Primary recap: Charlie Crist to challenge Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Jerry Nadler wins NY Democratic primary – USA TODAY

WASHINGTON— Few surprises unfolded Tuesday night as voters cast ballots in the last slate of closely watched primary races before November’s midterm elections. 
Florida Rep. Charlie Crist will go head-to-head with the state’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this fall after fending off Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the state’s Democratic primary for governor.
Democrats are hoping Crist, a long-time politician who previously served as Florida’s Republican governor before switching his allegiance to the Democratic party, to snuff out DeSantis’ 2024 presidential aspirations early on — or at least deflate them a bit.
Florida Rep. Val Demings will face Sen. Marco Rubio in November, as well, after a landslide Democratic primary victory. 
2024 preview: New Florida laws for primary could make it harder to cast ballots
In New York, Rep. Jerry Nadler prevailed against Rep. Carolyn Maloney after the two high profile Democrats were forced to face off thanks to a state court’s decision to combine their two congressional districts. Both U.S. representatives have nearly 30 years of congressional experience under their belts and staunchly liberal voting records.
New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney narrowly prevailed against state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in the Democratic primary for U.S. House. 
Plus, in selecting Democrat Maxwell Frost as the Democratic nominee for Florida’s 10th U.S. congressional district, Sunshine State voters laid the groundwork for Frost to become the first Gen Z member of Congress.
In another blow to progressives Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones, one of the first openly gay Black members of Congress, was ousted by former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman in the Tuesday primary for New York’s 10th Congressional District. 
Jones, a freshman, earned just 18.2% of the vote, falling behind both Goldman (25.8%) and New York State Rep. Yuh-Line Niou (23.7%). The primary was a crowded field, with nine other candidates also running for the spot.
Jones represents the New York suburbs but decided to run in a city-based district after new congressional boundaries were drawn.
Goldman, who received the New York Times’ endorsement, served as counsel to House Democrats in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment inquiry. Jones was backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called him “a respected progressive voice on Capitol Hill and a relentless fighter for working families.”
Republican Scott Esk, the Oklahoma state legislator who previously made violent remarks against gay people, lost his primary against Gloria Banister for a state House seat. 
Banister fended off Esk with 57.9% of the vote to Esk’s 42.1%, with 99% of the vote counted.
In the weeks leading up to the race, Esk drew headlines for old Facebook comments he made in which he wrote that gay people are “worthy of death” and “we would be totally in the right” to stone them. He has defended the comments that he made in 2013, which surfaced when he unsuccessfully ran for a different House seat in 2014.
—Ella Lee
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin won Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff for one of Oklahoma’s U.S. Senate seats, making him a likely favorite to win the seat U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is leaving early after nearly 30 years in office.
Mullin, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, defeated former Speaker of the Oklahoma House and banking executive T.W. Shannon after the two advanced from a 13-candidate Republican primary field in June. Because Inhofe is retiring early, Mullin will serve the remaining four years left on Inhofe’s term.
“Thank you for giving our family this opportunity,” Mullin, 45, said at a watch party in Tulsa, surrounded by his wife and six children. “It’s not just me you’re electing. It’s a family affair.”
Mullin, who topped the primary field with nearly 44% of the vote, earned former President Donald Trump’s endorsement shortly after the primary.
— The Associated Press
New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney narrowly prevailed against state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in the Democratic primary for U.S. House. 
Maloney had received about two-thirds of the vote when the race was called by the Associated Press, leading Biaggi 66.7%-33.3% with just under half the votes counted.
The race was mired in intraparty controversy from the start. When New York’s congressional districts were redrawn, Maloney’s district was split between the 17th and 18th districts, and his home was drawn into the 17th. He chose to run in the new map’s 17th congressional district, which pushed out that district’s incumbent, rising progressive star Rep. Mondaire Jones. 
Jones moved to another part of New York City and is running in a newly drawn district. But the shuffle drew frustration from progressives, who put up a primary opponent for Maloney.
Biaggi had the backing of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said that Biaggi “knows what it takes to go up against powerful opponents.” Maloney, who is also chair of the Democratic party’s fundraising committee, acknowledged last month that he could have “handled it a lot better,” according to Daily News.
—Ella Lee
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New York voters chose Rep. Jerry Nadler over Rep. Carolyn Maloney in a dramatic New York primary between the high-profile Democrats, who were forced to face off after a state court combined their two congressional districts. 
Nadler easily outpaced Maloney, earning 56% of the vote to her 24.7% with just under half the votes counted.
Nadler received a surprise endorsement from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last week, who broke with the rest of the New York delegation that had remained largely silent about the intraparty fight.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised Maloney for being a “deeply respected leader” and  “champion for integrity” while also congratulating Nadler on his win following the election results. 
Maloney’s “longtime public service will be profoundly missed in the Congress and by her constituents and the country,” Pelosi said in a statment. 
Nadler has represented Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and Maloney the Upper East Side, for 30 years. Both candidates chair House committees — Nadler the House Judiciary Committee, and Maloney the House Oversight Committee — and have staunchly liberal voting records. 
—Ella Lee
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Incumbent Florida Republican Rep. Dan Webster narrowly defeated Laura Loomer, a far-right provocateur in Florida who’s been banned on some social media networks because of anti-Muslim and other remarks.
The race was unexpectedly tight; Webster received 50.7% of the vote to Loomer’s 44.5%, with just over 95% of votes counted.
Loomer, a nationally known activist who sought to align herself with former President Donald Trump unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2020 for a Palm Beach-area seat that includes Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort. She received endorsements this cycle from former Trump adviser Roger Stone and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. 
—Ella Lee, Associated Press
Florida voters chose Maxwell Frost as the Democratic nominee for Florida’s 10th U.S. congressional district, setting him up to be the first Gen Z member of Congress.
The 25-year-old candidate won 34% of votes, with just under 80% of votes counted.
Frost, a former March for Our Lives organizer, beat out nine other Democrats running to replace U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who is running for U.S. Senate. 
—Ella Lee
Polls closed in New York at 9 p.m. ET, in the final primary races of the night. 
The redrawing of the state’s congressional district map pits two House committee chairs with 30 years of experience against each other, plus a rising star in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing against the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which fundraises for House candidates. 
— Ella Lee
Rep. Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, slammed current Gov. Ron DeSantis as an “extremist” and “wannabe dictator” in his victory speech Tuesday night. 
“Gov. DeSantis only cares about the White House,” Crist said. “He doesn’t care about your house.”
DeSantis is thought to be mounting a 2024 presidential campaign, raising the stakes of Florida’s gubernatorial race this fall for Democrats who hope to snuff out his aspirations early on. 
Crist previously served as Florida’s Republican governor more than a decade ago before switching his allegiance to the Democratic Party in 2012.
—Ella Lee
Crist, 66, previously served as the Sunshine State’s Republican governor more than a decade ago before switching his allegiance to the Democratic Party in 2012. His primary challenger was 44-year-old Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. 
Backed by the Democratic establishment, Crist led Fried by 60.2%-35.0%, with 76.2% of votes counted.
The pressure is on for Democrats to beat DeSantis this fall, who is purportedly laying the groundwork for a 2024 presidential run. 
— Ella Lee
Florida’s primary election: A referendum on Ron DeSantis after governor gets heavily involved
Democratic Rep. Val Demings will face Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in November for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat in a race that is expected to be closely watched this fall. 
Demings, who currently represents Florida’s 10th congressional district, easily outpaced three other Democrats in Tuesday’s primary: former Florida state Rep. Brian Rush, attorney William Sanchez and entrepreneur Ricardo De La Fuente. She received 85.3% of the vote, with 75.4% of votes reported.
Rubio has been a member of the U.S. Senate since 2011.
—Ella Lee
Oklahoma polls closed at 8 p.m. ET, with vote counting beginning in three run-off elections. 
The premier race Tuesday will determine whether a Republican candidate for the U.S. House who once wrote that gay people are “worthy of death” and that “we would be totally in the right” to stone them will assume a seat in Congress. 
—Ella Lee
Two loyalists of former President Donald Trump who both have embraced his false claim that he won the 2020 election face off Tuesday in a contest that will likely decide Oklahoma’s next U.S. senator.
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a plumbing company owner, and T.W. Shannon, a former speaker of the Oklahoma House and a bank executive from Oklahoma City, were the top two vote-getters in June’s 13-candidate Republican primary, but neither topped the 50% threshold needed to win the nomination outright. Mullin, who topped the field with nearly 44% of the vote, earned Trump’s endorsement shortly after the primary.
Mullin and Shannon are seeking to replace retiring 87-year-old U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a fixture in Republican politics in Oklahoma since the 1960s who has held the U.S. Senate seat since being elected in 1994. Inhofe is leaving before his six-year term is finished, so his replacement will serve for four years.
—Associated Press
Florida’s polls are the first of the evening to close at 7 p.m. ET. 
The races will determine the Democratic challengers of two Republican firebrands, Sen. Marco Rubio and the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis. 
—Ella Lee
Two county executives are competing to see who gets to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in New York’s 19th Congressional District until the end of the year.
The special election taking place Tuesday pits Republican Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, against his Ulster County counterpart, Democrat Pat Ryan.
The two hope to succeed former U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, who vacated the seat earlier this year to become lieutenant governor.
The current 19th District, which will be realigned for the regular election in November to reflect U.S. Census numbers, includes parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties, and all of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties.
– Jeff Murray, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Four Florida Democrats will face off Tuesday to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for his U.S. Senate seat this fall, and four other Democrats are vying for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ job.
But DeSantis and Rubio will face no opponents from their own party. There are no Republican primaries Tuesday for Florida’s gubernatorial or Senate races because no Republicans sought to challenge the well-known conservative firebrands who already hold the posts. 
That’s not to say Republicans won’t turn out to vote, both in other state races and this fall. For the first time in modern history, the Sunshine State has more registered Republicans (5.2 million) than Democrats (5 million).
— Ella Lee
Polls in New York close at 9 p.m. ET. In Florida, polls close at 7 p.m. ET.
Oklahoma polls close at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET).
Florida election laws: In 2024 preview, new Florida laws for primary could make it harder to cast ballots
OKLAHOMA CITY – Republican Scott Esk, 56, who faces Gloria Banister in Oklahoma House District 87, has made headlines lately for old Facebook comments he made in which he wrote gay people are “worthy of death” and “we would be totally in the right” to stone them.
He has defended the comments that he made in 2013, which surfaced when he unsuccessfully ran for a different House seat in 2014.
When contacted this week, Esk complained about a 2014 article about him in The Oklahoman that he called a “hit piece,” although he did not elaborate on the content of the story. Esk declined an interview about his campaign and directed The Oklahoman to videos he posted on his YouTube page.
– Carmen Formen, The Oklahoman
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Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is facing a serious primary challenge Tuesday from a progressive-leaning state legislator who is calling him out for his role as chief of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The DCCC, which is trying to defend its House majority this fall, has drawn criticism from multiple Democrats for buying attack ads in the Michigan Republican primary this year. The ads spotlighted a contender who denied the 2020 election results.
Maloney’s opponent, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, has blasted the strategy as out-of-touch for that and other reasons.
“Just weeks ago Sean Patrick Maloney asked for DCCC donations to protect Roe — and then used the money to prop up an anti-choice election denier in Michigan,” Biaggi said in an Aug. 16 tweet.
“Voters are tired of DC politicians demanding donations and lying about where the money will go.”
For this part, Maloney defended the game plan on ‘Meet The Press’ this past Sunday, saying how his “job is to win elections” for the party and that in the Michigan GOP primary the “weaker candidate” won giving Democrats a chance to pick up a seat this fall.
– Phillip M. Bailey
Who is Biaggi?: Alessandra Biaggi wants to win NY’s 17th District seat and has AOC’s backing. Who is she?
Who is Maloney?: Who is NY Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney? He’s got support of Bill Clinton, Pelosi
Floridians will cast their primary ballots Tuesday under new voting restrictions a judge once said were designed “to target Black voters,” the first such federal election under the new law.
Voting rights advocates say the new rules make it harder to request and turn in absentee ballots and register voters as well as making it easier to challenge votes once cast. But supporters say the new rules are needed to combat voter fraud.
The primary will not only serve as a preview of presidential elections in 2024, but it will also test ideas about who should be able to vote, and how easily, in what has become one of the most electorally important states in the country.
For more about the election changes and their impacts, read here.

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