Big Primary Day Tomorrow

May 20 features six primaries, the largest number of individual nominating elections to be held on a single day so far this year: Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Arkansas and Georgia are run-off states. The others will choose all nominees.


Not too much drama coming from the Arkansas primary. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Rep. Tom Cotton (R) are unopposed for their respective party nominations, and their predicted hard fought general election campaign officially begins Wednesday morning. Same is true for the governor’s race, where ex-representatives Asa Hutchinson (R) and Mike Ross (D) are sure to win their respective primaries.

In the House races, two seats are open. The 2nd District (Rep. Tim Griffin (R) running for lieutenant governor) will likely produce businessman French Hill (R) and former North Little Rock mayor, Patrick Henry Hays (D), advancing to the general election. In the open 4th District (Rep. Cotton running for Senate), former Clinton Administration Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director, James Lee Witt, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, despite being outspent by his opponent, is favored for the GOP nomination over energy executive Tommy Moll.


We have written a great deal about the hot Georgia Senate Republican primary. Tomorrow will tell us which of the five major candidates – Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10), Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11), former Secretary of State Karen Handel, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), and businessman David Perdue – will qualify for the July 22nd run-off election. All five are still alive. Perdue and Kingston, along with Handel, appear most likely to advance. Democrat Michelle Nunn is the consensus candidate for her party’s nomination.

The governor’s campaign will officially winnow down to Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and state Sen. Jason Carter (D), the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.

A very active House primary night features major activity in five of the state’s 14 congressional districts, three of which are open seats.

In Kingston’s open 1st District, six Republicans are attempting to enter the inevitable run-off election. State Sen. Buddy Carter and state Rep. Jeff Chapman look to be the favorites. This seat could conceivably become competitive in the general election, but the Democratic field appears weak and the party’s eventual nominee will not likely be a top tier candidate. In the 4th District, Rep. Hank Johnson faces a significant Democratic primary challenge from DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown. In Rep. Broun’s open 10th District, seven Republicans are working to qualify for a two-person run-off. The eventual GOP nominee will hold the seat. The top contenders appear to be state Rep. Donna Sheldon, businessman Mike Collins, son of former Rep. Mac Collins (R-GA-3), and businessman Stephen Simpson. In Gingrey’s open 11th District, six Republicans are competing for the party nomination including former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA-7), and state Sen. Barry Loudermilk. The eventual GOP nominee wins the seat since no Democrats are running. Finally, in the southeastern 12th District, five Republicans are competing and a run-off is likely. The eventual winner faces Rep. John Barrow (D), who has proven his competency in winning this conservative district.


Sen. Jim Risch (R) is breezing to a second term, and Gov. Butch Otter (R) faces minimal primary opposition.

The big race is the Republican primary challenge to Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID-2). A big-spending affair between he and GOP opponent Bryan Smith and their respective allies will likely lead to the congressman’s re-nomination. At least one of Smith’s key outside organization backers, the Club for Growth, has already pulled out of the race, suggesting that Smith is headed for defeat.


The top race here is the Republican primary challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Investor Matt Bevin has been spending heavily, but lags in the polls and his outside organizational backing has failed to unite behind him. The Senator should win easily, but Bevin will record a significant percentage.


The Senate primary is attracting the most Beaver State attention. Surgeon Monica Wehby is the national Republican Party establishment’s favored candidate, and she is favored to defeat state Rep. Jason Conger and three others. State issues and the governor’s race will likely drive the turnout, thus Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) has the potential of being caught in a political cross-fire. In the governor’s race, six Republicans, mostly first-time candidates, vie for the chance to oppose potentially vulnerable Gov. John Kitzhaber (D).

Little action is occurring at the US House level.


The Democratic gubernatorial primary is the Keystone State’s big-ticket item. Businessman and former state revenue secretary, Tom Wolf, appears to have a big lead over Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13) and state Treasurer Rob McCord. The winner faces Gov. Tom Corbett (R), the most vulnerable GOP Governor in the nation.

At the US House level, Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello (R) and physician and two-time former congressional nominee Manan Trivedi (D) are unopposed for their nominations in the battle to succeed retiring Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA-6). The open 13th District Democratic primary is the most significant race of the night where former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, and physician Val Arkoosh are engaged in a heated battle to capture the all-important party nomination in the Montgomery County-anchored seat. A Republican primary challenge to Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA-9) has failed to develop and the Congressman should easily win re-nomination with a strong victory percentage.

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