Races to watch in W.Va, Nebraska primary elections

Politics

A voter walks toward a polling location on election day in Austin, Texas on November 3, 2020. (Photo by SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) —  Kicking off another busy day of the 2022 midterm season are competitive races in West Virginia and Nebraska.

With candidates in both states getting the endorsement of Donald Trump, today’s races will be a look at how much influence the former president still has in the Republican party. And the winner of the House race in West Virginia could potentially help the GOP gain control of the House of Representatives next year.

In Nebraska, one of the big-ticket items is a hotly contested gubernatorial race between Republicans Brett Lindstrom, Jim Pillen and Charles Herbster.

Herbster has been backed by Trump, although he told NewsNation that the race “is not about endorsements.

“It’s not about speeches,” he said. “It’s not about all the bad stuff they’ve tried to shellac me with.”

Herbster is accused of groping eight women, including a state senator.

“The truth is, I’ve never done anything like that in my entire life,” he said. “Never even thought about it.”

Whoever wins Nebraska’s GOP governor primary would most likely face state Sen. Carol Blood, who is all but certain to win the Democratic nomination for governor over a little-known candidate who hasn’t been actively campaigning.

According to data from the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office, thousands of registered Democrats across the state switched parties at the last minute, so they could vote for a more moderate Republican for governor.

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, two incumbent congressmen are vying to keep a seat in the House of Representatives after redistricting placed them in the same district.

Republican Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney also have rival endorsements: Trump is for Mooney, while Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has given his blessing to the more moderate McKinley.

Not only is it Trump’s endorsement the two candidates differ on, but also President  Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure law. McKinley was one of 13 House Republicans to vote for it, saying it would have been a betrayal to vote based on “party politics” on an issue so important to residents. But Mooney voted against the infrastructure bill, saying it would contribute to inflation.

Others running in the 2nd District GOP primary are Susan Buchser-Lochocki of Morgantown, Rhonda Hercules of Wheeling and Mike Seckman of West Union.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face off against either Angela Dwyer or former city council member Barry Lee Wendell, who are both running in the Democratic primary.

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