was the Republican nominee for state auditor, are running against him.
Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., is the most vulnerable incumbent in his state, according to the Cook Political Report. He isn't facing a primary challenge, but there are four Democrats, all of whom have managed strong fundraising totals, in the primary to take him on in November.
Hiral Tipirneni is head and shoulders above the rest, having pulled in nearly $2.5 million this cycle. The next-highest fundraiser is Anita Malik, who has raised just over $240,000. Every other candidate in that primary has raised six figures as well.
Tipirneni is a career emergency room physician who wants to expand Medicare and wants to pass a "path to citizenship" and advocates for "secure borders," saying those ideas are "not mutually exclusive."
Malik is a mother who previously was a reporter for The Arizona Republic. She went on to be a radio reporter, help run Arizona State's business journalism center and eventually became a tech CEO. Malik supports"Medicare-for-All" and advocates for "free and affordable tuition for public colleges and universities." She also backs "strong borders."
Washington runs a top-two primary system, and its governor, Jay Inslee, is up for reelection this year. Inslee is almost certainly going to be in that top two and make it to the November general election. But there is a laundry list of Republican candidates running to unseat him.
The Seattle Times, in its endorsement for Inslee's reelection, lists physician Raul Garcia – endorsed by party leaders — and Loren Culp, a former chief of a small-town police department, as the most credible Republicans. But with more than 30 candidates on the ballot, who ends up with the second-most votes after Inslee could be a surprise.
FILE – In this Monday, April 13, 2020, file photo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
There will also be a similar primary for lieutenant governor, which is an open seat with incumbent Cyrus Habib deciding not to run for reelection.
Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., and state Rep. Dick Muri, a Republican, are among those on the ballot.
Heck's 10th Congressional District seat, therefore, is open, and more than 15 candidates are running for it. State Rep. Kristine Reeves, state Rep. Beth Doglio and former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland are three of the best-funded Democrats running for the deep-blue seat.
Fox News' Dom Calicchio and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
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