Republicans in focus in U.S. congressional primaries in Nebraska, West Virginia

The winner of the primary contest is likely to win re-election in November in a new district that encompasses the northern half of the state. In Nebraska, the race to succeed retiring Republican Governor Pete Ricketts has centered around accusations that Herbster had groped multiple women in recent years.


Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 10-05-2022 15:41 IST | Created: 10-05-2022 15:31 IST
Republicans in focus in U.S. congressional primaries in Nebraska, West Virginia
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Voters in Republican-leaning Nebraska and West Virginia go to the polls on Tuesday to pick candidates for U.S. Congress and other state races, with multiple matchups again testing former President Donald Trump's sway with voters.

The contests are part of a series of primaries that will set the stage for Nov. 8 elections in which Republicans are favored to win control of at least one chamber of Congress, which would give them the power to bring Democratic President Joe Biden's legislative agenda to a halt. Trump has endorsed more than 150 candidates this year as he lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2024, among them "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, who secured the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Ohio last week. He has also endorsed in high-profile Senate primaries in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia later this month.

In Nebraska, Trump has endorsed business executive Charles Herbster in the governor's race, even though several women have accused him of sexual harassment, a charge he denies. Herbster faces Jim Pillen, a hog farmer and university board member who has drawn the backing of the current governor and many other political figures in the Midwestern farm state. In West Virginia, Trump has endorsed Representative Alex Mooney, a conservative who has backed the former president's false accusations of fraud in the 2020 election, over Representative David McKinley, a centrist who is backed by Governor Jim Justice.

McKinley was one of 13 House Republicans to vote for Joe Biden's infrastructure package, which will send billions of dollars in new spending for roads, bridges and other projects to the low-income state. The unusual race pits two incumbents against each other, as the state lost a congressional seat due to its shrinking population. The winner of the primary contest is likely to win re-election in November in a new district that encompasses the northern half of the state.

In Nebraska, the race to succeed retiring Republican Governor Pete Ricketts has centered around accusations that Herbster had groped multiple women in recent years. Herbster has denied the charges and filed a defamation lawsuit against one of the accusers, state Senator Julie Slama. Slama has filed a countersuit alleging battery. Trump, who also faces multiple accusations of harassment and sexual assault, said at a May 1 rally that he believed Herbster is innocent.

At that rally, Trump also urged his supporters to "vote like hell" against Republican Representative Don Bacon, who has criticized Trump's role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump said he backed challenger Steve Kuehl. The winner of that primary contest will face a competitive November election in the Omaha-based district against the Democratic nominee, either Tony Vargas or Alisha Shelton.

Also in Nebraska, Republican voters in the eastern part of the state will pick a nominee to succeed former Representative Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned in March after being convicted of lying to federal investigators about illegal campaign contributions. State senator Mike Flood is favored to win that contest, which would put him in line for victory in November in the solidly Republican district. Flood has already won the Republican endorsement for a June 28 special election to fill Fortenberry's vacant seat through January 2023.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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