Voters headed to the polls in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware, on the final primary night of the 2022 midterm season — another test of the far right’s influence over the GOP.
The Republican contest for Senate in New Hampshire remained a tight race early Wednesday, while Rhode Island’s governor narrowly won his Democratic primary.
In Delaware, an embattled state auditor was defeated by a political newcomer in a Democratic primary contest.
Here are some key takeaways:
New Hampshire primary results
The Senate Republican primary race in New Hampshire remained close between conservative Donald Bolduc and the more moderate Chuck Morse.
Republicans see Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire as beatable in the general election, now just eight weeks away. But a strong competitor in the GOP contest is Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general who some in the party believe is too far to the right for some swing voters in the general election. Morse, the president of the state Senate, has been backed by the Republican establishment.
New Hampshire's Senate seat could prove pivotal for whichever party controls the chamber after November. President Joe Biden carried the state by more than 7 percentage points and Bolduc has campaigned on a platform that includes lies that Donald Trump won the 2020 election and conspiracy theories about vaccines.
Hassan clinched her party’s nomination against only token opposition while Gov. Chris Sununu won the Republican party's nomination for another term. He's heavily favored against Democrat Tom Sherman, who was unopposed for his party's governor's nomination.
Sherman, a state senator and physician, was quick to remind voters that Sununu signed a late-term abortion ban into law last year.
"As governor I will stand up for our freedoms and protect a woman’s right to choose, not cave to extremists like Chris Sununu," he said.
Sununu countered in a statement that the "stakes are too high this November to change direction now."
Still, a Bolduc victory might reignite disappointment among some national Republicans that Sununu, a relatively popular moderate who likely could have posed more of a threat to Hassan, chose instead to run for reelection. The GOP is grappling with the possibility of again nominating a candidate who is popular with the party's base but struggles to broaden support ahead of the November general election.
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Rhode Island primary results
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee eked out a victory in his Democratic primary on Tuesday, beating back strong challenges from a pair of opponents as he seeks his first full term in office.
McKee, the former lieutenant governor who became the state’s chief executive a year and a half ago when two-term Gov. Gina Raimondo was tapped as U.S. commerce secretary, will be the heavy favorite in the liberal state in November against Republican Ashley Kalus, a business owner and political novice.
McKee edged out former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, who saw a late surge in the polls and won a last-minute endorsement from The Boston Globe’s editorial board. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who was seeking to become the first Latina governor in New England, finished a close third.
"I'm proud to be here," the 71-year-old governor said in his victory speech. "Because Rhode Island is positioned in a way where we've never had this momentum before and we're going to take full advantage of it."
In an awkward moment, a phone was handed toward McKee during the speech. When he was told it was Foulkes, McKee said, "No, that's not going to happen." As the crowd chanted "four more years," McKee said, "Hang up on them, hang up on them."
Foulkes told her supporters she was unhappy McKee wouldn't answer her call.
In another top race on Tuesday, voters were choosing nominees in the 2nd Congressional District for the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, who is retiring after more than 20 years representing the district. Langevin was the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress.
State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who was endorsed by Langevin, won the crowded Democratic primary. Republican Allan Fung, the former mayor of Cranston, was unopposed in his bid for the Republican nomination. National Republican leaders think this is their best chance to flip the seat in more than three decades. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy visited Rhode Island in August to raise money for Fung.
Magaziner had been running for governor but switched races after Langevin’s announcement to try to keep the seat in Democratic control. Magaziner told supporters Tuesday night that the election is about values and preserving democracy for the next generation.
In the 1st Congressional District, Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline will face Republican Allen Waters in November. Both were unopposed Tuesday. Cicilline is seeking his seventh term.
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Delaware primary results
Embattled Delaware state auditor Kathy McGuiness, who is awaiting sentencing on criminal charges, was defeated by political newcomer Lydia York in a Democratic primary contest.
York is an attorney who had been endorsed by the state Democratic party. York will now face Republican Janice Lorrah, also a political newcomer, in November. York was one of three Delaware Democratic presidential electors in 2016.
She both outraised and outspent McGuiness in the campaign.
McGuiness is the first statewide elected official in Delaware to be convicted of criminal charges while in office, which stem from the hiring of McGuiness’s daughter in her office.