2022 Primary Preview: May 24

Key races in the Texas runoff, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas

May 24: Georgia, Texas runoff, Alabama, Arkansas

Georgia

GA-Sen: Since propelling Georgia Democrats to a miraculous set of run-off victories in January 2021, Sen. Raphael Warnock has stood out for his moral clarity. His campaign for a full term this year will be one of the most important Senate races nationally. Warnock will likely face former NFL star running back Herschel Walker, a Trump darling with a history of domestic abuse.

GA-Gov: Former State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams rose to national prominence with her near-win in the 2018 gubernatorial race, which laid the groundwork for voter registration and mobilization work that has transformed Georgia into a swing state. Abrams has a strong environmental justice and climate policy track record. In her second attempt, Abrams will either face incumbent governor Brian Kemp, who ransacked voting rights but nevertheless was deemed insufficiently complicit in the Big Lie by Trump, or former Sen. David Perdue, a pandemic profiteer who has Trump’s backing.

Green New Dealer Vincent Fort, challenging Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13)

GA-13: House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott vs. Vincent Fort vs. Mark Baker. When he was first elected to Congress in 2002, Rep. David Scott ran with the support of his brother-in-law, the late Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron. Today, the Atlanta Braves play at Truist Park, one of the US’ many “stadium banks” named for a megabank that controls one-third of the deposits in Atlanta. Truist is the result of the financial consolidation that Elizabeth Warren and many congressional Democrats warned would come from a 2018 law rolling back Dodd-Frank. Scott supported that bill, one of many instances that he has sided with Wall Street and predatory lenders through more than 45 years in elected office. He’s also very friendly with the fossil fuel industry, having begged for Keystone XL approval as recently as March, voted to block Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and taken money from the Koch brothers. (Unlike other congressional recipients of Koch cash, Scott has not yet forsworn Koch Industries’ support following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.) Scott has carried Koch-backed legislation in the past, and also helped other agribusiness donors, as when he voted to weaken pesticide regulations. It’s all a very bad combination for someone who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, an important position with oversight over both climate and finance.

Scott faces a primary challenge from former state senator and GND champ Vincent Fort and South Fulton City Councilmember Mark Baker, and if he fails to get 50% of the vote (as nearly occurred in 2020), the top-two finishers will head to a June 21 runoff.

Rep. Lucy McBath, one of the candidates for Georgia’s Seventh District

GA-07: Rep. Lucy McBath vs. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux vs. Donna McLeod: Georgia Republicans sought to eliminate one of the incumbent House Democrats who had picked up swing districts in the Atlanta suburbs during the Trump years—and (surprise!) they chose Rep. Lucy McBath, a Black woman who fought valiantly for gun safety after she lost her son to gun violence. As a result, McBath and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux are running against each other. Bourdeaux currently represents a larger portion of the district, but the district also consists of a majority of Black voters, and Bourdeaux seems to have miscalculated by joining the “Unbreakable Nine” and obstructing Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. McBath is now polling ahead of Bourdeaux. McBath is also one of several House Democrats receiving significant support from cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. State Rep. Donna McLeod is running as well, and so this race will likely continue to the June 21 runoff.

Texas runoff

Jessica Cisneros, challenging Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28)

TX-28: May 24 is the date of the runoffs from the initial round of primaries in Texas, which were discussed in greater detail in this post. The main headlines will come out of TX-28 in Laredo, where Rep. Henry Cuellar, an Unbreakable Nine member and “Big Oil’s Favorite Democrat,” will try to maintain the 800-vote lead he held in the first round over Jessica Cisneros, who is endorsed by the Sunrise Movement and many other climate organizations. Cisneros hopes to win the thousands of “Not Cuellar” votes from the candidate who placed third on March 1. Cuellar’s lawyer claims he is not the target of the January FBI raid on his home, which reportedly has to do with his ties to Azerbaijani oil money.

TX-30: Another election to watch will be in the Dallas-based TX-30, where state representative Jasmine Crockett, supported by the Congressional Progressive Caucus but also by crypto interests, nearly avoided a runoff against Jane Hope Hamilton.

Attorney General: Based on the results from March 1, indicted incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton seems likely to defeat Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the Republican primary, while reproductive rights lawyer Rochelle Garza is favored over former Galveston Mayor Joe Jowarski on the Democratic side.

Railroad Commissioner: Democrat Luke Warford has called the Railroad Commissioner race “the most important climate election in the country.” In the general election, Warford will face the winner of the runoff between incumbent Chair Wayne Christian, who almost won the first round outright and exemplifies the pay to play politics of Texas’ oil and gas regulator, and industry attorney Sarah Stogner, a “flashy” candidate who shares some of Warford’s critiques.

Alabama

AL-Sen: Republican Senator Richard Shelby, a former Democrat and sporadic populist turned banking “mafia” don, is retiring, leaving this seat open, where Republicans are heavily favored. The main contenders in the Republican primary are “Black Hawk Down” helicopter pilot Mike Durant, a former Shelby staffer named Katie Britt, and Rep. Mo Brooks, a top target of inquiries into the January 6 insurrection who recently lost Trump’s endorsement. Since the US Supreme Court seems primed to side with Alabama Republicans in denying Black voters additional congressional representation, there are no other noteworthy federal races here.

AL-Gov: Incumbent governor Kay Ivey faces a number of primary challengers, but holds a lead in polls. “The eventual Democratic gubernatorial nominee will face less of an uphill climb in November than a 90-degree ascent up an ice wall.”

Arkansas

AR-Gov: Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary who helped Trump spread his climate lies, has the Republican primary to herself and will almost certainly win the general election for governor.

AR-Sen: Republican Senator John Boozman is running for re-election, and seems on track to beat a field of little-known primary and general election opponents.

AR-02: For the last decade, Democrats have made attempts to win at least one seat in the Arkansas congressional delegation by targeting Republican Rep. French Hill, whose district is home to the only Dem vote sink in the state, Little Rock and surrounding Pulaski County. Arkansas Republicans took care of that problem in redistricting, making Hill’s seat safer by splitting up Pulaski County, so there are unlikely to be any competitive congressional elections in Arkansas for a while.

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