The Unraveling of Trump and McCarthy’s Revenge Attempt…

No one has claimed victory in Tuesday’s most important race.

Virginia Republican Bob Good has been the target of millions of dollars’ worth of nasty advertising as he faces battle against a primary opponent supported by Trump, the former president. It wasn’t, however, a landslide victory that one might anticipate from a candidate facing opposition from practically every key member of his own party. The heated race in Virginia’s 5th District between rabble-rousing House Freedom Caucus head Good and state senator John McGuire was far closer than expected just hours after Tuesday’s polls closed, and a result might not be announced for days.

Several high-profile challenges to incumbents in Oklahoma and Virginia were unsuccessful, but a few battleground matchups were set in Virginia, paving the way for expensive races in the month to come.

The events of Tuesday’s hectic primaries are detailed below:

The incumbents remain formidable opponents.

Trump, a former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and a current member of Good’s own House Freedom Caucus were all part of the alliance formed to oppose Good. But that wasn’t enough to seal the deal; as of early Wednesday morning, McGuire was ahead by a hair, and the race was still too close to call.

The outcome was unexpected. With the big Trump endorsement and more financial backing, McGuire easily won. His problems show that the incumbent still has a lot of influence.

And if Good makes it out alive, he’ll be even more determined to utilize his position to support his colleagues’ main opponents and take over the Republican leadership’s legislative agenda when he returns to Congress.

Meanwhile, another sitting Republican easily defeated his opponent. Tom Cole, a longtime Republican from Oklahoma and leader of the House Appropriations Committee, handily defeated his self-funding opponent Paul Bondar in the reelection race, earning more than half of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff.

Cole, who has served for over 20 years and received Trump’s support, is anticipated to prevail in this deeply red district in the upcoming election, even though he was outspent and underfunded in the primary.

Challengers running to the right in safe red districts, like Bondar, have been struggling this cycle due to the fact that key GOP forces, including Trump at times, are banding together to stifle rabble-rousers who could cause further chaos in the caucus.

On the whole, a successful evening for the business

After losing Bondar, the GOP establishment kept winning by eliminating challengers who could have disrupted the status quo.

Derrick Anderson, a former Green Beret who campaigned unsuccessfully for the seat in the elections, prevailed in a heated GOP primary in Virginia’s 7th District, a battleground district where Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger is departing to run for governor next year. The establishment clearly preferred him: Speaker Mike Johnson endorsed him (among about twenty competitors who did so this year), and the Congressional Leadership Fund, which was allied with House GOP leadership, spent over $100,000 endorsing him in the primary.

At the same time, the Freedom Caucus supported his most visible opponent, Cameron Hamilton, a former Navy SEAL. He finished in second position.

In an effort to prevent a repeat of the poor candidate quality they saw in the midterms, national Republicans have been largely successful in focusing on battleground states, where candidates further to the right may face difficulties in the general election.

However, additional assessments are imminent, possibly as early as next week. This week, the Congressional Leadership Fund started investing in the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado, a district that leans Republican, in an effort to oust Republican Ron Hanks, who has a history of controversy and might make an otherwise uncontested seat competitive for Democrats. There has been an effort by national Democrats to support Hanks in his reelection bid, and the district is also being contested by Democrat Adam Frisch, who rose to prominence after nearly unseating Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in the midterms.

Hung Cao, who will face Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in Virginia this fall, received another endorsement from Trump, who has generally agreed with GOP leadership on the matter. (Despite some setbacks in the past few weeks, Trump’s endorsement record has been largely strong.) Trump has claimed that the state will have a competitive election in the autumn, despite Kaine’s early lead.

In the 3rd District of Georgia, a heavily Republican seat, Trump’s preferred candidate, Brian Jack, who was also his former aide, also won in the runoff. This practically ensures that Jack will become a Republican.

However, the night was enjoyable for more than just the Republican establishment.

In Virginia’s 2nd District, a leaning Republican seat that President Joe Biden won in 2020, veteran Missy Cotter Smasal, the preferred candidate of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, defeated Republican Rep. Jen Kiggans in the Democratic primary by an overwhelming margin. At the start of the general election, Kiggans had a substantial cash lead.

Additionally, state senator Suhas Subramanyam emerged victorious from a crowded field to take over Virginia’s 10th district, a blue seat now held by outgoing Democratic congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. Against Republican IT entrepreneur Mike Clancy in the upcoming fall election, he will undoubtedly be the favorite.

At the forefront is democracy.

Anderson will face former national security official and Trump-era whistleblower Eugene Vindman, who received the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 7th District and helped bring about the first impeachment of the former president.

One of the best fundraisers in the country, Vindman has captivated party donors, many of whom are from out of state, with his narrative of defending democracy in the Trump administration. This is unusual for a first-time candidate. He repeatedly said during his campaign that he had “sacrificed his military career” in order to challenge Trump.

Democrats, who have relied on democratic message since the Capitol riot more than three years ago and are questioning if it is still relevant, should take heart from Vindman’s victory and national popularity. Last week, Biden’s team utilized identical rhetoric to criticize Trump for the incident and accuse him of desiring to “burn” democracy to the ground.

Messages focusing on democracy were advanced by other Democratic candidates running farther down the ballot besides Vindman. Harry Dunn, a former Capitol Police Officer who became famous after testifying before the Jan. 6 select committee, was unsuccessful in his candidacy for the 3rd District of Maryland earlier this year. However, this is clearly a crucial message for Biden’s team, since they are utilizing Dunn as a surrogate while on the trail.

Out of six candidates—two women of color, former state delegate Elizabeth Guzmán and current state delegate Briana Sewell, as well as county supervisors Margaret Franklin and Andrea Bailey—Vindman received slightly less than half of the vote.

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