Three House Primaries To Watch on Tuesday
As The Avengers's record-breaking run has demonstrated yet again, America loves a sequel. This is just as true in politics as it is at the movies, and a pair of Republican House primaries tomorrow offer a dose of the drama, and pyrotechnics, that keep political observers coming back to those states for more. The GOP contests in Kentucky's 4th District and Arkansas's 4th District are unique races, but they are also pieces in longer-running narratives in both states.
The primary to replace retiring GOP Rep. Geoff Davis in a heavily Republican district is both a sequel and a tiebreaker for recent GOP contests in the state. The tea party and Kentucky's Republican establishment have squared off in two high-profile contests in the past two years, and each has won one: Rand Paul took the 2010 GOP Senate nomination for the tea party, and establishment figure David Williams won the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2011. Now, the tea party has the inside track to break the deadlock.
Thomas Massie, a county executive supported by Paul, has an organizational and structural advantage heading into Tuesday's primary against two establishment opponents and a host of lesser lights. State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington has Davis's endorsement and some of his old campaign team, while another county executive, Gary Moore, also has some establishment cash and endorsements. But Webb-Edgington and Moore are splitting the same base while Massie works, with some well-funded outside support, to consolidate the Paul wing of the state party.
In Arkansas, two Republicans are also competing for a shot at a GOP-leaning seat, but the 4th District is being vacated by a Democrat, Rep. Mike Ross. Beth Anne Rankin, a former aide to ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, was the GOP standard bearer against Ross in 2010, and she has Huckabee's support for a repeat bid. But Rankin is running against a Club for Growth-backed candidate, Tom Cotton, who has used the Club's network of national donors to raise over $1 million and fund a series of television ads across the district, even in the parts serviced by an out-of-state media market. Like many repeat candidates, Rankin may have started with an edge, but Cotton's high-powered campaign appears to have overtaken her. There is a third candidate in the race, and it could go to a June 12 runoff if the leading candidate is held below 50 percent Tuesday night.