Daily Archives: June 4, 2024

Today’s Primaries

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Another primary day occurs today, and this time voters in Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota will complete their 2024 nomination process.


Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Le Claire)

The Hawkeye State US House incumbents do not face any serious challenges, but three of their four seats are extremely important to the House Republicans’ chances of holding their slim majority.

In the 1st District, a rematch of the 2022 campaign that saw Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Le Claire) defeat then-state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D) by a 53-46 percent count, is on tap for November. We can expect another competitive general election with Rep. Miller-Meeks favored to win. Congresswoman Miller-Meeks faces only minor primary opposition tonight.

Second District Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids) sees a new opponent emerge in 2024, businesswoman Sarah Corkery (D). Both women are unopposed in their respective primaries. Rep. Hinson will be the clear favorite to claim a third term in November.

The state’s Des Moines-anchored 3rd District is the pure toss-up CD. Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) nipped two-term incumbent Cindy Axne (D) in 2022 with a less than one-point margin spread. Axne, who accepted an appointment in the Biden Administration, is not returning for a rematch. Democrats Lanon Baccam, the Department of Agriculture’s former Deputy Under Secretary, and non-profit executive Melissa Vine are battling for the Democratic nomination. Baccam is favored to win, and we can expect the 3rd District to again become the site of a very close congressional race.

In the western Iowa 4th District, two-term Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull/Sioux City) has little to worry about in tomorrow’s primary or the general election.


Turning to Big Sky Country, Sen. Jon Tester (D) and Republican challenger Tim Sheehy both will overcome minor primary challenges and proceed into one of the most important Senate general elections in the nation. The winner of this race will go a long way to determining the next Senate majority.

Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) is also on the ballot running for a second four-year term. He also has only minor primary opposition and will likely cruise to re-election in November.

In the 1st Congressional District, we will likely see voters renominate both US Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish) and Democrat Monica Tranel who held the former to a closer than expected 50-46 percent result. The congressman leads Montana House candidates in fundraising, attracting over $5.2 million for the cycle. He is expected to perform better in this year’s general election.

It is almost a certainty that retiring Rep. Matt Rosendale’s (R-Glendive) successor will be determined tonight in the Republican primary. Through a crowded field of nine candidates, the GOP winner will likely be State Auditor Troy Downing, former Congressman Denny Rehberg, or state Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen.

New Jersey

The Garden State is likely to produce the most interesting June 4 primary. Indicted US Sen. Bob Menendez (D) is not running in the Democratic primary but is submitting signatures at tomorrow’s deadline to qualify as an Independent. His candidacy is likely launched so he can tap the $3.6 million in campaign funds to pay for his legal fees.

The prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination is US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown). Once New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy (D) ended her campaign, the victory path cleared for Rep. Kim. Four Republicans are fighting for the GOP nomination, but tomorrow’s winner will have little chance against Kim in November.

The most vulnerable House member seeking renomination is freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City), the senator’s son. Saddled with his father’s negative publicity surrounding his bribery trial, Rep. Menendez has drawn a strong opponent in the person of Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. Bhalla has out-raised the incumbent, and earlier polls found Bhalla even taking the lead among sampled Democrats. This is the race to watch tonight, and it is possible we could see the first Democratic incumbent defeat of the 2024 election cycle.

Rep. Menendez has been campaigning hard and has both Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Mrs. Murphy stumping for him. It remains to be seen if he has enough to withstand the family’s negative publicity and the strong challenge that Mayor Bhalla has afforded.

In Rep. Kim’s open 3rd District Democratic primary, state assemblyman and physician Herb Conaway (D-Delran) is favored to defeat Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-Mt. Laurel). Post-redistricting, NJ-3 became a safe Democratic seat. Therefore, today’s Democratic primary winner will claim the seat in November.

The death of Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) has caused the 10th District primary to be nominated in a party convention after the July 16 special election to fill the balance of the term. It is a foregone conclusion that the special election nominee will become the anointed regular general election standard bearer and we will cover this district prior to the special election primary.

In other races, Reps. Chris Smith (R-Manchester), Frank Palone (D-Long Branch), Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield, Bill Pascrell (R-Paterson), Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), and Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-Ewing Township) all face only minor opponents tomorrow night.

New Mexico

There are no challenged primaries in New Mexico major races. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) and Nella Domenici (R) will advance into the general election in a race that promises to produce some competitive fireworks.

The major US House race comes in the form of a rematch in District 2 after then-Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D-Las Cruces) unseated then-Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) in 2022 by less than a percentage point from a district that was reconfigured to elect a Democrat. The rematch will again yield a competitive contest in a place where the Republicans will heavily target.

South Dakota

Though the Mount Rushmore State has a primary scheduled, there is no Senate or governor’s race, and the at-large House candidates are unopposed.

Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-Mitchell) will face retired school employee Sheryl Johnson (D) in what will be another easy ride to re-election for the three-term congressional incumbent.