Tuesday’s primaries feature a pair of controversial candidates — one an incumbent, the other a political newcomer — seeking congressional seats. Meanwhile, a midwestern House seat occupied by a longtime Democrat could be a candidate to be flipped.
Primaries are also being held in Connecticut and Vermont.
Here are three races to watch:
Democrat Ilhan Omar, a member of the House’s “Squad” of four women of color who won congressional seats in 2018, faces a tough challenge from attorney Antone Melton-Meaux in Minnesota’s 5th District.
Since taking office, Omar has clashed with President Donald Trump and been accused of using anti-Semitic rhetoric by saying Israel had “hypnotized the world” and questioning the allegiance of U.S. lawmakers who are supportive of Israel.
Melton-Meaux is trying to use Omar’s celebrity against her, and he has the support of pro-Israel donors and other outside groups. As a result, Melton-Meaux has spent nearly $2.1 million on television ads, compared to $875,000 by Omar, according to the media tracking firm Advertising Analytics.
Meanwhile, progressive groups that helped Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), also a member of the “Squad,” win her primary last week have not shown Omar nearly the same level of support.
Since businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene finished first in the Republican primary for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District in June, videos have surfaced of her making racist, Islamaphobic and anti-Semitic comments. She said Black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party,” the U.S. government is experiencing an “Islamic invasion,” and George Soros, a Democratic megadonor who is Jewish, turned Jews over to the Nazis, a conspiracy theory that has been proven false. She’s also embraced the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory that there is a secret “deep state” plot to bring down Trump.
Greene faces neurosurgeon John Cowan in a primary runoff for the open seat in the bright red district in the northwestern part of the state. Greene received 41% of the vote compared to Cowan's 19%, but she did not secure the majority needed to avoid the runoff.
Cowan has said a Greene victory would be an embarrassment for the Republican Party and hurt other GOP candidates in the states.
“I want to protect the Republican Party,” Cowan told Politico. “She is the antithesis of the Republican Party. And she is not conservative — she’s crazy."
“She deserves a YouTube channel, not a seat in Congress," Cowan added. "She’s a circus act.”
Greene has accused Cowan of not being a true conservative.
Both, however, are staunch Trump supporters who oppose abortion, want to protect gun rights and support the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Democratic Rep. Ron Kind has represented Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District since 1997, winning re-election easily in recent campaigns. This time, however, things are trickier after he voted to impeach the president in a district Trump won in 2016.
Kind has cautiously tried to explain his impeachment vote by emphasizing it was not about partisan politics. “I’m the only member of Congress who has voted to open impeachment inquiries against Presidents Clinton and Trump, a Democrat and a Republican,” he wrote in the LaCrosse Tribune.
The 12-term congressman faces Mark Neumann, a former missionary and pediatrician, in the Democratic primary. If Kind survives that challenge, his Trump vote is sure to become a bigger topic in the general election, when he’ll face the winner of the GOP primary between Navy SEAL-turned-actor Derrick Van Orden and public relations veteran Jessi Ebben.