While Nevada is hosting high-profile races for US Senate, governor and other statewide offices, key House primaries are worth watching in the Silver State on Tuesday. Democrats currently hold three of the state’s four House seats, but with midterm winds blowing in their favor, Republicans have a shot at winning all four districts in November.
In South Carolina, attention has centered on two House primaries where Donald Trump has endorsed challengers to GOP incumbents who have drawn the former President’s wrath — Rep. Tom Rice, who was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment last year, and Rep. Nancy Mace, who has criticized Trump over his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. The other House incumbents are either running unopposed or expected to win their primaries.
In Maine, sophomore Democratic Rep. Jared Golden once again faces a competitive fall election in the 2nd Congressional District, likely against his predecessor, former GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree is unopposed in her primary and not expected to have much trouble winning an eighth term in the deep blue 1st District.
In North Dakota, GOP Rep. Kelly Armstrong is uncontested in his primary for the at-large seat and is a favorite for a third term in the red state.
And in Texas’ 34th Congressional District, four candidates are running in the special election for the seat former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela vacated in March to join a law and lobbying firm in Washington, DC. Republicans are hoping to build on recent gains in South Texas and flip this seat.
While North Dakota continues to have one at-large district, the elections in Nevada, South Carolina and Maine are being held under new congressional maps following redistricting after the 2020 census. Democrats controlled the redistricting process in Nevada, while Republicans drew the map in South Carolina. Maine’s new map was courtesy of the state’s redistricting advisory commission and enacted with bipartisan support. The special election in Texas is taking place under the lines used over the past decade, with the winner serving until January.
Here’s a look at the House primaries we’re watching Tuesday:
Nevada’s 1st District
Democratic Rep. Dina Titus saw her Las Vegas-area district become more Republican in redistricting as state Democrats tried to shore up more vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the neighboring 3rd and 4th Districts. While now-President Joe Biden carried the 1st District under its current lines by 25 points, he would have won the redrawn seat by 9 points. Titus faces a primary challenge from progressive Amy Vilela, a former state co-chair for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign who ran for the 4th District in 2018. On the GOP side, former Trump campaign aide Carolina Serrano is the fundraising leader and has the official endorsement of the Nevada GOP and the backing of the No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik. Other Republicans in the race include Mark Robertson, a retired colonel in the Army Reserves; David Brog, former executive director of Christians United for Israel; and former US Rep. Cresent Hardy, who represented the 4th District for a term before losing in 2016. Given the current political environment and the new district lines, Democrats could be facing a fight for this seat for the first time in two decades.
Nevada’s 2nd District
This northern Nevada district remains the only solidly Republican one in the state. The GOP has held the seat since its creation after the 1980 census. Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, who is running for a sixth full term, faces several primary challengers, the most prominent of whom is Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian. The son of the legendary late University of Nevada Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, he has made multiple bids for state and federal office before. He lost races for the 4th District in 2012 and for the 3rd District in 2016 and 2018. The GOP nominee will be heavily favored in the general election for a seat Trump would have carried by 11 points in 2020.
Nevada 3rd District
Democratic Rep. Susie Lee was a big beneficiary from redistricting after her suburban Las Vegas seat was made significantly bluer. While Biden carried it by under half a point in 2020, he would have won the redrawn version by about 7 points. But the headwinds facing Democrats give Republicans a chance at flipping a seat that has swung between the parties since its creation in 2002. The front-runner for the GOP nomination is attorney April Becker, who was recently named to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program for promising recruits. She has led the GOP field in fundraising and has the endorsement of the Nevada GOP, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Stefanik and other high-profile Republicans.
Nevada’s 4th District
Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford is unopposed in his bid for a fourth term. He also saw his seat become more Democratic in redistricting, with Biden’s margin doubling from 4 points to 8 points under the new lines. Still, Republicans are targeting the central Nevada district and could benefit from the more favorable political climate. Air Force veteran Sam Peters is running again after finishing second in the 2020 GOP primary. Peters is the fundraising leader in the GOP primary, which also includes state Assemblywoman Annie Black. Black was in Washington, DC, for the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021, but she says that while she had marched to the Capitol, once people broke through the barricades, she “moved away and back toward the Supreme Court” and watched from a distance.
South Carolina’s 1st District
Freshman Republican Rep. Nancy Mace — who flipped the seat in 2020, defeating Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham — is facing a primary challenge from former state Rep. Katie Arrington, who worked in the Defense Department under Trump and has the former President’s endorsement. While Mace did note vote to impeach Trump, she has drawn his ire for her criticism of him. This is Arrington’s second run for the coastal Charleston-area seat. In 2018, she ousted GOP Rep. Mark Sanford in the primary but lost to Cunningham in the general election. Mace has the backing of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as UN ambassador in the Trump administration. The congresswoman has outraised Arrington, though the challenger has loaned her campaign $525,000. The GOP winner will face pediatrician Annie Andrews, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the fall. Republicans are favored to hold the seat, especially after it became redder in redistricting — Trump would have carried the district by 9 points in 2020.
South Carolina’s 7th District
Five-term GOP incumbent Tom Rice, who was censured
by the state Republican Party for his vote to impeach Trump, faces a crowded field of primary challengers for his northeast South Carolina district, including Trump-endorsed state Rep. Russell Fry. On the campaign trail, Fry has attacked Rice for his impeachment vote, accusing the congressman in a campaign ad
of “turning his back on all of us.” Rice is the fundraising leader in the seven-candidate GOP field, which also includes Horry County school board member Ken Richardson, physician Garrett Barton and former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride. If no one takes more than 50% of the vote Tuesday, the top two finishers will advance to a June 28 primary runoff. The GOP nominee will be the heavy favorite in November in a district that would have backed Trump by 19 points in 2020.
Maine’s 2nd District
Democratic Rep. Jared Golden could face his predecessor this fall, with Republican Bruce Poliquin seeking a comeback and expected to win his primary Tuesday for this largely rural district, which covers much of the state outside the Portland area. Golden, a Marine veteran who is unopposed in his primary, has posted a moderate voting record in Congress, which is no surprise considering his district twice voted for Trump. Under the new lines, the former President would have carried the seat by 6 points in 2020. Golden narrowly beat Poliquin in 2018 under the state’s newly introduced ranked-choice voting system. Poliquin finished just ahead of Golden in the first round, but the Democrat ended up winning after the votes of the other candidates were redistributed. Poliquin said at the time
that he was the winner of “the constitutional ‘one person, one vote’ first choice election” since he led after the initial tally, but he lost a legal challenge to the ranked-choice voting law.
Texas 34th District special election
Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela’s resignation in March triggered this special election in South Texas for the remainder of his term, with the winner serving through January. The election features four candidates — two Democrats and two Republicans — running on the same ballot. The race will head to a runoff if no one gets more than 50% of the vote Tuesday. The parties have consolidated their support around two candidates, Republican Mayra Flores and Democrat Dan Sanchez. Flores won the GOP nomination in March for the regular election in November. While that election will take place under new district lines, the special election will be held under the boundaries used over the past decade — which are more favorable to Republicans. Biden carried the seat by 4 points in 2020, but he would have won the redrawn version by about 16 points. Flores has benefited from outside spending
as the GOP senses an opportunity for a momentum-boosting seat flip. Sanchez, a former Cameron County commissioner, has the backing of Vela and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who is the Democratic nominee for the redrawn district in November.
CNN’s Ethan Cohen and Melissa Holzberg DePalo contributed to this report.