GOP notches wins beyond Trump endorsements: The Note

It's worth remembering Mace survived by embracing Trumpism.

June 15, 2022, 6:03 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

They’re not necessarily the biggest names on the ballot. But primaries on Tuesday may have produced some of the most impactful results for the fall and beyond – even without former President Donald Trump taking down one of his top targets.

Trump again swung and missed in opposing Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., who secured the GOP nomination over Trump-endorsed Katie Arrington. But it’s worth remembering that Mace survived by embracing Trumpism even after earning Trump’s wrath.

A different fate befell Rep. Tom Rice, who represents a redder district adjacent to Mace’s but dug in after his vote to impeach Trump. Rice got blown out against Trump-endorsed Russell Fry – who cleared the 50% threshold to become the first Republican to defeat an impeachment-backing incumbent this cycle.

PHOTO: Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Sam Brown stands in a campaign office in Las Vegas, June 14, 2022.
Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Sam Brown stands in a campaign office in Las Vegas, June 14, 2022.
John Locher/AP

Meanwhile, in Texas, Republicans achieved a true rarity: flipping a heavily Latino and historically Democratic district in a special election, shaving the House majority in advance of November. The winner, Mayra Flores, will only serve half a year and will run in a more Democratic district this fall, but there’s no doubting that GOP messaging appeared effective in a bluer slice of what’s still a red state.

And the biggest prizes for MAGA-aligned forces could come in Nevada. Trump-backed Adam Laxalt emerged as the GOP nominee for Senate, and the Republican candidate for secretary of state, Jim Marchant, won after flatly saying he would not have certified President Joe Biden’s win in the state.

That matters for a range of big reasons – not least the likelihood that Nevada will be in play in 2024. Whether or not Trump is on the ballot then, his political movement will remain well-represented through the midterms.

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

A bipartisan piece of legislation aiming to provide more security for family members of Supreme Court justices is heading to President Joe Biden’s desk despite more than two-dozen members of his own party voting against it in the House.

But the opposition from those 27 lawmakers focuses less on principle and more on context. The group voting “no” stretched across several segments of the party including New Jersey Democrats, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and progressives.

The group of New Jersey lawmakers opposed the bill because they wanted the intended security protections to extend to federal judges and their families. Their votes came out of the 2020 murder of New Jersey federal Judge Esther Salas’ son, who was shot and killed by a man who had appeared before his mother in court, before finding her home address through an online search.

"We fully support expanding security for Supreme Court Justices and their families. We also firmly believe that those expanded protections should apply to federal judges and their families, who face similar threats, with less protective resources,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

FILE PHOTO: In this file photo, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks during his ceremonial public swearing-in, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2018.
In this file photo, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks during his ceremonial public swearing-in, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2018.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Meanwhile, other lawmakers were pushing for the inclusion of added security for abortion providers after a leak of a draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Among those opposed to Tuesday’s legislation was Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, who brought forth that proposal.

The bill, first approved unanimously by the Senate a month ago, was passed by the House nearly a week after a man was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home and charged with attempted murder of the Supreme Court justice, ABC News’ Lalee Ibssa and Luke Barr report. Amid the stalemate over the legislation, Republicans accused Democrats of delaying taking up the bill amid new threats to Supreme Court justices, a sentiment that was heightened with the recent arrest.

“There will be a bill, but nobody is in danger over the weekend because of our not having a bill,” House Speaker Pelosi said on Thursday, drawing rebuke from across the aisle.

"The justices are protected. This issue is not about the justices, it's about, it's about staff and the rest," she added.

The TIP with Hannah Demissie

House Republicans' goal of building momentum ahead of November is taking shape in southern Texas, where Mayra Flores won the special primary election in Texas' 34th special primary Tuesday night.

"This win is for the people who were ignored for so long," Flores said in a statement on Twitter. "This is a message that the establishment will no longer be tolerated! We have officially started the red wave!!"

Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez to secure her spot in Congress for the next five months. In a statement on Twitter, Sanchez said that several factors played into his loss, including receiving "little to no support from the National Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."

Flores' win comes after a messy campaign season stemming from former Rep. Filemon Vela's resignation from office in March to work as a lobbyist in the private sector. Vela previously announced his decision not to seek reelection in 2022.

PHOTO: Congressional candidate from Texas Mayra Flores participates in the news conference in Washington, May 17, 2022.
Congressional candidate from Texas Mayra Flores participates in the news conference in Washington, May 17, 2022.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images, FILE

Vela’s resignation created the perfect storm for Republicans who hoped to pick up the Texas House seat and demonstrate their growing support across the heavily Latino, blue stronghold.

Democrats chose to forgo investing in the race in favor of looking toward competing in a bluer district in the fall once under newly redistricted borders. Meanwhile, national Republican groups poured money into the race– spending more than $1 million in hopes of building momentum ahead of November.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy congratulated Flores on Twitter for her historic win.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

28. That’s the percentage of Americans who named political polarization as a top issue facing the U.S. in the latest FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll, which was conducted from May 26 to June 6. Read more from FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley and Holly Fuong on why Americans are so concerned about polarization, which has not typically ranked as a top concern.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins Wednesday morning with Columbus City School system special education coordinator, Traci Arway, on a new state bill allowing teachers to carry guns after 24 hours of training. Then, ABC’s Will Carr details the damage from flooding at Yellowstone Park. And, ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis explains the latest shakeups in the cryptocurrency market. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Joe Biden has lunch at 12:15 p.m. in the private dining room with Vice President Kamala Harris. Then, the president and first lady Jill Biden host a reception and deliver remarks celebrating Pride Month at 4 p.m. in the East Room, with Harris, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in attendance.
  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hold a press briefing at 3 p.m.
  • At 9:30 a.m., the House Veterans Affairs' Committee convenes for a hearing to review President Biden’s strategy to reduce veteran suicide by addressing economic risk factors.
  • At 10 a.m., the House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on the "Current Status of ISIS and al Qaeda."
  • At 10 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes for a hearing to examine protecting America's children from gun violence.
  • At 11:30 a.m., the House Rules Committee holds a hearing to discuss the tools needed to combat gun trafficking and reduce gun violence in communities
  • At 2:30 p.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes for a hearing to examine the impact of consolidation on families and consumers, focusing on baby formula and beyond.

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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back on Thursday for the latest.

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