Southern primaries Tuesday in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas (round two) feature a handful of Republican-held House districts facing a competitive Democratic challenge come November.
Republican incumbents are running in Arkansas’ four congressional districts, and none face a serious primary challenge.
The strongest Democratic fundraising has come in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, where two Democrats — Clarke Tucker and Paul Spencer — are seeking to oust two-term Republican incumbent Rep. French Hill, who’s raised over $1.5 million to reclaim the state’s lone competitive congressional district race.
In 2016, Trump carried Hill’s district by 11 percentage points. It was the only Arkansas district that Trump didn’t win by over 30 points. Voters last elected a Democrat to the 2nd District seat in 2008.
Arkansas will hold a July 24 runoff for primaries without a majority winner.
In Georgia, Republicans hold 10 of the state’s 14 congressional districts, none of which have open races. Two of the Republican-held districts — Georgia’s 6th and 7th — are considered competitive, however.
In Georgia’s 6th District, two Democrats have spent roughly $750,000 combined ahead of Tuesday’s primary. The winner will face Republican Karen Handel, who is running unopposed Tuesday after defeating a deep-pocketed challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election last year.
In the 7th District, Democrat David Kim has outraised and outspent four-term Republican incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall. But Kim will face two other well-funded Democrats — Carolyn Bourdeaux (who is endorsed by EMILY’s list) and Ethan Pham — and three others running in the party’s primary.
Georgia will hold a July 24 runoff for primaries without a majority winner.
Two-thirds of the $9.4 million raised by candidates running in Kentucky’s six congressional districts is concentrated in one place, the Lexington-area district held by Republican Rep. Andy Barr.
Barr will face the winner of the 6th District’s Democratic primary featuring two candidates — Amy McGrath and Jim Gray — with substantial funding.
McGrath has raised $2 million, of which $1.7 million was spent in the six-candidate primary. Gray spent nearly $900,000, however, and has another $400,000-plus in the bank. Another Democrat, Reggie Thomas, spent over $300,000 in one of the pricier House primaries this year.
None of the senators from Kentucky, Arkansas or Georgia is up for reelection.
Six Republicans and two Democrats departing office this year have left Texas with eight open House seats in November. Republicans currently represent 25 of the state’s 36 congressional seats. Four of those seats are expected to be competitive in the General Election, and each will hold primary runoffs on Tuesday.
The most competitive House race is for the Houston-area congressional district represented by Republican incumbent Rep. John Culberson. The district is considered a toss-up in November, according to Cook Political Report, adding weight to the result of Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff.
In March, Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher finished ahead of runner-up Laura Moser in the district’s seven-candidate Democratic primary. With two female candidates running in a district Hillary Clinton won in 2016, the winner will look to oust Culberson, who has represented the district since 2001.
The race gained national attention ahead of the March primary after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made moves to block Moser from advancing to the runoff. Fletcher also received nearly $250,000 in outside support from the Women Vote! super PAC.
Of Texas’ eight open House seats, only this question mark-shaped district, which splits Austin and San Antonio, offers an opportunity for Democrats in November.
In the Republican primary runoff, Chip Roy will face Matt McCall. Roy, a former staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz, has outraised and outspent McCall and won the March 6 primary with 27 percent of the vote to McCall’s 17 percent. He’s also benefited from roughly $870,000 in outside support.
On the Democratic side, Austin minister Mary Wilson will face Joseph Kopser, an Army veteran and entrepreneur who finished second to Wilson in March despite his $1 million fundraising advantage.
The primary winners will compete to replace retiring Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, who represented the district since the 1980s.
Rep. Will Hurd is another vulnerable House Republican this November. On Tuesday, Gina Ortiz Jones and Rick Trevino will square off in a Democratic primary for the state’s rural southwest district.
The presumed favorite is Jones, a former Air Force Intelligence officer, who won 41 percent of the vote in March and would be the first openly gay woman of color to represent Texas. Trevino, a former high school teacher, garnered 17 percent.
She’s raised roughly $1.2 million (to Hurd’s $2.3 million) and benefited from another $311,000 in outside support.
This Dallas-area district represented by two-decade Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions is another seat with the potential to flip.
In the Democratic runoff, attorney Colin Allred will face Lillian Salerno. Allred has raised almost $1 million and won 38 percent of the vote to Salerno’s 18 percent in March. Salerno, a former USDA Rural Development appointee under Obama, has raised just over $660,000.