Crucial primary races to be decided Tuesday, setting up fight for balance of power

Trump endorsement on the line, Nancy Mace fights for political life in Tuesday's GOP House, Senate primaries

A last-minute endorsement by former President Trump in a key Republican Senate primary, a race to succeed a GOP vice presidential nomination contender, a high-profile Republican representative facing a second straight primary challenge, and a fight to face off with a vulnerable House Democrat.

These showdowns are all in the spotlight Tuesday as voters in Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Maine head to the polls to cast ballots in primary elections.

For a second straight election, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace is facing a fight for renomination in South Carolina's competitive Low Country-based 1st Congressional District.

Mace, who was first elected to the House in 2020, survived a primary challenge against a Trump-backed Republican two years ago. The former president had targeted Mace after she blamed him for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters aiming to upend congressional certification of President Biden's 2020 election victory.


Nancy Mace faces a second straight primary challenge

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks at the 13th annual South Carolina Prayer Breakfast on July 26, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Senator Tim Scott)

Fast-forward two years and Mace now has Trump's backing after she endorsed the former president and campaigned for him earlier this year in South Carolina's crucial GOP presidential primary.

But unlike two years ago, when then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had her back, the now-former House speaker is targeting Mace, who last year was one of eight House Republicans to break ranks and vote to oust McCarthy.


Around $9 million has been shelled out to run ads in the primary, according to the national ad tracking firm AdImapct. Nearly half of the money comes from McCarthy aligned outside groups that are targeting Mace.

Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Then-Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, was voted out of his role as House speaker. (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

But Mace, who's also backed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, has had roughly $3 million in outside spending on her behalf.

Mace's main rival is Catherine Templeton, the former head of the state health and environment department who unsuccessfully campaigned for governor in 2018.

Templeton is backed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Joe Wilson of the neighboring 2nd Congressional District. Besides Trump, Mace enjoys the support of current House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Mace has faced controversy as several of her congressional staffers quit late last year and early this year. And a former Mace chief of staff briefly launched a primary challenge against his former boss.

There's a third candidate in the primary race, and if no one wins a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff in two weeks.

Businessman Michael B. Moore and veteran Mac Deford are vying for the Democrat nod in the 1st District.

Two other GOP congressional primaries in South Carolina are worth watching.

In the 3rd District – in the northwestern corner of the Palmetto State – a crowded field of seven Republicans is competing for the nomination to replace Rep. Jeff Duncan, who announced in January that he would not seek an eighth two-year term. 

placeholderAnd in the 4th District in upstate South Carolina, three-term Rep. William Timmons faces a challenge from state Rep. Adam Morgan, who's running to Timmons' right.

In Nevada, Trump made a last-minute endorsement in the battleground state's Republican Senate nomination race.

Nevada Republican Senate candidates

Dermatologist and former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Dr. Jeffrey Gunter, left, former President Trump and former Army Capt. Sam Brown (State Department | Getty Images | Sam Brown for Nevada)

"Sam Brown is a fearless American patriot," the former president wrote in a social media posting Sunday night, hours before Tuesday's primary in the key western swing state. "As your next Senator, Sam will fight tirelessly to secure our Border, end Migrant Crime, stop Inflation, grow our Economy, STRONGLY SUPPORT OUR GREAT MILITARY/VETS."

Trump's endorsement, a couple of hours after he headlined a rally in Las Vegas, cemented Brown's status as the front-runner in a crowded GOP primary field in the fight to face off with Democrat Sen. Jacky Rosen in November in a race that may determine if Republicans win back the Senate majority. 


Brown is a former Army captain who was severely burned and permanently scarred in 2008 when his vehicle ran over an explosive device in the war in Afghanistan.

The Trump endorsement will boost Brown, who is making his second straight Senate bid, as he aims to fend off a crowded field of rivals, including Jeff Gunter, a wealthy dermatologist who served as the former president's ambassador to Iceland.

placeholderRosen, a first-term senator who the GOP views as vulnerable, faces two long-shot primary challengers.

Republicans need a pickup of one to two seats in November to win back the Senate majority.

There are also GOP primaries Tuesday for the Democrat-held but competitive 1st, 3rd and 4th congressional districts, which all include portions of the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Republicans are hoping to expand their current razor-thin majority in the House in November's elections.

Doug Burgum is on Donald Trump's running mate short list, sources tell Fox News

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks at a news conference with fellow Republican governors at an oil refinery in Chalmette, Louisiana, on June 3, 2024. (Fox News/Paul Steinhauser)

In North Dakota, Trump running mate contender and two-term Gov. Doug Burgum is not seeking a third term steering the heavily red state.

Burgum, who last year ran unsuccessfully for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination before endorsing Trump early this year, is backing Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller in the race to succeed him.

Miller is facing off against three-term Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who won the endorsement of the state GOP earlier this year as he runs for governor rather than for re-election to Congress.

In Maine, Republicans are once again targeting Marine Corps veteran and moderate Democrat Rep. Jared Golden, who is running for a fourth term in a mostly rural district won by Trump in both 2016 and 2020.

State Rep. Austin Theriault, a former NASCAR driver, and state Rep. Mike Soboleski, are facing off in Tuesday's GOP primary in the race to challenge Golden in the general election.

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