The Primaries Through May:
Setting November, Part I

By Jim Ellis
May 24, 2018
— We have now completed primaries in 13 states. Therefore, we can review the key run-off and general election pairings that these primaries produced. Today we’ll look at Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska and North Carolina. Tomorrow we’ll go over the states of Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.

Arkansas: Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is a lock for re-election. Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) is a clear favorite over state Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock).

Georgia: Republicans will see a gubernatorial July 24 run-off between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The winner faces former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) in the open general election. In the House, Democrats are forced into run-offs in District 6 and 7. The winners will be clear underdogs to Reps. Karen Handel (R-Roswell) and Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville).

Idaho: Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R) is a heavy favorite over state Rep. Paulette Jordan (D-Moscow) in the open governor’s race. Former state Sen. Russ Fulcher (R) will succeed Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Eagle/Boise) in the open 1st District.

Illinois: Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) is in severe trouble against venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker (D), and this state is clearly the Democrats’ best national gubernatorial conversion opportunity. In the House, the seriously competitive campaigns come in District 6, where clean energy businessman Sean Casten (D) challenges Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) and in the 12th, a campaign featuring Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro/Carbondale) defending his seat against St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly (D). Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville/Springfield) is favored against businesswoman Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

Indiana: Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) defends his seat in a toss-up campaign with former state representative and national distributing company owner Mike Braun (R). The first released poll gave Braun a one-point lead. State Rep. Jim Baird (R) is the prohibitive favorite to replace Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg/Lafayette), and businessman Greg Pence (R) will succeed Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg/Muncie) in the open 6th District, a seat once held by Pence’s brother, Vice President Mike Pence. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Elkhart) and Todd Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) are clear favorites over healthcare company executive Mel Hall and attorney Liz Watson.

Kentucky: What could become a major campaign resides in the state’s 6th District. Three-term Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) will defend against retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Amy McGrath (D) in what promises to be an expensive campaign.

Nebraska: Sen. Deb Fischer (R) and Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) are prohibitive favorites for re-election. Freshman Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) now has a clear advantage over non-profit executive Kara Eastman (D), who was an upset winner in the Democratic primary.

North Carolina: Rep. George Holding (R-Raleigh) is a heavy favorite over former state Rep. Linda Coleman (D). After Baptist former pastor Mark Harris upset Rep. Bob Pittenger (R-Charlotte) in the 9th District Republican primary, a very competitive general election is ensuing between Mr. Harris and Democratic businessman Dan McCready. Freshman Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance/ Greensboro) is favored over university trustee Kathy Manning (D).

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