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Top Democrat Crowley loses in shocker

Rep. Joe Crowley, the powerful chairman of the House Democratic Caucus seen as a potential future speaker, was unseated Tuesday night by primary challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in his New York City district.

Ocasio-Cortez had 58 percent of the Democratic primary vote to 42 percent for Crowley when the Associated Press called the race with 85 percent of precincts reporting.

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Ocasio-Cortez, 28, challenged Crowley on ideological and racial grounds, arguing that the 10-term congressman was not in step with his majority-minority district and was too cozy with corporate donors.

A defeat would make him the highest profile Democrat to lose a primary this year, and the highest ranking House member to lose an intra-party fight since Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in 2014.

Crowley was one of several veteran New York Democrats facing unexpectedly tough tests from insurgent candidates. Rep. Yvette Clarke narrowly led Adem Bunkeddeko 51 percent to 48 percent with just over three-quarters of precincts reporting.

Meanwhile, two Trump-endorsed Republican incumbents held off primary challenges Tuesday night in New York and South Carolina.

Rep. Dan Donovan defeated former Rep. Michael Grimm in their Republican primary Tuesday night, thwarting Grimm’s comeback attempt following a federal prison sentence.

Donovan had 64 percent of the vote in New York’s 11th District to Grimm’s 36 percent when the Associated Press called the race with 92 percent of precincts reporting.

Donovan had support from a number of Republican outside groups and, critically, Trump, who tweeted that the GOP could not afford to nominate Grimm in a potential swing district. Donovan will face Democrat Max Rose, who also won his primary tonight, in November.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster held off businessman John Warren in a Republican primary runoff Tuesday night. The win came after a full court press from Trump and his team to protect McMaster. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both rallied in the state in the days leading up to the primary, and the president consistently tweeted his support for the governor. McMaster was one of the earliest elected officials to support Trump in the 2016 presidential primaries.

McMaster had 54 percent of the vote when the Associated Press called the race with 84 percent of precincts reporting, while businessman John Warren had 46 percent.

McMaster will face state Rep. James Smith, the Democratic nominee, in November.

Here’s a state-by-state look at what’s on the ballot:

New York

The Donovan-Grimm primary has stolen the headlines, but a handful of other battleground seats also have big primaries. In the Hudson Valley, seven first-time Democratic candidates are fighting to take on Republican Rep. John Faso in the state’s biggest bellwether district, which Trump carried in 2016 after it twice went for Barack Obama.

Further upstate, the Democratic primary for a Syracuse-based district pitted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee against local activists. The DCCC backed former mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams over Dana Balter, a college professor. The winner will face GOP Rep. John Katko, who represents a difficult district for Republicans generally but has consistently run ahead of the ticket in the past.

New York election graphic

Democrats will also choose nominees in longer-shot districts currently held by Republican Reps. Elise Stefanik and Tom Reed. And the party also has a primary to replace the late Rep. Louise Slaughter in the 25th District, around Rochester.

South Carolina

The race between McMaster and Warren is a major test of Trump’s influence with Republican primary voters. McMaster, one of Trump’s earliest backers in 2016, led Warren by nearly 15 percentage points in the primary, but failed to win a majority and avoid a runoff.

Hoping to push the governor over the edge, Trump held an election-eve rally in South Carolina Monday night, imploring his supporters to back McMaster and acknowledging his own reputation was on the line.

South Carolina election results graphic

“They will say Donald Trump suffered a major, major defeat in the great state of South Carolina, it was a humiliating defeat for Donald Trump, so please get your asses out tomorrow and vote,” he said at the rally.

Voters in the 4th Congressional District are also picking between Lee Bright, a fiery former state legislator known for his support for displaying the Confederate flag, and current state Sen. William Timmons, a former prosecutor, in the race to replace retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy. Timmons led 54 percent to 46 percent with three-quarters of precincts reported.

Colorado

Big money has dominated the conversation in the open governor’s race in Colorado, where Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is term-limited. Millionaire Rep. Jared Polis has spent freely to win the Democratic nomination, while state Treasurer Walker Stapleton had to fend off self-funding state Rep. Victor Mitchell to win the Republican primary.

Colorado election graphic

Democrats also picked veteran Jason Crow as their nominee to face swing-seat GOP Rep. Mike Coffman. The DCCC lined up early behind veteran Crow, though former Obama administration official Levi Tillemann has tried to channel anti-establishment sentiment against him in the 6th District.

Maryland

Maryland Democrats are choosing from a crowded field of contenders to take on popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and former NAACP President Ben Jealous have separated themselves as the top contenders in the nine-candidate field. The race between the two has drawn parallels to the 2016 Democratic primary, with Baker running on his economic record and Jealous running as a progressive insurgent, campaigning with Sens. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris ahead of the primary.

Maryland election graphic

Both Jealous and Baker are vying to make history as the first African-American governor of Maryland. But Tuesday’s winner will face a tough battle against Hogan, who has consistently polled as one of the most popular governors in the country despite being a Republican in a blue state. A recent Washington Post poll showed Hogan leading all of the Democratic candidates by double digits.

Sen. Ben Cardin also faces a crowded group of primary opponents, including Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of leaking classified intelligence in 2010 but had her sentence commuted by President Barack Obama. Still, the race has been quiet and Cardin is expected to easily win renomination.

In Maryland’s 6th District, Democrat David Trone is making his second attempt to self-fund his way to a seat in Congress. Trone lost a primary in 2016 after spending $ 13.4 million of his own money. He’s trying again in a new district, and has spent $ 11.5 million so far this year. He faces a crowded slate of candidates, including state Del. Aruna Miller, who was endorsed by EMILY’s List.

Mississippi

Republican Michael Guest, a district attorney, won the Republican nomination to replace retiring Rep. Gregg Harper on Tuesday.

Mississippi election graphic.

Guest was the favorite after receiving 45 percent of the vote in the early June primary, compared to 22 percent for Whit Hughes, his opponent in the runoff.

Oklahoma

A crowded field of Republicans — including Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, state Auditor Gary Jones, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, and self-funding businessman Kevin Stitt — are all competing for the governorship, with Gov. Mary Fallin term-limited. But Oklahoma’s majority primary rules mean the top two contenders could go to a runoff in late August if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday night. Democrat Drew Edmondson, a former state attorney general, stands a better chance of clinching his party’s nomination.

Oklahoma election results graphic

Another crowded GOP field could also yield a runoff in the 1st Congressional District, left open since former Rep. Jim Bridenstine was confirmed as the administrator of NASA. A number of House Freedom Caucus members have supported Andy Coleman, a veteran and attorney, but Coleman has tangled with Kevin Hern, a businessman supported by the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership.

Utah

Mitt Romney is expected to cruise to victory in the Senate primary Tuesday night, which would cement the former presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor as an overwhelming favorite to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Romney’s opponent, state Rep. Mike Kennedy, has repeatedly attacked him for his criticisms of Trump during the 2016 election, but the strategy appears to have failed, as multiple polls showed around two-thirds of voters supporting Romney.

Utah elections graphic

If Romney wins, his up-and-down relationship with the president will extend into the general election. Despite being one of the president’s toughest Republican critics in 2016, Romney accepted Trump’s endorsement in his Senate race, and the president even labeled him a “straight shooter” after Romney said Trump would win reelection in 2020.

But he’s also promised to continue to speak out against Trump where he sees fit, which would add a potential critic into the Republican conference even as Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker retire. “I have and will continue to speak out when the president says or does something which is divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions,” Romney wrote in an election-eve op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune.

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