By Jim Ellis
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) easily won re-nomination for a second term with 70 percent of the vote and now faces former non-profit executive Jared Henderson (D) in what is expected to be an easy run for re-election.
The most significant Arkansas race is in Little Rock’s 2nd Congressional District. With the Democratic establishment’s backing, state Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) scored an outright victory last night, capturing 59 percent against three Democratic opponents. By earning a majority of the total votes cast, Tucker avoids a run-off and automatically advances into the general election. He will now face two-term US Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) in November.
Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is ineligible to seek re-election, so the open governor’s race tops the election card this year.
For the Democrats, former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams easily exceeded the majority plateau and claimed outright the Democratic nomination. She defeated state Rep. Stacey Evans by a landslide 76-24 percent margin.
On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp advanced to a July 24 run-off election. Cagle placed first with 39 percent at this writing versus Kemp’s 26 percent.
In the congressional races of note, 6th District Rep. Karen Handel (R-Roswell) will have to wait until the end of July to see whom she will face in the general election. Gun control activist Lucy McBath placed first with 36 percent and businessman Kevin Abel scored 30 percent to secure the second position for the July 24 secondary vote. Former news anchor Bobby Kaple, who some believed could win the nomination, finished a distant third.
In the 7th District, four-term Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville) will undertake what could become a credible general election challenge, from either former state Budget director Carolyn Bourdeaux or learning center chain CEO David Kim, as both advanced to the July 24 run-off election. Bourdeaux will likely finish first when all of last night’s votes are counted, but the two candidates are virtually tied heading into the second phase of the nomination contest.
Kentucky’s most interesting congressional race is in the 6th District. In the Democratic primary, retired Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Amy McGrath, a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, topped Lexington-Fayette Mayor Jim Gray, 48-40 percent, with the remaining four candidates splitting the remaining 11-plus percent of the vote. McGrath now faces three-term Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) in the general election. The congressman already has over $2.31 million raised for the November campaign.
Thirteen significant Lone Star State political run-offs were decided in yesterday’s election, thus ending the nomination process that began with the Texas primary election back on March 6th.
In the governor’s race, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez nipped businessman Andrew White, the son of the late former Texas Gov. Mark White (D), with just over 52 percent of the run-off vote to claim the Democratic nomination. She now opposes Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is the prohibitive favorite for re-election.
TX-2: This Houston suburban seat produced a Republican run-off contest that saw retired Navy officer Dan Crenshaw crush state Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston), with almost 70 percent of the vote. Crenshaw is now the prohibitive favorite to win the seat in the fall and replace retiring Rep. Ted Poe (R-Atascocita).
TX-5: State Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Kaufman County) defeated political fundraiser Bunni Pounds, 53-47 percent, in the battle to succeed retiring Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas). Gooden now opposes former Terrell City Councilman Dan Wood (D) in the general election. He becomes the heavy favorite to win in November.
TX-6: Tarrant County Tax Assessor and former congressional staff member Ron Wright (R) came within five percentage points of clinching the nomination outright in March and finished the job last night. In a result that was closer than expected, Wright topped pilot Jake Ellzey, 52-48 percent with still several precincts from the leader’s strong area in Tarrant County remaining to be posted. Wright now becomes the heavy favorite in the general election. He will replace his former boss, retiring Rep. Joe Barton (R-Ennis) who was first elected in 1984. For the Democrats, journalist Jana Sanchez defeated pastor Ruby Faye Woolridge 53-47 percent, after the pair finished just 15 votes apart in the primary.
TX-7: In the first significant Democratic run-off of the evening, attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who most of the Democratic Party establishment backs, easily outpaced author Laura Mosher, with two-thirds of the vote. She now opposes veteran Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) in what many believe will be a competitive general election campaign.
TX-21: This San Antonio-Austin district is the second of three seats where both parties are holding run-off electoral contests. For the favored Republicans, former Ted Cruz chief of staff Chip Roy slipped past businessman and frequent candidate Matt McCall with only a 53-47 percent margin, a spread that was expected to be larger. Roy is favored to replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio), who won his first congressional election in 1986. The Democratic race went to aerospace engineer Joseph Kopser who scored a 58-42 percent victory over Baptist Minister Mary Wilson.
TX-23: In the state’s one true swing district that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) runs for a third term. Since it’s origination, this district has seen all six of its previous Representatives suffer a defeat at the polls. In the Democratic run-off, former US Trade official Gina Ortiz Jones easily defeated educator and former San Antonio City Council candidate Rick Trevino, as expected. Jones recorded a strong 68-32 percent win. Another toss-up campaign is projected for the fall.
TX-27: Resigned Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) leaves an open seat and a June 30 special election in his wake. Last night, both parties hosted run-off elections. Republicans are favored to hold the seat, and former Victoria County Republican Party chairman and media production company owner Michael Cloud posted a 61-39 percent victory over ex-Water Development Board chairman Bech Bruun. The March 6 primary ended in very close fashion with Bruun capturing first place with 36 percent versus Cloud’s 34 percent, and the remaining four candidates splitting the remaining 30 percent. For the Democrats, former congressional aide Eric Holguin beat 2016 nominee Roy Barrera with a 62-38 percent margin.
TX-31: A spirited Democratic run-off took place in Williamson and Bell Counties, as Afghan War veteran and author M.J. Hegar squared off with Dr. Christine Mann, a physician. In the primary, Hegar garnered 45 percent versus Dr. Mann’s 34 percent. Last night, Hegar won 62-38 percent. She now begins an uphill challenge against eight-term veteran Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock).
TX-32: In 2016, 11-term Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) had no Democratic Party opposition. This year, seven Democrats competed in the primary, and two advanced into the run-off election. Civil Rights attorney and former NFL football player (Tennessee Titans) Colin Allred came through last night’s election, recording a strong 70-30 percent win over former US Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary Lillian Salerno. Allred is a decided underdog against Rep. Sessions but, in a district with changing demographics, this general election campaign will be more competitive than in immediate past years.