Colorado Republicans go 3-0 against Democratic intervention
One of the key stories going into the night was Democratic attempts to influence Republican primaries in Colorado:
- In the Senate primary, Democrats spent at least $2 million backing far-right state representative Ron Hanks.
- In the Gubernatorial primary, Democrats spent $1.5 million backing Greg Lopez, who they deemed “too conservative for Colorado”.
- In the open race for the new highly-competitive 8th Congressional District, Democrats had backed Lori Saine, a right-wing former state house member.
All three races, however, went towards more electable candidates. In the Senate primary, moderate businessman Joe O’Dea, who has pledged to be the “Republican Joe Manchin” in the Senate, won by nearly 10%. In the Gubernatorial primary, businesswoman Heidi Ganahl won by about 8%. And in the 8th district primary, moderate State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer easily won by around 18%, with Saine finishing a distant third. This field might be the best one for Colorado Republicans in decades; unfortunately for Republicans, Colorado has shifted rapidly to the left over the last decade, making statewide wins more challenging.
In the 3rd Congressional District, controversial freshman Republican Lauren Boebert easily beat back a primary challenger by 30%, despite sky-high turnout in the district; in several strongly Democratic ski country counties, Republicans actually beat Democrats in turnout, likely due to Democrats and independents crossing over into the Republican primary to vote against her. And in the 5th district, perpetually shaky incumbent Republican Doug Lamborn won his primary by 16%, but with only 48% of the vote.
Republicans fumble Gubernatorial chances in Illinois
It’s not surprising that conservative State Senator Darren Bailey won the gubernatorial nod in Illinois, but his margin of victory – 42% – was higher than many expected. As of right now, Bailey leads in all but a handful of counties, and highly-touted Republican recruit Richard Irvin is in a distant third with only 15% of the vote. Bailey isn’t a Mastriano-tier candidate, but his views are far more conservative than Illinois as a whole; it’s hard to see him putting up a real fight against Democratic incumbent J.B. Pritzker. In all likelihood, Republicans would love to swap him with their Senate nominee – the more moderate Kathy Salvi, who has the misfortune of facing Democratic incumbent Tammy Duckworth in November.
At the Congressional level, controversial freshman Mary Miller won her primary against fellow incumbent Rodney Davis in the 15th district. The two Republicans had been drawn into the same deep, deep red seat by Democrats, and the more moderate Davis faced an uphill battle against Trump-endorsed Miller, despite her history of controversial remarks.
On the Democratic side, crypto-backed progressive Jonathan Jackson won the open 1st district primary, and longtime incumbent Danny Davis holds a narrow lead in the 7th. In the incumbent vs. incumbent race in the 6th district, Sean Casten walloped Marie Newman by 40%, a victory for the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party.
Guest clobbers Cassidy and Palazzo falls in Mississippi
Incumbent MS-03 Representative Michael Guest’s near-defeat in his primary to newcomer Michael Cassidy stunned the political world weeks ago, but since then what appeared to be an interesting race became a 31-point blowout for the incumbent. Cassidy, who had only moved to the state last year, faced relentless criticism from Republicans over his platform, which included support for Democratic ideas like Medicare for All and increased social spending on families; the conservative outlet Mississippi Today estimated his platform would lead to an additional $48 trillion in spending over the next 10 years. While Cassidy had scrubbed this part of the platform from his website after the primary, it was too late; he struggled to defend himself in interviews, at points insisting his website’s policy ideas never constituted a platform. It also made his claims of Guest being a “RINO” far harder to defend.
In the 4th district, sheriff Mike Ezell narrowly defeated incumbent Steven Palazzo. Palazzo had faced scrutiny over ethical scandals and his frequent use of proxy voting, leading to charges that he was an absentee Congressman. While Palazzo did perform better in the runoff than in the primary, where he only secured 31.5% of the vote, it wasn’t enough to put him over the top.
Nebraska has a closer-than-expected special election
In Nebraska’s definitely illegal special election for the 1st district State Senator Mike Flood won a closer-than-expected race against State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks. Flood won this Trump+11 district by only seven points – a surprisingly narrow margin… or is it?
As it turns out, the party out of power when a Congressman resigns due to scandal tends to overperform. So this result might not be a huge surprise historically speaking, but it might be a wake-up call for Nebraska Republicans, who rather questionably weakened this seat in redistricting.
Hochul easily clears her primary in New York
In what was little surprise to anyone, Governor Kathy Hochul easily won the Democratic primary for Governor in New York, securing 67% of the vote; challengers Jumanane Williams and Thomas Suozzi only secured 17% and 11% of the vote, respectively. Hochul’s appointed Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado also easily won his primary with 61% of the vote.
Hochul will face Republican Lee Zeldin (who secured 44% of the vote in the primary, more than double that of his nearest challenger) in November in this safely Democratic state.
Establishment reigns in Oklahoma
Despite chatter from online populists, incumbent Republican Senator Josh Lankford easily won renomination, defeating far-right pastor Jackson Lahmeyer by a 68-26 margin. In the (potentially illegal) special election for the seat that will eventually be vacated by Jim Infhoe, OK-02 Representative Markwayne Mullin and former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon advanced to a primary runoff, securing 43.6% and 17.5% of the vote, receptively.
Mullin enters as the strong favorite for the nomination here. Both candidates are Native American, meaning the Senate will almost certainly have its fifth Native American Senator, and the first since Ben Nighthorse Campbell retired in 2004. The last Native American to serve as Senator from Oklahoma was Robert Owen, who left office in 1925.
At the congressional level, the open 2nd district saw an absurdly large field. State Representative Avery Frix and former State Senator Josh Brecheen appear to have advanced to a runoff with a whopping 14.7% and 13.8%, respectively. Like Mullin, Frix is Native American, a potential asset in a seat that aligns closely with reservation lands in the state’s east.
No upsets in Utah, but a few surprises
While some had expected a handful of close races in Utah’s primaries, we were surprised to see exactly which ones were closer-than-expected. In the 1st district, Blake Moore easily won his primary, securing 59% of the vote as of the time of writing. Supposedly-endangered incumbent John Curtis easily pushed back a right-wing challenger in the 3rd, securing 71% of the vote. In the 4th, Burgess Owens secured 62% of the vote against a more moderate challenger. Most surprising of the bunch was the Senate primary, where Mike Lee won only 62% of the vote as of the time of writing; a more moderate option, Becky Edwards, secured almost 30% of the vote.