July 28, 2016 — Suddenly, the Democrats seemed well positioned to potentially claim a new senator and governor from normally Republican Indiana.
Tuesday, appointed Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, the former chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, won the special vote to replace vice presidential nominee Mike Pence as the party’s gubernatorial standard bearer. He now faces former state House Speaker John Gregg (D) in the general election. Gregg held Pence to a 49-46 percent victory in 2012.
The party’s State Committee, comprised of the state party officers and congressional district chairs and vice chairs from all nine districts, has the responsibility of filling statewide ballot vacancies. With Gov. Pence departing on the final day that the party could begin replacement proceedings, the State Committee leadership scheduled the secret ballot vote for Tuesday, though they had 30 days to take action.
July 25, 2016 — Though the presidential nomination process is just about complete, the primary season is far from finished. With the Republican convention now in the books and the Democrats just about to begin, we take our focus away from the national election to recap what still remains in the states.
Beginning early next week, 22 states still must fully nominate congressional candidates, and in some cases gubernatorial candidates, for the fall election.
Below is a summary of the races to be decided:
July 26: (Georgia, Indiana)
The GA-3 run-off between Republicans Mike Crane and Drew Ferguson will end, with the winner eventually succeeding retiring Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Grantville).
July 19, 2016 — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s selection as Donald Trump’s Republican vice presidential nominee begins an unusual succession process. Immediately, the members of the Indiana Republican Party’s State Committee must take action to choose replacement nominees for what is becoming a series of vacancies.
Friday was the state deadline to finalize the November ballot. Up until noon on July 15, candidates throughout Indiana could withdraw after winning the May 3 primary, leaving the affected political party structure in charge of selecting replacements. Never has the ballot deadline created such an active period.
Somewhat lost in the deadline flurry of activity surrounding Pence’s ascension to the national ticket, was the Democratic move earlier in the week when party leaders were able to convince ex-Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN-9) to withdraw from the Senate race and allow former senator and governor, Evan Bayh (D), to step in as the replacement.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D) officially heads into the general election, and learned the identity of his Republican opponent, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. The GOP has had nothing but trouble in finding a suitable challenger here, in what was once thought to be a competitive race. But, a series of recruiting mishaps and several candidates having trouble with the petition signature process means the Senator stands in strong position for re-election.
In addition to Glenn, the Republican candidates were businessman John Blaha, and ex-state Rep. Jon Keyser, along with former Aurora city councilman and previous congressional candidate Ryan Frazier, and ex-Colorado State University Athletic Director Jack Graham. Glenn begins as a decided underdog to Sen. Bennet and faces a major uphill climb in making this race a top-tier challenge campaign.
Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Douglas Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) drew respective party primary challenges, but both won easily.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) stands for re-election and will have little trouble securing a fourth term in November. He had no primary opposition.
June 22, 2016 — It appears that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will change course and run for re-election after repeatedly saying he would not. GOP leaders, fearing they would lose the seat without him, have apparently prevailed upon him to seek re-election after exerting intense pressure. We will know for sure very shortly, because the state’s candidate filing deadline closes Friday afternoon.
But, Rubio’s decision will not only affect the Senate race. Two House district campaigns could also drastically change if he launches a new campaign.
Already, Rep. David Jolly (R-FL-13) has left the Senate race and returns to his Pinellas County congressional district to fight an uphill battle for re-election in an unfavorable post-redistricting seat. The state Supreme Court drew a new 13th CD that greatly favors the Democrats, and party switching former Gov. Charlie Crist will be Jolly’s general election opponent.