Primaries 2022: Trump Dealt Loss in Nebraska, Keeps Grip in West Virginia

Live Updates
  • Voters in Republican-leaning West Virginia and Nebraska cast their ballots Tuesday in the second wave of primaries that'll set the stage for the 2022 midterms.
  • Tuesday's results were a mixed bag for former President Donald Trump, who has continued to wield outsized influence in the party with his coveted endorsement. In West Virginia, Trump-endorsed Representative Alexander Mooney beat Representative David McKinley in race that put the representatives in the same district after the state's political map was redrawn
  • But in Nebraska, Jim Pillen, a farmer backed by the state's outgoing governor, won the Republican primary for Nebraska governor. The Trump-endorsed candidate, Charles Herbster, lost the primary after facing accusations of groping multiple women. Pillen will face Carol Blood, who easily won the Democratic Party's nomination.
  • In West Virginia, Republican Representative Carol Miller won the nomination to continue representing the state's other congressional district. The state lost a seat due to restricting.
Trump 2022 Nebraska
Former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the I-80 Speedway on May 01, 2022 in Greenwood, Nebraska. Trump is supporting Charles Herbster in the Nebraska gubernatorial race. Getty Images

Jim Pillen Projected to Win GOP Nomination for Nebraska Governor

Jim Pillen, a businessman with the backing of Nebraska's Republican establishment, is projected by the Associated Press to be his party's nominee for governor.

Pillen was leading a crowded field of nine candidates with just over a third of the vote Tuesday evening after overcoming state legislator Brett Lindstrom's early lead.

The race's results are a loss for former President Donald Trump who actively campaigned for Charles Herbster, a businessman who had never held elected office and faced multiple accusations of groping women (which he has denied.) Herbster was stuck at 28 percent of the vote at the time the race was called for Pillen after scoring some wins in more rural areas of the state.

Pillen in the November general election will now face state legislator Carol Blood, who handily won the Democratic Party's nomination earlier in the evening.

Charles Herbster Pulls into Second Place in Nebraska GOP Governor's Primary

Jim Pillen remains the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Nebraska governor, with Charles Herbster moving into second place.

Pillen now has 33 percent of votes counted, according to the official count. Trump-endorsed Herbster, now at 28 percent, has overtaken state legislator Brett Lindstrom with less than 2,000 votes separating the two.

Herbster har racked up wins in Nebraska's rural western counties with Pillen winning a smattering of counties across the state.

Pillen Now Leads Nebraska's GOP Gov Primary, Trump's Pick Lags

Jim Pillen has pulled ahead in Nebraska's Republican gubernatorial primary.

Pillen, a businessman endorsed by the state's outgoing incumbent governor, now has nearly 33 percent of the vote, surpassing state legislator Brett Lindstrom's 28.6 percent.

Charles Herbster, the endorsee of former President Donald Trump, trails with nearly 27.8 percent of the vote. These results are with 69 percent of precincts reporting.

While Herbster is ahead in some of the more rural counties in western Nebraska, Lindstrom is also ahead in Douglas County, the state's most populated county where votes are still being counted.

Charles Herbster Lagging in Nebraska's GOP Gubernatorial Primary

Former President Donald Trump's pick for the next governor of Nebraska is trailing other candidates with roughly half the ballots counted.

Businessman Charles Herbster is currently in third place in Nebraska's Republican gubernatorial primary despite Trump actively campaigning for him, according to the most recent count by the Nebraska Secretary of State.

State legislator Brett Lindstrom has maintained his lead with a third of the vote after a strong initial showing. Jim Pillen, a businessman and veterinarian backed by Gov. Pete Rickett, is in second with less than a 2,000 votes behind Lindstrom, according the most recent count official count.

More than half of the votes have been counted, according to CNN.

Carol Blood Wins Democratic Primary for Nebraska Governor

Carol Blood will be Nebraska's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, according to projections by both the Associated Press and CNN.

Blood, a state legislator, had nearly 92 percent of the initial vote count after polls closed, putting her well ahead of Roy Harris.

On the Republican side, state Senator Brett Lindstrom took an early lead with nearly 42 percent of the vote. Behind him was Jim Pillen, a businessman and veterinarian backed by Gov. Pete Rickett with nearly 30 percent of the vote.

In third, is Trump-backed candidate Charles Herbster, who has nearly 19 percent of the vote.

Trump-Backed Alexander Mooney Wins West Virginia's District 2 Primary

Republican Representative Alexander Mooney has been projected by the Associated Press and CNN to win the primary for West Virginia's District 2 congressional seat.

Mooney's projected victory is another sign that an endorsement from former President Donald Trump continues to carry weight in Republican primaries. Hours after polls closed on Tuesday, CNN put Mooney with just over half of the vote.

The race pitted Mooney and Representatives David McKinley against each other after the state redrew its congressional districts. McKinley had about a third of the vote, according to CNN.

Polls Close in Nebraska, Cornhusker Voters Speak at the Ballot

Nebraska voters have now had their say in the state's primary election after polls closed at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

At the top of the ballot is the governor's race, where nine Republicans are vying for their chance to face voters in the general election. Among the leading contenders are Charles Herbster, a Trump-backed businessman and cattle breeder.

He's squaring off with veterinarian and hog farm owner Jim Pillen who has been endorsed by Nebraska's outgoing Governor Pete Rickett.

Both candidates posted videos of themselves casting their ballots. KLKN-TV tweeted videos of supporters trickling into each candidate's election night parties.

The winner of the primary is favored to win the general election. A Democrat hasn't held the governor's office since the 1990s.

Carol Miller Projected to Win West Virginia GOP District 1 Primary

Republican Representative Carol Miller is expected to win her primary race for her re-election bid to West Virginia's District 1 congressional seat.

Miller, who was first elected to the seat 2018, has opened a large lead over challenger Scott Fuller, according to CNN. Just more than an hour after polls closed, Miller has roughly two-thirds of the vote and CNN has projected she will win.

On the Democratic side, Lacy Watson won unopposed in his race.

In the more closely watched District 2 Republican primary, Alex Mooney has widened his lead over David McKinley with just more than 50 percent of the vote.

Alex Mooney Takes Lead in West Virginia Primary

Alex Mooney has pulled ahead of David McKinley in the Republican primary election for West Virginia's District 2 congressional seat.

Nearly an hour after polls closed at 7:30 p.m., Mooney overcame McKinley's initial lead and is now in front with 47 percent, according to CNN. McKinley lags behind at 41 percent.

An estimated 18 percent of the vote has been counted.

David McKinley Takes Initial Lead in West Virginia's District 2

Republican Representative David McKinley has taken an early lead over Trump-backed Alex Mooney to represent West Virginia's District 2 congressional seat with 11 percent of the vote counted.

About 20 minutes after polls closed at 7:30 p.m., McKinley was at 46 percent with 3,750 votes, according to CNN. Mooney was behind with 43 percent of the vote and 3,465 ballots cast.

However, another 89 percent of the vote remains to be counted.

Polls Close in West Virginia

The chance for West Virginia voters to cast a ballot in Tuesday's primary came and went as polls closed at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Voters will weigh in on primary races for the state's two congressional districts, as well as other state and local races. One of the most-watched races is between Republican Representatives David McKinley and Alex Mooney, who are competing in West Virginia's redrawn District 2.

The race will test if former President Donald Trump's endorsement will push Mooney to victory. McKinley has bucked Trump, voting for President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and to create a House committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection.

Rep. Carol Miller, who represents District 1, is expected to keep her seat against four Republican challengers.

In a gauge of potential enthusiasm, 58,684 early in-person voters have cast ballots, the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office told WCHS. Compared to the same period in the 2018 primary, 68,391 early ballots were cast.

As of Monday, May 9, there were 3,897 absentee ballot voters.

Results will be published as they become available.

Pocketbook Issues Driving West Virginia Voters, With Social Issues in the Background

Inflation and high gas prices were on the minds of West Virginia voters preparing to cast their ballots in Tuesday's primary election.

Melodie Williams, who serves on a local Republican Executive Committee in Jefferson County, said she voted for Alex Mooney over David McKinley in a contested House race, according to CNN. She said she hoped he'd push back President Joe Biden's economic and energy policies, which she said are causing hardship.

"It's really putting hardships on people. We're talking $5 gas," Williams said.

While pocketbook issues are expected to play prominently, Williams also brought up culture war issues, praising Mooney for supporting gun rights and being "very pro-life." Other voters waiting to vote in Jefferson County said they wanted to eliminate critical race theory, an academic theory conservatives say is driving racial division in classrooms.

Trump Defends Herbster Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Former President Donald Trump doubled down on his support for Charles Herbster as the next governor of Nebraska despite the sexual misconduct allegations against Herbster. Here's what Trump said at a rally in Nebraska on May 1.

"He's been badly maligned and it's a shame. That's why I came out here," Trump said in Greenwood at a rally that was delayed two days because of severe weather. "It would have been easy for me to say, 'I'm not gonna come.' I defend my people when I know they're good."

Herbster, who denies the allegations and calls them "100 percent false," trailed businessman Jim Pillen in the latest poll heading into Tuesday's primary. This would be a chink in the armor of Trump's endorsements so far this primary season.

Donald Trump and Charles Herbster
Campaign posters supporting Nebraska candidate for governor Charles Herbster decorate the grounds of the I-80 Speedway prior to the start of a rally with former President Donald Trump on May 01, 2022 in Greenwood, Nebraska. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Trump still defends Herbster anyway, saying the gubernatorial candidate won't bow to the media, the "radical left" or to the RINO's.

"Charles W. Herbster will never bend to the RINOs, the media, or the radical left. That's why they're doing everything they can to stop him. Malicious charges to derail him long enough that the election can go by before the proper defense can be put forward," Trump said.

Trump's Influence Tested Again in Tuesday's Contests

Tuesday's primaries in Nebraska and West Virginia will serve as the latest test of former President Donald Trump's influence over voters and the GOP. Both states voted for Trump in the 2020 Election.

Trump endorsed the following candidates appearing on ballots Tuesday:

  • U.S. Representative Alex Mooney, running for the newly drawn 2nd District in West Virginia.
  • U.S. Representative Carol Miller, running for West Virginia's 1st Congressional District.
  • Charles Herbster, a businessman and cattle breeder running for Nebraska Governor. He is facing sexual assault allegations.
  • U.S. Representative Adrian Smith, running for Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District.
Here’s Who Trump Has Endorsed
Here’s who Donald Trump has endorsed in next week’s primaries. From left to right Charles Herbster, Alex Mooney, Carol Miller and Adrian Smith. Getty

GOP Incumbents Vying for One Seat in West Virginia

A fierce battle for U.S. Congress is underway in West Virginia, as two fellow Republican Congressmembers compete for one seat.

Incumbent U.S. Representatives David McKinley and Alex Mooney are fighting for the 2nd District, after redistricting cost the state one of its three seats in the House. The fellow Republicans, who represented the former 1st and 2nd Districts, are now facing off to serve another term.

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Mooney, this would be the GOP Congressman's fifth term in office. McKinley has been endorsed by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and is seeking his seventh term.

The population across West Virginia declined 3.2% as of the 2020 Census, resulting in the lost U.S. House seat, the Associated Press reports. The U.S. Census Bureau said it was the biggest drop across the U.S. over the past decade.

Polls close in West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Crowded Race for Nebraska Governor

Twelve candidates are facing off in the race for Nebraska Governor Tuesday, nine Republicans, two Democrats and one Libertarian.

Carol Blood and Roy Harris are competing for the Democratic nomination. Blood is a Nebraska State Senator and business consultant.

"We need to bring strategic planning to Nebraska because a state without a strategic plan is just writing checks," Blood said.

Harris has not participated in many public election events. He is a construction contractor and running on issues including prison reform and legalizing medical marijuana, according to Nebraska Public Media.

Scott Zimmerman is running for Gov. Pete Rickett's seat as a Libertarian candidate. He is a 5th grade teacher and education is among his top priorities, Nebraska Public Media said.

Nine candidates competing for the Republican nomination include: Donna Nicole Carpenter, Michael Connely, Charles Herbster, Brett Lindstrom, Lela McNinch, Jim Pillen, Breland Ridenour, Theresa Thibodeau and Troy Wentz.

Trump-Backed Candidate for Gov. Faces Groping Allegations

Nine Republican candidates are facing off in Tuesday's primary race for Nebraska Governor, including a businessman facing groping allegations who garnered an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

Trump backed businessman and cattle breeder Charles Herbster. Herbster is accused of groping at least eight women in the past few years. He has denied the allegations.

"Heading to the ballot box was a surreal experience, as I cast my vote for the Republican nominee for Governor of Nebraska!" Herbster tweeted Tuesday from a polling location.

Veterinarian and hog farm owner Jim Pillen is another leading candidate in the gubernatorial race. Pillen has been endorsed by Republican Governor Pete Rickett who is term-limited.

Pillen also voted Tuesday in Columbus, and tweeted a picture with his wife Suzanne.

State Senator Brett Lindstrom is also vying for Rickett's seat. The Omaha financial adviser has been endorsed by the city's Mayor Jean Stothert.

"Leigh and I were able to vote this morning and bring Livy with us," he tweeted early Tuesday afternoon.

Polls close in Nebraska at 8 p.m. CST.