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Elections in Georgia, California overshadow remaining US presidential contests

FILE - This combo image shows Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, left, March 9, 2024 and President Joe Biden, right, Jan. 27, 2024.
FILE - This combo image shows Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, left, March 9, 2024 and President Joe Biden, right, Jan. 27, 2024.

U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump continued on their paths toward party nominations Tuesday, while a handful of other notable preliminary elections took center stage.

The Democratic incumbent and his Republican challenger easily won their respective party elections in the southeastern state of Kentucky and the northwestern state of Oregon just weeks ahead of their first of two planned debates. The race between Biden and Trump is a rematch of the 2020 election, which Trump has falsely claimed was manipulated to prevent him from defeating Biden.

In the western state of California, Republican state Assemblyman Vince Fong won the special election to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who resigned in December after 16 years in the seat. McCarthy stepped down when hardline Republican conservatives mounted a successful campaign to remove him as speaker after just nine months in office.

Fong, who once served on McCarthy’s staff, defeated Mike Boudreaux, a local sheriff, in Tuesday’s special election to serve out the rest of McCarthy’s term. The two men advanced to a second round of voting after becoming the top two finishers in a March 19 special election. Fong and Boudreaux will face each other again in the November general election for a full two-year term.

In the southeastern state of Georgia, Fani Willis won the Democratic primary election for re-election as district attorney, or chief prosecutor, of Fulton County, which includes the state capital Atlanta.

Willis is prosecuting Trump and 18 others on charges of election interference in the 2020 election, including engaging in a so-called “fake electors” scheme and Trump’s personal phone call to state election officials in January 2021 asking them to “find” him 11,780 votes, one more than Biden’s margin of victory, so Trump could declare victory in the state.

Willis was embroiled in a brief controversy earlier this year after it was revealed she had a romantic relationship with the special prosecutor she hired. An attempt by a group of defendants to have Willis disqualified from the case ended with the judge allowing her to remain, but only if Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor, resigned. But the state’s appeals court has agreed to review an appeal of the judge’s order from Trump and several of his co-defendants.

Willis’s Republican challenger will be attorney Courtney Kramer, who served in the Trump White House and on Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. Willis is considered the favorite to win re-election in the deeply Democratic-controlled county.

Scott McAfee, the judge overseeing the former president’s case, won the nonpartisan election to remain in his seat on the Fulton County Superior Court.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.

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