Upcoming Primaries Through July

Now that the June 5th primaries are completed and the Wisconsin recall election is a thing of the past, it is time to look at the upcoming primaries now through the end of July.

On June 12th, Arkansas will hold a runoff election for the Democrats to see who will lose to the Republican candidate, Thomas Cotton, in November: Gene Jeffrees or Byrum Hearst. This is the seat currently held by Mike Ross who is retiring. Other than Senator Pryor, the entire Arkansas congressional delegation should be Republican come November. This seat is important in that a GOP win will create a firewall against any possible losses elsewhere. In South Carolina, the only drama will be in the newly created 7th District and who emerges as the victors there. Regardless, it is the consensus that the GOP will win a seat here in November.

Elsewhere in the south, Virginia holds their non-presidential primary. It is a foregone conclusion that George Allen will face off against Tim Kaine for the open Democratic Senate seat. However, one thing to look for here is the performance of Jamie Radtke for the Republicans. She is considered a up and coming star in Virginia Republican circles and a decent showing despite a loss to Allen will only bolster her stock within the party and may set the stage for a possible future House seat run. In the Second District, Scott Rigell is considered a vulnerable Republican incumbent, but that is offset by Democrat Gerry Connolly’s vulnerable status in the 11th.

North Dakota voters will rubber stamp the nominations of Richard Berg and Heidi Heitkamp to run for Byron Dorgan’s seat in the Senate, a seat generally believed to be the Republican’s to lose this year. However, Berg must first get by Duane Sand in the primary which seemed a lot easier a few months ago, but Sand has shown gains recently in the polls. Three Republicans are vying for the right to succeed Berg in the House- Brian Kalk, Kevin Cramer and Bette Grande- with the winner likely taking on Democrat Pam Gulleson in the fall. And finally on the 12th of June, Nevada voters will nominate Shelley Berkley to take on GOP incumbent Dean Heller in the Senate. This should be a close race and one the Republicans must successfully defend to win the Senate. In the 1st District, Dana Titus is the nominee for the Democrats (Berkeley’s old seat). Joe Heck, the Republican incumbent, is considered vulnerable in the 3rd District as there are two quite viable Democrats seeking the nomination. And in the new 4th, it looks like Steve Horsford will be the man for the Democrats while several formidable Republicans are in the running. This race will be closely watched in November.

After a one week hiatus, three primaries are held on June 26th- Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah. In Colorado, the Third, Fourth and Six Districts are of interest as Democrats feel they have a chance in these areas against Republican incumbents. The primary itself should be rather anticlimactic as it appears Sal Pace will win for the Democrats in the Third, Brandon Schaffer in the Fourth, and Joe Miklosi in the Sixth. Realistically speaking, only Scott Tipton in the Third stands any chance of losing in November.

With the retirement of the only Democrat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation- Dan Boren in the 2nd- Republicans stand a great chance to pick up a seat in Oklahoma. Meanwhile in Utah, all eyes will be on the Republican Senate race. At one time, incumbent Orrin Hatch was considered not vulnerable against a Democrat (likely Scott Howell), but from his own party. Today, things look decidedly better for Hatch, but we will know for sure on June 27th. Even a close race will signal trouble for him. Utah is certainly to the right of many states in terms of political ideology and whoever emerges for the GOP will win in November. Utah gains a seat in the the House which is expected to go the GOP. The only Democrat in the Utah congressional delegation- Tim Matheson- is considered a target by the Republicans, although a Matheson victory would certainly not hurt the balance in the House as he is about as moderate a Democrat as there is out there.

July is a very quiet month until the 31st when Georgia will hold their non-presidential primaries. Only one district is of any interest here- the 12th- represented by Democratic incumbent John Barrow. Rick Allen and Lee Anderson seem to have the inside track for the GOP nomination although an August 21st runoff is possible if neither get 50% of the vote. That may create an opportunity for Barrow who knows that he has a target on his back this year. Redistricting did not benefit his chances. However, Barrow has been in this position in the past and was reelected before.

Finally, on July 21st, there will be the Texas GOP Senatorial run off election and Democratic run off. The winners will face off against each other to succeed the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Senate. For the Republicans, David Dewhurst represents the establishment choice while Ted Cruz represents the choice of the Tea Party folks. On the Democratic side, Paul Sadler faces off against Grady Yarborough- a great Texas name if I ever heard any. Whoever emerges, this seat is considered a safe Republican retention in the Senate.