Voters head to the primary polls Tuesday as races near their final status ahead of November

Voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Vermont are deciding Tuesday on their general election matchups.

Updated: August 9, 2022 - 10:54pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Links

On Tuesday, voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont went to the polls to decide on one of the final sets of primary battles of the summer before the slate is set for the November elections. 

In Wisconsin, former President Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, are once again squaring off via separately backed candidates in the gubernatorial contest. Trump is backing businessman Tim Michels, while Pence and former Gov. Scott Walker have lined up behind former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The winner will go head to head with incumbent Gov. Tony Evers (D) in November. 

Trump has also targeted longtime state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for elimination after Vos refused to support the decertification of the 2020 election, despite supporting a Republican-led investigation into Wisconsin voting in 2020. 

In the state's third district, Republicans are eyeing a pickup in the seat being vacated by Rep. Ron Kind (D). Retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden, who attended the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally, has already raised $4.5 million, including from the Congressional Leadership Fund, and will face off in the fall against one of three Democrats looking to succeed Kind – Deb McGrath, Brad Pfaff and Rebecca Cook.

Incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) nominally faced a challenger in retired educator David Schroeder, though Schroeder did not release any fundraising numbers throughout the race. The Associated Press called the race for Johnson, who took 86.0% of the vote as of press time.

Johnson will likely compete in a tight race in November against Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, whose main rivals dropped out and endorsed him in recent days. Barnes has raised close to $7 million dollars during his campaign, a fraction of what is expected will be spent during the general election. Barnes won the primary contest with 81.2% of the vote.

A special election in Minnesota will determine the replacement for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R). Moderate former state Rep. Bran Finstad is running against food company executive Jeff Ettinger (D). Republicans are heavily favored to hold on to the seat in a district that went for Trump +9 in 2020. 

Minnesota's gubernatorial primary set the stage for a battle between incumbent Tim Walz (D) and Republican state Sen. Scott Jensen, a doctor who rose to prominence during the pandemic primarily due to his viral questioning of the COVID-19 vaccines. Jensen has also targeted Walz on issues including public safety and soaring inflation. The Republican won his primary with 91.5% of the vote while Walz cruised to victory with 96.3%.

Vermont may make history by sending its first female U.S. representative to the capital. The tiny state is the only one in the union that has not yet sent a woman to Congress. State Senate President Becca Balint, who earned Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I) endorsement, soundly defeated Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in a primary for a race that Democrats are heavily favored to win in the fall. The Associated Press called the race quickly, and Balint had 61.8% of the vote as of press time.

In Connecticut, state Sen. George Logan (R) is running uncontested in the state's 5th District. In the general, he will face Rep. Jahana Hayes, a "frontline" Democrat whose seat could plausibly be flipped. Republican Mike France, a current state representative and Navy veteran, is also running uncontested in a vulnerable Democratic district currently represented by Rep. Joe Courtney. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will get a challenger in a race he is favored to win. Trump on Thursday endorsed Leora Levy, who was nominated to be his administration's ambassador to Chile, though never confirmed by the Senate. Levy ran against Themis Klarides, who did not vote for Trump in the last election, and has brought in considerable funds from PACs headed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) Levy claimed victory with 50.3% when the Associated Press called the race.

Just the News Spotlight