Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks at the National Press Club in D.C. on Nov. 15. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks at the National Press Club in D.C. on Nov. 15, 2019. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

With primaries complete or near completion, the 2022 midterms have shaped up as a reckoning for someone with control of the U.S. House and Senate at stake at a time when conservatives have asserted their will to stop or topple left and progressive goals.

Many pundits have already conceded that the GOP will dominate the midterms but gubernatorial seats also remain at stake.

For some, it remains a question as to which way – or how – former President Donald Trump will influence the outcome.

In Ohio, the Trump-backed J.D. Vance emerged victorious in the primary against Josh Mandel. Vance not only had the backing of Trump, but he’s also a right-wing conservative who espouses the “replacement theory” conspiracy.

That extreme-right ideal catalyzed the self-avowed white supremacist Payton Gendron to murder innocent Black people in Buffalo’s May 14 supermarket shooting.

Vance will square off in the general election against Tim Ryan, who entered Congress in 2003 and has represented Ohio’s 17th Congressional District since 2013.

Trump’s influence could be a factor in Pennsylvania, where television doctor Mehmet Oz has the former president’s support. However, at press time, the race remained too close to call. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, recently revealed he suffered a stroke but maintained his position as the frontrunner in his Senate race.

In Georgia’s Senate race, former NFL running back and Trump-backed candidate Herschel Walker likely will win the Republican nomination and square off against Democrat Raphael Warnock. 

The latter ascended to Capitol Hill after a hotly-contested 2021 runoff.

Democratic Rep. Val Demings hoped to unseat the Trump-backed Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida, but polls currently showed the Republican with the lead.

A stunning loss in the GOP race for Congress in North Carolina saw incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn concede defeat to state Sen. Chuck Edwards. Cawthorn received late support from Trump.

Across the country in Oregon, longtime Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader could lose his seat to progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Schrader, seeking an eighth term in Congress, received an endorsement from President Biden. 

Three dozen states will elect a governor, including in Michigan, where Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whiter will face several Republicans, including former Detroit Police Chief James Craig. 

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf faces term limits leaving Democrats to hope veteran politician and current state Attorney General Josh Shapiro can fend off the Republican’s choice, state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Shunned by Trump and endorsed by Trump’s former vice president Mike Pence, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appears to be the favorite to win the primary against the Trump-backed Sen. David Purdue.

The winner squares off against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Although Abrams endured a razor-thin loss to Kemp in 2018, she galvanized thousands of voters which could improve her chances this year. 

A Democrat hasn’t governed Georgia in 20 years. Most credit Abrams’ work for President Joe Biden winning the state in 2020 and propelling Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate in 2021.

“Having [Abrams] might be better than having your existing governor if you want to know the truth,” Trump said during a rally last year.

“Stacey, would you like to take his place?” Trump railed. “It’s OK with me.”

Texas and Florida are among the races that are sure to grab headlines, where the incumbents closely mirror the modern conservative movement.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott seeks a third term and his politics included busing immigrants to Washington, D.C., blocking mask and vaccine mandates and pushing laws against abortion.

He’ll face Beto O’Rourke, a popular former three-term congressman who lost to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who some say has gained more sway over the party than Trump, also has opposed vaccine and mask mandates, pushed policies that have fanned racial flames and fought with Disney.

Charlie Crist, a Democrat who as a Republican served as governor from 2007 to 2011, will likely be DeSantis’ opponent.

Arizona, Illinois, Kansas and Maryland also count among the states with gubernatorial elections this year.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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