Georgia, Oregon, Idaho and Kentucky primaries 2024: Willis, McAfee win; tough night for progressives

Abortion didn’t help liberals flip a Georgia Supreme Court seat.

On May 21, voters in Georgia, Idaho, Oregon, Kentucky and California held key elections for Congress and nationally watched local races. Two key figures from one of Trump’s legal cases, Fani Willis and Scott McAfee, easily won their races, while conservatives won a Georgia Supreme Court election fought largely over abortion. In the House, progressives lost two key races in Oregon, while California voters picked a successor to Kevin McCarthy.

As usual, 538 reporters and contributors broke down the election results as they came in with live updates, analysis and commentary. Read our full live blog below.

That’s a wrap!

With all of tonight's key races now projected, it's time for us to hit the hay. Here's a recap of who won today:

- Despite trying to ride the wave of voter activation over abortion, former Democratic Rep. John Barrow failed to unseat Republican-appointed Justice Andrew Pinson in the only contested race for Georgia Supreme Court today.

- Challenges to a pair of major figures in Trump's Georgia election-interference case also went nowhere. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis easily won her Democratic primary, and Judge Scott McAfee won his judicial election against a self-described "conservative Democrat."

- The Republican primary in Georgia's 3rd District is going to a June 18 runoff between longtime Trump staffer Brian Jack and former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan.

- In Georgia's 13th District, incumbent Rep. David Scott prevailed over his six challengers to win his Democratic primary and will go on to seek reelection in November. Scott's challengers tried to focus on his age and health as an issue, echoing criticisms facing the Democrats and President Joe Biden in November, but incumbency proved too powerful an advantage.

- Out west, the DCCC got their candidate in Oregon's 5th District, as state Rep. Janelle Bynum easily dispatched attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who lost in 2022 in this seat against Republican Rep Lori Chavez-DeRemer. Bynum will face off against Chavez-DeRemer this November.

- In Oregon's 3rd District, state Rep. Maxine Dexter benefited from a plethora of outside spending to defeat former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal in the Democratic primary, all-but-ensuring that Dexter will be this dark-blue seat's next representative.

- Republican Mike Erickson will get a third shot at winning a House seat as he cruised to victory in the GOP primary for Oregon's 6th District. At times, Erickson seems more focused on winning a defamation case against Rep. Andrea Salinas regarding an ad she aired last cycle against him than he does on beating her in an election.

- In Idaho's 2nd District, incumbent Republican Mike Simpson is poised to win his primary and likely reelection this fall. With more than 60 percent of the votes counted, he leads his closest challenger, investment adviser Scott Cleveland, 57 percent to 34 percent. (Scott Cleveland is a great quarterback name, now that this politics thing doesn't seem to be working out.)

- In the special election in California's 20th District (former Speaker Kevin McCarthy's old seat), Assemblyman Vince Fong defeated fellow Republican Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. As a result, Speaker Mike Johnson will soon get an extra vote in the House.

—Monica Potts, Nathaniel Rakich, Kaleigh Rogers and Geoffrey Skelley, 538; Jacob Rubashkin, Inside Elections

Simpson prevails in Idaho

The AP is now projecting that Simpson has won the Republican nomination in Idaho's 2nd District. The story of Simpson's career is that he has been moderate enough to arouse significant discontent in primaries, but not enough discontent to make him lose. This time around, he's pulling 57 percent of the vote.

—Nathaniel Rakich, 538

Anchorage, Alaska, has ousted its conservative mayor

This election actually happened last week, but the outcome just became official today: Suzanne LaFrance has defeated incumbent Dave Bronson in the election for mayor of Anchorage, Alaska. Bronson belonged to a right-wing faction of city politics, while LaFrance aligned herself with Democrats. LaFrance is also the first woman elected mayor of Anchorage.

—Nathaniel Rakich, 538

Greater Idaho grows?

Elsewhere in Oregon, Crook County is poised to become the 13th county to vote to secede from the state and join Idaho. These ballot initiatives are non-binding advisory votes, but a large swath of the sparsely-populated eastern part of the state has voted in favor of secession since 2020.

—Irena Li, 538

Candidates of color to watch

Tonight, we'll be monitoring how candidates of color perform in primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives. Overall, 31 people of color are running in these contests — 27 Democrats and four Republicans.

The most high-profile primaries involving these candidates are arguably in Oregon. Jayapal, who is Indian American, faces a competitive primary in the state's 3rd District. One of her principal opponents is Morales, who is Latino. Meanwhile, in the 5th District, Bynum is seeking to become the first Black representative from Oregon. Two Latina incumbents in Oregon, Republican Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer and Democratic Rep. Andrea Salinas, should easily win renomination.

In Georgia, the main race of interest involving a person of color is incumbent Rep. David Scott, who faces six other Democrats of color in the majority-Black 13th District. Redistricting changed this seat significantly from the previous version Scott represented, but he's still probably favored. Flowers, who is also Black, is Scott's only challenger who really stands out, although he's not raised remotely as much as he did in 2022 or party activist Johsie Cruz Fletcher.

Elsewhere in Georgia, four Black incumbents — Democratic Reps. Sanford Bishop, Hank Johnson, Nikema Williams and Lucy McBath — all look set to win renomination in their solidly blue districts. Only McBath has any primary opposition, as she faces Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson and state Rep. Mandisha Thomas, who are both Black, in the redrawn 6th District. Johnson, meanwhile, can look forward to a November matchup against Republican Eugene Yu, a Korean American and perennial candidate who is unopposed for his party's nomination in the 4th District.

In some of Georgia's solid red seats, the Democratic nominees will also likely be people of color. In the 14th District, retired Army Gen. Shawn Harris, who is Black, has raised a few hundred thousand dollars and looks favored to advance to November, where Greene will be heavily advantaged. In the 12th District, either 2022 nominee Liz Johnson or Army veteran Daniel Jackson, both Black, will be the Democratic pick against Republican Rep. Rick Allen, who'll likely win reelection. In the 11th District, businessman Antonio Daza, who is Latino, may be favored to win the Democratic nod to face GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk, to whom Daza lost in the 2022 general election.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Richardson, who is Black, is the only person of color on a House primary ballot today in Kentucky; he's one of a few Democrats looking to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Andy Barr in the safely red 6th District this fall. No candidates of color are running today in Idaho.

—Geoffrey Skelley, 538