By Jim Ellis
May 26, 2016 — It was an incumbents’ night on Tuesday. For example, despite wide dissatisfaction with their federal elected officials, particularly among Republican voters, incumbents again scored well in the Georgia primary.
Several House members have now been effectively re-elected for another term. Representatives Buddy Carter (R-GA-1), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), and David Scott (D-GA-13) faced no primary opposition and have no major party opponent for the fall campaign, thus effectively winning a new term.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA-9) prevailed in his multi-opponent re-nomination battle. He scored 61 percent of the vote against former Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10), who previously represented about half of this seat pre-redistricting and was attempting an ill-fated political comeback after losing the 2014 Senate Republican primary. Broun notched 22 percent, while the remaining three candidates split the outstanding 17 percent. With no Democratic opposition for November, Collins also won his re-election last night.
In the northwest Atlanta suburbs containing most of Cobb County and the city of Marietta, freshman Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) defeated four minor Republican opponents. Rep. Loudermilk reached the 60 percent plateau and now faces only token opposition in November.
Further to the northwest, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) recorded a 76 percent primary victory against three GOP opponents. Like Rep. Collins, Graves faces no further opposition in November, and has now been re-elected.
Finally, two other Georgia incumbents also won easy victories. Three-term Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA-8) notched a 78 percent win against a minor Republican candidate, and freshman incumbent Rick Allen (R-GA-12) did even better against his 2014 congressional opponent, Eugene Yu (R). Both now face minor opponents this fall.
In the Senate contest, investment executive Jim Barksdale won the Democratic nomination outright with his 53 percent majority showing. But, he merely won the right to lose to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) come November. Sen. Isakson turned back two Republican challengers with 77 percent support.
As the presidential nominating events are now coming to a close, presumptive nominees Donald Trump (R) and Hillary Clinton (D) each placed first in their respective Washington State primary contests.
Trump scored a 76 percent win in the Evergreen State primary that led him to commit what appears to be 38 of the state’s 44 Republican delegates. This total brings him to within 23 to 31 delegate votes of clinching the nomination, depending upon what count is considered. Different media outlets routinely report inconsistent numbers because of how the unbound delegates, those not confined by state law or party rule to support a particular candidate on a particular number of ballots, are actually voting. Either way, the Washington result will allow Trump to officially clinch the nomination by taking the New Jersey winner-take-all primary (51 votes), which will be the first of the June 7 states to vote.
Clinton took 54 percent in the Washington state beauty contest vote. No delegates were apportioned with this vote, however, since the allocation was tied to the previous March 26 precinct caucus votes. Though 54 percent is not an overwhelming number for a presumptive nominee –- she should be scoring close to Trump’s latest performances (60s and 70s vote percentile) — Clinton, too, will mathematically clinch the Democratic nomination on June 7, but will likely have to go all the way to California to officially eliminate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT).
A pair of individuals won run-off elections, and doing so means they will become members of the 115th Congress. Former Texas Tech Chancellor and ex-George W. Bush Administration official Jodey Arrington successfully outlasted Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson to claim the 19th District Republican nomination with a 54-46 percent run-off victory. He will replace retiring Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock) next year.
Arrington carried 19 of the district’s 29 counties. Some, however, have so few residents that fewer than 150 total votes were cast in the particular domains. In fact, Arrington won three tiny counties by one vote apiece, and another by three. But, his margins of 55 percent from Lubbock and almost 58 percent in Taylor County (Abilene) made the victory possible. It’s a stinging loss for Mayor Robertson, who lost even in his own city.
With no Democratic opposition for November, Arrington has won the congressional post.
Moving to one of the districts that encompass a slice of the Mexican border, attorney Vicente Gonzalez (D) scored a whopping 66 percent victory over Edinburgh School Board member Juan “Sonny” Palacios (D) to effectively claim the congressional seat. Republican Tim Westley, a local pastor, has little to no chance of dropping Gonzalez in what is a reliable Democratic seat. Gonzalez will replace retiring Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-McAllen) in January.