The Other Primaries

By Jim Ellis

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).

The Indiana Republican State Committee will choose a replacement for Gov. Mike Pence on the fall ballot. The 4th and 5th Congressional Districts will then choose nominees, either reinstating or replacing Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Clermont) and/or Susan Brooks (R-Carmel), both of whom are competing for the gubernatorial nomination.

August 2: (Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington)

Sen. Jerry Moran (R) will easily win re-nomination, while 1st District Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Fowler) has a fight on his hands against physician Roger Marshall (R).

Two open Michigan districts, the 1st (Rep. Dan Benishek-R; retiring) and the 10th (Rep. Candice Miller-R; running for local office), will choose nominees. The 1st will be competitive in November; the 10th will remain Republican. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) also faces Democratic competition.

The open Missouri governor’s race will fill nominations for both parties and lead to a competitive general election. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is ineligible to seek a third term.

Washington Republicans will choose a gubernatorial nominee. He will be Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant, who could be competitive against Gov. Jay Inslee (D). The 4th District will decide if freshman Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) faces a Republican or Democrat in the general election. Democrats will choose a successor to retiring 7th District Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle). The party nominee will then win the downtown seat in November.

August 4: (Tennessee)

The nation’s only Thursday primary will see Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-South Pittsburg) fighting for re-nomination against attorney Grant Starrett and two others. In 2014, DesJarlais won re-nomination by just 38 votes. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) has primary competition from former state Rep. Joe Carr and two others. In west Tennessee, 13 Republicans are battling for the right to succeed retiring Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump) in the 8th District.

August 9: (Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin)

The Connecticut picture is decided, so no major federal races are of interest on Aug. 9.

Minnesota’s open 2nd Congressional District (Rep. John Kline-R; retiring) will choose a Republican nominee to face Democratic healthcare executive Angie Craig in what will be a top Dem conversion opportunity in November.

Vermont primary voters will choose Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominees to succeed retiring Gov. Peter Shumlin (D).

South Wisconsin Republicans will finalize House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Janesville) re-nomination, but he has tougher than expected primary competition from businessman Paul Nehlen. Both parties will choose nominees in the Green Bay-anchored 8th District to succeed retiring Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Sherwood).

August 13: (Hawaii)

The death of freshman Rep. Mark Takai (R-Aiea) earlier this week leads to an unanswered question of whether there will be a special election called after the primary. In any event, the prohibitive favorite to replace the late House member is former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (R-Honolulu).

August 16: (Alaska, Wyoming)

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) should cruise to re-nomination, and re-election, since former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (R) ended his primary challenge.

The at-large congressional seat of retiring Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) will be decided in the Republican primary. All eyes are on whether Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice president and Wyoming congressman, Dick Cheney, can win the party nomination. She has raised more money than her six Republican opponents, but that does not necessarily translate into victory for her.

August 23: (Oklahoma Run-off)

Democrats will choose a nominee in the 5th District for the right to lose to freshman Rep. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma City) in the general election.

August 30: (Arizona, Florida)

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) seeks re-nomination for a sixth term and faces former state Sen. Kelli Ward and two others. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff) will become the official Democratic nominee.

The parties will choose nominees in the open competitive 1st District (Kirkpatrick running for Senate) and the strongly Republican 5th CD (Rep. Matt Salmon-R; retiring). Democrats will nominate a candidate to challenge freshman Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) in the southeastern 2nd District.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seeks re-nomination for a second term, while Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter) and Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) fight for the right to challenge him.

No less than 14 House districts feature primary competition from one or both parties. Much more on this state in coming reports.

September 8: (Massachusetts)

No major races.

September 13: (Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island)

Rep. John Carney (D-AL) will win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and is headed to victory in November.

Both parties will nominate successors in Carney’s open at-large seat, with the Democratic winner becoming a heavy favorite for the November election.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) will become their respective party’s official Senate nominees.

Rep. Frank Guinta (R-Manchester) faces a stiff challenge from businessman Rich Ashooh in the Republican primary for his swing congressional seat. The winner faces former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-Rochester). No seat in the country has defeated more incumbents since the 2004 election than this eastern Granite State CD.

No major races are occurring in Rhode Island.

November 8: (Louisiana)

The important open Louisiana US Senate primary occurs concurrently with the national election. The first and second place finishers, regardless of political party affiliation, advance to a Dec. 10 run-off, assuming no candidate receives a majority in the first election. State Treasurer John Kennedy (R), GOP Reps. Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) and John Fleming (R-Minden), and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) are the major candidates to replace retiring Sen. David Vitter (R).

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) faces significant Democratic competition from former East Baton Rouge mayor, lieutenant governor candidate, and state legislator, Kip Holden.

The open 3rd (Boustany running for Senate) and 4th (Fleming running for Senate) districts will choose nominees to battle in a run-off. Republicans will be favored to hold both seats.

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