Five key takeaways: the US midterm elections

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA</span>
Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Blow to Donald Trump as a political kingmaker

Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, defeated former senator David Perdue, who had been endorsed by Donald Trump. Perdue’s loss marked a significant defeat for Trump’s reputation as a kingmaker in the Republican party, as the former president has used the power of his endorsement to wield influence over candidates and lawmakers.

Perdue’s defeat raises questions about the impact of Trump’s endorsement, particularly for candidates challenging incumbents. In November, Kemp will face off against the voting rights leader Stacey Abrams, who won the uncontested race for the Democratic nomination.

Key race for Georgia secretary of state signals defeat for ‘big lie’ candidate

Related: Brad Raffensperger defeats Trump’s effort to oust him as Georgia’s top election official

Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who attracted Trump’s ire for refusing to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, is projected to win the Republican primary for his position. Raffensperger is above 50% in his race against Trump-backed candidate Jody Hice, who has embraced the former president’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and is expected to avoid a runoff and advance to the November general election.

But Trump acolytes performed better in Arkansas and Texas

But Trump acolytes performed better in Arkansas and Texas. Trump’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Arkansas, meaning she will probably follow in her father’s footsteps to become governor. The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2020 election, also easily defeated land commissioner George P Bush in his runoff race. Bush’s loss will have long-lasting repercussions for a political dynasty that has produced two presidents and helped shape Texas for several decades.

Sarah Sanders appears on a Fox television news program.
Sarah Sanders appeared on track to become Arkansas governor after securing the Republican nomination. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Elementary school shooting casts pall over the night

A shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, cast a devastating shadow over Tuesday’s primaries. At least 19 children and two adults were killed when a gunman opened fire at Robb elementary school. Joe Biden expressed outrage over the tragedy, calling on Congress to pass stricter gun laws. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?” Biden said.

Lucy McBath, who is the Democratic winner in Georgia’s seventh congressional district, said she has been forced to deliver a very different victory speech than she had planned.

“Because just hours ago, we paid for the weapons of war on our streets again with the blood of little children sitting in our schools,” said the representative, who entered politics after her son was shot and killed in 2012. “We cannot be the only nation where one party sits on their hands as children are forced to cover their faces in fear. We are exhausted.”

Democratic races also hold interest

Congresswoman Lucy McBath defeated fellow House Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux to win the nomination in Georgia’s seventh congressional district. McBath currently represents the sixth congressional district, but she chose to run in the neighboring seventh district after Republican redistricting altered the state’s congressional map. McBath’s victory had particular resonance in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. Since her son’s death, McBath has staunchly advocated for stricter gun laws in honor of his legacy.

A winner has still not yet been called in the closely watched runoff race between Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros in Texas’s 28th congressional district, which pitted a longtime centrist incumbent against a progressive challenger. Progressive groups had rallied around Cisneros, attacking Cuellar over his opposition to abortion rights as the country prepares for the likely reversal of Roe v Wade. But organizations backing Cuellar had spent heavily to help the vulnerable incumbent, and he currently leads Cisneros.