The second-to-last primaries of the 2020 election cycle take place Tuesday, when voters in New Hampshire and Rhode Island head to the polls.
In New Hampshire, most of the interesting action is on the Republican side of the ticket. GOP voters there will choose nominees who will try to unseat two Democrats: Freshman Rep. Chris Pappas in the First Congressional District, and two-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Both of those primaries will test President Donald Trump’s influence with the state’s Republicans. Trump not only endorsed candidates in each race (lawyer Bryant “Corky” Messner for Senate, and former State Department official Matt Mowers in the House contest) but also gave both of them a shoutout during his August 28 rally in the state.
New Hampshire Democrats will get to weigh in on one noteworthy race as they select their nominee for this fall’s gubernatorial election, who will likely run against popular Republican incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu.
The Rhode Island primaries are all but decided: Of the state’s three US House and Senate races on the ballot come November, only one of them — in the state’s Second Congressional District — has an active primary Tuesday.
Vox is covering the results live, with our partners at Decision Desk HQ.
One of New Hampshire’s most interesting primaries Tuesday will take place in the state’s First Congressional District. Of the five candidates vying to unseat freshman Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas, two Matts have emerged as frontrunners: The Trump-endorsed Matt Mowers and Air Force veteran Matt Mayberry. Mowers has fundraised about quadruple what Mayberry has.
Republican voters will also pick a Senate nominee from a four-person field. Two Army veterans have risen to the top of the pack: Trump-endorsed lawyer Bryant “Corky” Messner and Don Bolduc. Messner leads Bolduc both in fundraising — having raked in more than $4 million as of August 19, while Bolduc had less than a quarter of that — and in noteworthy endorsements (those of Sens. Rand Paul and Tom Cotton, in addition to Trump’s). Whoever wins will go on to face — and likely lose to — Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, in a race that Inside Elections rated “solid Democratic.”
New Hampshire Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who helps administer the state government as an elected member of the executive branch, and state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes are competing to be the Democratic nominee for governor. Both men are Concord-based attorneys who have done stints representing low-income defendants (Feltes at a legal advocacy organization; Volinsky as a public defender) before they became public officials. They share strong critiques of Sununu and agree on a number of policy issues.
But as WMUR9’s John DiStaso has explained, they have a few differences when it comes to climate and tax policy. “Their divergent views on broad-based tax means the primary could be defining moment for the future of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire,” DiStaso wrote in August. Traditionally, Democrats running statewide have pledged to veto tax increases; Volinsky, while not proposing taxes of his own, has refused to make that promise. Volinsky has also been endorsed by progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders; in 2016, he served as legal counsel to Sanders’ campaign in New Hampshire.
Republican incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu has a primary to weather as well, but the popular governor is expected to coast to victory. Seven in 10 likely voters approve of Sununu’s time in office, a number that jumps to 94 percent for Republicans, according to a University of New Hampshire poll taken August 28 to September 1. That advantage should serve him well come November: He leads over both of his most likely opponents by more than 20 points, per the same poll.
Poll closings vary by municipality, but polls will remain open until at least 7 pm local time.
In Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District, longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin is fending off a primary challenge from lawyer Dylan Conley. With $1.3 million in the bank as of August 19, Langevin has a significant fundraising advantage over Conley, who had just $9,000, according to Roll Call.
The district’s Republican voters will also pick their candidate to challenge Langevin. Whether it’s Donald Robbio (who unsuccessfully ran for the seat in the 2012 primary) or Bob Lancia (a former state representative) who wins on Tuesday, they’ll face a steep uphill battle in November: Langevin has won the solidly Democratic district 10 times running.
In counties holding primary elections, polls close at 8 pm ET.
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