June 14, 2015 — In addition to the California races we described in the last Update, key general election campaigns are now underway in Iowa, Montana and North Carolina since their nominees were also chosen on June 7. New Mexico and South Dakota likewise held June 7 primary contests, but all of their incumbents appear safe for re-election.
Senate: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R), who has come under heavy fire for his handling of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, may face a more competitive 2016 political contest than first believed. Originally elected the same night that Ronald Reagan first won the presidency in 1980, Sen. Grassley has never faced a difficult re-election. This year, however, Democrats believe they have an opportunity to make the race competitive.
Their new nominee is former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, who served one-term under Gov. Chet Culver (D) but was swept from office with him in 2010. Previously, Judge had been appointed as state Agriculture Secretary by then-Gov. Tom Vilsack (D), who, himself, currently serves as President Obama’s top agriculture cabinet member.
June 13, 2016 — The June 7 primary results set the stage for several interesting California general election campaigns. Tomorrow, we will review the other June 7 primary states and their key general election contests.
The competition to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) features two Democrats advancing to the general election for the first time in state history. Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) placed first and second in the jungle primary field of 34 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Harris’ 40 percent performance was stronger than polling projected, while Rep. Sanchez’s 19 percent of the joint vote fulfilled her forecast.
Without any suspense as to whether or not the Democrats will hold the Boxer seat, it is unlikely the national Democratic Party apparatus or outside Super PACs will involve themselves in the race. This should be more of a help to Sanchez than Harris. Though Harris is the clear favorite to win the general election, Rep. Sanchez has the correct profile for a modern day California statewide candidate.
Hailing from southern California, where approximately 60 percent of the state’s residents live and a region starved for a statewide office holder, Sanchez, coming from Orange County, has the opportunity to make geography a political asset.
June 10, 2016 — Except for the District of Columbia Democratic primary next Tuesday, the presidential nomination process is now complete yet activists in both parties are still attempting to upend the two presumptive nominees.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has still not conceded the nomination to Hillary Clinton and he actually has only slightly more of an argument to stay alive than the band of conservatives and Republicans who persist in their quest to de-rail a Trump nomination.
Because of the large number of Democratic Super Delegates, the unofficial counts only agree on one point: that Clinton does not have enough pledged delegates to clinch a first ballot victory. All agree, however, that when adding the unbound Super Delegates who say they will support her on the presidential nomination roll call scheduled for July 25 at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia that she achieves victory.
June 9, 2016 — As has been the pattern since it became clear that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would be the eventual nominees of their respective parties, Trump consistently won big, breaking 67 percent in all primary venues Tuesday (California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota — North Dakota was a Democratic Caucus only) and averaging approximately 74 percent of the Republican vote. Clinton lost Montana, and the North Dakota Caucus to Bernie Sanders but scored surprisingly well in California, topping 62 percent in early returns. Clinton, however, averaged only in the 55 percent range, almost 20 full points below how Trump is performing among Republicans.
It’s officially onto the Clinton-Trump general election even if Sen. Sanders decides to make any type of run at the Democratic National Convention. For now, let’s take a little closer look at each state’s Tuesday results.
Turnouts for the stand-alone US House primaries were very low across the board Tuesday night, averaging just about 25,000 in the eight contested Republican contests and approximately 21,000 in the three significant Democratic intra-party battles. The special plurality primary was instituted in response to the federal court ordered mid-decade congressional re-draw.
June 8, 2016 — In addition to being the final major presidential primary yesterday, five states were deciding congressional primaries. The North Carolina campaigns were covered in our report yesterday.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both clinched their respective political party nominations as expected last night through major primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota (Democratic Caucus only), and South Dakota.
The state’s jungle primary format qualified the top two finishers in every race for the November general election, irrespective of political party preference. The most competitive situations follow:
The open Senate race (Sen. Barbara Boxer-D retiring) will likely advance a pair of Democrats to the general election for the first time in state history. Both Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-46) are expected to respectively place first and second. The fact that California allows voters to postmark their mail ballots on Election Day means a count that will take days to finalize. Ms. Harris would be favored in such a general election contest.
June 7, 2016 — Hillary Clinton won the Puerto Rico primary Sunday, capturing just under 60 percent of the vote. She unofficially defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders in pledged delegates, 36-24, and captured an additional five Super Delegates. Two Puerto Rico convention voters remain uncommitted.
The former secretary of state also won the US Virgin Island caucus on Saturday, and comes away with at least six of the seven pledged delegates who were at stake. Sen. Sanders scored one convention vote. Two Super Delegates indicated support for Clinton, with the remaining three classified as uncommitted.
Combined, she gained 42 pledged delegates and likely another seven Super Delegates for an aggregate weekend total of 49 votes. She is now and additional 49 delegate votes away from clinching the nomination, which she will do early tonight.
June 6, 2016 — As the June 1 filing deadline was just minutes from closing, an unexpected individual came forward to declare a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (R), the 2014 Republican lieutenant governor nominee (he and Gov. Sean Parnell lost to Democrat Byron Mallot and Independent Bill Walker, respectively), announced opposite incumbent Murkowski for the Aug. 16 Republican nominating election.
This challenge is significant for several reasons. First, Sullivan is an accomplished Alaska politician, serving as mayor of the state’s lone major city for six years after spending almost a decade as a member of the Anchorage city assembly.
Second, during her last nomination campaign, Sen. Murkowski fell to a little known former local judge, Joe Miller, in the 2010 Republican primary. Miller scored a shocking 51-49 percent win with just under 110,000 voters participating, after taking clear advantage of the building Tea Party wave. But, Murkowski refused to give up. Armed with millions of dollars, strong support at home and from Washington, the senator embarked upon an Independent write-in effort that proved highly successful. Just 10 weeks after her stunning defeat, Murkowski rebounded to score a 39-35-23 percent general election victory over Miller and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, the mayor of Sitka.