Primary Preview for Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

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

Hawaii holds their primary election on August 11th and Alaska and Wyoming on August 21st.  Between them, there will be primary elections in Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut and Minnesota on August 14th that will be the subject of a separate entry.



First up, we go way out west to beautiful, sunny, volcanic Hawaii.  One of the bluest of blue states, there will be a gubernatorial, Senate and two House seats this year.  In the First District, Democratic incumbent Colleen Hanabusa is vacating the seat to run for Governor.  There are seven candidates in their primary four of which are of significance.  The first is Ed Case who previously represented this district.  Current Lt. Governor Doug Chin is scoffing up some union endorsements in the state.  State senator Donna Mercado Kim is the apparent front runner at this point.

Then there is state representative Kaniela Ing.  For him, the state recently fined him $15,000 for filing 23 false finance statements in his state legislative races since 2011.  Ing has the support of the Bernie Sanders apparatus which means he also has the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America which means he also has the endorsement of Democratic sweetheart, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

On the GOP side, there are three candidates including Campbell Cavasso who was a US Senate candidate in 2010 and 2014.

The second district race is set where Democratic incumbent Tulsi Gabbard will face Brian Evans in November.

In the Senate race, Mazie Hirono is running for another term and even though there are two Republicans in the primary, one is a certifiable nut and the other an unknown.  This is a blip on the Senate map in 2018.


The most interest will be in the Governor’s race where the aforementioned Colleen Hanabusa is mounting a primary challenge against incumbent Governor David Ige.  There are four other Democrats in their primary and their effect of pulling votes from either of the other two is a consideration.  Most polling shows a Hanabusa victory, but there is one independent one of late showing Ige ahead by about 4 points.  Additionally, he has more money to spend at this stage of the game.

Regardless, the Republicans stand no chance against either Ige or Hanabusa come November.  The closest of the three in hypothetical match ups is state representative Andria Tupola.


There are only two races in Alaska this year- for the at large seat in the House and for Governor.  Two Democrats and three Republicans are in their respective primaries with GOP incumbent Don Young expected to emerge victorious again in the primary and general election.  Young is well-known for bringing home the pork.

Most of the interest will be in the Governor’s race which features a legitimate three-way race.  The incumbent is independent (formerly Republican) Bill Walker.  The likely Democratic candidate will be former Senator Mark Begich who surprisingly entered the race.  This has been to the detriment of Walker.


On the GOP side, it’s basically a two-way race between former Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and former state senator Mike Dunleavy.  The most recent polling shows Dunleavy the favorite to win this primary.  Anticipating a one-on-one match up with Dunleavy, wealthy businessman Scott Hawkins dropped out of the race after Treadwell entered.

As for general election polling, most polls show Dunleavy with the lead, but not totally insurmountable.  Enter Tony Knowles, the state’s last Democratic governor, to endorse Begich realizing that Walker won the race as an independent in 2014 with lots of Democratic support.

In short, Knowles is arguing that if Walker continues to tank in the polls and sport a precarious approval rating, he will siphon votes from Begich allowing Dunleavy a clear path to victory in November.  It should also be noted that Begich is the only pro-death candidate in the race (Walker, Dunleavy and Treadwell are all pro-life).


Matt Mead is the incumbent GOP Governor and term-limited.  Six Republicans are in the primary with no valid front runner in this very red state.  Businessman Sam Galeotos has received the endorsement of former rep Cynthia Lummis while state treasurer Mark Gordon has the backing of Alan Simpson.  It likely comes down to those two.  For the Democrats, expect state house minority leader Mary Throne to emerge the victor.


The Senate race is basically set as incumbent John Barasso, who faces token primary competition, will take on Democrat Gary Trauner in the fall who faces no primary opponents.

In the lone House seat, GOP incumbent Liz Cheney will face two primary opponents- Rod Miller who can’t really articulate a reason for opposing Cheney, and Blake Stanley who, if he prevails, would own the record for longest hair and beard in the House.  Two Democrats will run in their primary- Laramie businessman Greg Hunter and Travis Helm who was formerly a Republican.  He is playing the “Liz Cheney is a carpetbagger” game.

Next up: Primary elections in Minnesota , Vermont , Wisconsin, and Connecticut  on August 14th.


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