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S.C.'s Sanford, a Trump critic, taken out in primary

Rep. Mark Sanford lost his Republican primary in South Carolina on Tuesday after coming under a pointedly personal attack from President Donald Trump just hours before polls closed.

Sanford, a frequent critic of the president, lost to state legislator Katie Arrington, who vowed to be more supportive of Trump if elected to the House in November.

As votes were still being counted, Sanford told supporters he was "going to lose this race."

Four other states voted Tuesday, including several races that are seen as key to determining which party controls the House.

After steering clear of the race for months, Trump, late on Tuesday but hours before polls closed, attacked Sanford by tweet, calling him "very unhelpful."

"He's MIA and nothing but trouble," Trump continued. "He is better off in Argentina."

The swipe was a reference to Sanford's unexplained disappearance from the state in 2009, which he later said was part of an affair he was carrying on with a woman in Argentina.

Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Wexton was the clear winner in a six-way primary in Virginia's 10th District, and will challenge Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock.

Wexton was the best-known and best-financed in the field, and was viewed as the Democratic Party's establishment choice.

Comstock, a moderate Republican who easily beat back a challenge from conservative Shak Hill, is one of the Democrats' top targets in November.

The second-term House member's district leans Republican, though Democrat Hillary Clinton received more votes there than Trump did in 2016's presidential election.

Besides that district, considered key to the House battleground map this fall, Democrats in two other Virginia districts they hope to retake nominated women, including Abigail Spanberger in the 7th District and Elaine Luria in Virginia's 2nd District.

In another big Virginia race, Republican Corey Stewart -- once a state chairman to Trump's presidential campaign who was fired for protesting the Republican National Committee -- won the Republican primary to face Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

In South Carolina, Trump also had weighed in for Gov. Henry McMaster, an early supporter of the president's 2016 campaign.

But while Trump remains very popular in the state, McMaster has been shadowed by a corruption probe involving a longtime political consultant. McMaster received the most votes of the four Republicans running, but will face Greenville businessman John Warren in a second contest June 26.

In the GOP governor's primary, Trump reiterated his "full endorsement" of McMaster on Twitter over the weekend, praising the longtime Republican figure in the state for being "with me from the beginning." He retweeted that endorsement Tuesday.

Maine voters selected businessman Shawn Moody in the ranked-choice primary to succeed term-limited, conservative Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Moody bested a field that included top Republicans in the state Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason and House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette; and LePage's former state health agency chief, Mary Mayhew.

Democrats, with just 16 of the nation's governorships, view the seat as one of their top pickup opportunities.

First they had to settle a seven-way primary field led by Attorney General Janet Mills and former state House Speaker Mark Eves.

Nevada and North Dakota are home to two of the most pivotal Senate races this year. What they don't have is competitive Senate primaries.

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, the only Republican seeking re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen sailed through their primaries and already have begun focusing their criticism on each other in what is expected to be among the most competitive Senate races this year.

There also was the return of Sharron Angle, the conservative who once ominously threatened to "take out" then-Sen. Harry Reid. Angle, who lost to Reid in her 2010 bid for Senate, was defeated by Rep. Mark Amodei in the state's 2nd Congressional District.

The most competitive choice for Democrats appeared to be the battle between Clark County commissioners vying to be Nevada's first Democratic governor in two decades.

Steve Sisolak, a Nevada politician backed by Reid, won the Democratic primary for governor. Sisolak ran as a centrist, and his chief opponent, fellow board member Chris Giunchigliani, knocked Sisolak for his positive rating from the National Rifle Association in light of the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October. Four lesser-known candidates also ran.

In North Dakota , GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer will face moderate Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. She is seeking re-election in a state Trump carried by 36 percentage points in 2016.

Information for this article was contributed by Laura Litvan and staff members of Bloomberg News.

A Section on 06/13/2018

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