Mitt Romney

New Hope for the Freedom Caucus in Tuesday's Primaries, Plus Trump Endorsements and Mitt Romney

A handful of primary races and runoffs in seven states hold a national significance.

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Americans in five states are heading to the polls on Tuesday to vote in primary elections. A handful of races in Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah, as well as a few primary runoffs in Mississippi and South Carolina, carry a national weight.

A Candidate for the House Freedom Caucus

The House Freedom Caucus suffered a noticeable loss earlier in the month after Rep. Mark Sanford (R–S.C.) was defeated by state Rep. Katie Arrington in the Republican primary for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. In the face of this loss, a challenger in the state's 4th Congressional District is offering to take Sanford's place.

Former state Sen. Lee Bright is competing against state Sen. William Timmons in a primary runoff for Rep. Trey Gowdy's (R–S.C.) soon-to-be vacant seat. Gowdy announced at the beginning of the year that he would neither seek reelection nor "any other political or elected office." Gowdy, who worked as a federal prosecutor before his time as a politician, said his skills "are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress."

Jim Bourg/REUTERS/Newscom

Upon announcing his run, former State Sen. Lee Bright promised that his first action in the House would be joining the Freedom Caucus. Bright said he "would be honored to join" just before touting support for legislation that would introduce congressional term limits.

Bright has received endorsements from members of the Freedom Caucus as well as from conservative and libertarian organizations such as the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and the National Association of Gun Rights. Timmons has also received significant endorsements, ranging from Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) to several South Carolina politicians.

Mitt Romney Seeks a Comeback

Mitt Romney and Utah state Rep. Mike Kennedy are facing off to see who will take over Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R–Utah) Senate seat. Hatch (R–Utah) announced his retirement in January after spending over 40 years on Capitol Hill. Hatch promised in 2012 that his seventh term would be his last, but a few of his comments regarding an eighth term led to speculation over whether or not the sentiment was sincere. Hatch ultimately made his decision, but not without dropping Romney's name first.

"I can see why he might not want to do it, but I can also see why if he did it, it would be a great thing for America," Hatch said earlier in the year, as reported by the Deseret News.

For the past year, Romney, who was previously a Massachusetts governor and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, made himself clear that he wasn't finished with politics just yet. Should he win Tuesday's primary against Kennedy, he's expected to beat Salt Lake County Councilmember Jenny Wilson, the Democratic nominee.

President Trump Makes His Endorsements

President Trump gave his "full endorsement" to Rep. Dan Donovan (R–N.Y.), the incumbent in the race for New York's 11th Congressional District. Donovan faces former Rep. Michael Grimm (R–N.Y.), who held the seat before pleading guilty to tax evasion in 2014.

While Grimm's prison time and felony conviction followed him on the campaign trail, Donovan's campaign enjoyed a tweet published by Trump in May.

Donald Trump, Jr. and Rudy Giuliani, who is currently fulfilling a role as Trump's lawyer, followed suit by recording robocalls for Donovan.

Trump also endorsed Romney back in February, despite a history of personal disagreements between the two. Still, the president called Romney a "great Senator" on Twitter.