Four states went to the polls Tuesday for primary voting election day, setting up general election showdowns for several Senate seats, OH Gov, and a slew of Congressional districts in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina.
The Governors race to replace term-limited John Kasich will be between Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine. In the Senate primary, Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown will face off with Jim Renacci.
Republican Ohio Attorney General DeWine, one of the state’s best-known politicians, and Democrat Cordray, who headed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the Obama administration, are headed into their third career matchup this fall after a raucous roller- coaster of a primary season left them damaged as they seek to replace Republican Gov. John Kasich.
The general election in November will feature two moderates who fought off challenges from the Republican right and the Democratic left.
U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, bolstered by the backing of President Donald Trump, won Tuesday’s Republican primary to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio this fall.
Renacci, 59, is in his fourth term in Congress and is a longtime businessman and former mayor of Wadsworth. He left the governor’s race to campaign for Senate and emerged victorious in a five-way contest.
Indiana’s US Senate race will be decided between Republican Mike Braun and Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly. In a notable House race, Vice President Mike Pence’s brother Greg won the primary for IN6; a seat once held by the VP.
In a huge upset against two well-established names in Indiana Republican politics, wealthy businessman Mike Braun won Indiana’s high-stakes GOP Senate primary.
Braun, who fueled his bid with millions of dollars of his own money, defeated U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita in what has been called the nation’s nastiest and most expensive U.S. Senate primary.
The Associated Press called the race at 8:48 p.m. with Braun garnering 41 percent of the vote and Messer and Rokita receiving about 29.5 percent each.
The results represent a stunning rebuke of two sitting congressmen and a powerful indicator that the anti-establishment sentiment remains strong among Hoosier Republicans who helped catapult Donald Trump into the White House two years ago.
The Don Blankenship show, reported to be gaining momentum, turned out to be a distant also-ran as State AG Patrick Morrisey defeated Rep. Evan Jenkins for the GOP nod to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin, who easily secured the Democratic side of the ballot. State Sen. Richard Ojeda, of teachers strike and Politico profile fame, crushed veteran legislator Shirley Love to secure the Democratic challenge for Jenkins vacated WV3 House seat.
Morrisey handily defeated a crowded field of challengers during the primary election, including Congressman Evan Jenkins and ex-coal executive Don Blankenship.
Manchin had a dominating primary victory against progressive Paula Jean Swearengin.
Manchin, speaking Tuesday night with MetroNews, said he had anticipated Morrisey might be his opponent.
“I always thought Patrick might have an edge, and the reason is he had two statewide races under his belt and a little bit more identification, if you will. I’ve done enough statewide races to realize that.”
Both Manchin and Morrisey are well-funded and well-known. Each has won multiple statewide races.
And each has controversial connections with the pharmaceutical industry.
Morrisey is a former lobbyist for the prescription drug industry whose campaigns have been funded by those same companies. Manchin has been connected with Mylan Pharmaceuticals and its EpiPen controversy through his daughter, Heather Bresch, who runs the company.
Some takeaways from the nights results:
The most important headline (in WV) is that Morrisey has the potential to give incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin a tough race considering West Virginia’s increasingly Republican lean in national races. (Manchin easily won his primary, although the Democrat running to his left, Paula Jean Swearengin, performed respectably.)
A secondary headline, given that Blankenship finished in a quite distant third place, is that internal “polls” supposedly showing Blankenship surging may have been bullshit all along and driven a false narrative about the election — a lesson that news organizations should learn from but probably won’t.
Women are running for federal office in record numbers in 2018 — and it looks like Democratic primary voters are poised to support those candidates like never before. There were 20 open Democratic House primaries with women on the ballot Tuesday night, and voters selected a female nominee in 17 of them.
It’s a sharp turnaround from past years when female Democrats faced big hurdles in trying to win support from voters. A good number of the primary winners Tuesday night are running in heavily Republican seats with little chance of winning general elections. But they are still part of an important trend: Evidence is building that Democratic voters are tilting toward supporting women this year.
Keep this in mind as we approach primaries in big states full of battleground districts over the next two months: California and New York in June, and Pennsylvania next week.
How Good Of A Night Was Tonight For Trumpism In The Republican Party?
I’m honestly not sure. The candidate who draped himself in Trump the most in Indiana (Rokita) lost, but the candidate with the Trump profile (Braun) won. In West Virginia, the candidate with the Trump profile (Blankenship) lost, but Trump had specifically come out against him in a tweet. Pittenger also banked his re-election campaign on his closeness to Trump, but Harris wasn’t exactly shy about his love of Trump either.
Maybe the one clear case in which Trumpism lost was in Ohio’s 16th District, where state Rep. Christina Hagan had such figures as Anthony Scaramucci and Seb Gorka in her corner but still came up short.
If there was one descriptor you didn’t want next to your name Tuesday, it was “congressman.” Two of them (Messer and Todd Rokita) lost to wealthy businessman Mike Braun in the Indiana GOP Senate primary to face Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). One of them (Evan Jenkins) trailed Morrissey in the West Virginia GOP Senate primary. A former representative (Kucinich) lost in Ohio. Even Rep. James B. Renacci, who had Trump’s backing and probably should have won the GOP nod to face Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) rather easily, failed to crest 50 percent.
TBD: Blue wave.
The primary really told us nothing about what’s coming in November, whether Trump will maintain his grip on Ohio or a blue wave will crash down on the Buckeye State. This was an uneventful election. There weren’t any surprises like in Indiana, where Trump-aligned outsider Mike Braun pulled off a major upset.
If there’s anything that could even slightly indicate what might happen in November, maybe it was that Trump-endorsed Jim Renacci didn’t even get half of Republican voters to support him in the U.S. Senate race.
Trump came to Ohio to stump for the Northeast Ohio congressman three times since February, including visiting Cleveland last weekend. Renacci still garnered 47 percent of the votes to win easily, but most thought he’d beat unknown Cleveland businessman Bob Gibbons (31.7 percent) by a much larger margin.
You could read this a couple ways – or not at all. Trump’s influence might be waning. But then again, Renacci has low statewide name recognition. He is running for statewide office for the first time and didn’t get into the Senate race until January after Josh Mandel dropped out.
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