The September Primaries: A Preview

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Three New England states and Delaware hold primaries in September, the last of the lot.



First up is the Bay State of Massachusetts on September 4th.  In the Governor’s race, incumbent Republican Charlie Baker will emerge from the primary sporting an impressive 69% approval rating against 17% disapproval and is almost guaranteed another term come November.  In the Democratic primary are environmentalist Robert Massie and former state official Jay Gonzalez.  Every poll indicates a rather easy Baker victory over either Democrat.

In the Senate race, Elizabeth Warren is the Democratic incumbent with possible visions of a 2020 Presidential run in her head.  Three Republicans are on the primary ballot: former state official Beth Lindstrohm, state rep Geoff Diehl and attorney John Kingston.  Thus far, it looks like Diehl is in the lead, but don’t count out Lindstrohm.  Regardless, they would have a hard time taking down Warren in November given her respectable 53% approval rating.  But, if the GOP can deflect some attention this way, great.

The House delegation favors the Democrats 9-0 and that should not change come November.  In fact, Republicans are not even fielding candidates in three of the nine districts.  Perhaps the only race that is gaining some attention is the soon-to-be vacant Third where incumbent Niki Tsongas is retiring.  Ten Democrats will fight it out in their primary.  The Sixth and Ninth Districts have no competitive primaries for either party.



Democratic Senator Tom Carper faces reelection this year should have no problem in his primary.  For the GOP, the best bet may be state legislator Tom Arlet.  One hypothetical poll has this race with Carper in the obvious lead, but not by such a large margin as one would expect out of Delaware.

In the lone House seat occupied by a Democrat, there is no drama and she will be returned to Congress come 2019.

New Hampshire

On the 11th, New Hampshire voters go to the polls.  In the gubernatorial race, New Hampshire- like Vermont- elects their Governor every two years.  Republican incumbent Chris Sununu is up for reelection and a likely shoo-in for November given his impressive 61% approval rating.  On the other side, 2016 candidate Steve Marchand is vying for a rematch against former state rep Molly Kelly.  Scant polling indicates a Kelly victory with her eventually losing to Sununu in November.

Of the two House races, only the First is of interest as Democrat Carol Shea-Porter is retiring.  This seat has been going back and forth among parties over the last few cycles.  With 11 Democrats in the mix, it is hard to discern a favorite, but Chris Pappas received the endorsement of Second District rep Anne Kuster.  He also has some unions on his side.

There are six GOP candidates officially on the ballot although one officially withdrew.  Hence, it likely comes down to state senator Andy Sanborn and former state official Eddie Edwards.  Sanborn has recently been swept up in a “MeToo” moment having been accused of making inappropriate comments to an intern.  Allegedly, the state attorney general is investigating the issue.  Sanborn has denied any wrongdoing, but Edwards is trying to make it an issue.


Rhode Island

Finally, there is Rhode Island with a rare Wednesday primary on the 12th.  Although there is a Senate election and two House seats up for grabs, all eyes will be on the Governor’s race.  In the Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sheldon Whitehouse has a 51% approval rating and will face Republican Robert Flanders in the fall.  Neither face competitive primaries.

Democratic incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo is embattled with a 44% approval rating against 46% disapproval.  Apparently, she riled up the state’s “progressives” by pushing for state pension reform.  She faces two opponents in her primary- former state rep Spencer Dickinson and state secretary of state Mat Brown.  The Democratic Governor’s Association recently pledged $1 million to help Raimondo keep this office- a large sum for such a small state.

On the GOP side, this primary is likely going to set up a rematch between Raimondo and Cranston mayor Alan Fung.  It is his primary to lose at this point.  He received the endorsement of the state Republican Party at an event house minority leader Patricia Morgan said was “rigged” and which she boycotted.

Rhode Island has not been hesitant to vote a Republican into the Governor’s office in the past despite heavy losses everywhere else on the ballot.  Raimondo won four years ago with a little over 40% of the vote.  What may help her this year is independent Joe Trillo being on the ballot.  He is a former Republican who chaired Trump’s campaign in the state.  He has been polling in double digits, but well behind Fung and Raimondo in hypothetical November match ups.  However, that may be enough to push Raimondo over the finish line again.


Rhode Island is likely to lose a House seat after the 2020 Census given their drop in population- another indication that non-progressives generally like to vote with their feet.  Neither House race- both held by Democrats- is of interest this year.

That’s it for the primary previews.  All that is left is the Louisiana jungle primary that coincides with federal Election Day with a runoff about a month later.  With no Senate or gubernatorial race, all that is up for grabs is Louisiana’s six Congressional seats which favors the GOP 5-1 and is not expected to change come November.


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