This weekly roundup of election news and notes is compiled for Thompson Coburn by the The Ellis Insight.
Arizona: Venture capitalist Blake Masters, armed with an endorsement from former President Trump who remains a strong force in Republican primaries, defeated businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich with a 39-29-18% vote margin with about 88% of the expected vote tabulated from Tuesday’s primary election. Now, Mr. Masters advances to the general election to face a tough political opponent in Sen. Mark Kelly (D).
A new OnMessage survey already shows Mr. Masters within striking distance of Sen. Kelly. The poll (8/1-2; 600 AZ likely general election voters) finds the Senator leading Mr. Masters, 49-44%.
In the open Governor’s race, Trump endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake has been projected a close winner over Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, who both former Vice President Mike Pence and term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey supported. Ms. Lake will now face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who scored a landslide 73% victory in the Democratic primary. The winner will replace Mr. Ducey next year.
In House races, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) looks to have won re-nomination in the new Scottsdale anchored 1st District, but in unimpressive form. With 88% of the expected vote counted at this writing, Rep. Schweikert only has 43% Republican support. He now faces businessman Jevin Hodge, who won the Democratic primary, in what will be a competitive general election.
In the very different 2nd District that now will favor a Republican candidate as opposed to Democratic incumbent Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona), retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane, another Trump endorsed candidate, has defeated state Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) to win the GOP nomination. At this writing, Mr. Crane has a nine-percentage point lead, which could change slightly when the final totals are recorded. A O’Halleran-Crane general election now becomes one of the top GOP conversion target races in the nation.
The new competitive 4th District where Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) sees his partisan index drop to just D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, saw a surprise winner in the Republican primary. Though former Phoenix Suns executive Tanya Wheeless was attracting the most media attention, the district’s GOP electorate looks to have instead chosen local businessman Kelly Cooper as the party nominee. Mr. Cooper leads the primary race by three percentage points with 91% of the votes counted. He looks to be a strong general election candidate, and this will be a real race in the Autumn.
In the Tucson anchored open 6th District, from which Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) is retiring, former gubernatorial aide and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani, as expected, easily captured the Republican nomination. He will now face former state Senator Kirsten Engel who was a strong winner on the Democratic side. The general election features a tight political district, but the area and national political prognosticators promote Mr. Ciscomani as the favorite to win the general election and convert this southeastern Arizona seat for the GOP.
Michigan: The big story in the Michigan primary and perhaps the overall national primary result among the five states voting was the defeat of freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) in the GOP nomination campaign. He fell 52-48% to former Housing & Urban Development Department official John Gibbs who had former President Trump’s endorsement. The new 3rd District leans Democratic, so Mr. Gibbs faces a tough challenge against 2020 party nominee Hillary Scholten (D) in the coming general election.
The other Michigan congressional defeat came in the Democratic pairing from the state’s suburban Detroit 11th District. There, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) scored a 60-40% win over fellow Democratic Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township), as late polling predicted would occur.
Missouri: Another of the key August 2nd primary races ended as projected. Late in what had been a tightly fought campaign, Attorney General Eric Schmitt looked to have broken away from the candidate pack and scored a 46-22-19-5% open Republican primary victory over US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, and US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), respectively.
Mr. Schmitt now becomes a strong favorite in the general election to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). In November, he will face philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the Anheuser Busch beer family. She defeated Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce, 43-38%, to capture the Democratic nomination, overcoming a heavy negative attack campaign.
The two US House members, Reps. Hartzler and Long, left open a pair of solidly Republican congressional districts that featured crowded Republican primaries. Former news anchorman and conservative commentator Mark Alford and state Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield/Springfield) were strong winners in the 4th and 7th District congressional nomination contests. Both men have effectively punched their tickets to Washington, as each should easily win the general election.
Tennessee: The Volunteer State voters engaged in the country’s only Thursday primary, and the open 5th District (Rep. Jim Cooper-D retiring) was the evening’s key race. The crowded Republican primary winner was Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. He defeated former state House Speaker Beth Harwell and retired National Guard General Kurt Winstead along with seven others. Redistricting transformed this seat into a Republican domain, so Mr. Ogles becomes a heavy favorite to defeat state Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville) in the general election. The three incumbents who faced competition, Reps. Charles Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga), David Kustoff (R-Germantown), and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) were all easily renominated.
The Democratic Governor’s race remains tight. With 98% of the votes tabulated, physician Jason Martin leads Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley, Jr. by just 1,468 votes. The winner faces an uphill battle against Gov. Bill Lee (R) in the general election.
Washington: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), despite earlier polling suggesting a competitive re-election race, easily placed first in the state’s jungle primary. Though only about half of the vote is tabulated under Washington’s all-mail election system that allows ballots to be received and counted after the election, it is clear that Sen. Murray placed first in the multi-candidate field with 54% of the vote.
In second place, as expected, and also advancing into the general election is veterans’ activist and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R) who garnered 32% of the votes tabulated at this writing. It appears that Sen. Murray is now a heavy favorite for re-election to a sixth term.
The more watched races occurred in congressional districts 3 and 4. It appears that both Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) and Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) will advance into the general election, but with low vote percentages. Each voted to impeach former President Trump.
From the Vancouver area anchored 3rd CD, Democratic businesswoman Marie Perez, taking advantage of the badly split Republican vote, has secured first position from the jungle primary and will advance into the general election. Rep. Herrera Beutler, with just 24.5% of the tabulated vote, which is from 57% of the expected total, looks to have enough of a cushion over retired Army officer and Trump endorsed contender Joe Kent (R) despite her low percentage. The total Republican vote, however, spread among four GOP candidates is approximately 63%, which portends well for Rep. Herrera Beutler in the general election.
In Washington’s middle-state 4th CD, incumbent Newhouse is holding first place, but with only 27% of the jungle primary vote. It appears that he and Democratic businessman Doug White will advance into the general election in what is the Evergreen State’s most Republican district. Trump-endorsed candidate Loren Culp (R), the former town police chief who was a finalist in the 2020 gubernatorial election, placed third and will be eliminated. The cumulative Republican vote here is 74%, so Rep. Newhouse, facing a Democratic opponent in the general election, should be safe for re-election.
Wisconsin: While it looked as if state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski would have a last-ditch opportunity to deny Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes the Democratic US Senate nomination in a one-on-one race, such will not be the case. After both Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson dropped out of the race, some believed Ms. Godlewski could become a factor in the closing days before the August 9th primary election.
Days later, however, Ms. Godlewski followed suit and ended her Senate campaign. All three now former candidates have endorsed Lt. Gov. Barnes, meaning a united Democratic Party will head into the general election to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). The Johnson-Barnes campaign will be national in scope and one of the key races to decide the next Senate majority.
CA-22: California Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) represents the most Democratic district in the nation that elects a Republican to the US House, and redistricting made the seat tilt even further away from the Congressman. The jungle primary saw him qualify for the general election, but with only 26% of the vote as he finished in second place.
A newly released David Binder Research poll (7/13-15; 600 CA-22 likely general election voters) finds state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leading Rep. Valadao 43-35% as the general election campaign in California’s Central Valley is now fully underway. We can expect this race to close tight, but it is one of the best Democratic opportunities in the nation to convert a Republican seat.
CO-3: Democratic polling firm Keating Research released a survey of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, termed the “Western Slope Seat,” that features freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) and former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D). The poll (released 8/2; 550 CO-3 likely general election voters) gives Rep. Boebert a 49-42% advantage over Mr. Frisch. The 3rd District was largely kept intact in redistricting, and rates as R+15 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization.
FL-27: Despite inheriting a slightly more favorable district for Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) post-redistricting, but one that still favors the Democrats, a new Alvarado Strategies Poll for the Floridians for Economic Advancement PAC (7/26-29; 440 FL-27 likely general election voters; online) stakes the Congresswoman to a lead slightly beyond the polling margin of error. Though the ballot test shows a large undecided factor of 27%, Rep. Salazar posts a 39-34% margin over state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami).
IN-2: Indiana five-term Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Elkart) and three other people were all tragically killed in a car accident during the week. The Congresswoman and her two aides were returning from an event in the district, and died when the involved vehicles collided head-on.
Ms. Walorski is the sixth House member to pass away in this session of Congress. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) will call a special election, which most observers believe will be concurrent with the regular general election on November 8th. Under Indiana election law, the Congressional District party chairman will choose the party nominee in the event of a vacancy. The problem here is that the 2nd District chairman, Zach Potts, is also one of the late Congresswoman’s staff members and he was one of the three other people slain in the accident.
NM-2: Freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamorgordo) was dealt a difficult blow in redistricting, and a new Global Strategy Group poll conducted for Democratic nominee Gabe Vasquez, a Las Cruces City Councilman (7/19-25; 500 NM-2 likely general election voters; live interview), projects a dead heat already forming for the general election. According to the GSG survey, Mr. Vasquez would hold a slight 45-44% edge over Rep. Herrell. The 2nd District was drawn as a D+4 district according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization transforming it from the R+14 seat that Ms. Herrell currently represents.
NY-23: Last week the Carl Padalino campaign released a WPA Intelligence survey that suggested the former New York Republican gubernatorial nominee owns a wide 30 point lead over NY Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy in the primary election battle to replace resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning). Now, the Langworthy campaign is citing a Zeplowski Research survey (8/1-2; 400 NY-23 likely special election voters) that finds the ballot test at only 39-37% in Mr. Padalino’s favor.
The race is getting testy between the two candidates as the contest for the safe western New York Republican district is drawing to a close. The New York congressional primary is scheduled for August 23rd. The eventual GOP winner advances to the general election against unopposed Democratic candidate Max Della Pia, a retired US Air Force officer and attorney.
Minnesota: A just-released Cygnal group survey of the Minnesota electorate (7/18-19; 500 MN likely general election voters; live interview & text) sees Gov. Tim Walz (D) leading presumed Republican nominee Scott Jensen, a physician and former state Senator, but only by a few percentage points. According to the Cygnal poll, Dr. Jensen trails the Governor by a tight 50-46% margin. The Minnesota primary is Tuesday, but Dr. Jensen faces only minor Republican opposition by virtue of his state party convention victory earlier in the year.
The Cygnal poll found Gov. Walz with a 49:45% favorability rating and Dr. Jensen scored a 32:24% positive index. President Biden’s rating is an upside down 42:56% positive to negative ratio. Within the polling universe, 43% believe Minnesota is on the right track, while 48% feel the state has veered in the wrong direction.