Primaries in 5 states to determine key congressional races

June 12 (UPI) — Voters in Nevada, Maine, South Carolina, Virginia and North Dakota head to the polls Tuesday to pick candidates in state and congressional races.

Twenty-five U.S. House seats, four U.S. Senate seats and three gubernatorial seats are at stake Tuesday.

Democrats need to flip 23 Republican-held districts to take control of the House in November. Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and Virginia each have one Senate primary election and there are gubernatorial primaries in Maine, Nevada and South Carolina.

Nevada

Members of a crowded field are vying for the spot to take over for Gov. Brian Sandoval because of term limits.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt is among those running for the Republican nomination. Democrats will decide whether Steve Sisolak or Christina Giunchigliani, both Clark County Commissioners, will take the nomination.

Congressional races include the state’s 3rd and 4th Districts, currently held by Democrats.
The general election for the state’s Senate matchup will likely be sitting Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican, against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen.

Republican Danny Tarkanian, a conservative, pro-Trump businessman, was once running for a Senate seat, which would have threatened Heller. But at the urging of President Donald Trump, Tarkanian dropped out of that race to run for the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

Maine

Maine is the first state in the nation to try Instant Runoff Voting, a new system passed in 2016 that allows voters to rank their candidates. If no one gets a majority after the first round of voting, the candidate with the least number of votes is removed from the race. Voters who picked that candidate will then have their vote directed to their second-choice. The process is repeated until a candidate has a majority.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is term-limited, so the race for his seat is open for the first time since 2010 with several candidates vying for the spot.

Congressional races include Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, a district traditionally held by Democrats that GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin won in 2016. State House Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden, a Marine veteran recruited by national Democrats, will compete for a chance at Poliquin’s seat. Golden will face off against businessman Craig Olson and Lucas St. Clair, leader of a land conservation organization.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s Senate race in November will likely be incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp against the state’s one sitting congressman, Rep. Kevin Cramer, the GOP frontrunner.

South Carolina

South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Henry McMaster is facing two primary challengers. McMaster, backed by Trump, will need more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

Conservative lawmaker Rep. Mark Sanford will face state Rep. Katie Arrington in the state’s 1st Congressional District. Sanford resigned as governor in 2009 over an extramarital affair but won his House seat in a 2013 special election.

Democrat Archie Parnell is again running again for his party’s nomination for the 5th Congressional District but allegations that he struck his ex-wife with a tire iron in 1973 have surfaced and could hurt his candidacy.

Virginia

Several House races are up for grabs that Democrats hope to flip. Results on Tuesday will determine who will face GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. State Sen. Jennifer Wexton is among those who hope to run against Comstock this fall.

Republicans will pick their nominee to face off against Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, picked by Hillary Clinton to be her vice president.

Republican candidates wanting to face off against Kaine include Virginia Del. Nick Freitas, the GOP’s pick; Prince William County Board of Supervisor Chair Corey Stewart, a hard-right candidate who unsuccessfully ran governor last year; and Rev. E.W. Jackson, who lost his bid for lieutenant governor in 2013.

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