Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as he holds a rally in Florence, Arizona, U.S., January 15, 2022.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as he holds a rally in Florence, Arizona, U.S., January 15, 2022. Reuters / CARLOS BARRIA

Republican voters in several states weighed former President Donald Trump's false claims of a stolen presidency on Tuesday as they selected candidates for the November elections that will determine control of Congress and many state governments.

Republican candidates who support Trump's denial of his 2020 election loss have already won several high-profile nominating contests in other states this year, prompting concern among Democrats and independent observers that U.S. democracy could be at risk.

In Illinois, state senator Darren Bailey, who was endorsed by Trump, was projected by Edison Research to win the Republican nomination for governor over Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, a more moderate Republican who was seen as a greater threat to incumbent Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker.

But in Colorado, the Associated Press projected that businessman Joe O'Dea, who has rejected Trump's election fraud claims, would defeat state representative Ron Hanks in the in the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate with about half of the vote counted.

Hanks marched in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol that aimed to overturn Trump's loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

That dynamic also was playing out in Colorado's closely watched Republican primary for secretary of state, responsible for overseeing elections. County clerk Pam Anderson, who does not support Trump's fraud claims, was leading rival Tina Peters with about half the vote counted.

Peters has been indicted for election tampering and barred from overseeing voting in her home county this year.

She is among dozens of Republican candidates this year who have rejected Trump's loss to Biden and are now seeking to oversee state elections.

In New York, incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul was projected by Edison Research to win the Democratic nomination over two rivals. Hochul took the job last year when former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned while facing sexual harassment allegations.

With Biden's approval ratings underwater, Republicans are favored to win control of the House of Representatives, where they need to flip only five Democratic seats for a majority, and could also take over the Senate.

A Republican-controlled House could stymie Biden's legislative agenda and launch politically damaging investigations into his administration.

Several incumbent lawmakers in Illinois faced off against each other, as the state lost a seat in Congress due to its shrinking population.

Republican Representative Mary Miller held a narrow lead over rival Representative Rodney Davis. Miller caused controversy at a rally with Trump on Saturday when she said that the Supreme Court's decision to revoke the nationwide right to abortion was a "victory for white life."

Miller's aides say she meant to say "right to life," but Davis says it is further evidence that she is unfit for office, citing previous controversial comments.

Miller has been endorsed by Trump and has backed his false claims of a stolen election. Davis, by contrast, broke with his party last year to back the congressional inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack.

The winner of the race is expected to win re-election in November in a largely rural, Republican-leaning seat.

In the Chicago suburbs, Democratic Representative Sean Casten led rival Marie Newman in a similar battle between incumbents for a newly drawn seat. Newman faces an ethics investigation for allegedly promising a job to a political rival.