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Tuesday’s primaries answered some questions but also raised some new ones

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, speaks during his election night party in Atlanta on May 24, 2022.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, speaks during his election night party in Atlanta on May 24, 2022.Elijah Nouvelage / Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — If it’s Wednesday ... At least 19 children and two teachers were killed in school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, re-igniting the political debate over guns. … President Biden delivers remarks on the shooting: “As a nation we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?”… Gov. Brian Kemp routs Trump-backed David Perdue in Georgia Governor's GOP primary. ... Brad Raffensperger also wins his GOP primary. ... Katie Britt and Mo Brooks advance to runoff in Alabama Senate. ... Henry Cuellar leads Jessica Cisneros in Texas-28 runoff by 177 votes. … And George P. Bush gets blown out in Texas-AG primary. 

But first: Tuesday was supposed be all about political primaries and runoffs. Instead, we’re grappling again with another mass shooting — this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed. 

The coming days will be dominated by questions of how and why and what next. 

For now, we’re also looking into the results of yesterday’s primaries. So here are the answers to the six questions we posed on Tuesday about the primaries and runoffs in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas.

1. What does it mean if Trump loses big in Georgia Govenor? 

Well, it turned out there was no “if” about it. 

Gov. Brian Kemp’s 74 percent-to-22 percent victory over the Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue was the most-lopsided primary loss for a sitting or former U.S. senator since Kay Bailey Hutchison’s 2010 loss to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (that margin was 51 percent to 30 percent) or when Frank Murkowski finished third for Alaska governor (getting 19 percent of the vote).

Lesson No. 1: We not only learned that Trump can be defeated in races he wants to be all about litigating his 2020 presidential defeat. We learned that he can be defeated by more than 50 points. 

Lesson No. 2: Georgia GOP voters are ready to move on from litigating Trump’s election lies and making 2020 a singular fireable offense for elected Republican officials. Is Trump ready to listen?

2. What does Trump do on Wednesday? 

So far, the former president has yet to weigh in on Perdue’s loss — in which Trump campaigned for Perdue, gave him millions of dollars, and starred in his TV ads.  

As we said yesterday, how Trump eventually responds — does he endorse Kemp, stay silent or actively try to help Kemp lose — could play a significant role in the general election matchup against Democrat Stacey Abrams. 

Remember, this is what Trump said back in September: “Of course having [Stacey Abrams], I think, might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know what I think. Might very well be better.”

3. Who makes the likely runoff in Alabama Senate? 

We got our answer: It’s Katie Britt (who got almost 45 percent of the vote) and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. (who got 29 percent). 

Former Army pilot Mike Durant finished third at 23 percent. 

The Britt-Brooks runoff takes place on July 26. 

4. Just how close is Arkansas Senate?

It wasn’t close enough to get the race into a runoff. Incumbent Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., defeated GOP primary challenger Jake Bequette, 58 percent to 21 percent. 

5. Are Democrats in trouble in South Texas, regardless of who wins Texas-28 runoff? 

As of publication time, incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, leads progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros by 177 votes.

If Cuellar hangs on, he’ll face Republican Cassy Garcia, who won her own GOP runoff last night. 

In this tough political environment for Democrats, a Biden +7 district like TX-28 will be competitive in the fall, especially in an area like South Texas where Republicans made significant gains in 2020. And especially with that FBI investigation hanging over Cuellar’s head. 

6. Does the Bush political dynasty come to an end?

Yes — at least in the foreseeable future. 

Incumbent and scandal-ridden Attorney General Ken Paxton defeated Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the Republicans’ AG runoff, 67 percent to 33 percent. 

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 51

That’s at least the number of deadly school shootings since the start of 2013, according to NBC News’ count. (The deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. was in December of 2012.)

Not including the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday (where at least 19 children and two teachers were killed), another 73 people have been killed and 132 injured in school shootings since the start of 2013.  

Other numbers you need to know

4: The number of Trump-endorsed candidates who lost their primaries on Tuesday.

21: The number of Trump-endorsed candidates who won their primaries on Tuesday (14 of them were incumbents).

$1 billion: How much money crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried said he could spend on the 2024 election, which would be a record-breaking sum, per NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald.

9: The number of Army bases named for Confederate officers that have new names recommended by a congressional commission. 

Midterm roundup: The results are in

Here are some other key results from Tuesday’s primaries, with NBC News’ projection in parentheses, as they stand now: 

Georgia Secretary of State (GOP): Brad Raffensperger 52 percent (winner), Jody Hice 33 percent. 

Alabama Governor (GOP): Kay Ivey 54 percent (winner), Lindy Blanchard 19 percent, Tim James 16 percent.

Arkansas Governor (GOP): Sarah Huckabee Sanders 83 percent (winner), Doc Washburn 17 percent.

Georgia-07 (Dem): Lucy McBath 63 percent (winner), Carolyn Bourdeaux 31 percent. 

Georgia-06 (GOP): Rich McCormick 43 percent (runoff), Jake Evans 23 percent (runoff). 

Georgia-10 (GOP): Mike Collins 26 percent (runoff), Vernon Jones (runoff) 22 percent.

Texas-15 (Dem): Michelle Vallejo 50.1 percent, Ruben Ramirez 49.9 percent (too close to call).

Texas-28 (GOP): Cassy Garcia 57 percent (winner), Sandra Whitten 43 percent.

Texas-30 (Dem): Jasmine Crockett 61 percent (winner), Jane Hope Hamilton 39 percent. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Arizona Senate: The Washington Post reports that billionaire Peter Thiel is upping his investment in support of Blake Masters, adding $3.5 million to the $10 million he already invested in a super PAC backing Masters. 

Georgia Senate: Democrats are gearing up to attack Herschel Walker, now the GOP nominee, over several controversies surrounding the former college football star, starting with a web video from the Democratic Party of Georgia, per NBC News’ Marc Caputo and Henry Gomez.

Iowa Senate: Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is going up with his first television ad buy of this cycle, just under $200,000, per AdImpact, starting today. Grassley’s first ad slams Democratic control of Washington and features all images of all three Democrats running against him.

New York-19: Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado is resigning Wednesday to become New York’s lieutenant governor, giving Democrats 220 members in the House until the results of a forthcoming special election. 

Ad watch: And we’re off in Georgia Governor

The Georgia’s gubernatorial ace is kicking off now that Kemp has defeated Perdue, and the Republican Governors Association Georgia 2022 PAC wasted no time launching a new ad today attacking Democrat Stacey Abrams.

“Typical Stacey Abrams. She believes only she knows what’s best,” a narrator says in the ad, which criticizes Abrams on a range of issues including Covid-related closures and taxes. The ad also features an image of Abrams sitting mask-less with children who were wearing masks (she later apologized for removing her mask). 

“In Stacey Abrams’ Georgia, it’s all about her, not you,” the narrator says. 

Abrams also launched a new TV ad Wednesday morning, going with a positive spot that features Abrams cooking with her family.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order on reforming police practices. 

Steven Dettelbach, Biden’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will face the Senate Judiciary Committee today for his confirmation hearings. 

An ISIS operative allegedly plotted to kill former President George W. Bush, per an FBI search warrant affidavit, NBC News’ Tom Winter, Ken Dilanian and Pete Williams report.