5 min read

Wake Up To Politics - August 3, 2022

by Gabe Fleisher

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, August 3, 2022. Election Day 2022 is 97 days away. Election Day 2024 is 835 days away.

Key takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries

Voters in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, and Washington went to the polls yesterday. Here’s what happened:

— Kansas delivered a major victory for abortion rights. In the first statewide referendum on abortion since the end of Roe v. Wade, Kansas voters opted overwhelmingly to reject a proposed amendment that would have struck the right to abortion from their state constitution.

The state voted 59% to 41% against the amendment. The vote was a landmark victory for abortion rights supporters and a sign of the issue’s motivating power going into November — even in a state that generally leans Republican.

— Two GOP impeachment backers hung on, but one was defeated. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) was the only freshman Republican to support former President Donald Trump’s impeachment last year, casting the politically risky vote just 10 days into his tenure.

The vote ended up costing him his House career: John Gibbs, a former Trump administration official who received the former president’s endorsement, defeated Meijer in a primary challenge last night. Gibbs, who won 52% to 48%, will now face Democrat Hillary Scholten in November; the race is seen as newly competitive with Gibbs as the nominee.

Democrats controversially spent more than $400,000 promoting Gibbs, hoping to face the far-right candidate in the general election. Meanwhile, Trump-backed challenges to two other Republican impeachment supporters — Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) — fizzled.

A sign in Wichita advocating for rejection of the Kansas constitutional amendment on abortion. (Nathan Posner)

— Other Trump-endorsed candidates triumphed. A crop of election-denying candidates won Tuesday with the former president’s support. In Michigan, Trump-backed Tudor Dixon won the Republican gubernatorial primary. Dixon, who has falsely said that Trump won Michigan in 2020, will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

In Arizona, Trump’s Senate pick Blake Masters and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem also came out on top. If he beats Democrat Adrian Fontes in November, Finchem — who has led efforts in Arizona to de-certify President Biden’s 2020 victory — will oversee the 2024 election in the battleground state.

Meanwhile, the GOP gubernatorial primary in Arizona remains undecided. With 81% of the vote reported, Trump-backed former local news anchor Kari Lake currently leads developer Karrin Taylor Robson, 46% to 44%. In a 2024 primary proxy war, Robson has the support of Trump’s running mate-turned-rival Mike Pence.

— Eric Greitens’ comeback bid was flattened. GOP leaders have fretted for months that Missouri Republicans would nominate Eric Greitens, who resigned as governor in 2018 amid sexual abuse and blackmail allegations, for the state’s open Senate seat. But Greitens’ attempted return to public office ended Tuesday in a third-place finish.

Instead, state attorney general Eric Schmitt won the primary, taking 46% of the vote to Rep. Vicki Hartzler’s 22% and Greitens’ 19%. Schmitt will face Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine, heiress to the Bush family beer fortune, and Independent John Wood in November.

— A centrist Democrat defeated a progressive colleague. Redistricting pushed Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Andy Levin (D-MI), two House Democratic incumbents, into a primary race against each other. Stevens, the more moderate of the pair, ended up triumphing, 60% to 40%, after receiving millions of dollars from AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby. Levin, who is Jewish, was backed by the more liberal Jewish group J Street, the latest electoral clash between the two organizations to end in an AIPAC victory.

Rep. Haley Stevens beat a progressive colleague in a member-on-member primary on Tuesday. (Aubrey Gemignani / NASA)

More news you should know

— “Pelosi full of praise, support for Taiwan during visit that infuriated China” Reuters

— “The Senate passes help for veterans exposed to toxins, after a reversal drew fury” NPR

— “Justice Department sues Idaho over abortion ban in first post-Roe litigation” NBC News

— “Federal grand jury subpoenas ex-Trump WH counsel Cipollone in 2020 election probe, source says” CNN

— “U.S. sanctions rumored Putin girlfriend, Russian billionaires” The Hill

— “Stephen King testifies against book-publishing merger” Wall Street Journal

Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings, lit up with messages marking Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. (Taipei 101)

What’s going on in Washington today

All times Eastern. Click on an event’s time to watch it.

President Biden is isolating at the White House residence after re-testing positive for Covid. He will virtually receive his daily intelligence briefing (9:30 am) and virtually participate in the first meeting of his interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, which he formed after the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion (2 pm).

Vice President Harris will also attend the interagency task force meeting (2 pm).

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold her daily press briefing (12:45 pm).

The Senate will convene (12 pm) and debate the treaty to approve Finland and Sweden as new members of NATO. All 30 NATO member states must ratify the treaty for the two nations to join; the U.S. would be the 20th to sign off.

NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. (NATO)

The Senate will vote on two amendments to the treaty — one by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-KY), and another by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) — before voting on the treaty itself. Sullivan’s amendment aims to clarify the existing requirement that all NATO countries spend 2% of their GDP on defense (which most member states do not do).

Paul’s amendment would assert that Article 5 of the NATO treaty (which binds all member states to defend one another in case of an attack) is not superseded by the constitutional requirement in the U.S. that only Congress can declare war.

With widespread support across both parties, the treaty is expected to easily surpass the two-thirds support it needs for passage.

The House is on recess until September 13.

Congressional committees will hold hearings on protecting election workers (10 am), the proposed Electoral Count Act reform (10:30 am), gain-of-function research (2:30 pm), and the need to repair the U.S. organ transplant system (2:30 pm).

The Supreme Court is on recess until October.

That’s it for today. If you enjoy Wake Up To Politics, it’s always appreciated if you donate to support the newsletter or buy some merch. Or if you tell your friends and family to sign up at wakeuptopolitics.com.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email me: my inbox is always open.

Thanks for waking up to politics! Have a great day.

— Gabe