Midterms: Takeaways from Tuesday's US Primary

By James Oliphant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fight for abortion rights and the influence of former President Donald Trump loomed large as voters in several states went to the polls on Tuesday. Here are some takeaways from the latest 2022 midterm primary election:

BATTLE LINES AGAINST ABORTION DRAWN IN MICHIGAN

In the Michigan gubernatorial race, there will be no middle ground when it comes to abortion rights.

Tudor Dixon, a political unknown who received a last-minute endorsement from former President Donald Trump, left the Republican caucus on Tuesday to face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the November general election.

Whitmer has made the US Supreme Court’s overturning of the constitutional protection of abortion a centerpiece of her re-election campaign. Dixon supports a near-total ban on abortion, even for child victims of rape and incest, with the sole exception of cases where the mother’s life is at risk.

A legal battle is raging in the state over enforcement of a 1931 abortion ban. At the same time, abortion rights supporters are seeking to place a measure on the November ballot that would legalize abortion in the state.

With the election just three months away, veteran Republican pollster Steve Mitchell said Dixon has plenty of time to competitively challenge Whitmer and should see a strong flow of campaign funds from out of state.

Dixon is a former steel industry businesswoman who portrays herself as a “conservative mother” of four who opposed COVID-19 school closures. Mitchell said she could appeal to like-minded parents and draw a stark contrast to Whitmer, who often speaks about her own role as a mother of daughters and has also faced criticism over her coronavirus lockdown orders.

“It’s going to be a fascinating race,” Mitchell said. “In my opinion, none of the men (in the Republican field) could have beaten Whitmer.”

ERIC VS. Eric

One Eric won the Republican primary for the US Senate in Missouri and another Eric lost. When it came to national Republicans, Eric’s right prevailed.

Eric Schmitt, the state attorney general, defeated former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, whose campaign was marred by allegations of abuse by his ex-wife.

Pre-primary polls showed that if Greitens were to win the nomination, he could struggle in a November matchup against the Democratic nominee and perhaps jeopardize a Senate seat Republicans can’t afford to lose if they want to take control of the Senate. the camera. A Republican-affiliated group launched a television campaign to derail Greitens’ chances.

None of that deterred Trump from taking the unusual tactic Monday of endorsing “ERIC” without specifying which one, prompting both candidates to claim Trump’s support and giving Greitens a lifeline.

Schmitt is now expected to win the seat handily this fall, sparing the party from having to divert resources to Missouri that it had earmarked for other Senate races.

Republicans need a net gain of one seat to take control of the chamber.

(Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Osterman)

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