Gubernatorial Primary Recap: Arkansas, Georgia, Texas

Georgia

Georgia_Stacey Abrams
State Rep. Stacy Abrams

Democrat Stacey Abrams clinched her party’s nomination for the Georgia gubernatorial seat Tuesday night, making her the first African-American woman to win a major party nomination for governor. Abrams defeated fellow state legislator Stacey Evans by more than 50 points. Although Abrams and Evans shared nearly identical policies, the former Georgia House Minority Leader received a host of national democratic endorsements, including nods from Hillary Clinton, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Corey Booker (D-NY).

As Abrams turns her attention to the general election, GOP gubernatorial nominees Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will head into a July run-off after neither candidate took a majority of votes in a crowded Republican Primary. Cagle, who had 39 percent of the vote, significantly outspent Kemp, who had 26 percent. Both candidates have attacked each other from the right, while simultaneously pulling each other away from moderate positions. As a result, Abrams could pull-of an unprecedented win in November if Cagle and Kemp spend resources and goodwill before the general election. However, Abrams will need a large voter turnout to flip the Peach State from red to blue. The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections have categorized the race as “likely Republican” and “solid Republican,” respectively.

Arkansas

Arkansas_Governor_Hutchinson_Official_medium
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)

Governor Asa Hutchinson fended off a primary challenge from Jan Morgan on Tuesday night by capturing 72 percent of the GOP vote in Arkansas. Hutchinson is seeking a second term, but previously served as a U.S. Attorney, a member of Congress and Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator under President George W. Bush. Although he remains relatively popular, Morgan attacked Hutchinson from the right, claiming he “campaigns like a conservative Republican but governs like a liberal Democrat.” Hutchinson will face Jared Henderson, the former executive director of Teach for America in Arkansas, who defeated Leticia Sanders, 63-37. With strong approval ratings in a deep-red state, Hutchinson will likely remain governor for another four years.

Texas

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Lupe Valdez

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez won the Democratic nomination after defeating former investment banker Andrew White by roughly 7 points in the Texas runoff. The victory makes Valdez the first open lesbian and Latina nominee to win a major party gubernatorial nomination in the state. While White targeted suburban white voters, Valdez catered her message to Hispanic voters in rural southwestern portions of the state. The former sheriff will face-off against incumbent Governor Gregg Abbott, who has raised more than $40 million for his 2018 campaign. Moreover, Inside Elections and the Cook Political Report have labeled the race as “solid Republican.”

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