Kris Kobach Loses Kansas Senate Primary, Easing Republican Worries

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Kansas was one of several states, including Missouri, Michigan and Arizona, holding some of the last remaining primaries before November’s general election. It was a new test of the mail-in voting systems that many states are relying on during the coronavirus pandemic. The lack of immediate results in some places was yet another precursor of what is likely to unfold in November, when the reliance on absentee voting systems could delay results past Election Day.

That dynamic was evident on Tuesday in New York City, where, six weeks after Primary Day, the Board of Elections delivered long-awaited victories to two Democrats: Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old New York City councilman, who won a 12-way Democratic primary for a soon-to-be open House seat, and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a longtime incumbent. The expansive use of vote-by-mail in New York was viewed by some as a test of whether the nation is ready for November.

The contests nationwide on Tuesday were a microcosm of several political themes the parties are confronting, including the embrace of Republican candidates fashioned in the style of Mr. Trump and the left-wing push to unseat more centrist House Democrats.

On the Republican side, the Kansas Senate race in particular offered another reminder that the party divisions that existed before Mr. Trump won will persist even after he leaves office. That includes the disagreement between deeply conservative activists, who are skeptical of Washington and approve of the type of white identity politics Mr. Trump has embraced, and the party’s traditional establishment — many members of which have argued that such messaging hurts the party long-term.

One Republican House member, Representative Steve Watkins of Kansas, fell to a primary challenger, Jake LaTurner. Mr. Watkins had been charged with four counts of voter fraud last month, which capped off an embattled two years in Congress after he was elected in 2018. Mr. Watkins reportedly listed a UPS store in Topeka as his official residence on a change-of-address form for voter registration in 2019.

The success in Missouri of Ms. Bush, shows a new pathway for the left-wing efforts to remake the House Democratic caucus. Since 2018, progressives have found some success in heavily Democratic districts with a white incumbent and a majority-minority population, a pathway executed by successful House challengers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts and Jamaal Bowman in New York, who coupled the insurgent message of ideological change with an argument about racial representation.

Ms. Bush is the first example of that wing defeating a Black or Latino members of the party’s establishment. Earlier this year, other longtime Black caucus members in Ohio and New York also easily defeated challengers, and some members of the Congressional Black Caucus crowed that the party’s left wing could not threaten them. That is no longer true.