US primaries 2022: Trump and January 6 loom over elections

Election races taking place in Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and Washington, DC

A 'vote here' sign stands outside a polling station in Huntsville, Alabama, a state where former president Donald Trump won by more than 25 percentage points. Bloomberg
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Several US states and regions are holding primary election races on Tuesday, with the midterms to take place this autumn.

Alabama is one of a handful of states holding contests on Tuesday at the midpoint of a primary season that has been shaped by former president Donald Trump’s effort to influence the Republican Party.

The Alabama Senate run-off has drawn particular attention both because of the drama surrounding Mr Trump’s endorsement and the fact that the winner is likely to prevail in November in a state the former president won twice by more than 25 percentage points.

Mr Trump initially endorsed Mo Brooks in the spring of 2021, rewarding the ardent champion of his debunked claims of a stolen election. Mr Brooks had voted against certifying Joe Biden’s presidential electoral victory and delivered a fiery speech at the rally before the US Capitol insurrection.

But nearly a year later, Mr Trump rescinded his support after the pair’s relationship soured and as the conservative firebrand languished in the polls. Mr Trump blamed his decision on comments the Senate hopeful had made months earlier, claiming Mr Brooks — one of the most conservative members of Congress — had gone “woke”.

In Virginia, Republicans will choose which Trump-aligned congressional candidates will take on some of the most vulnerable Democrats in the autumn.

In the coastal 2nd District, Jen Kiggans, a state senator, is widely seen as the front-runner in the race to take on Democrat Elaine Luria — a retired naval commander and member of the House January 6 committee — in the general election.

In central Virginia’s 7th District, six candidates are in a race to take on Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer.

And in Georgia, Democrats will settle several close races, including deciding which Democrat will challenge Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state who overcame a Trump-backed challenge last month.

In the nation's capital, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser faces a formidable fight for a third term, challenged in Tuesday’s Democratic primary by two council members in a race dominated by crime and public safety issues.

During Ms Bowser’s tumultuous second term, she clashed with Mr Trump and walked a public tightrope between her own police department and a vocal coalition of activists led by Black Lives Matter.

Her challengers include at-large city council member Robert White, who harshly criticised Ms Bowser’s response to spiralling violent crime rates, and council member Trayon White, who represents Ward 8, the poorest and most crime-ridden area in the district.

The winner of the Democratic primary will be the favourite in the November general election in the highly liberal city.

News agencies contributed to this report

Updated: June 24, 2022, 5:50 AM