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Key results from primaries in Kentucky, Georgia, Oregon and Idaho

Republican primary in Georgia's 3rd District heads to a runoff

Primaries in four states Tuesday settled intraparty challenges and set matchups for House races in November.
Primaries in four states Tuesday settled intraparty challenges and set matchups for House races in November. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Primaries in Kentucky, Georgia, Oregon and Idaho set matchups Tuesday for November House races and, with many districts heavily favoring one party, effectively chose the next member of Congress. Some races also featured fierce competition to run in races that will be on the November battleground, and one featured possible meddling by the opposing party to get a preferred challenger.

Here’s a rundown of the key results so far.

Georgia

Ex-Trump aide in runoff for open seat: Brian Jack, who served as White House political director under President Donald Trump, finished first in a five-candidate primary but did not clear the threshold to win the GOP nomination in the open 3rd District.

If no candidate in Georgia gets more than 50 percent in a primary, the top two finishers meet in a runoff, which this year will be on June 18. 

Jack, who had Trump’s endorsement, had 46.7 percent of the vote at 11:13 p.m. Tuesday, when the AP made the call that he would be in the runoff against state Sen. Mike Dugan. Dugan finished second with 25 percent. The race in November is rated Solid Republican — Trump beat Joe Biden here by 25 percentage points in 2020 — so the winner of the runoff will be a favorite to join the 119th Congress. Four-term incumbent Republican Rep. Drew Ferguson said in December he would not run again.

Kentucky

Massie renominated with ease: Rep. Thomas Massie, who recently was one of the leaders in the failed push by House conservatives to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., easily dispatched two GOP rivals in Kentucky’s 4th District.

At 7:11 p.m., when The Associated Press called the race, Massie had 75 percent of the vote. He beat two underfunded Republicans: retired attorney Eric Deters and Michael McGinnis. Two years ago, Massie faced three challengers and won with 75 percent of the vote.

Outside groups had waded into the race. United Democracy Project, which is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, spent $153,000 on an ad attacking Massie for voting against funding for Israel. The Protect Freedom PAC, which was founded by people who had worked with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spent $549,000 on ads and direct mail supporting Massie.

Democrats did not run a candidate in the primary.

Idaho

Simpson prevails: Rep. Mike Simpson easily won the nomination to a 14th term, defeating challengers Scott Cleveland and Sean Higgins in the 2nd District Republican primary.

Simpson, who chairs the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, had 57 percent of the vote at 12:10 a.m. Eastern, just after the AP called the race at 12:07 a.m.  

Simpson will face Democrat David Roth in a November race rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections.

Oregon

Bynum overcomes mystery PAC spending: Oregon Democrats overwhelmingly selected Janelle Bynum, a legislator from Clackamas County who was supported by many national party leaders, to take on Republican freshman Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer.

Bynum defeated progressive attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the party’s 2022 nominee, with 70 percent of the vote at 11:38 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday when the AP called the race. McLeod-Skinner narrowly lost to Chavez-DeRemer after defeating then-incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary.

The contest between Bynum and Chavez-DeRemer in a battleground district where Biden beat Trump by 9 percentage points in 2020 is expected to be among the nation’s most closely watched races. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up.

Outside money poured into the primary. A super PAC called 314 Action, which supports Democratic scientists running for office, spent $474,000 in support of Bynum, who has a degree in electrical engineering. Mainstream Democrats PAC, which is funded by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, spent more than $750,000 on ads backing Bynum and opposing McLeod-Skinner. 

Last week, a super PAC called Health Equity Now, which hasn’t disclosed its donors, although the AP reported it has ties to GOP operatives, dropped $550,000 into the race for ads highlighting McLeod-Skinner’s support for “Medicare for All,” a popular position among progressive voters. Bynum’s supporters said Republicans were trying to meddle because they saw McLeod-Skinner as the weaker candidate to run against Chavez-DeRemer in November. 

Chavez-Deremer, who had no primary opponent, approaches the general election with a huge cash advantage. She had $1.9 million in her campaign account on May 1, compared with Bynum’s $340,000.

Dexter wins 3rd District: Physician and state Rep. Maxine Dexter defeated six fellow Democrats, including the sister of Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, to win the party’s nomination for an open seat centered in Portland.

Dexter, who had  53.1 percent of the vote not long after 11:54 p.m. Eastern, when the AP called the race, will face Republican Joanna Harbour in November. But given the 3rd District’s Democratic dominance, she is favored to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

“I want to congratulate Representative Maxine Dexter for winning the Democratic primary for Oregon’s Third Congressional District. Maxine has proven herself to be a serious and effective legislator, I am confident she’ll take this success with her to Washington, D.C.,” Blumenauer said in a statement when the race was called.

The race was largely a contest between Dexter, Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales and former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s sister.

Super PACs flooded the primary with cash. Dexter has been the beneficiary of more than $2.2 million spent by 314 Action. Meanwhile, Voters for Responsive Government, a super PAC based in Los Angeles, spent more than $2.4 million targeting Jayapal. Much of that money was spent on TV ads blaming her for failing to deal with homelessness in Multnomah County.

DeSpain to face Hoyle: Republican Monique DeSpain, an attorney and retired Air Force colonel, will take on freshman Democratic Rep. Val Hoyle in Oregon’s 4th District, which Biden carried by 13 points in 2020.

DeSpain was running well ahead when the AP called the race at 1:13 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, defeating fellow Republican Amy Ryan Courser, a former Keizer City Councilor.

While the contest in the southern Willamette Valley is rated Likely Democratic by Inside Elections, Republicans in Washington, D.C., say Hoyle is vulnerable. They are raising allegations of wrongdoing from when she was the head of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and believe DeSpain will run a strong campaign.

Hoyle, who had no primary challenger, had $619,000 in her campaign account on May 1, while DeSpain had $69,000.

Salinas rematch set: Democratic Rep. Andrea Salinas will defend her 6th District seat in November against businessman Mike Erickson, the Republican she beat in 2022. Salinas defeated veteran Cody Reynolds in the Democratic primary, while Erickson beat three opponents for the Republican nomination. Two years ago, Salinas beat Erickson by 2.5 percentage points.

The race in November is rated Likely Democratic.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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