Trump Gets Revenge in South Carolina, GOP Wins Texas Democratic Stronghold

Live Updates
  • Primary season continued Tuesday with elections in four states: Nevada, South Carolina, Maine and North Dakota. Former President Donald Trump and economic woes loomed over key races.
  • In South Carolina's GOP primary, the former president's chosen candidate toppled a House Republican who voted to impeach Trump. However, another GOP representative survived her primary after spurring a Trump-backed challenger.
  • Meanwhile, Mayra Flores is on track to become the first Latina Republican to represent Texas in the House. Flores won a special election in a heavily Democratic and Latino district, another ominous sign for Democrats.
  • Bruce Poliquin won Maine's Republican primary for a politically mixed House seat currently held by a Democrat. The district voted for Trump in 2020.
  • In Maine, former Republican Governor Paul LePage was unopposed in the primary as he seeks to return to his old job. LePage's brash and confrontational style predated Trump's presidency.

Sanchez Blames the Democratic Party for his Loss

Following his defeat in special election for a vacant South Texas House seat, Dan Sanchez blamed his loss on a lack of support from the Democratic Party among other forces.

The Associated Press has called the race for Republican Mayra Flores, who avoided a runoff with Democrat Sanchez after securing more than 50 percent of the vote.

The special election was held to replace Filemon Vela, who resigned from the heavily Latino seat that includes Brownsville and parts of the south Texas coast. Vela had easily won the seat since 2012 after it was created following the 2010 redistricting.

Republicans were pleased at Flores' victory, seeing it as indication they could unravel the Democrats' House majority. But Sanchez said in a statement that there was more at play, and he was "outspent by millions of dollars from out of state interests and the entire Republican machine."

"Too many factors were against us, including little to no support from the National Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," he said.

Sanchez also noted that the district will see its borders redrawn after a new political map goes into effect. He said he was confident a Democrat would again represent the area.

Nancy Mace to Win Primary Race for South Carolina House Seat

Representative Nancy Mace has fended off a challenge from a Donald Trump-endorsed candidate in the South Carolina Republican primary.

The Associated Press projects that first-term representative Mace will win her party's nomination over state legislator Katie Arrington. The most-recent count had Mace with 53 percent of the vote to Arrington's nearly 45 percent.

Although Mace didn't vote to impeach Trump last year, her criticism of the former president was enough to spur a primary challenge. Mace had the backing of former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Mace beat a Democratic incumbent for the seat in 2020. She will face Democrat Annie Andrews in the general election.

Poliquin to Win GOP Nomination For Maine House Seat

Bruce Poliquin, a former state treasurer and congressman, is on track to win the Republican primary race for a Maine House seat the GOP is keen to flip.

The Associated Press has projected that Poliquin will prevail over small business owner Elizabeth Caruso in the Republican primary for Maine's 2nd Congressional District.

Poliquin, who previously served in the House between from 2015 to 2019, will take on Democratic Representative Jared Golden, who ran unopposed in his primary.

Golden beat Poliquin in 2018 in the first congressional race decided by rank-choice voting. The district voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

Caruso conceded the race with a statement posted to Twitter.

Trump-Endorsed Russell Fry Beats Tom Rice in South Carolina Race

Donald Trump has gotten payback on Representative Tom Rice for voting to impeach the then-president after last year's Capitol riot.

Russell Fry, a state legislator backed by Trump, has prevailed over Rice in South Carolina's Republican primary Tuesday night. The Associated Press projects that Fry will win the primary.

The current vote count has Fry with 51 percent of the vote, over twice that of Rice, who was first elected to the House in 2012. Fry's victory is another primary win for Trump who has continued to shape the Republican party after leaving office.

Top House Republican Calls Texas Election for Mayra Flores

Votes are still being counted in a special election for a vacant Texas House seat, but a top congressional Republican has already congratulated the GOP candidate.

Representative Elise Stefanik, House GOP Conference chair, congratulated Mayra Flores on her "HUGE" victory in the closely watched election in the Democratic-leaning South Texas district.

"Mayra's win is historic and inspiring, as she is the FIRST Mexican-born woman elected to Congress," wrote Stefanik. "I look forward to working with Mayra to fight for the America First agenda!"

Hours after polls closed in Texas, the race still hasn't been called. But the count has Flores with 51 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff with Democrat Dan Sanchez. According to the unofficial results, all 11 counties and 99 percent of polling locations are reporting.

If the results hold, Flores' victory will flip the blue district with a large Latino population to red. A win for Flores' would be another signal that Democrats will face a difficult midterm election this fall.

Sanchez has not posted statements to social media conceding the race.

Democrat Joe Cunningham to Win South Carolina Governor Primary

Joe Cunningham, a former Democratic representative, is on track to win his party's nomination for governor of South Carolina.

CNN projects Cunningham will overcome four primary opponents to get his party's nod for the candidacy. The most-recent vote count had Cunningham with 56 percent of the vote.

Cunningham will face Republican Governor Henry McMaster, who easily won his primary. The state hasn't elected a Democrat as governor since 1998.

Previously, Cunningham served one term representing a district that includes much of the state's coast after narrowly beating Republican state legislator Katie Arrington in 2018. He narrowly lost reelection in 2020 to Republican Nancy Mace.

Mace is currently in a primary battle with Arrington to keep her seat.

Adam Laxalt Holds Election Night Party at Casino

With Nevada in its final hour of voting, Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt prepared for his election night party in a venue synonymous with the state.

A former state attorney general backed by Donald Trump, Laxalt tweeted earlier Tuesday he would hold his election night party at the Tamarack Casino's ballroom in Reno. According to the tweet, doors opened at 6 p.m. PT, an hour before polls are set to close in the state.

Laxalt, who is favored to win his primary, is seeking to challenge Democratic incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in the swing state. But first, Laxalt will have to overcome Sam Brown, a retired Army captain and Purple Heart recipient who is also vying for the Republican nomination.

Brown tweeted a photo of him and his wife arriving at the polls with their children, saying it was important that they "experience one of our most important rights as Americans."

Clyburn, McMaster Cruise to Easy Victories in South Carolina

South Carolina's incumbent Republican governor and the longest currently serving member of its congressional delegation won their primary races Tuesday.

Henry McMaster is projected by The Associated Press to win the Republican nomination as he seeks re-election as governor. The most-recent vote count had McMaster with a commanding 84 percent of the vote over challenger Harrison Musselwhite.

Democratic Representative Jim Clyburn is also projected to his party's primary, with the most-recent count putting him at 90 percent of the vote over two challengers. Clyburn, who currently serves as House majority whip, has held his seat since 1993 representing parts of central and eastern South Carolina.

Polls closed in Texas, Maine

Voters have had their chance to cast votes in primaries in Maine, as well as the special election for Texas' 34th Congressional District.

In Texas, where polls closed at 7 p.m. CT, voters have cast ballots in a special election to determine who will complete the term of a Democratic representative who resigned in April.

The district, which President Joe Biden won by five points in 2020, runs east of San Antonio and includes Brownsville and extends the Gulf Coast. The outcome is seen as a test for congressional Democrats who face an uphill battle this fall.

The frontrunners include Republican Mayra Flores, who has the backing of Texas Governor Gregg Abbott. A recent poll has ahead of former Cameron County Commissioner Dan Sanchez who is seeking the Democratic nomination.

In Maine, polls closed at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Among closely watched races in the state, former Representative Bruce Poliquin and small business owner Elizabeth Caruso are competing to take on Democratic Representative Jared Golden.

Nancy Mace Watches Returns at South Carolina Country Club

As polls closed in South Carolina, Republican Representative Nancy Mace was watching results come in from a country club overlooking the Charleston Harbor.

Mace earlier tweeted an invitation to her election night watch party at Patriot Points' Golf Club, which on its website boasts of its golf course and views.

The first-term representative is facing a primary challenge from Donald Trump-backed challenger Katie Arrington. Although Mace did not vote to impeach Trump following the January 6 insurrection, she has clashed with the former president.

Early counts in South Carolina show Mace ahead of Arrington with over two-thirds of just over 2,000 votes counted so far.

Trump-Like Maine Governor Candidate Seeks Second Act

Paul LePage, a former Maine governor whose confrontational style predated Donald Trump's presidential bid, is seeking a return to his old job.

The sole Republican gubernatorial candidate on Maine's primary ballot, LePage was known for his tumultuous two terms as governor of the state between 2011 and 2019. During that time, LePage drew national headlines for racially inflammatory remarks, claims of a "stolen election" and an antagonistic posture towards legislative Democrats.

LePage said in April 2020 that he would run again for governor over COVID-19 restrictions imposed by his Democratic predecessor, Janet Mills.

Mills is seeking reelection and has no primary challengers. Sam Hunkler, who is unaffiliated with a party, is also running for the office.

LePage was twice elected to the governor's office with under 50 percent of the vote. In each election, an independent candidate also took a large share of the vote.

South Carolina Primary Wraps Up As Polls Close

Polls have now closed in South Carolina as Tuesday's primary elections come to an end.

Polls were open for 12 hours, beginning at 7 a.m. ET. In-person voting on Tuesday followed the state's first early voting period, which wrapped up last week.

New legislation signed into law in May by Governor Henry McMaster enabled every voters in the state to cast their ballot in person without needing a pre-approved reason to do so. Election officials then invited registered voters to vote early between May 31 and June 10.

More than 100,000 people took advantage of the new law during that early voting window, according to the South Carolina Election Commission.

As polls close in South Carolina, voting is still underway in the Maine, Nevada and North Dakota primary elections, as well as in Texas' special election. Polls will close last in Nevada at 7 p.m. PST.

South Carolina primary polls close
People cast votes for the midterm primary elections on June 14, 2022 in West Columbia, South Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Trump's Birthday Filled With Election Challenges

Former President Donald Trump recently urged his supporters to give him "two birthday presents" by voting Tuesday for the candidates he has endorsed in South Carolina's primary elections.

Trump, who turned 76 on Tuesday, has endorsed several Republican candidates ahead of this year's midterm elections. Tuesday's biggest tests for his chosen candidates are in South Carolina and Nevada.

Republican Rep. Tom Rice is running for re-election in South Carolina's 7th District, where he is facing six other GOP candidates. One of the politicians running against him is Russell Fry, whom Trump endorsed after Rice voted to impeach Trump from office last year.

Rice was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching Trump and is first from that group to face a Trump-endorsed candidate this election season.

Another congressional race in South Carolina pits a Trump-backed candidate against a Republican incumbent. While Rep. Nancy Mace did not vote to impeach Trump, she did criticize the former president for his actions on the day of the Capitol riot. Trump endorsed Republican challenger Katie Arrington in Tuesday's race.

Trump separately encouraged his supporters in Nevada to gift him a birthday victory by voting for former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. If Laxalt wins the Republican primary on Tuesday, he will face sitting Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in November.

Another competitive race in Nevada is its gubernatorial election, where sitting Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak is running for re-election. While several candidates are running in Nevada's Republican primary, it is Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo who received an endorsement from Trump earlier this year.

Trump-endorsed Russell Fry Could Face Runoff

A runoff election may occur in South Carolina following Tuesday's primary election if none of the candidates running to represent their state's 7th District receive a majority of the votes cast.

Incumbent Republican Tom Rice is running for re-election for the first time since voting to impeach former President Donald Trump last year. Rice is facing fellow Republican Russell Fry, who was endorsed by Trump earlier this year, and five other candidates in South Carolina's Republican primary.

The two most well-known candidates in the congressional race are Rice and Fry, according to Ballotpedia. Recent polling indicated Fry was leading in most voter surveys conducted in the weeks before the primary election, although results were mixed from one survey to the next.

In order to advance to the midterm election this fall, one of the candidates listed on the ballot must receive a majority of the votes cast. If none of the candidates do, a runoff election will be held in two weeks.

Russell Fry could face runoff election
House of Representatives candidate Russell Fry speaks to a crowd during a rally with former U.S. President Donald Trump at the Florence Regional Airport on March 12, 2022 in Florence, South Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Trump 'Is Not the Future' of the GOP, Tom Rice Says

Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina, a Republican facing a primary election challenge on Tuesday, said he does not believe former President Donald Trump is his party's future.

"I think that Donald Trump is not the future of the Republican Party," Rice said while speaking with NBC News before Election Day. "I think, you know, he was a consequential president, and we accomplished things that lifted all people up while he was president. But I, I think he is the past, and we need to move on."

Rice was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Rice is now facing a primary challenge and is the first from that group of GOP impeachment voters to run against a Trump-backed candidate.

Trump endorsed Republican Russell Fry in the race against Rice earlier this year.

When asked by NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard if a primary loss could be attributed to his impeachment vote, Rice responded by saying, "I'm not going to lose tomorrow."

The congressman went on to say he believes conversations he has had with voters about why he voted to impeach Trump have "gone very well."

"That impeachment vote was the conservative vote," he told Hillyard. "You can't have the executive branch attacking the legislative branch, wiping their feet on the Constitution, and say that that's conservative."

Tom Rice primary election
Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) addresses reporters during a press conference to unveil the Joseph H. Rainey Room in the in the U.S. Capitol on February 3, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Tom Rice in Primary Battle After Impeachment Vote

Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina is facing his first primary election since voting to impeach former President Donald Trump last year.

Rice, who represents South Carolina's 7th District, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of the former President's impeachment following the riot at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Rice is the only Republican from that group of 10 facing an election today. He is also the first from that group to run against a candidate endorsed by Trump.

Recent polling has indicated the race is tight between Rice and Republican challenger Russell Fry, whom Trump endorsed in February. A runoff election could occur if neither candidate gets at least 50 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday's election.

Rice's primary battle is being widely observed as a test of support for the former President and the candidates he endorses. The race is also a test of how voters will handle a Republican incumbent who broke with Trump by voting for his impeachment.

As South Carolina entered its final hours of voting on Tuesday, Fry posted a reminder of the time that polls close and encouraged his supporters to help him "take this district" back. He added a mention of his opponent through use of a "#frytherice" hashtag.

When Polls Close in Each State

There are a few more hours left to vote in Tuesday's primary elections.

Here is when the polls close in each state tonight:

South Carolina: 7 p.m. Eastern Time

Maine: 8 p.m. Eastern Time

Texas: 7 p.m. Central Time

North Dakota: Either 7 p.m. Mountain Time or 8 p.m. Central Time, depending on the time zone your district is in

Nevada: 7 p.m. Pacific Time

When Polling Stations Close
Poll workers Ron Jezowski and Peggy Langdale adjust a table with a voting machine during midterm primary elections on June 14, 2022 in West Columbia, South Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Over 100K People Voted Early in South Carolina

More than 100,000 people in South Carolina cast ballots early ahead of Tuesday's primary election.

Earlier this spring, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed legislation that allows all voters in his state to vote early without needing an approved reason.

The new law "created a more convenient, easier and secure way for voters to cast their vote," Executive Director Howard Knapp of the South Carolina Election Commission said earlier his month.

Election officials then invited voters who wished to cast their ballots early to do so between May 31 and June 10. By the time the state's new early voting window closed last week, an estimated 100,450 people had voted, the state election commission said.

Primary election voting resumed in South Carolina on Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET.

South Carolina early voting totals
People cast votes for the midterm primary elections on June 14, 2022 in West Columbia, South Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Trump Says America's Economy is 'in the Gutter'

Former President Donald Trump took aim at the Biden administration and reiterated his claims of voter fraud in a lengthy response to the "sham" investigation from the House Select Committee on Jan. 6.

In a 12-page written document, Trump said our nation in "suffering" and our economy is "in the gutter."

"Inflation is rampant. Gas prices have reached an all-time high. Ships are unable to unload cargo. Families cannot get needed baby formula," he wrote, adding that the United States is "an embarrassment around the world."

He blames Democrats, lead by President Joe Biden, adding that "America prospered" under his administration.

Trump also said Americans want a change in leadership.

"America is crumbling, and Democrats have no solutions," Trump said. "Our nation has no hope of change for the better under Democrat leadership. People are desperate."

Trump reiterated his unproven claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential election, including ballot trafficking. As primary elections continue across several states Tuesday, Trump said he is watching the races carefully ahead of the general elections.

"As we near the midterm elections, we're watching the Swamp creatures circle the drain as true Americans step up to replace the corrupt Establishment with patriots who will fight for our freedoms," he wrote.

Trump has endorsed several candidates running in today's primary and primaries over the past few weeks who will face off against Democrats in general elections this fall.

He said the "establishment" is "holding on as tightly" to their power as they watch it "slip form their grasp."

"Our country is in a nosedive," Trump wrote. He said the issues facing the country are "100 percent caused" by Democrats who "obtained power through a rigged election."

Trump on Biden Economy
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on May 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming. The rally is being held to support Harriet Hageman, Rep. Liz Cheney’s primary challenger in Wyoming. Chet Strange/Getty Images

Texas Special Election Comes Weeks After Uvalde Shooting

Texas is holding a special election Tuesday to fill a Congressional seat left vacant by a resigning Democrat.

Representative Filemon Vela announced his resignation in April from his seat in Texas' southern 34th Congressional District, which covers east of San Antonio to Brownsville, along the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday's election will determine who will take over the seat for the remainder of the term. Republicans are hoping to flip the seat, sending a message for the general election in the fall. President Joe Biden won the district by five points in 2020.

The leading candidate is Republican Mayra Flores who is endorsed by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott. She leads over her nearest Democratic challenger, former Cameron County Commissioner Dan Sanchez, by 43 percent to 34 percent, according to a recent RH Elections/Poll Project USA poll.

This comes just three weeks after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Flores, who Abbott praised for her "strong conservative values," did not back calls for gun control in the wake of the shooting. Instead, she called for armed guards and metal detectors.

Sanchez did press for a series of changes to gun laws, such as raising the minimum age a person can purchase a firearm to 21 and increasing background checks.

There are two other candidates running for the seat, Democrat Rene Coronado and Republican Juana Cantu-Cabrera. If none of the candidates win a majority of the votes, the race could go on to a runoff.

Regardless of who wins the seat, the district will not exist for much longer. The 34th District will disappear under a newly redrawn map which will end up massively favoring the Democrats come November.

Representative Vicente Gonzalez, who currently represents the 15th Congressional District, will be the Democratic nominee in November after winning the primary for the redrawn district with more than 64 percent of the vote.

More Nevada Republicans Than Democrats Voted Early

Early voting numbers shared by the Nevada Secretary of State's office showed low early voter turnout in the days leading up to the state's primary elections.

According to state data updated on June 6, more than 111,000 residents cast ballots during Nevada's first week of early voting. More than 71,000 of those votes were cast by mail and the rest were cast in person. The state's early voting period ran from May 28 through June 10.

A greater number of Republicans than Democrats voted early during that first week of voting, the data shows. About 57 percent of the early in-person ballots were cast by registered Republicans, who also cast about 36.7 percent of the early mail-in ballots received. The data demonstrates a gap of about 4,000 between the number of early votes cast by registered Republicans than Democrats.

The Nevada Current reported that the low early voter turnout for this year's primary election stands in sharp contrast with the 2020 primary, when all voters were permitted to cast their ballots by mail.

State election officials estimated earlier this month that Nevada had 1,821,058 active voters heading into this year's election season.

Voter Fraud Claims from 2020 Return in Nevada Race

Controversies surrounding the 2020 Presidential election have gained a foothold in Tuesday's secretary of state primary election in Nevada.

Republican Barbara Cegavske, Nevada's current Secretary of State, is not running for re-election due to the state's existing term limits. Last spring, Nevada's Republican Party voted to censure Cegavske because the party said she "put the reliability of our elections in Nevada in question" during the 2020 election, The Nevada Independent reported at the time. Cegavske maintained there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in that election despite allegations made by members of her party.

The secretary of state primary election taking place on Tuesday finds several Republicans running for the chance to participate in this fall's midterm elections.

In addition to lingering memories of the dispute between Cegavske and members of the Nevada GOP in the wake of the 2020 election, one of the more prominent candidates running to replace her has questioned the legitimacy of that election. Jim Marchant, who is endorsed by the Nevada Republican State Convention, has referred to Nevada's election system as "fraudulent" and said he intends to make changes if he becomes the state's top election official, according to CNN.

Other Republicans running for secretary of state in Tuesday's primary have similarly expressed support for the integrity of local elections, according to the Associated Press.

Average Gas Price Hits Record $5 in U.S.

The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit a record $5 per gallon on Monday, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

By Monday, AAA reported the national average gas price hit $5.01.

California remains the state with the highest statewide average gas prices at over $6.40 per gallon, as of Tuesday. Nevada—where voters are heading to the polls on Tuesday—was second at over $5.60 per gallon. Alaska, Illinois and Oregon rounded out the top five states with the highest statewide average gas prices, each recording costs above $5.50 per gallon.

Maine and North Carolina, both of which are holding primary elections on Tuesday, also recorded record-high statewide average gas prices on Tuesday. South Carolina, another state with elections on Tuesday, recorded a new record-high statewide average gas price on Sunday.

Gas prices have been reaching new record highs across the U.S. in the wake of Russia's war with Ukraine. Rising gas prices and inflation in general are both considered top issues heading into this year's midterm election season as voters raise concerns about the rising cost of living.

Gas prices new national record
Gas prices over $7.00 a gallon are displayed at a Chevron gas station on May 25, 2022 in Menlo Park, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former Congressman Seeks Rematch in Maine

Two Republicans are battling to take on the Democratic incumbent for a Congressional seat in Maine.

Democratic Representative Jared Golden is running for re-election unopposed. Former Representative Bruce Poliquin and small business owner Elizabeth Caruso are squaring off in the primary to flip the seat in the general election this fall.

Poliquin is a businessman who served as Maine State Treasurer before becoming a Congressman.

Maine's 2nd Congressional District is a rural area that tends to be politically mixed. The district voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

Golden beat Poliquin in 2018 in the first Congressional election decision by rank-choice voting in U.S. history.

Poliquin argued that he really won the race based on the "one person, one vote" election process since he was leading after he initial vote count.

In Maine's 1st Congressional District, Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree is running unopposed in her primary. She is expected to win her eighth term in deeply blue district.

Polls in Maine are open until 8 p.m. ET.

Michelle Obama Encourages 'Every American' to Vote

The day before Tuesday's primary elections, Michelle Obama encouraged every American old enough to vote to actively participate in the country's democratic process.

The former first lady delivered a speech focused on the importance of voting on Monday as part of the Culture of Democracy Summit in Los Angeles. The summit was put on by the nonpartisan initiative When We All Vote, which Obama created.

"I'd love to be able to tell you that everything is as it should be, that we have nothing to be afraid of," Obama said during her keynote speech. "To stand up here, clear my throat and say, 'the state of our democracy is strong.' But you and I, we all know that I can't say that right now. It has been a hard, hard few weeks for our country."

Obama touched upon several of the nation's recent mass shootings, new voting restrictions that have become law in a handful of U.S. states and the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building last year.

"I don't know about you, but I am tired. I am tired of the way our democracy is treated, how it's glorified as an idea but neglected in action," Obama said.

Obama said Americans "need to stop playing the same old song" and pursue a new "strategy" for approaching democracy. It is important for Americans to vote and maintain a general engagement with and awareness of developments in American democracy, Obama said.

"If you don't vote, other people will," she said. She added that "nothing happens overnight" and that "big changes happen over decades, over generations."

"I want to implore every American who cares about our democracy not to just get angry or dejected, I want you to get active," she said. "I want you to get creative. We've got to change the way we think about our democracy, and we've got to change the way we participate in it."

Biden Promises to Cut Food, Gas Prices

High food, gas prices and rising inflation is top of mind for many voters heading to the polls today.

Amid mounting criticism of his economic policies, President Joe Biden said he has "never been more optimistic" about America.

During a speech in front of a friendly crowd at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Tuesday, Biden highlighted his administration's accomplishment in job creation.

"I don't want to hear anymore of these lies about reckless spending," he said. "We're changing people's lives."

He said his economic plan to to build up the middle and working class and get billionaire and large corporations to pay their fair share in taxes. This runs in contrast to the policies of former President Donald Trump and the "MAGA" Republicans in Congress to benefit the wealthy, Biden said.

Despite his accomplishments, Biden said there is still a lot of work to be done.

"Jobs are back, but prices are still too high," he said. "COVID is down, but gas prices are up. Our work isn't done."

Food and gas prices will come down, Biden said, but it will take time.

He said Americans now have a choice to make, between a government "by the few, for the few" or a "government for all of us, Democracy for all of us, an economy for all of us."

Biden said he will curb the "Putin gas price hike." He said gas prices have gone up "because of nothing else but" Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.

In addition to releasing oil reserves, Biden said he is working with European partners to get grain blocked by Russians out of Ukraine. He said partners are working to build silos on Ukraine's border to get 20 million tons of grain locked in Ukraine out to the rest of the world market by rail in order to bring food prices down.

While inflation has gone up, Biden said he will bring down other costs "come hell or high water."

This includes insulin and other prescription drug prices, preschool and childcare costs and rent, mortgage and internet prices.

He also called on Congress to pass his clean energy bill that will "immediately lower the average cost of energy cost $500 a year" and make American energy independent.

"I truly believe we've made extraordinary progress by laying a new foundation for our economy which becomes clear once global inflation begins to recede," Biden said.

Biden Speech to Labor Union
US President Joe Biden speaks at the 29th AFL-CIO Quadrennial Constitutional Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on June 14, 2022. NICHOLAS KAMM//AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Producer Prices Up 11% in May

As voters in four states prepared to cast ballots in Tuesday's primary elections, a new report from the Department of Labor signaled that inflation continues to play a significant role in the U.S. economy.

The monthly report assessed the producer price index in May and found producer prices had jumped 10.8 percent compared to this time last year. Producer prices serve as an indicator for inflation, with rising producer prices translating into higher costs for consumers.

The latest reported rise comes in the wake of an especially high surge in prices in March, which department officials said at the time was the largest 12-month increase they recorded since late 2010.

The rising cost of living has been a key issue in primary elections so far this season. Experts have predicted inflation in the U.S. will continue to "get worse" even after reaching the highest mark in four decades.

Nancy Mace Battles Trump Pick in South Carolina Race

Republican Representative Nancy Mace is seeking re-election for a second term in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District.

Mace flipped the seat, representing the area including Charleston and Hilton Head island, in 2020. She is now facing a challenge from former state representative Katie Arrington.

Arrington won the Republican primary for the seat in 2018, but lost in the general election. An endorsement from Former President Donald Trump may boost her chances in this race. A third candidate, Lynz Piper-Loomis, dropped out of the race and has endorsed Arrington as well.

Mace was critical of Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach him. Since then, she has tried to ease tensions with Trump and his supporters. She is promoting the fact that she was an early Trump supporter, highlighting her work on his 2016 campaign and support in the 2020 race.

Former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has backed Mace in this race.

The polls opened at 7 a.m. ET and will close at 7 p.m. ET.

Nancy Mace 2022
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace speaks during a campaign rally ahead of of South Carolina's GOP primary elections on Sunday, June 12, 2022, in Summerville, S.C. Meg Kinnard/AP Photo

Trump-Backed Senate Candidate Leads in Nevada

Swing state Nevada is holding several Republican primaries in Senate, governor and secretary of state races Tuesday.

Former President Donald Trump and his election fraud claims are underlying a key Republican Senate race. Trump narrowly lost the state to President Joe Biden in 2020.

Democratic incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto will likely win the primary, but is expected to face serious challenge in the general election.

Cortez Masto's biggest challenger is former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. He ran for governor in 2018 and is backed by several Republican leaders, including Trump, Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Laxalt led Trump's legal effort to overturn the 2020 election in Nevada.

Laxalt is battling against retired Army captain and Purple Heart recipient Sam Brown. Brown is endorsed by the Nevada Republican Party and is closing in on Laxalt, according to recent polling. He is running as a political outsider.

Polls are already open across the state. They will stay open until 7 p.m. PT.

Nevada accepts mail-in ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day and received by 5 p.m. local time on June 18. Early voting occurred from May 28 to June 10. Those early mailed-in votes are likely to be counted first when polls close.

Laxalt
Nevada GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt (C) greets people during a campaign event at Pirates Landing restaurant on June 11, 2022 in Logandale, Nevada. Laxalt faces a crowded GOP primary field as Nevadans head to the polls for the state’s election on June 14. David Becker/Getty Images