A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
Primary season resumes on Tuesday (August 2) after a brief two-week hiatus, when voters head to the polls in Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, and Washington followed by Tennessee on Thursday (August 3) for a series of high-profile Republican primaries and the first ballot measure on abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
All eyes are on Kansas as voters decide whether to amend the state constitution by putting abortion rights in the hands of state lawmakers. The state enshrined abortion rights into its constitution in 2019 but the ballot measure, if passed, would strip those rights from the constitution and allow the Republican-dominated state legislature to pass an abortion ban. Though the measure was announced last year, it has received renewed attention since the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling. The Sunflower State also holds its Republican gubernatorial primary, where Attorney General Derek Schmidt is favored to win. He will face Laura Kelly in what is set to be one of the closest gubernatorial races this year.
Look out for the GOP gubernatorial primary in Michigan, too. The race to take on Gretchen Whitmer has been marred by controversy and chaos from the start, when former frontrunner James Craig was disqualified along with five other candidates for invalid signatures, followed by the arrest of Ryan Kelley over his alleged involvement in the January 6 attack. It is now a close race between media personality Tudor Dixon and businessman Kevin Rinke. In the 3rd congressional district, Republican Congressman Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach Donald Trump, faces a primary challenge from Trump-endorsed candidate John Gibbs. Even if Meijer prevails in the primary, he faces an uphill battle to beat unopposed Democrat Hillary Scholten, who he defeated by just six points in 2020.
Meanwhile in Missouri, the Republican Senate primary is the race to watch. Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Governor Eric Greitens, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, and Congressman Billy Long are competing in the race to replace retiring Senator Roy Blunt. Schmitt leads in the polls after Greitens suffered a significant drop in the wake of a controversial TV ad depicting ‘RINO hunting’ which drew criticism from both sides over its thinly veiled endorsement of political violence. Greitens has also been accused of blackmail, sexual assault and physical abuse, including towards his own children.
Finally, in Arizona, the Republican gubernatorial primary has drawn national attention as the latest battle between the MAGA wing and the Republican establishment. Controversial Trump-endorsed news anchor Kari Lake faces Mike Pence-endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson in a race that has been dominated by clashes over who is the most ‘authentic’ Republican candidate. Either way, Trump’s brand of Republicanism is set to prevail in the GOP Senate primary, with his chosen candidate (and Peter Thiel associate) Blake Masters in a close race with fellow MAGA candidate and organizer of the controversial Maricopa County audit, Jim Lamon. Whoever wins will face Democrat Mark Kelly in what is expected to be a tight race.
If that wasn’t enough Trumpism for one week, CPAC Texas kicks off on Thursday (August 4) featuring Trump himself and some of his most vocal allies including Senator Ted Cruz, Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, recently convicted former aide Steve Bannon, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who opens the conference despite criticism over his recent remarks on race-mixing and the Holocaust. Likewise, Democrats’ fierce criticism of Trump’s speech last week, in which he mocked a transgender weightlifter and called for the death penalty for drug dealers, is unlikely to deter him from giving a similar performance this week.
Southeast Asian foreign ministers wrap up a week of meetings in Phnom Penh on Friday (August 5) with the ASEAN Regional Forum, which includes 11 partner countries for talks on Indo-Pacific security. There’s no shortage of regional issues to discuss: North Korea-watchers are concerned that Pyongyang is once again refusing to send a high-level representative as the country looks to be preparing another nuclear test, while Myanmar’s foreign minister had already been excluded from the meetings before four high-profile activists and politicians were executed this week despite ASEAN’s plea to reconsider their sentences. But there will be a fair amount of attention on the sidelines of the gathering, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov both due to attend. The pair avoided each other at last month’s G20 meeting in Bali, but there is speculation that a meeting could be on the cards next week after Blinken announced plans for a call to discuss a potential prisoner swap to secure the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan travels to Sochi on Friday (August 5) to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, their second meeting in just over two weeks. Erdogan’s relationship with Putin has allowed Ankara to take a leading diplomatic role in the Ukraine conflict – Turkey hosted talks with both sides and the UN last week, which led to the signing of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on Friday and the inauguration of a Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul earlier this week to organize the safe resumption of grain exports from Ukraine. Officials are hoping the first ship could leave as early as today, but the agreement – which also helps to smooth the way for Russian fertilizer and food exports – is expected to feature prominently on the agenda.
The funeral of former Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble takes place in Lisburn on Monday (August 1) following his death on July 25 at the age of 77. Lord Trimble played an instrumental role in the negotiations surrounding the Good Friday Agreement; among countless tributes from across the globe, Tony Blair described Lord Trimble’s contribution to the UK and Northern Ireland as ‘immense, unforgettable, and frankly irreplaceable’, while former US President Bill Clinton said that his ‘lifetime of service helped bring peace to Northern Ireland’. A special session of the Northern Ireland Assembly also takes place on Tuesday (August 2) for Members to pay tribute.