Welcome back to WTOP’s weekly election update! WTOP’s team of reporters will keep you informed on the latest through Nov. as primary and election races heat up in the District, Maryland, Virginia and nationwide.
Local politics and elections | Nick Iannelli
Drop boxes open in DC
Voters in the nation’s capital are getting more options for casting a ballot in the primary election, as 55 ballot drop boxes are open as of Friday, May 27.
You can find a list of locations here.
The D.C. Board of Elections has been mailing ballots to registered voters, so if you received one, you can now vote by sliding it into a drop box.
If you prefer, you can return your ballot through the mail, or you can vote in person during early voting from June 10 through June 19.
Primary day is June 21. In addition to D.C. mayor, voters are picking candidates for attorney general, D.C. Council chair and five other council members.
Find out more in WTOP’s D.C. Voter Guide.
Abortion rights on shaky ground in Virginia
Could abortion be banned in Virginia?
That’s up in the air, given the situation surrounding the Supreme Court and Roe vs. Wade.
As noted by Axios, even if Democrats hold on to their one-seat majority in the state Senate after next year’s elections, the party could still lose on abortion if one of their members — the notoriously unpredictable Sen. Joe Morrissey — sided with the GOP. Morrissey already co-sponsored a GOP bill earlier this year to ban most abortions after 20 weeks.
Elrich gets a cold shoulder
A prominent Montgomery County lawmaker has decided not to endorse incumbent County Executive Marc Elrich.
County Council Member Nancy Navarro threw her support behind one of Elrich’s two major rivals, businessman David Blair, for July’s Democratic primary.
“I think somebody like David Blair is someone who cannot only win, but take the county to the next level,” Navarro said in an interview with Bethesda Beat, citing Blair’s experience running a major business and his expertise in economic development.
Navarro has served twice as council president and has voiced criticism of Elrich’s operating style.
More Virginia congressional races set
Three more U.S. House races are set in Virginia as Republicans in Districts 5, 8 and 10 picked candidates using party-led events, such as conventions, instead of participating in the traditional state-run primary process.
In District 5, which stretches from Charlottesville to the North Carolina border, incumbent Republican congressman Bob Good defeated challenger Dan Moy. Good will face Democratic candidate Josh Throneburg in November.
Karina Lipsman became the Republican nominee in District 8, which includes parts of Fairfax and Arlington counties. She will face the winner of next month’s Democratic primary between incumbent Congressman Don Beyer and challenger Victoria Virasingh.
District 10, which includes Loudoun County and parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, had the busiest Republican race, with 11 candidates. Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Hung Cao won and will face Democratic incumbent congresswoman Jennifer Wexton in November.
Photo of the Week
From Capitol Hill | Mitchell Miller
Gun violence and Congress
The National Rifle Association is scheduled to begin its annual meeting Friday in Houston, just days after the shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas. Former President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are among those scheduled to speak at the event.
The U.S. Senate has adjourned for the holiday weekend. There will continue to be discussion in Congress about what can be done to prevent more gun violence, but if history is any guide, lawmakers will not take any legislative action.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said this week that Americans have a right to be upset with Congress for failing to pass any meaningful gun legislation in more than a decade.
Kaine was governor of Virginia in 2007 when 32 people were shot and killed at Virginia Tech — at the time, that was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
He also noted he had only been in the Senate for a few months when lawmakers voted on gun legislation after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults.
The measure to expand background checks for gun sales failed on a Senate vote in 2013.
“I just felt like, how could a body that calls itself the United States Senate, the greatest deliberative body in the world, see a shooting of this kind and decide the right answer is ‘We’re not going to do anything,’” he said.
Kaine said he has a similar feeling now, though he pointed out that Virginia ultimately made some changes related to gun laws and mental health that he believes have made a difference in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting.
Hear more from my conversation with Kaine:
Trump no longer the kingmaker?
Trump’s anger with Georgia Republicans for not reversing the state’s 2020 presidential election results didn’t lead GOP voters to elect his hand-picked candidates in 2022.
The overwhelming defeat of former U.S. Sen. David Perdue by Gov. Brian Kemp has understandably received the most attention. Kemp crushed Perdue, getting 74% of the vote, even though Trump had repeatedly criticized Kemp and poured millions of dollars into Perdue’s campaign.
Georgia voters also rejected Trump’s endorsed candidates deep down the ballot.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who faced Trump’s ire for declining to “find” votes for him in 2020, easily defeated GOP Rep. Jody Hice, who had echoed Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.
Trump’s endorsed candidates for attorney general and insurance commissioner also lost.
One bright spot for Trump: The performance of former Georgia football star Herschel Walker, who easily won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.
But it’s Kemp’s overwhelming defeat of Perdue — by more than 50 percentage points — that has caused many political observers to reexamine Trump’s hold on Republicans.
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks was endorsed then unendorsed by Trump, but received enough votes in his primary this week to force a runoff in Alabama.
But Brooks, who spoke at the Jan. 6 rally and has repeated Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, didn’t get the most votes: Katie Britt, a former chief of staff to Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, received 45% of the vote, compared to 29% for Brooks and 23% for former Army pilot Mike Durant.
Britt received extensive support from Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, who’s retiring.
Britt and Brooks will face off again in a July 26 runoff.
Testing 2024 presidential waters
Former Vice President Mike Pence has been taking very gradual and deliberate steps to try to move out of Trump’s shadow.
He’s been appearing before GOP-friendly groups and campaigned on behalf of Kemp in the Georgia governor’s primary, even though his former boss had endorsed Perdue.
Pence has also been raising money, and recently told The New York Times he’s not ruling out seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Several other Republicans are considering a run for the White House, even if Trump decides to run again, including Cruz, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, The Times said.
The Washington Post reports that Trump has been sounding out advisers and others about his potential rivals in 2024, if he decides to run. While Trump has been touting the power of his endorsements, the latest primary results in Georgia have pointed to the limits of his political influence.
Worth your time
From Nick Iannelli
- Undecided voters are a massive factor in Maryland’s race for governor.
The left wing gives D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson a challenge.
Virginia election offices can no longer accept private grant money.
From Mitchell Miller
- The number of children shot and killed in the U.S. in recent years is in the thousands.
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s amazing political balancing act.
- Does it feel like people you deal with at work are being a lot more rude?
Dates to know
Primary day in Virginia and D.C. is June 21; in Maryland, it’s July 19. Here are some other dates in the near future you’ll want to keep in mind.
- May 27: Drop boxes open in D.C.
- May 31: The deadline to register to vote in Virginia.
- June 10: The deadline to request a mail-in ballot in Virginia, and the day Early Vote Centers open in D.C.