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Big Primary Results

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 3, 2022

Primary Results

Venture capitalist Blake Masters

Arizona — Venture capitalist Blake Masters, armed with an endorsement from former President Trump who remains a strong force in Republican primaries, defeated businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich with a 39-29-18 percent vote margin with about 80 percent of the expected vote tabulated. Masters now advances to the general election to face a tough political opponent in Sen. Mark Kelly (D).

In the open governor’s race, Trump-endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake has a very slight lead of approximately 9,000 votes over Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, who both former Vice President Mike Pence and term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey supported. The outstanding 21 percent of the vote, however, including that from the most populous Maricopa County where about 62 percent of the state’s residents live, makes it unclear as to who will prevail when all of the ballots are counted. The eventual winner will face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who scored a landslide 73 percent victory in the Democratic primary.

In House races, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) looks to have won re-nomination in the new Scottsdale-anchored 1st District, but in unimpressive form. With 82 percent of the expected vote counted at this writing, Rep. Schweikert only has 43 percent of the Republican vote.

In the very different 2nd District that now will favor a Republican candidate as opposed to Democratic incumbent Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona), retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane, another Trump-endorsed candidate, has defeated state Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) to win the GOP nomination. At this writing, 80 percent of the expected vote has been counted and Crane has a nine-percentage point lead, which should be more than enough to clinch the win. A O’Halleran-Crane general election now becomes one of the top GOP conversion target races in the nation.

The new competitive 4th District where Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) sees his partisan index drop to just D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, saw a surprise winner in the Republican primary. Though former Phoenix Suns executive Tanya Wheeless was attracting the most media attention, the district’s GOP electorate has instead chosen local businessman Kelly Cooper as the party nominee. With approximately 80 percent of the vote counted, Cooper has a five-percentage point lead. He looks to be a strong general election candidate, and this will be a real race in the fall.

In the Tucson-anchored open 6th District, from which Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) is retiring, former gubernatorial aide and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani, as expected, easily captured the Republican nomination. He will now face former state Sen. Kirsten Engel who was a strong winner on the Democratic side. The general election will yield a tight political district, but the area and national political prognosticators promote Ciscomani as the favorite to win the general election and convert this southeastern Arizona seat for the GOP.

Michigan — The big story in the Michigan primary and perhaps the overall national primary result among the five states voting was the defeat of freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) in the GOP nomination campaign. He fell 52-48 percent to former Housing & Urban Development Department official John Gibbs who had former President Trump’s endorsement. The new 3rd District leans Democratic, Gibbs faces a tough challenge against 2020 party nominee Hillary Scholten (D) in the coming general election.

The other Michigan congressional defeat came in the Democratic pairing from the state’s suburban Detroit 11th District. There, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) scored a 60-40 percent win over fellow Democratic Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township), as late polling predicted would occur.

Missouri — Another of the key Aug. 2 primary races ended as projected. Late in what had been a tightly fought campaign, Attorney General Eric Schmitt looked to have broken away from the candidate pack and scored a 46-22-19-5 percent open Republican primary victory over US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, and US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), respectively.

Schmitt now becomes a strong favorite in the general election to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). In November, he will face philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the Anheuser Busch beer family. She defeated Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce, 43-38 percent, to capture the Democratic nomination, overcoming a heavy negative attack campaign.

The two US House members, Reps. Hartzler and Long, left open a pair of solidly Republican congressional districts that featured crowded Republican primaries. Former news anchorman and conservative commentator Mark Alford and state Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield/Springfield) were strong winners in the 4th and 7th District congressional nomination contests. Both men have effectively punched their tickets to Washington, as each should easily win the general election.

Washington — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), despite earlier polling suggesting a competitive re-election race, easily placed first in the state’s jungle primary. Though only about half of the vote is tabulated under Washington’s all-mail election system that allows ballots to be received and counted after the election, it is clear that Sen. Murray placed first in the multi-candidate field with 54 percent of the vote.

In second place, as expected, and also advancing into the general election is veterans’ activist and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R) who garnered 32 percent of the votes tabulated at this writing. It appears that Sen. Murray is now a heavy favorite for re-election to a sixth term.

The more watched races occurred in congressional districts 3 and 4. It appears that both Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) and Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) will advance into the general election, but with low vote percentages. Each voted to impeach former President Trump.

From the Vancouver area anchored 3rd CD, Democratic businesswoman Marie Perez, taking advantage of the badly split Republican vote, looks to have secured first position from the jungle primary and will advance into the general election. Rep. Herrera Beutler, with just 24.5 percent of the tabulated vote, which is from 57 percent of the expected total, looks to have enough of a cushion over retired Army officer and Trump-endorsed contender Joe Kent (R) despite her low percentage. The total Republican vote, however, spread among four GOP candidates is approximately 63 percent, which portends well for Rep. Herrera Beutler in the general election.

In Washington’s middle-state 4th CD, incumbent Newhouse is holding first place, but with only 27 percent of the jungle primary vote. It appears that he and Democratic businessman Doug White will advance into the general election in what is the Evergreen State’s most Republican district. Trump-endorsed candidate Loren Culp (R), the former town police chief who was a finalist in the 2020 gubernatorial election, placed third and will be eliminated. The cumulative Republican vote here is 74 percent, so Rep. Newhouse, facing a Democratic opponent in the general election, should be safe for re-election.

Where DeSantis Stands

By Jim Ellis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

June 29, 2021 — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been a hot political property of late, and no less than three political pollsters were in the field during late June to test his popularity in several scenarios.

Two of the firms, Echelon Insights and McLaughlin & Associates, tested Gov. DeSantis nationally in anticipation of a possible presidential run in 2024, while the Political Matrix/Listener Group surveyed the more timely Sunshine State 2022 governor’s race.

From the interactive voice response system poll released late last week, Political Matrix/Listener Group, on June 21, surveyed a total of 716 Florida likely voters who have a gubernatorial preference. They found DeSantis faring well against both announced Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

If US representative and former governor, Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), were his 2022 general election Democratic opponent, Gov. DeSantis would hold a 55-45 percent advantage. Opposite state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D), Florida’s only Democratic statewide elected office holder, the DeSantis margin would expand to a huge 61-39 percent spread; this, in a state where Republicans consistently perform a few points better than polling numbers typically predict.

The other two survey research firms tested Gov. DeSantis against a large number of commonly viewed ’24 GOP presidential prospects. Echelon Insights (June 18-22; 1,001 registered US voters, online from representative sample of registered voters) finds the governor topping the field of 19 named potential candidates within the 386 Republican primary voters segment with a 21 percent support figure, which is seven points higher than the former vice president, Mike Pence.

Donald Trump, Jr. posted seven percent, one point ahead of ex-UN Ambassador and former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who both followed with six percent apiece. This group of five are the only potential contenders exceeding five percent preference. Former president, Donald Trump, was not included in the Echelon Republican nomination ballot test.

McLaughlin and Associates (June 16-20; 1,000 likely US voters, 444 GOP likely presidential primary voters) tested a two-tiered national GOP primary vote, one with former President Trump and one without.

If Trump does not run in 2024, McLaughlin, like Echelon, finds Gov. DeSantis to be the leading early candidate. In the field sans the ex-president, Gov. DeSantis places first with 24 percent followed by ex-VP Pence who attracts 19 percent, while Donald Trump, Jr. places third with 15 percent. Sen. Cruz (six percent) is the only other potential candidate who tops five percent of the vote.

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