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United States Presidential Election

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Donald Trump hopes to avoid embarrassment in the Georgia governor’s race on Tuesday as Republican primary voters decide the fate of his hand-picked candidate to lead one of the nation’s chief political battlegrounds. In all, five states are voting: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas and Minnesota. But no state has been more consumed by Trump and his unrelenting lie that the 2020 election was stolen than Georgia. Trump recruited former Sen. David Perdue to take on incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, who drew Trump’s ire for pushing back against his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. On the eve of the primary, Perdue’s allies were bracing for a lopsided defeat.

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger drew the wrath of former President Donald Trump when he refused to try to overturn Trump's loss to Democratic challenger Joe Biden in 2020. Now, the Republican incumbent is facing a tough primary challenge. He has three opponents in Tuesday's race, including Trump-endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice. On the Democratic side, five candidates are fighting for their party’s nomination. All of them have championed voting rights and criticized a sweeping election law passed by Republicans in the General Assembly in 2021. The law shortened the period to request an absentee ballot and added an ID requirement, among other things.

Tuesday’s election in Georgia marks the biggest test yet of new voting restrictions enacted by Republicans in one of the nation’s most important battleground states as voters decide hotly contested primary races for governor and the U.S. Senate. Election officials, poll workers and voters are navigating new rules put in place by the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican governor after the 2020 presidential election. They added restrictions to mail voting, limited drop boxes and changed rules that could make it harder for voters who run into problems on Election Day to have their ballots counted. Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas are holding regular primaries. Texas has runoffs and Minnesota has a special election.

Republican voters in Alabama will decide nominees in four statewide races after campaigns in which many of the candidates touted their devotion to faith, former President Donald Trump and guns. Four GOP candidates are on the primary ballot to succeed Republican incumbent John Merrill as Alabama’s top elections officer, secretary of state. A runoff is possible, and the eventual winner faces Democratic opposition in the fall. The ballot also includes statewide races for attorney general, state auditor and an Alabama Supreme Court seat. Voters also will decide a constitutional amendment to fund work on state parks and historical sites.

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Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday’s primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is testing Republican voters’ tolerance for controversy in her primary. In Alabama, three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. In two Texas runoffs, Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to hold off Land Commissioner George P. Bush, while congressman Henry Cuellar is facing a progressive challenger.

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South Carolina U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace met two GOP challengers on the debate stage Monday night, with one of them immediately departing the race to endorse the other. Lynz Piper-Loomis answered her opening question by saying she would be backing Katie Arrington, then leaving the stage. The matchup in Charleston is planned to be the only debate for Mace and Arrington ahead of the June 14 primary. To this point, the race has largely shaped up as a contest between the freshman congresswoman and Arrington, a former Defense Department cybersecurity expert who is making her second run for the seat. Arrington has Trump's official endorsement. The winner will go on to face Democratic nominee Dr. Annie Andrews in November.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence has made an in-person push for Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. Pence rallied with Kemp in suburban Atlanta on Monday evening on the eve of gubernatorial and other primaries in the state. Pence’s old boss, former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, held a telephone rally Monday evening to champion Kemp's main rival, U.S. Sen. David Perdue. More than 850,000 people have already voted early in the Republican and Democratic primaries. Pence is the latest Republican to rally to Kemp’s side. The Republican Governors Association also ran an expensive effort to defend Kemp.

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A one-time U.S. House hopeful in Tennessee who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, then booted off the ballot by state GOP officials, is now advising another candidate on national security. Candidate Kurt Winstead's team announced Monday that Morgan Ortagus has joined his campaign's eight-member National Security Advisory Committee. Winstead is a retired Tennessee National Guard brigadier general. He's one of nine Republican candidates in the redrawn 5th District, which carves through Nashville. Ortagus was a U.S. State Department spokesperson under Trump, who had endorsed her campaign. A state party challenge over her voting record ended her GOP campaign. Former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles are also seeking the seat.

Republicans in the Pennsylvania Legislature are extending their inquiry into the state’s 2020 presidential election inspired by former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. The contract is to last another six months, through Nov. 18, under an extension signed last week. The original no-bid contract, including an addendum, was worth $485,115 and expired last week. The extension has no dollar figure attached to it. Senate Republican officials say the contractor hasn't billed for the contract’s full value while Republicans fight in court to get access to voting machines and certain information about voters and voting systems. Republicans have yet to report any findings.

Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday’s primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is testing Republican voters’ tolerance for controversy in her primary. In Alabama, three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. In two Texas runoffs, Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to hold off Land Commissioner George P. Bush, while congressman Henry Cuellar is facing a progressive challenger.

Wisconsin Republicans have rejected calls to rescind the state’s Electoral College votes cast for President Joe Biden and to remove Robin Vos as speaker of the state Assembly. Delegates at the state party’s annual convention outside of Madison on Saturday rejected those two resolutions, while adopting nearly four dozen others that include calling for every ballot in the state to be cast on paper and hand-counted on Election Day. The resolutions become a part of the party’s platform but are nonbinding. Nearly all of the measures would require law changes to take effect.

The campaigns for U.S. Senate and governor have gotten the most attention leading up to Tuesday’s primary in Alabama. But other contested races are on the ballot. Four Republicans and one Democrat are on the primary ballot to succeed GOP incumbent John Merrill as Alabama’s top elections officer, secretary of state. A runoff is possible on the Republican side. The ballot also includes statewide races for attorney general, state auditor and an Alabama Supreme Court seat. Voters also will decide a constitutional amendment to fund work on state parks and historical sites.

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Wisconsin Republicans have voted not to endorse anyone for governor ahead of the GOP primary in August, after many activists rose up against the move. The Republican endorsement has been highly sought after because it unlocks funding from the state party. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch got the most votes at 55%, just short of the 60% needed for an endorsement. Now the Republican candidates for governor will fight it out without any official backing from the party. The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will advance to face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

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Two Republican frontrunners are hoping to clinch primary victories in Georgia. Candidates in the state are making their final pitches to Georgia voters ahead of Tuesday’s election. Gov. Brian Kemp and former football star Herschel Walker hope to win GOP majorities and clinch nominations for governor and U.S. senator on Tuesday without runoffs. Kemp spoke to voters at a rally with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts showing up to support him. Walker was scheduled to rally later Saturday in Columbus. For Kemp, an outright win would be vindication after months of attacks from former President Donald Trump.

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Massachusetts Republicans gathered in Springfield Saturday ahead of the fall elections to hear from candidates and GOP leaders as they hope to rebuild a party that has lost nearly all of the levers of political power in the state. The top job for Republicans is hanging on to the governor’s office. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who has remained popular with voters, has decided not to seek a third term. Candidates needed the support of at least 15% of the delegates to get on the primary ballot. Former state representative Geoff Diehl got 71% while Wrentham business owner Chris Doughty got 29%.

Rudy Giuliani, who as a lawyer for then-President Donald Trump pushed bogus legal challenges to the 2020 election, met for hours with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. That's according to a person familiar with the interview. The interview with Giuliani took place virtually and much of the day on Friday. Giuliani is seen as a critical aide for the committee, which has interviewed nearly 1,000 witnesses, including family members of Trump and advisers in his inner circle. The panel plans a series of hearings in June. CNN first reported the interview.

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Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for an open U.S. Senate seat is too close to call and is likely headed for a statewide recount to decide the winner of the contest between heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. A recount would mean that the outcome of the race might not be known until June 8, the deadline for counties to report their results to the state. The race is close enough to trigger Pennsylvania’s automatic recount law, with the separation between the candidates inside the law’s 0.5% margin. The Associated Press will not declare a winner in the race until the likely recount is complete.

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Newly discovered emails show that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was more deeply involved in baseless efforts to overturn the 2020 election than previously known. The conservative political activist urged Republican lawmakers in Arizona after the election to choose their own slate of electors. She argued that results giving Joe Biden a victory in the state were marred by fraud. The revelations were first published by The Washington Post on Friday, and The Associated Press subsequently obtained her emails to the lawmakers showing her efforts to keep then-President Donald Trump in office. Thomas urged them to choose “a clean slate of Electors” and “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.”

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Prosecutors in a western Colorado county say they found no evidence of tampering in the 2020 presidential election as alleged by a clerk who has become a prominent voice among those promoting former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. The Mesa County District Attorney’s Office presented findings to county commissioners Thursday after investigating claims by Clerk Tina Peters, who is under indictment on accusations of providing unauthorized access to county voting equipment, a breach that led to a release of sensitive information. Peters is running for the Republican nomination to become the state’s chief election official. District Attorney Daniel P. Rubinstein used video from inside the clerk’s office during the elections to refute Peters' claims.

Drama is not on the agenda for Minnesota Democrats, who open their state convention in Rochester. The 1,200 delegates at the convention that starts Friday will endorse Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon and State Auditor Julie Blaha for reelection. They’re all running unopposed for the party’s backing. So the convention will be mostly a pep rally to fire up activists, and a campaign training session to help overcome the headwinds the party is facing. The gathering is likely to contrast with last weekend’s wild Republican state convention, when it took delegates nine ballots to endorse Scott Jensen for governor.

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Wisconsin Republicans gathering for the state convention this weekend will vote on setting the party’s priorities for the next year, including resolutions calling for all ballots to be hand-counted on Election Day, imposing the death penalty for people who kill police officers, and opposing vaccine mandates. The resolutions were brought forward by Republicans across the state for approval at the convention and were made public this week. They are advisory only. But they show the priorities of the party that has a solid majority in the Legislature and would be able to enact whatever laws it wishes if Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is defeated in November.

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Counting of mailed ballots in Pennsylvania is drawing renewed scrutiny amid a too-close-to-call U.S. Senate primary between Republicans David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz. Former President Donald Trump blasted the state’s elections procedures on social media, even though there are no indications of any wrongdoing with those ballots other than a printing error that was slowing the tally in one county. Numerous safeguards are in place to ensure that people casting mailed ballots are who they say they are and only vote once. Voter fraud in Pennsylvania and elsewhere does happen, but it is exceedingly rare.

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Heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick are locked in a too-early-to-call race for the Republican nomination to fill an open Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat. Vote counting continued Wednesday. Some counties have yet to tabulate election-day and mail-in ballots in the presidential battleground state. Meanwhile, counting of provisional, overseas and military absentee ballots could last past Friday. The race remains close enough to trigger Pennsylvania’s automatic recount law. Oz has been helped by an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination as he recovered from a stroke he suffered Friday.

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Former U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador has won Idaho’s GOP attorney general primary, beating the longtime incumbent who was criticized by the far right for not taking a more activist role. Labrador prevailed over Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, backed by establishment Republicans, and Art Macomber, a political newcomer who has never held public office. Wasden lost the advantage Tuesday night as more counties outside the highly populated Boise region began reporting votes. Labrador was a favorite of the Tea Party during his eight years in the U.S. House. He lost to Republican Gov. Brad Little in the 2018 primary. The attorney general post could be a stepping stone for another gubernatorial run.

Republican Attorney General candidate Dennis Smith has dropped his plan to run in the August primary. Smith, a former legislator, tweeted his decision to drop out Tuesday night. That was several hours after Doug Wardlow announced that he’ll run in the primary after losing the Republican endorsement to Jim Schultz at the party’s convention last weekend. Smith said he now believes, given the party’s endorsement of Schultz, that the GOP can beat Democratic incumbent Attorney General Keith Ellison. His decision sets up a primary between Schultz and Wardlow, who was the party’s nominee in 2018.

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