Before moving into some of the more interesting states, today this writer takes on Alaska and Hawaii.
Alaska has three electoral votes up for grabs as well as a Senatorial and single House seat. Remembering way back to 2010, GOP incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski was defeated in her primary bid against Joe Miller who was favored by Sarah Palin and many Tea Party groups. However, she won reelection as an independent write-in candidate after some gaffes and miscues by Miller on the campaign trail. Technically, she was listed as an “independent,” but caucused with the Republicans (just as Bernie Sanders, technically a socialist, caucuses with the Democrats). This year she faced yet again a challenge from the right in her primary bid, but easily won with 71% of the vote. She will oppose Ray Metcalfe, a perennial candidate in Alaska.
A former Republican member of their state house of representatives, he formed his own party- the Republican Moderate Party of Alaska- after believing the religious Right had taken over the GOP. He was sued over the use of “Republican” in the party’s name, but prevailed. He later switched and became a Democrat after his party dissolved and his subsequent attempts at elected office have ended in failure.
If Murkowski can win as an independent write-in candidate, she will easily win with the Republican Party behind her. While many view her as a RINO (she is), it is important to keep this seat in Republican hands.
For the lone House, long-serving GOP incumbent Don Young easily won his primary over three opponents and will face Democrat Steve Lindbeck- a former CEO of Alaska Public Media. There is no polling out of the state in this race and it is highly likely that Young will win reelection.
As for the presidential race, even though he lost the primary here, Donald Trump should carry this state by about 7-10 points which is considerably below the average for a Republican in Alaska.
Hawaii also holds a Senate election where Democratic incumbent Brian Schatz should easily defeat his Republican opponent, John Carroll. This is a very blue state. Schatz was appointed to the position when Daniel Inouye died, then won a contentious primary in a special election over Colleen Hanabusa, Inouye’s chosen successor. This will be for his first full term.
In the House races, Mark Takai in the 1st District is retiring for health reasons. The aforementioned Hanabusa is seeking her old seat and should easily win against Republican Shirlene Ostrov. Likewise, the highly popular Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic incumbent in the 2nd District, should easily defeat her Republican opponent, Eric Hafner.
In the presidential race, look for Clinton to easily win the state by at least 20 points.
At the end of this entry, the electoral vote count stands at 84-63 in favor of Trump. The GOP maintains their leads in the Senate and House 54-46 and 246-189, respectively.
Tomorrow: Back to the Southwest and New Mexico and Utah.