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Trump allies rack up primary wins while voters shield abortion rights in Kansas

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Kari Lake, pictured with former President Donald Trump, who endorsed her in Arizona Republican primary for governor, on Tuesday declared victory, although officials said the race was still too close to call. Photo courtesy Kari Lake/<a href="https://twitter.com/KariLake/status/1547814043523510277">Twitter</a>
Kari Lake, pictured with former President Donald Trump, who endorsed her in Arizona Republican primary for governor, on Tuesday declared victory, although officials said the race was still too close to call. Photo courtesy Kari Lake/Twitter

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Votes in five key states resulted in huge wins for Republican candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump, while a referendum in the conservative state of Kansas upheld abortion rights after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Primaries in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Washington State were considered crucial in determining Tuesday's victories and served as indications of Trump's continued sway over the Republican Party.

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The results could shape the GOP's priorities ahead of the 2024 presidential election, in which Trump could re-emerge politically.

Most notably, some races were won by candidates who continue to deny that Joe Biden rightfully won the 2020 election.

RELATED Primaries: Voters oust 2 Republicans who impeached Trump

In the first major vote to test sentiments about abortion in the wake of the June 24 ruling, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed state lawmakers to overturn a 2019 decision by the state Supreme Court declaring abortion a "fundamental" right.

Voter turnout reportedly surged in response to the ballot referendum, which was soundly defeated with nearly 60% of Kansans voting against it.

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"The voters in Kansas have spoken loud and clear: We will not tolerate extreme bans on abortion," said Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, which led the effort to defeat the amendment, according to The New York Times.

RELATED Confidence in Supreme Court declining; no easy way to oversee justices' politics

Meanwhile, allies of former President Trump claimed primary victories in Arizona and Michigan, both states in which the 2020 vote-count was called into question by Trump lawyers who claimed the 2020 vote had been stolen.

Mark Finchem, an election denier and the former's president's choice for secretary of state, cruised to victory despite his affiliation with the Oath Keepers militia group. And Blake Masters, another Trump loyalist, won in a crowded field for state Senate, notably beating another Republican candidate, Rusty Bowers, who testified against Trump during the congressional hearings related to Jan. 6.

The outcome of the Arizona governor's race, meanwhile, remained too close to call, with Trump's pick, Kari Lake, reportedly claiming victory even though vote tallies showed she actually was behind.

RELATED Kansas voters reject amendment to restrict abortion rights

"We won this race, period." Lake said at her election-night party, according to The New York Times.

She later took the lead for the first time, but that contest remained too close to call.

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Elsewhere, former Trump administration official John Gibbs defeated Michigan Rep. Peter Meijera, who previously voted to impeach Trump. Conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, who was Trump's 11th-hour choice for Michigan governor, easily won her primary.

RELATED Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito defends abortion ruling, slams critics at religious event

Also Tuesday, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, haunted by several scandals during his time in office, lost a new bid for Senate.

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