IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch speaks to supporters during a campaign event at Kavanaugh's Esquire Club on Aug. 8, 2022, in Madison, Wis.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch speaks to supporters during a campaign event at Kavanaugh's Esquire Club on Aug. 8, 2022, in Madison, Wis.Scott Olson / Getty Images

5 races to watch Tuesday

Voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont head to the polls Tuesday.

By , and

Four states are holding primaries Tuesday, setting up battleground match-ups and potentially history-making candidacies. 

Voters will head to the polls in Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin, which will host one of the most closely watched contests in the GOP primary for governor. The Badger State is also hosting a Democratic primary to take on GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, but the top candidates dropped out in recent weeks and coalesced around Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

Here are five races to watch on Tuesday: 

Wisconsin governor’s race

The battle to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is largely between two main candidates — former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and businessman Tim Michels. Both had been polling neck and neck, but some last-minute endorsements have elevated this race and turned it into another proxy war between the establishment and the Trump wing. 

Michels, a construction businessman, is backed by Trump, while former Vice President Pence responded by backing Kleefisch, who served as the number-two to former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have backed Kleefisch as well.

The third top candidate in the race is state Assemblyman Tim Ramthun, who has tried to rescind the state’s electoral votes and spread unfounded claims the 2020 election was stolen. 

Special election in Minnesota

Minnesota’s 1st District is hosting a special election to replace the late GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died in February after battling cancer. Former state Rep. Brad Finstad is competing against Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Jeff Ettinger, a former CEO of Hormel Foods. Ettinger, who has self-funded his campaign, has outspent Finstad on the airwaves, per AdImpact. 

Trump won the district 10 points in 2020, per the Cook Political Report, which rates the special election Likely Republican.

Vermont House primary

Democratic Rep. Peter Welch’s decision to run for Senate opened up his House seat, which represents the entire state in Congress. Top two Democrats vying to replace him include Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and state Senate President Becca Balint, who have led the primary field in fundraising and ad spending. Balint, who has been endorsed by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has had some help on the airwaves from the LGBTQ Victory Fund. 

Whoever wins the primary would be favored to win in November, and either woman would make history as the state’s first female representative in Congress. Balint would also be the first openly gay person to represent Vermont in Congress as well.

Minnesota’s 4th District

Longtime Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum is facing a well-funded primary challenge from Amane Badhasso, a community organizer and Ethiopian refugee. 

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Badhasso has called for a “new generation of progressive Democrats,” arguing lawmakers like McCollum are “status quo Democrats” who have not addressed issues of climate change, systemic racism and income inequality. The deep blue district is expected to remain in Democratic hands. 

Minnesota’s 5th District

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is facing a formidable primary challenger in former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels. Samuels has been endorsed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s editorial board and he raised more than Omar in the first three weeks of July. However, at the time pre-primary reports were filed with the Federal Election Commission, Omar had more cash-on-hand.