DemDaily: Tuesday’s Election Results! Nebraska and West Virginia

May 11, 2022 

Yesterday's Nebraska and West Virginia elections, watched closely for former President Donald Trump's influence in the GOP primaries, yielded mixed results for his endorsement powers.

While one Trump-backed candidate prevailed in West Virginia in a high-profile US House race, another failed in Nebraska's statewide gubernatorial primary, handing the de facto party leader his first major loss.

The 2022 election calendar kicked off with the first primary in Texas March 1. There are eight remaining primaries in May, including five next Tuesday, May 17. That includes the Pennsylvania Senate and gubernatorial contests, potential bellwethers for the standing of both parties at this point in the cycle.

In the heated GOP gubernatorial primary, University of Nebraska regent Jim Pillen defeated Trump-endorsed businessman Charles Herbster, garnering 33.9% to his 30.2%, followed by State Senator Brett Lindstrom with 25.8%.

Pillen's victory, boosted by the support of outgoing Governor Pete Ricketts (R), is a major blow to Trump, who carried Nebraska with 58% of the vote in 2020. Trump campaigned in the state for donor-turned-candidate Herbster amid ongoing allegations of sexual misconduct against Herbster by multiple women.

Despite facing six figures’ worth of opposition TV ads purchased by outside groups, Lindstrom, the choice of moderates, out-performed his numbers going into the election.

Pillen will face State Senator Carol Blood, who swept her primary with 88.5% of the vote. Blood was first elected to the Legislature in 2016 after serving on the City Council in Bellevue, an Omaha suburb.

Of note is the result of the Secretary of State GOP primary, where incumbent Bob Evnen, who pushed back on lies about irregularities in the 2020 elections. Evnen fended off two far-right challengers with 43.6% of the vote to Robert Borer's 32.2% and Rex Schroder's 24.2%

In the First Congressional District, Republican Mike Flood and Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks will be on the ballot twice for Congress in the next six months.

On Tuesday, they both secured their party’s nomination for the November general election, where the winner will take office in 2023. In the interim, Flood and Brooks will also compete as their party's chosen nominees in a special general election to fill the remaining term of Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned in March after being convicted of lying to the FBI.

In the Second Congressional District, three-term incumbent Republican Don Bacon, who drew Trump's ire for supporting Biden's bipartisan infrastructure plan, easily won his primary with 77%, despite Trump’s calls to defeat him.

In what may be Nebraska's most competitive race, Bacon is being challenged by State Senator Tony Vargas in the Omaha-based seat that Biden won in the 2020 presidential election.

In the Third Congressional District, eight-term incumbent Adrian Smith (R) will defend his seat against challenger David Else (D).

The race to watch in West Virginia Tuesday was the hotly contested Second Congressional District GOP primary where redistricting pitted two incumbent Congressmen, six-term David McKinley and four-term Alex Mooney, against each other.

Mooney was endorsed by Trump, who vowed revenge against McKinley for voting in favor of creating the January 6 Committee.

Mooney handily defeated McKinley, who had the support of Republican Governor Jim Justice, 54.2% to 35.6%.

McKinley, notably, also had the support of Democratic Governor Joe Manchin, who actually cut a TV ad for his campaign.

In the Democratic primary for the newly redrawn district, former Morgantown City Council member Barry Wendell defeated Angela Dwyer, 57.2% to 42.8%.

In the First Congressional District, conservative incumbent Carol Miller, first elected in 2018, won renomination with 66.4%. She will face Democrat Lacy Watson, who was unopposed in her primary.

See: DemDaily: The 2022 Election Calendar. Updates!

DemDaily: Indiana Primary Election Results 5/5/22
DemDaily: Ohio Primary Election Results! 5/3/22
DemDaily: Update on Redistricting. The Final Four 4/28/22
DemDaily: Eyes on Alaska 4/27/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Governors Races: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin 4/15/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Governors Races: Kansas, Michigan and Nevada 4/14/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Governors Races: Arizona and Georgia 4/13/22
DemDaily: Status of The Senate: Other Races to Watch 4/6/22
DemDaily: Status of The Senate II 3/30/22
DemDaily: Status of The Senate I 3/29/22
DemDaily: Texas Primary Results! 3/3/22

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: New York Times, NebraskaExaminer, WSAZ, CNN, Ballotpedia

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