May 9 (UPI) — Closely-watched Republican primaries in four states ended Tuesday night, setting the stage for highly anticipated midterm showdowns with Democrats in November.
In West Virginia, that state’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey defeated Don Blankenship and Rep. Evan Jenkins in a Senate primary race. Trump urged voters to pick either Morrisey or Jenkins over Blankenship, a former coal company CEO who was convicted in 2015 of violating federal mine safety standards.
Morrisey will now face Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November.
In Indiana, businessman and former state lawmaker Mike Braun, a Trump-inspired and self-declared outsider, scored an upset by beating two incumbent congressmen for the Hoosier State’s Republican Senate primary. Braun was a late addition to the race, which also featured U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.
Braun, the owner of a national auto part distributor, reportedly self-financed his campaign in one of the most expensive Senate primaries this year. He will now go up against incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in November.
Rep. Jim Renacci in Ohio lived up to expectations by winning his party’s Senate primary. He will now face Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in November.
“I’m coming for you, @SherrodBrown,” Renacci tweeted Tuesday night.
On the congressional side, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., lost his primary challenge to Mark Harris, a pastor who attacked his opponent as being part of the “Washington swamp.”
Harris, who lost to Pittenger in 2016 by fewer than 200 votes, will now go on to face Democratic nominee Dan McCready, a veteran and businessman who is expected to put up a challenge in the Republican-leaning congressional district.