Briefing

What to watch for in the Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas primaries

Everything you need to know as voters head to the polls

Voters in Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas go to the polls on Tuesday to pick their party's nominees ahead of November's midterm election. Here's everything you need to know:

Georgia

In the race for Georgia governor, former President Donald Trump has endorsed former Sen. David Perdue in his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. After Kemp refused to aid Trump in overturning the results of the 2020 election, Trump blasted the governor as a "turncoat" and donated heavily to his challenger. Despite Trump's support, a FOX 5/InsiderAdvantage poll conducted between April 28 and May 1 showed Kemp leading Perdue by 16 points. Radio host Erick Erickson tweeted last week that Purdue and the outside groups backing him appeared to have "pulled their ads."

A week out from the primary, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that thousands of Democrats had taken advantage of Georgia's open primary system to cast early ballots in the Republican primary. Some hoped "to help nominate a Republican they see as more vulnerable in November," while others sought to "punish David Perdue and other candidates backed by" the former president.

Trump, aiming to dismantle Kemp's entire political machine, has also endorsed candidates for other statewide offices: John Gordon for attorney general, Jody Hice for secretary of state, and Patrick Witt for insurance and safety fire commissioner.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic Senate primary, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), who is seeking a full term after winning a special election in Jan. 2021, is expected to win his race. So is Trump-backed Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker. The likely November matchup between the two is considered a toss-up.

Of the state's 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, six are held by Democrats and eight by Republicans. In Georgia's 7th Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux is running an expensive primary race against challenger Lucy McBath. McBath currently represents the 6th Congressional District but decided to run in the 7th after Republicans redrew it to favor their party. The 6th is expected to flip in November, giving the GOP a 9-5 advantage.

That lead could widen to 10-4 if Georgia's 2nd Congressional district — which FiveThirtyEight ranks as "highly competitive" — also flips. Six Republicans are vying for the chance to challenge 15-term incumbent Sanford Bishop (D).

Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) is favored to win her primary in the deep red 14th Congressional District.

Alabama

In the race for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), polling conducted earlier this month had attorney Katie Britt — Shelby's former chief of staff — leading Rep. Mo Brooks (R) by 9 points.

Trump initially endorsed Brooks, but when the congressman suggested it might be time to move on from 2020, Trump accused Brooks of having gone "woke" and yanked his endorsement. Trump's backing gave Brooks an early advantage, but his poll numbers began to slip as other candidates entered the race. Election analyst Jacob Rubashkin suggested that Trump rescinded his endorsement because Brooks "blew a 44-point lead," not because of Brooks' comment about 2020.

Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is heavily favored to win her primary and go on to win a second term as governor in November. Six Democrats are vying for the chance to mount a long-shot challenge to Ivey in a race Cook Political Report rates as "Solid R."

Republicans hold six of the state's seven seats in the House of Representatives. None of the seven is considered competitive. The only open House primary for an incumbent party is being held in Alabama's 5th Congressional District, which Brooks currently represents. Polling conducted in February showed Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong with a commanding lead over the other five Republicans competing to replace Brooks.

Arkansas

There's no need to bite your nails over Arkansas' gubernatorial primaries. A poll conducted in May by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College showed Sarah Huckabee Sanders — a White House press secretary under Trump and the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) — in the lead with 72.5 percent of the vote. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones led his five primary opponents by a similarly comfortable margin.

Sanders is heavily favored to defeat Jones in November, replacing term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R).

Incumbent Sen. John Boozman (R) is expected to skate through his primary and on to win a third term. Republicans also control all four of Arkansas' seats in the House of Representatives. All four lean heavily Republican, and all four incumbents are seeking reelection.

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