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Six questions on this big primary day

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.
Image:  Mike Pence, Brian Kemp
Former Vice President Mike Pence, headlines a Get Out the Vote Rally with Governor Brian Kemp, on the eve of Georgia's primary at the Cobb County International Airport on May 23, 2022, in Kennesaw, Ga.Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

If it’s Tuesday… It’s Primary Day in Georgia (where polling places close at 7:00 pm ET), Alabama (8:00 pm ET) and Arkansas 8:30 pm ET)… It’s also Runoff Day in Texas (where polls close at 8:00 pm ET in most of the state and at 9:00 pm ET in the most western part)… It’s also Special Primary Day in Minnesota (polls close at 9:00 pm ET)… President Biden departs Tokyo and returns back to the U.S… Mehmet Oz’s lead in PA-SEN primary is down to 987 votes as David McCormick sues to boost the mail-in ballot total… And two top GOP candidates for MI-GOV fail to submit enough valid signatures to make the ballot.

But FIRST… We have six questions to ask on this SEC Primary/Runoff Day.

1. What does it mean if Trump loses big in GA-GOV?

If the polling is correct, incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is headed for a big win in Georgia’s gubernatorial primary, while David Perdue and Donald Trump (who endorsed Perdue, gave him millions and starred in his TV ads) appear headed for a big loss.

In fact, it would be Trump’s third loss in a gubernatorial primary this month (following NE-GOV and ID-GOV).

While the former president remains the GOP’s leader, even after his 2020 defeat, falling flat on his face in Battleground Georgia – again – would definitely diminish his aura of invincibility.

2. What does Trump do on Wednesday?

This is maybe the more important question as is relates to the general election in Georgia. If Kemp wins tonight, does Trump endorse him? Does the former president keep quiet? Or does he actively try to help Kemp lose?

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 AL-SEN?

The GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby has turned into a true three-person race – among Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., former Shelby chief of staff Katie Britt and former Army pilot Mike Durant.

Durant told NBC News on Monday that he will endorse Brooks – if the runoff is between Britt and Brooks.

4. Just how close is AR-SEN?

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., endorsed by Trump, has gotten a primary challenge from former college football/NFL player Jake Bequette, who’s also an Army vet.

Bequette has gotten a boost from a super PAC called Arkansas Patriots Fund, which is funded by major GOP donor Richard Uihlein.

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

Overlooked in the moderate-vs-progressive race between incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar and challenger Jessica Cisneros are the general-election vulnerabilities of both candidates in this Biden +7 district.

Just how much of a general-election liability was that FBI raid on Cuellar’s home? Does Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren’s progressivism sell on the border?

Oh, and one more question for this race: Do Democrats who oppose some abortion rights have a home in today’s Democratic Party?

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

That’s on the line in today’s GOP runoff for Texas attorney general between incumbent Ken Paxton and George P. Bush, Jeb’s son.

Tweet of the Day

Data Download: The number of the day is $2.5 million.

That’s how much money has been spent on Republican ads in the GOP primary for Georgia secretary of state, per AdImpact, where incumbent Brad Raffensperger is facing Rep. Jody Hice, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. The race is a test of whether Trump’s supporters are still motivated by the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, per NBC News’ Adam Edelman.

Most of the ad spending – nearly $2.2 million — has been on ads to bolster Raffensperger, whose own campaign has spent $1 million on the airwaves. He’s also had support from two outside groups known as Americans Keeping Country First, which has spent $710,000, and Conservatives for Our Future, which has spent $429,000. Hice’s campaign has spent just $376,000 on ads.

Other numbers you need to know

$1.2 million: That’s how much more the RNC raised than the DNC in April, per the latest round of fundraising reports.

$3.2 million: How much more the DCCC raised than the NRCC in April, while the DSCC edged out the NRSC by just $100,000.

7: Almost how many years it’s been since Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was first charged with securities fraud in a case that has yet to go to trial.

41: The number of years since former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman was in the House. She is considering running again, in New York’s 10th District.

Midterm roundup: Five OTHER races we're watching

Yesterday, we highlighted five races we’re watching in Georgia. Today, we’re looking at five other races on the ballot that deserve a close look on this Primary/Runoff Day:

Alabama Senate GOP primary

Trump initially backed Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., in the race to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, but the former president rescinded his endorsement when it looked like Brooks was struggling. But Brooks has gotten a second wind, and the race, with three competitive candidates, is expected to head to a runoff (unless someone wins the majority of votes).

Along with Brooks, the other top GOP candidates include Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff, and Army pilot Mike Durant, whose experience as a prisoner of war in Somalia was portrayed in the film “Black Hawk Down.” Durant has largely self-funded his race, and there’s been a lot of outside groups involved, including one funded by GOP leadership and Shelby, has launched ads criticizing Brooks and backing Britt.

Alabama GOP gubernatorial primary

Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is facing a tough primary race this year. Eight candidates have decided to challenge her, but the most notable are former U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda “Lindy” Blanchard and businessman Tim James.

Blanchard and James are both challenging Ivey from her right flank, with Ivey defending herself by attacking Joe Biden and positioning herself as conservative on social issues.

Arkansas GOP Senate primary

Trump has endorsed GOP Sen. John Boozman, but that hasn’t stopped the right from going after the soft-spoken senator. Boozman’s primary opponent, former football player and Army veteran Jake Bequette, has mainly painted Boozman as a D.C. insider. Bequette also has had a boost from a super PAC called Arkansas Patriots Fund, which is funded by shipping executive Richard Uihlein, a GOP donor who has given millions to the conservative Club for Growth.

TX-28 Dem runoff

The most competitive runoff in the state this cycle pits two Democrats, incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar and challenger Jessica Cisneros, against each other in a closely watched battle.

Cisneros has out-raised the incumbent and outspent him on the airwaves. She’s attacked Cuellar’s record on abortion as well as for being caught up in an FBI investigation tied to Azerbaijan. And she’s backed by pro-abortion rights groups, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive elected officials.

Cuellar has accused Cisneros of wanting to cut Border Patrol funding and is more conservative on immigration. He’s backed by House Democratic leaders, including House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who campaigned with Cuellar in Texas earlier this month.

Texas GOP Attorney General runoff

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing a challenge from Land Commissioner George P. Bush. Paxton has faced multiple scandals and is still awaiting trial on securities-fraud charges after a 2015 indictment.

Despite that, Paxton gained the most votes in the March 1 primary, earning 42.7 percent of the vote, but Bush pushed him into a runoff. Paxton has Trump’s endorsement, while Bush is the nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail…

PA-SEN: Former hedge fund manager David McCormick filed a lawsuit Monday pushing officials to count mail ballots that were missing dates on the envelopes, as his primary against celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz remains too close to call. The PA GOP and the RNC plan to intervene in the lawsuit against McCormick, per the New York Times.

GA-GOV: Democrat Stacey Abrams is facing criticism after saying Georgia is “the worst state in the country to live,” citing the state’s low marks for mental health, maternal health and other statistics.

MI-GOV: The Michigan Board of Elections found that two of the top GOP candidates — former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and businessman Perry Johnson — didn’t submit enough valid signatures to make the ballot, per the Detroit News. Also in the race, the DeVos family, prominent conservative donors and activists in Michigan, is endorsing businesswoman Tudor Dixon.

NY-17: Progressive state Sen. Alexandra Biaggi will run for Congress in a primary against Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney, accusing him of putting his own personal political future ahead of helping to “maximize the number of seats New York” Democrats can win.

SC-1: During a debate last night, Republican ​​Lynz Piper-Loomis abruptly ended her primary campaign against GOP Rep. Nancy Mace, endorsing Trump-backed challenger Katie Arrington.

Ad Watch: Ohio Senate race heats up

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, is out with a scathing new ad blasting author J.D. Vance in Ohio’s Senate race.

In the ad, viewers hear a recording of Vance saying, “It may just be the case that a 55-year-old worker in Dayton, Ohio, who spent his entire life in manufacturing, he may not be able to find a good paying job for the rest of his working life. I think we maybe have to fess up to that and admit to that.”

Then, Ryan jumps in, saying, “Never. We’re bringing manufacturing back.” He adds later, “When J.D. Vance moved to San Francisco, he gave up on Ohio. I never will.”

ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world.

The House Ethics Committee will investigate Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., for allegedly promoting cryptocurrency and engaging in a relationship with an aide. The panel is also investigating GOP Reps. Alex Mooney of West Virginia and Ronny Jackson ofTexas, for misusing campaign funds.

Despite saying that he would militarily defend Taiwan if China invaded, President Biden walked back his comments on Tuesday, saying the U.S. policy on Taiwan hasn’t changed.

Democrats are launching a new multi-million super PAC with the goal of engaging Asian American voters, NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald reports.

New York City is making a pitch to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, per Politico.