South Carolina, Nevada primaries and Ohio special election: Nancy Mace, Sam Brown win

Democrats nearly won a safely Republican congressional seat.

Last Updated: June 12, 2024, 12:35 AM EDT

June 11 was another packed primary day, as voters in South Carolina, Maine, North Dakota and Nevada weighed in on who will make the ballot this fall. We had our eyes on a slew of Republican primaries on Tuesday, including several competitive contests for U.S. House seats, as well as contests to pick Nevada's GOP Senate nominee and effectively pick the next governor of North Dakota.

In South Carolina, Rep. Nancy Mace's Trumpian pivot didn't cost her, as she handily fended off an establishment-aligned primary challenger. Fellow incumbent Rep. William Timmons, who was looking vulnerable after an infidelity scandal, also came out ahead in a closer race against his right-wing challenger. In North Dakota's At-Large Congressional District, Julie Fedorchak became the first non-incumbent woman this cycle to win a GOP primary for a safely red seat. In Nevada, Republican voters chose Sam Brown as their candidate to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen this fall.

Finally, a special election is set to give House Republicans one more seat of breathing room, as voters in Ohio's 6th District filled the seat vacated by Rep. Bill Johnson's departure in January — though not without some unexpected suspense.

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.

Latest headlines:

Here's how the news is developing.
Jun 12, 2024, 12:35 AM EDT

That’s a wrap!

Well, it’s unclear when we’re going to know the winners in the last few Nevada races, so we’re going to call it a night. Here’s a roundup of what happened in June 11’s key races:

- In the special election in Ohio’s 6th District, Republican state Sen. Michael Rulli defeated Democratic Air Force veteran Michael Kripchak, but by a shockingly narrow margin (9 points). Trump won this district by 29 points, so Democratic enthusiasm was really high here.
- In South Carolina’s 1st District, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace survived her second straight contested GOP primary as an incumbent, and by a much more comfortable margin than two years ago. Mace will face businessman Michael Moore (no, not that one) in the general election, where she’ll be the heavy favorite.
- In South Carolina’s 3rd District, the Republican primary is going to a runoff, with the top two candidates — Trump-endorsed pastor Mark Burns and Air National Guard Lt. Col. Sheri Biggs, who finished neck-and-neck — facing off again in two weeks.
- In South Carolina’s 4th District, Rep. William Timmons barely beat back a strong primary challenge from tea party Republican state Rep. Adam Morgan.
- Up north in Maine’s 2nd District, former NASCAR driver and current state Rep. Austin Theriault easily clinched the GOP nomination over his colleague Michael Soboleski. Now Theriault will race against Democrat Jared Golden, the Blue Dog who’s held this seat since 2018.
- In North Dakota, the Republican primary for governor was projected early, with Rep. Kelly Armstrong pulling quickly ahead of Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller. And the contested GOP primary for the state’s open at-large congressional district was projected for Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.
- For U.S. Senate in Nevada, Army veteran Sam Brown scored an easy win in the Republican primary. He’ll face Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen this fall in what will be one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate races.

Sen. Jacky Rosen waits to speak during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Brightline West Las Vegas, April 22, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Finally, here’s the status of the three unprojected races in Nevada.

- Nevada’s 1st District looks like it will be a rematch, with 2022 nominee Mark Robertson leading the Republican primary for the right to once again face incumbent Democratic Rep. Dina Titus. However, Flemming Larsen could still win the GOP nomination too.
- In the crowded Republican primary in Nevada’s 3rd, conservative columnist Drew Johnson has a narrow lead over former state Treasurer Dan Schwartz. "Halo" composer Marty O’Donnell, the establishment pick, is in a surprising third place.
- In Nevada’s 4th, former North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee appears to have the inside track over Air Force veteran David Flippo.

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

Jun 12, 2024, 12:26 AM EDT

Final thought: Anti-abortion candidates win in deep-red districts

Tracking anti-abortion candidates again in tonight's primaries, I'm thinking about how some of these races will shape the issue this fall. In deep-red districts, Republican voters often choose from a slate of anti-abortion candidates. But many of their extreme positions are unpopular overall, and that could make a difference in competitive races. That may be why candidates that are less extreme on the issue are winning in primaries like Nevada's Senate race — Brown has championed a more moderate position, and his wife has opened up about an abortion she had when she was younger. Likewise, the anti-abortion candidate in Nevada's battleground 3rd District is far behind. The issue might not always rank at the top for voters in surveys, but the GOP seems willing to be a bit more moderate in races where an extreme anti-abortion candidate could turn voters off.

—Monica Potts, 538

Jun 12, 2024, 12:22 AM EDT

Final thought: Did Republican women turn a corner?

As we've been documenting this primary cycle, the GOP is badly trailing Democrats when it comes to endorsing and nominating women in primaries, especially primaries where they can win in November. Tonight marked a milestone for the GOP, with Fedorchak — the projected winner in North Dakota's At-Large Congressional District — becoming the first non-incumbent Republican women to win an open primary for a safe red seat.

GOP women saw another, albeit smaller, victory with Biggs advancing to a runoff in South Carolina's 3rd. That said, her competitor, Burns, has Trump's endorsement, which doesn't bode well for her. All told, tonight's races will do little to add more women to the GOP conference.

—Meredith Conroy, 538 contributor

Jun 12, 2024, 12:21 AM EDT

Final thought: Dreaming of Appalachia

I'm still struck by what we saw go down in Ohio's 6th District tonight. A sleepy special in such heavily Republican territory — we're talking a very white, rural, blue collar district with vanishingly few college graduates — should not have that kind of result absent something larger going on underneath the surface. I'll be interested to see what Ohio guru Kyle Kondik writes in the coming days about the results we've seen, and as I mentioned earlier, I want to see if Democrats turn in another big overperformance in Colorado later this month. And not for nothing, but Biden's actually been polling decently in Ohio relative to his numbers elsewhere? So perhaps there's something to Scranton Joe's resilience in the Rust Belt. We'll see!

—Jacob Rubashkin, Inside Elections

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