And we are back to long primary election nights! Tonight, we return to a more June-like month of primaries. While it’s not quite as many, key states do have primaries in August. The biggest day is unquestionably tonight. Arizona, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri and Washington all have key primaries, and here are the most important ones to watch in each state.
Michigan is one of three states to close at 8pm, and while some of the winds have been taken out of the sail on some of the key primaries (mainly the GOP primary for Governor), there are still key primaries to watch. On the GOP side, there is of course the MI-03 primary between Peter Meijer and John Gibbs. Meijer is one of the 10 GOP members who voted to impeach President Trump after January 6th. Of course that means he is in a tough race to keep his nominee status.
John Gibbs has run an okay campaign, but is arguably not as strong of a challenger as other GOP impeachment votes have gotten this cycle. Gibbs has also struggled to raise money, but has been helped along in the way of a $400,000 ad buy in his favor by the DCCC. That move is part of an additional controversy I’ll be writing about later.
On the Democratic side, primaries for MI-11 and MI-13 seem to be the headliners for House races. In MI-11, the incumbent v. incumbent primary between Haley Stevens and Andy Levin seems to be reaching its peak. Steven has a clear advantage it seems going into election night, boosted by a combined $7,000,000 from AIPAC and Emily’s List supporting her. Polling in Michigan has underrated progressives like Levin before, but it will take a miracle it seems for him to win at this point.
In MI-13, the waters are much murkier. There seems to be a clear top three at this point. Those three are Shri Thanedar, Adam Hollier and Portia Roberson. Thanedar had the lead in the last public poll, thanks in part due to his personal spending on the race. However, Hollier is backed by AIPAC and has received heavy spending in his favor from them. Whether that high spending matters from either candidate will be decided tonight, but for now, this is a race with no clear advantaged candidate.
Missouri is an easy one to know what to watch. The GOP Senate primary there has everyone interested. It should be said however that current Missouri AG Eric Schmitt has had most of the recent momentum. Even with Vickey Hartzler and incredibly controversial candidate Eric Greitens in the race. Former President Trump has also decided to hedge his bets on the race by just endorsing “Eric” – you read that right, just the name “Eric”. With that in mind, I consider Schmitt the favorite as the endorsement probably now has little meaning on the race.
There are also two competitive GOP primaries to replace both Hartzler and Billy Long, the latter of whom gained no momentum in this race. In MO-04, the spending seems to hint towards the nominee being either Mark Alford or Rick Bratten. However Taylor Burks raised the most money and avoided the outside attacks that have come for Alford and Bratten. There have been no public polls of this race since January, and thus we are flying blind.
In Missouri’s 7th, the race to replace Long does seem to have a favorite in State Senator Eric Burlison. Burlison has endorsements from Club for Growth and Senator Ted Cruz, but does face competition from fellow state senator Mike Moon and former state senator Jay Wasson. The most recent poll from May showed Burlison with a lead over both Moon and Wasson by 8 and 10 points respectively.
Kansas is not a state where primaries are really the main focus. The primary for AG on the GOP side will be interesting, as Kris Kobach tries to return, however there’s not much past that.
What is interesting about Kansas is that Kansas is about to be the first state to hold a referendum on abortion law post Roe. This has been a highly contested affair, with both sides pushing hard in the past months. The referenda itself is not on a abortion ban, but whether or not Kansas’s Constitution protects the right to an abortion, like the state Supreme Court said in 2019. If the measure passes, abortion becomes a key issue in the competitive gubernatorial race. If it doesn’t, it will still be a big issue, but not the main one.
Arizona has a whole slew of interesting GOP primaries tonight. Both the gubernatorial and Senate primaries have been well discussed, but there are some key GOP House primaries.
The closest affair seems set to take place in AZ-02, where Trump endorsed Eli Crane over State Rep. Walt Blackman. Blackman was the favorite of the Arizona establishment, while Crane has the support of the usual Arizona nutters. Both polls released have been internals, so it’s hard to judge this race. I’d give a slight favor to Crane, but one wonders how he has capitalized on the Trump endorsement.
The primary in the new 1st between David Schwiekert and Elijah Norton could also be interesting. Schwiekert is best known for having some ethics issues recently, and some in the area GOP want him out, especially in a more purple House seat. Democrats also have a competitive primary in AZ-06 between Kirsten Engel and Daniel Hernandez that deserves watching.
Washington polls won’t close until 11PM ET, but there are three key primaries to watch, and key to remember in Washington is that their system is like California’s. So everyone is on the same ballot tonight, with the top two finishers going head-to-head in November.
Trumpworld is targeting two Representatives in Washington who voted to impeach him: Jamie Herrera Buetler in the 3rd and Dan Newhouse in the 4th. In the 3rd, Beutler’s main opposition is Joe Kent, who works in the tech world. Kent has been long hyped in this seat, but has struggled at points in the campaign. That has led him to not pull away from the pack, and there are some concerns that the far right vote will be split with Vicki Kraft and Heidi St. John. The last Trafalger poll showed the runoff between Kent and Beutler. If that’s the case, it becomes pretty likely that Beutler is the favorite and the choice of the strong number of Democrats in this seat.
In WA-04, it is much harder to analyze. The only two polls we have gotten are internals from Loren Culp’s campaign, the 2020 gubernatorial nominee. Culp still does not believe he lost the gubernatorial race and has Trump’s endorsement. In Washington’s most Republican district however, it is more likely that we could see an RvR general election than the 3rd. Newhouse certainly isn’t done yet, and with a lack of polling, we’re generally flying into this one blind compared to the 3rd district.