What to watch in Tuesday’s primaries. | Big Indy News
Connect with us


What to watch in Tuesday’s primaries.



Voters in five states head to the primaries on Tuesday to decide races that will shape the Republican Party and perhaps America’s democratic future this November and beyond, with former President Donald J. Trump playing key roles in marquee races in Arizona, Michigan and Washington.

Few states have been more rattled by Mr. Trump’s baseless claims of election rigging than Arizona and Michigan. On Tuesday, Republican voters in those states will choose standard-bearers for governors’ races in November, and in Arizona will also nominate a candidate for secretary of state, the post that oversees elections.

Also on the ballot will be the Republican nominations for Senate races in Arizona, Missouri and Washington. Republican voters will also decide the fate of three of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Here are the key races to watch:

The former president turned against Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, after Mr. Ducey certified Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s narrow victory in the state and refused to echo Mr. Trump’s lies about a stolen election. The race to succeed Mr. Ducey has been dominated by that issue.

Mr. Trump’s preferred candidate, the former news anchor Kari Lake, has repeated outlandish falsehoods about the 2020 election and embraced provocations like vowing to bomb smuggling tunnels on the southern border. Her main opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson, a real estate developer endorsed by Mr. Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, is running on conservative themes but not on election denial.

On the Democratic side, Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, is favored to win the nomination, setting up what is expected to be a tight, high-stakes contest this fall.

Mr. Trump again figures in the Republican primary to take on Senator Mark Kelly, a Democrat, this November, a key front in the battle for control of a Senate now divided evenly between the parties. The former president’s endorsement of the political newcomer Blake Masters helped vault the quirky technology executive into the lead, but the state’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, could benefit from the barrage of attack ads aimed at Mr. Masters from another Senate candidate, the solar power executive Jim Lamon.

The race for the Republican nomination for secretary of state features Mark Finchem, a state representative and expansive conspiracy theorist who marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The race to succeed Senator Roy Blunt, the Missouri Republican who is retiring, should have been a gimme for the Show Me State’s Republicans, who now dominate statewide office. But the attempted political comeback of Eric Greitens has complicated matters. In 2018, Mr. Greitens resigned as governor in disgrace amid an investigation into fund-raising improprieties and an allegation by his former hairdresser that he had lured her to his home, stripped off her clothes, taped her to exercise equipment, photographed her, threatened to make the photos public if she talked and then coerced her into oral sex.

Taking a page from Mr. Trump, Mr. Greitens dismissed the allegations as cooked up by his political enemies — Democrats and “Republicans in name only” — as he plotted a comeback by running for Senate. Prominent Republicans in Missouri and Washington, D.C., split their endorsements between the state’s attorney general, Eric Schmitt, and a conservative House member, Vicky Hartzler, giving Mr. Greitens a path to the nomination — and Democrats a plausible shot at the seat.

In the closing weeks, affluent donors dumped money into an anti-Greitens super PAC, Show Me Values, which blistered Mr. Greitens with his former wife’s accusations of domestic violence against her and one of their young sons. The group’s backers were confident another candidate would prevail.

Despite Donald Trump Jr.’s backing of Mr. Greitens, his father, the former president, never came through with an endorsement.

Missouri Democrats will have a difficult time grabbing the seat even if Mr. Greitens prevails. And a new complication has threatened Democratic unity: The party had largely gotten behind Lucas Kunce, a telegenic former Marine, but his coronation was interrupted by the late rise of Trudy Busch Valentine, the free-spending heiress to the Anheuser-Busch fortune.

Up and down the state’s primary tickets, Michiganders who deny President Biden’s clear, 2.8-percentage-point victory in their state are vying to defeat politicians from both parties who accept the results.

Ryan Kelley, who was arrested last month by the F.B.I. for his actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is running to unseat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, though in the most recent polling he trails the conservative media personality Tudor Dixon — whose views on the 2020 election have wavered — and the self-funding businessman Kevin Rinke.

Ms. Dixon picked up Mr. Trump’s endorsement on Friday, but it was unclear whether his supporters in the state would rally behind her after warring for months with Ms. Dixon’s chief backer, Betsy DeVos, and her relatives, the most influential Republican family in Michigan.

In the Western Michigan House seat centered in Grand Rapids, a Trump-backed election denier, John Gibbs, is trying to take out Representative Peter Meijer, a freshman Republican who not only accepts the election results but also voted to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aired an advertisement in the final days of the campaign lifting Mr. Gibbs, a potentially far weaker candidate in November than Mr. Meijer, by highlighting his conservative credentials for Republican primary voters, a move that infuriated some Democrats.

In Eastern Michigan’s Detroit suburbs, redistricting pitted two incumbent Democratic House members, Andy Levin and Haley Stevens, against one another. That race has turned into a battle royal between progressive groups backing Mr. Levin and pro-Israel groups determined to punish him for what they see as a bias toward Palestinians.

Three of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump face their day of reckoning on Tuesday. Their fate will say much about Mr. Trump’s power with primary voters. Besides Mr. Meijer, Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, both of Washington, are being challenged by Republicans endorsed by Mr. Trump as part of his revenge tour.

Mr. Newhouse has largely kept his head down since voting to impeach, but he, too, has a Trump-backed challenger, Loren Culp, a retired law enforcement officer who was the Republicans’ candidate for governor of Washington in 2020.

Of the impeachment 10, so far four have retired; one, Representative Tom Rice of South Carolina, has lost his primary; and one, Representative David Valadao of California, has survived his primary. After Tuesday, just one more awaits a primary: Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, whose uphill fight will be decided on Aug. 16.

Voters in Kansas will be the first since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade to decide for themselves whether to protect reproductive rights or turn the issue of abortion over to state legislators.

Tuesday’s ballot will include an amendment to the state constitution that would remove an existing guarantee of reproductive rights and allow the Legislature to pass laws restricting abortion.

The returns in Kansas will be closely watched, not only by abortion rights supporters and Democrats, for signs of the potency of the issue in the midterm elections, but also by Republican state lawmakers in Kansas and beyond, who felt empowered by the Supreme Court’s decision but are unsure how far they should go to bar abortion in their states.

The power of incumbency is proved time and again, but with inflation at a 40-year-high, President Biden’s approval ratings well below 40 percent and congressional redistricting taking a toll, holding elective office is no guarantee of keeping it.

In Kansas, Laura Kelly, a Democratic governor in a deep-red state, has an approval rating of 56 percent, 23 percentage points higher than Mr. Biden’s, but her relative success may not save her tossup race against her expected Republican challenger, Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

In the Kansas City, Kan., suburbs, Representative Sharice Davids — a gay former mixed-martial arts fighter and one of the first two Native American women in the House — was hailed as a path-breaker after her 2018 victory. But redistricting redrew her seat from a slight Democratic lean to a slight Republican edge.

If Amanda Adkins, a businesswoman and former congressional aide, wins the Republican primary on Tuesday, November’s race will be a rematch of their 2020 contest, which Ms. Davids won easily. But this time, the circumstances will be more difficult for the incumbent.

If the political environment deteriorates further for Democrats, another incumbent in a Tuesday primary, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, could pop up on both parties’ radar screens.

In the nonpartisan Washington primary, Ms. Murray is expected to cruise, as will the Republican backed by the party establishment, Tiffany Smiley. A nurse and motivational speaker, Ms. Smiley will lean on a biography that includes the blinding of her husband by a suicide bomber in Iraq, a tragedy that drove her to veterans’ causes. But her main argument is that 30 years after Ms. Murray first won her Senate seat as a “mom in tennis shoes,” it’s time for “a new mom in town.”

Read the full article here


The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills



The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

Read the full article here

Continue Reading


Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists



This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

Read the full article here

Continue Reading


Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’



Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

Read the full article here

Continue Reading