Politics

A Good Night for Abortion Rights

And for (some) establishment Republicans.

A crowd of Kansans cheer as a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have gutted abortion rights fails at the polls.
Kansans cheer as a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have gutted abortion rights fails at the polls. DAVE KAUP/Getty Images

The 2022 primary season is winding down after a mere 800 months of laughs, tears, and poison. On Tuesday, Michigan, Kansas, Arizona, Washington, and Missouri held theirs, with nominations for some of the most critical races in the country—along with a bunch of races no one cares about—on the line. Here’s what we know.

The biggest news of the night comes in Kansas. A state referendum to remove Kansas’ constitutional abortion rights, and thus clear the way for the very Republican state legislature to impose a ban, failed. It’s the first statewide referendum on abortion since the Dobbs decision in June, and a majority of this comfortably red state voted to protect abortion rights. Turnout was high. Republicans who convinced themselves that overturning Roe v Wade wouldn’t activate otherwise disengaged Democrats ahead of the midterms will now be rethinking that. 

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the Republican Senate primary to a collective sigh of relief from party leaders. Republicans’ worst fear—the nomination of disgraced ex-Gov. Eric Greitens—was averted, making the race a likely comfortable Republican hold in November. This may be a disappointing result for Donald Trump, who on Monday endorsed “ERIC”: of the three candidates named “Eric” in the race, only one won.

In Michigan, at least Republicans can be happy that it’s over. Conservative media personality Tudor Dixon, known internationally for her portrayal of Sheila Wolf in 2009’s Buddy BeBop vs. the Living Dead, won the Republican gubernatorial nomination after all the good candidates were tossed off the ballot. She’ll face Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November in a race that Dixon can totally win! … but forecasters give Whitmer the early advantage.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The Democratic primary in the state’s Detroit-area 11th District between two incumbents—progressive Michigan scion Andy Levin and the more moderate Haley Stevens—garnered a lot of attention for AIPAC’s multimillion-dollar campaign against Levin. (The group did not like that Levin, son of one the most prominent Jewish political dynasties in America, had endorsed a two-state solution in Israel.) Well GUESS WHAT, AIPAC? Your little “intervention”… well, it worked. Stevens won. The Levins are out of Congress for the first time in 50-plus years.

Advertisement

Also in Michigan, Rep. Peter Meijer—who moved to a top spot on Trump’s revenge list after voting to impeach the former president following the mob violence Trump inspired on Jan. 6—looked for much of the evening like he might overcome the odds and hold onto his seat against the Trump-endorsed John Gibbs. Ultimately, he did not, though, and the number of House Republicans who stood up to Trump and are going to stay in Congress continued to shrink to less than a handful. (Through the quirks of Washington’s top-two primary system, Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler—who also voted for the impeachment—did advance to a general election where they will likely be favored.)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

In Arizona, meanwhile, Trump-endorsed candidates ran strong. In the GOP Senate primary, Trump’s pick Blake Masters appeared to be in good shape to defeat Jim Lamon and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Masters seems poised to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the general election. Meanwhile in the governor’s race, the Trump-pick Kari Lake trailed Karrin Taylor Robson by more than 7 points as of 11 p.m. Pacific Time, but with lots of pro-Lake Election Day ballots left to count. As the New York Times reported, Robson buried the election denier Lake with $18 million in largely self-funded advertising. If Robson holds on, her race against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who easily won the Democratic primary, could quickly become one of the more expensive gubernatorial races in the country. (Update, Aug. 3 9:20 a.m.: By Wednesday morning, Lake had taken the lead on the strength of those Election Day returns.) In one final win for Trump, though, state Rep. Mark Finchem—a genuine member of the Jan. 6 mob—appeared to claim the Republican nomination to replace Hobbs in the critical election management position of secretary of state and appeared set to face former Maricopa County Recorder, Adrian Fontes, who led his primary contest with state Rep. Reginald Bolding.

Advertisement