Daily Archives: June 5, 2024

Yesterday’s Primary Results

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Primary Results

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-LeClaire) wins tight primary race.

Iowa: Closer Results Than Expected — In the 1st Congressional District, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-LeClaire) only scored a 56-44 percent renomination victory over businessman David Pautsch, who attacked over a series of her centrist votes. Pautsch had raised just $35,000 through the May 15 pre-primary disclosure period. Therefore, him holding Miller-Meeks to only 56 percent within her own party suggests significant incumbent weakness for the general election.

In the state’s western district, two-term Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull/Sioux City) only scored a 60 percent win over former CIA agent Kevin Virgil who was backed by many of former US Rep. Steve King’s supporters. Rep. Feenstra holds Iowa’s safest congressional district and will now have little trouble winning a third term in November.

In the most competitive seat, the Des Moines-anchored 3rd District, Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) will face former Department of Agriculture official Lanon Baccam, who scored an easy 84 percent victory in the Democratic primary. In 2022, Nunn nipped two-term incumbent Cindy Axne (D) with a less than a one-point margin.

Montana: No Surprises — Last evening in Montana went as expected. Sen. Jon Tester (D) and Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) both easily won renomination. Overall, Republican participation was greater as one would expect based upon vote trends from elections after 2012. Approximately 57 percent of those who cast a ballot in the primary did so on the Republican side.

Sen. Tester will now officially face retired Navy SEAL and aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy (R) in the general election for what will be one of the most important Senate races on anyone’s ballot.

In the open 2nd District, State Auditor Troy Downing defeated former US Rep. Denny Rehberg, ex-DEA agent Stacy Zinn, and state superintendent for Public Instruction to score a 37-17-15-9 percent Republican primary victory. As the new 2nd District Republican nominee, Downing is virtually assured of succeeding retiring Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) in the safely Republican eastern Montana congressional district.

New Jersey: Rep. Menendez Wins — After being outspent and trailing in an early poll, freshman New Jersey US Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) defended himself last night against a serious challenge from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla to record a 54-36 percent renomination victory. In a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+47, the congressman’s primary win has unofficially secured him a second term. He also overcame the baggage he inherited from his father, Sen. Bob Menendez, and the latter’s criminal indictment and trial.

In the open Garden State Senate race, as predicted, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) easily won the Democratic primary, scoring 75 percent of the vote against two minor candidates. Republicans nominated real estate developer Curtis Bashaw with approximately 46 percent of the vote against three GOP opponents. Bashaw will advance to the general election against Rep. Kim and Sen. Menendez who is running as an Independent.

In Rep. Kim’s open 3rd District, also as expected, state Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Delran) looks to have topped state Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-Mt. Laurel) by a 2:1 margin. Conaway will now have a relatively easy ride in the general election from a seat that redistricting transformed into a likely Democratic domain. The FiveThirtyEight organization rates NJ-3 as D+9.

New Mexico: Senate & House Races — All major candidates unopposed in both New Mexico and South Dakota; there was no drama in either state, and obviously no close results.

The New Mexico Senate race will feature Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) and former hedge fund executive Nella Domenici (R), the daughter of the late Sen. Pete Domenici (R). Unsurprisingly, turnout favored the Democrats last night, and though the Senate race has the underpinnings of a race that could be competitive, Sen. Heinrich remains a clear favorite for re-election.

Another major contest will be the rematch between 2nd District US Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-Las Cruces) and former Rep. Yvette Herrell (R). The two battled to a close finish in 2022, with the challenger unseating the incumbent by less than a percentage point in a district redrawn to elect a Democrat. The rematch will be highly competitive and a race that will go a long way toward determining which party controls the next House majority.

South Dakota: Two Statewide Races — The only two statewide races will be the presidential and US House races. Both congressional candidates were unopposed yesterday, so we will see Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-Mitchell) defend his seat against retired school employee Sheryl Johnson (D). The congressman should have little trouble securing a fourth term in November.