A Look at the August 7th Primaries

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

After a brief respite in July, two runoffs notwithstanding, the primary season picks up again in August.  This writer has already previewed the Tennessee primary.  Today, we take a look at races in Kansas, Michigan, Washington and Missouri.



All four of the state’s House members are Republican.  The GOP primary in the First was facing up to be a good battle as former Representative Tim Huelskamp announced his intentions to challenge the current incumbent, Roger Marshall, for his old seat.  However, he withdrew and Marshall will face Nick Reinecker.

Lynn Jenkins is retiring from the Cook rated +8 GOP Second District.   Seven Republicans will fight it out to take on Democrat Paul Davis in November.  Kevin Yoder, the incumbent in the 3rd, faces two opponents in the GOP primary while six Democrats will fight it out in their primary.  Of particular interest will be how well Democratic socialism plays in the heartland as Bernie himself has endorsed Brent Welder here.  The only thing interesting about the GOP race in the 4th district is that incumbent Ron Estes will face a primary challenge from Ron M. Estes.  The real Ron Estes won a small victory when election officials noted his name will be preceded by “Representative” on the ballot to distinguish between the two.

In the gubernatorial race, Sam Brownback resigned to take a position in the Trump administration (he was term-limited) and handed the reigns to Jeff Colyer.  He is opposed in the primary by former candidate (in 2006) Jim Barnett and state secretary of state and immigration firebrand Kris Kobach.  Polling shows a tight race between Colyer and Kobach.  On the Democratic side, available polls point to a victory for state senator Laura Kelly.

Democrats have their eyes on this race as they try to make inroads into America’s heartland and Trump country.  Trump won Kansas handily, but his approval rating in the state has slipped to 48% of late.  How much this plays into a gubernatorial race will be watched.



Moving out west, Washington uses a nonpartisan best two to advance primary system a la California.  In the Senate race, Maria Cantwell, the Democratic incumbent, has a 50% approval rating in the state.  That’s almost a guarantee for victory.  There are four other Democrats and 13 Republicans on the ballot and most information this writer can glean is that one of those Republicans, Susan Hutchinson, will likely finish in the second spot and take on Cantwell in the fall.

The House delegation favors the Democrats 6-4.  One key race will be in the south of the state in the 3rd District where Republican Jaime Herrera-Beutler will face two other Republicans and four Democrats in the primary.  While some Democrats are singing the praises of Carolyn Long, she first has to get by fellow Democrat David McDevitt.  One poll released by Long showed her losing to the incumbent in November by only five points.  In the Fifth, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers who is up there in the GOP leadership will likely face off against Democrat Lisa Brown in the fall.  Keep an eye on Democratic turnout here.

Republican incumbent Dave Reichert is retiring from the 8th District.  This is a legitimate swing district rated +1 GOP by Cook.  Four Democrats and three Republicans are in the mix with GOP state senator Dino Rossi the best known of the bunch.  This will be a fought-for district come November.


A trifecta awaits Michigan voters this year.  First, the Senate race where Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow faces little competition.  On the GOP side, Rep. Bill Huzienga has endorsed businessman John James.  Most pundits believe this will be a close race between James and venture capitalist Sandy Pensler.  Stabenow can be a vulnerable target since she sports a precarious 40% approval rating against 38% disapproval.  If either James or Pensler can capitalize on some weaknesses, this could be an unexpected GOP pick up come November.  It certainly bears watching.


For Governor, GOP incumbent Rick Snyder is term limited.  On the GOP side, this comes down to current Lt. Governor Brian Calley, state attorney general Bill Schuette and state senator Patrick Colbeck.  Schuette has the endorsement of Scott Walker, a slew of Michigan House members, President Trump and Vice President Pence while Colbeck has the backing of Sean Hannity and Ted Cruz.  Rick Snyder and Justin Amash have endorsed Colyer.  Most polls show Schuette in a runaway.

On the Democratic side, Abdul El-Sayed, an acolyte of the Bernie faces off against Shri Thaedar and Gretchen Witmer who has won the endorsement of Michigan’s House delegation.  Most polls show Witmer winning this primary and several polls show her winning in November, although the race will be close.

The House delegation currently favor the GOP 9-4 with one vacancy (in the 13th).  Many of these districts could be considered swing (5 points either way by Cook), but there are no Democrats running in the First and races have been decided with no primary battles for either party in the 2nd, 5th, 12th, no GOP candidates in the 13th, and the 14th.  If the GOP has any worries here, they are in the +1 GOP Cook rated sixth where incumbent Fred Upton will have to see who among the four Democrats he will oppose in November.

Eyes will be on the 11th where Republican incumbent David Trott is retiring with the likely GOP primary winner being former Rep Kerry Bentivolio.  Democrat Sandy Levin is retiring from the 9th and his son, Andy, hopes to replace him.



In 2012, unpopular Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill dodged a bullet when Todd Aiken was her opponent and went down in flames over some unnecessary comments made on a radio station.  Will she avoid the bullet this year?  She will likely emerge from the Democratic primary the victor since she is facing a gaggle of perennial candidates and unknowns.

On the Republican side, eleven people are running with state attorney general Josh Hawley the likely winner.  However, available polling still has this as anyone’s race in a crowded field.  Hawley has the support of Josh Bolton, Trump and Pence while Sarah Palin has weighed in favor of Tony Monetti.

Most general election polling has examined a McCaskill-Hawley race with Hawley generally on top of late.  Money will pour into Missouri as the Democrats view this as a must-keep state.  Still, with an approval rating of 40% and a disapproval rate of 44% in a state that Trump won and still remains popular (50% approval), McCaskill will have her work cut out keeping her seat.

The House races will be fairly boring affairs, but for one.  The current delgation favors the GOP 6-2 and with all incumbents running in safe districts, that should not change come November.

The one race of interest and that bears watching is in the +28 Democratic Cook rated First District held by Lacy Clay, a long time African-American incumbent.  The crown princess of the Dems, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently waded into this race by endorsing one of his primary opponents- Cori Bush.  Bush last ran in 2016 in the Democratic Senate primary losing to Jason Kander who went onto to defeat at the hands of Roy Blunt.  She finished with only 13% of the vote and only 12,000 votes ahead of one of my favorite candidate names of all time, Chief Wana Dubie.  We’ll see just how much pull the Bern and Allie from the Bronx have come August 7th.




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