The TAKE with Rick Klein
Again, while the nation’s attention was rightly focused elsewhere, former President Donald Trump gained some and lost some — he blew a big one on Tuesday when he embarrassingly missed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Again, Trump’s losses could be smaller than you think. Even as Trump-backed candidates find themselves embarrassed, MAGA news and machinations continue to roll through the GOP primaries in a way that will reverberate through November and possibly beyond.
Kemp slammed former Senator David Perdue, who trumpeted Trump’s false claims about the last election and won Trump’s vocal support. Kemp withstood strong pressure from Trump after the election, but he persevered in the main race by getting closer to Trump.
Governor Brian Kemp speaks with former Vice President Mike Pence at a campaign rally on May 23, 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia May 23, 2022.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
He also signed a restrictive new electoral law that could make it easier to influence the outcome of the next election. At a primary debate, he boasted about campaigning for the law because he was “frustrated” with how his party had fared in 2020.
In Texas on Tuesday, Trump lagged behind Attorney General Ken Paxton despite a slew of indictments and the spectacle of his failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Paxton passed George P. Bush, scion of the pre-eminent Republican dynasty of the last 40 years, even though Bush broke with much of his family to embrace Trumpism.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will once again be the nominee in her Deep Red House district in Northwest Georgia. Herschel Walker crushed his competition for the state Senate nomination after being recruited by Trump – a friend of Walker’s for more than 35 years – and refusing to debate his GOP opponents.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former White House press secretary, drove to the GOP nomination for Arkansas governor, the job her father held for more than a decade before falling to Trump in the 2016 primary.
Even Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., faces a runoff against Senator Richard Shelby’s former chief of staff, Katie Britt, despite Trump’s attempt to revoke his Senate endorsement. Brooks ignored this and campaigned as if he still had Trump’s backing while defying the January 6 committee requests.
The latest election results rolled against the harrowing backdrop of a school shooting in Texas, which in a dizzying fluke happened just three days before a scheduled NRA meeting in Houston that is expected to include speeches by Trump and other prominent Republicans.
Trump-skeptical Republicans will take Tuesday’s results as a sign that Republican voters will not just take the former president’s direction, as a number of his supported candidates receive a third of the GOP vote or less.
But all of this could also be another sign that Trumpism is stronger than Trump.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
As President Joe Biden faces another mass shooting with no prospect of a legal response, he will also address police reform, another area where his administration is struggling to make progress.
“As a nation, we have to ask ourselves, ‘When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?'” Biden said in his address to the nation about the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that killed 19 children and two became adults.
President Joe Biden delivers a remark after a gunman shot dead 18 young children at a Texas elementary school in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on May 24, 2022 in Washington.
Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
The answer to Biden’s question is simple: if there are enough votes to pass reforms. The support is not there to push gun reform. Even in the face of the terrible tragedy, Republicans remain vehemently opposed.
“I don’t know what laws [could have prevented the shooting] unless you just go to the gun registry and confiscate guns, and that’s not something Texans will support,” Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said Tuesday in an interview with ABC News Live.
The Biden administration is in the same predicament over police reform. Wednesday marks the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. In light of Floyd’s killing, Biden plans to sign an executive order that will create a national database to track disciplinary actions against officers and ban strangleholds and warrants. The catch is that this limited measure only applies to federal law enforcement — a fraction of the country’s 800,000 officers. Bipartisan negotiations for further police reform have not been revived after failing last year
As the midterms unfold, so does the possibility that Democrats will lose their tight control of both houses of Congress. Without the political will of Republicans to engage on both fronts, both federal gun and police reform may be unachievable.
The TIP with Brittany Shepherd
Despite Democrats’ nervousness about a more restrictive electoral law, voters turned out in Georgia’s primary in historic numbers. According to the foreign minister, 859,984 voted by post and early in person votes as of Monday evening. Almost 1.9 million people have voted in the Georgia primary as of this morning, according to ABC Vote. The bureau has yet to announce the firm and final count. Still, the latest figures show a staggering increase in voter turnout – nearly three times what it was at the same time in the 2018 election.
There have been very few glitches at the polling stations, and the long lines that used to plague Georgia’s elections are gone.
A poll worker places voter stickers at a polling station during the primary in Atlanta, Georgia May 24, 2022.
Some Republicans use this number to indicate the effectiveness of Georgia’s electoral system, although Democrats warn that the impact of Georgia’s new electoral law – which changed the process of postal voting, limited the availability and accessibility of mailboxes and eliminated the ability to apply opting for a postal vote online – has yet to be seen.
“We know that increased turnout has nothing to do with oppression; repression is about whether or not you make it difficult for voters to get ballots,” Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
NUMBER OF THE DAY powered by FiveThirtyEight
7. That’s the number of non-incumbents running for the US Senate, House of Representatives, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general in Georgia that former President Donald Trump has endorsed. And as we wrote on the FiveThirtyEight live blog, Trump’s favorite candidates cleared the field in just one of those races: the GOP US Senate primary, where former NFL player Herschel Walker faced Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in the fall will compete. Trump’s most prominent loss was in the gubernatorial primary, when Governor Brian Kemp easily crossed paths for renomination against Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue.
ABC News’ Start Here Podcast. Start Here begins Wednesday morning with the latest on the Texas elementary school shooting from the scene with ABC’s Mireya Villarreal. Then, Parkland shooting survivor and activist Sari Kaufman shares her perspective on enduring gunfight violence at a young age. Then ABC writers Brad Garrett and John Cohen discuss the warning signs of mass shooting. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- At 4 p.m., President Joe Biden signs an executive order to promote effective, accountable policing and strengthen public safety
- FBI Director Chris Wray is testifying at a 2 p.m. budget hearing at the Senate Appropriations Committee
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