The 8 Primary Races to Watch Tuesday

From a Republican incumbent at risk to a hog castrator rising and the GOP establishment backing a man who ran the hated Wall Street bailout — these are the week’s most interesting contests.

Thad Cochran (R-MS) listens during a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 9, 2009.                                                                                                                                                                                
National Journal
Adam Wollner
June 2, 2014, 1 a.m.

An­oth­er Tues­day, an­oth­er round of primar­ies.

Voters in eight states will head to the polls on June 3 to cast their primary bal­lots in a bevy of races for Sen­ate, House, and gov­ernor. Here are the eight most im­port­ant races to keep an eye on:

MIS­SIS­SIPPI SEN­ATE

The tea party hasn’t had any luck in its quest to knock off Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors this cycle, but its best chance will come Tues­day in Mis­sis­sippi, where state Sen. Chris McDaniel is chal­len­ging six-term Sen. Thad Co­chran. Con­ser­vat­ive groups such as the Club for Growth and the Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund have gone all-in for McDaniel, while the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Mis­sis­sippi Con­ser­vat­ives have rushed to Co­chran’s de­fense. Out­side groups have spent more on this primary — close to $8 mil­lion — than any oth­er so far in 2014. In re­cent weeks, the race has been en­gulfed by a scan­dal in­volving a loc­al polit­ic­al blog­ger who faces felony charges for tak­ing pho­tos of Co­chran’s bedrid­den wife in her nurs­ing home. Co­chran’s team has at­temp­ted to pin the con­tro­versy on McDaniel, whose cam­paign denies any in­volve­ment, but it is un­clear if voters will do the same.

IOWA SEN­ATE

Un­like in Mis­sis­sippi, there’s no dis­agree­ment between the dif­fer­ent fac­tions of the GOP in the Hawkeye State’s Sen­ate primary. Groups aligned with both sides have ral­lied be­hind state Sen. Joni Ernst as she seeks to clear the 35 per­cent threshold ne­ces­sary to win the nom­in­a­tion out­right in­stead of go­ing to a con­ven­tion. The cham­ber, the Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund, and Flor­ida Sen. Marco Ru­bio’s PAC have all run ads on her be­half. Mitt Rom­ney ap­peared in one of the cham­ber’s spots and stumped for Ernst in Iowa. But Ernst first broke through after launch­ing a TV ad where she talked about cas­trat­ing hogs on her fam­ily’s farm. Re­cent polls show Ernst pulling away from self-fund­ing busi­ness­man Mark Jac­obs, des­pite his sig­ni­fic­ant cash ad­vant­age, in the race for the right to take on Demo­crat­ic Rep. Bruce Bra­ley in the fall. A strong Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenge for this seat would make Demo­crats’ task of hold­ing the Sen­ate much tough­er in five months.

CALI­FOR­NIA GOV­ERNOR

Even though they aren’t likely to pre­vent Demo­crat­ic Gov. Jerry Brown from win­ning a fourth term, Re­pub­lic­ans will be pay­ing close at­ten­tion the res­ults of Cali­for­nia’s non­par­tis­an, top-two primary. Re­pub­lic­ans worry that Tim Don­nelly, an out­spoken mem­ber of the state As­sembly, could have a neg­at­ive ef­fect on down-bal­lot races where the GOP is more com­pet­it­ive if he ad­vances to the gen­er­al elec­tion. Don­nelly has held the ad­vant­age in polls over a bet­ter-fun­ded Re­pub­lic­an, Neel Kashkari, but the former Treas­ury De­part­ment of­fi­cial closed that gap thanks in part to spend­ing $2 mil­lion of his own cash on the cam­paign. Rom­ney, former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Sec­ret­ary of State Con­doleezza Rice are pulling for Kashkari.

NEW JER­SEY’S 3RD CON­GRES­SION­AL DIS­TRICT

Both parties see the race for the New Jer­sey seat left open by Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Jon Run­yan as one of the most com­pet­it­ive of the cycle. House Demo­crats have already backed law­yer Aimee Bel­gard, while two can­did­ates on the Re­pub­lic­an side have fought a nasty race. Ran­dolph Town­ship May­or Tom Ma­cAr­thur is the fa­vor­ite to win the GOP nom­in­a­tion after seed­ing his cam­paign with $2 mil­lion and earn­ing the coveted en­dorse­ments of New Jer­sey’s power­ful county parties. Tea-party fa­vor­ite Steve Loneg­an, the 2013 Sen­ate nom­in­ee, star­ted the race bet­ter known but couldn’t keep up with Ma­cAr­thur’s spend­ing — to the de­light of the Re­pub­lic­ans who wor­ried that the out­spoken Loneg­an would be a li­ab­il­ity in a bell­weth­er dis­trict in Novem­ber.

CALI­FOR­NIA’S 7TH CON­GRES­SION­AL DIS­TRICT

On the House side in the Golden State, Re­pub­lic­an former Rep. Doug Ose is at­tempt­ing a comeback bid in the battle­ground 7th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, cur­rently rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat­ic Rep. Ami Be­ra. Ose’s main obstacle in the jungle primary is Ig­or Birman, a tea-party darling en­dorsed by both Rand and Ron Paul. The House Ma­jor­ity PAC, a Demo­crat­ic su­per PAC, has at­tacked Ose with TV ads and mail­ers in hopes of pre­vent­ing him from ad­van­cing.

CALI­FOR­NIA’S 31ST CON­GRES­SION­AL DIS­TRICT

Demo­crats are try­ing to avoid a 2012 re­peat in the 31st dis­trict, a Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing seat where sev­er­al can­did­ates sur­pris­ingly split the lib­er­al vote and let two Re­pub­lic­ans sneak in­to the gen­er­al elec­tion. The Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee and the League of Con­ser­va­tion Voters is sup­port­ing Red­lands May­or Pete Aguilar, while EMILY’s List is back­ing law­yer Eloise Gomez Reyes. Then there’s former Demo­crat­ic Rep. Joe Baca, who is well-known from his time in elec­ted of­fice; he is be­ne­fit­ing from spend­ing by a se­cret­ive su­per PAC that hasn’t filed re­quired dis­clos­ures with the FEC, which has some Demo­crats wor­ried about an­oth­er split vote. Re­tired Navy of­ficer Paul Chabot, a Re­pub­lic­an, ap­pears most likely to emerge from the primary, but former Miller aide Lesli Gooch could sneak by if there is enough di­vi­sion among the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates — which is why the DCCC at­tacked her with mail­ers re­cently.

CALI­FOR­NIA’S 33RD CON­GRES­SION­AL DIS­TRICT

Long­time Demo­crat­ic Rep. Henry Wax­man’s dis­trict is a safe Demo­crat­ic seat, but that doesn’t mean the fight to take it over after his re­tire­ment isn’t fierce. A total of 18 can­did­ates to enter the 33rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict race, in­clud­ing a pair of ex­per­i­enced loc­al Demo­crats, state Sen. Ted Lieu and former Los Angeles City Con­trol­ler Wendy Greuel; in­de­pend­ent Mari­anne Wil­li­am­son, the fun­drais­ing lead­er after put­ting in nearly $400,000 of her own money; and Demo­crat­ic ra­dio host Matt Miller, among oth­ers. The race in the Los Angeles County-based dis­trict has at­trac­ted celebrit­ies such as Eva Lon­gor­ia, Katy Perry, and Kim Kar­dashi­an, who all sup­port Wil­li­am­son.

IOWA’S 3RD CON­GRES­SION­AL DIS­TRICT

While Demo­crats have already se­lec­ted former state Sen. Staci Ap­pel to run for this evenly di­vided, GOP-held seat, the crowded Re­pub­lic­an primary in Iowa’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict seems destined to be in­con­clus­ive. (If no one wins 35 per­cent of the vote, there will be a nom­in­a­tion con­ven­tion in­stead, and such gath­er­ings are of­ten un­pre­dict­able.) Former con­gres­sion­al aide Dav­id Young and civil en­gin­eer Robert Cramer have raised the most cash after dip­ping in­to their per­son­al cof­fers, but re­peat can­did­ate Brad Za­un is the best known, thanks to his pre­vi­ous cam­paigns and le­gis­lat­ive ser­vice. The Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund, Freedom­Works and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick San­tor­um have all thrown their sup­port be­hind Sec­ret­ary of State Matt Schultz, while Iowa Re­new­able Fuels As­so­ci­ation Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Monte Shaw has an en­dorse­ment from the Des Moines Re­gister go­ing for him.

COR­REC­TION: An earli­er ver­sion of this story misid­en­ti­fied re­tir­ing Cali­for­nia Demo­crat­ic Rep. Henry Wax­man. 

MISSISSIPPI SENATE

The tea party hasn’t had any luck in its quest to knock off Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors this cycle, but its best chance will come Tues­day in Mis­sis­sippi, where state Sen. Chris McDaniel is chal­len­ging six-term Sen. Thad Co­chran. Con­ser­vat­ive groups such as the Club for Growth and the Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund have gone all-in for McDaniel, while the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Mis­sis­sippi Con­ser­vat­ives have rushed to Co­chran’s de­fense. Out­side groups have spent more on this primary — close to $8 mil­lion — than any oth­er so far in 2014. In re­cent weeks, the race has been en­gulfed by a scan­dal in­volving a loc­al polit­ic­al blog­ger who faces felony charges for tak­ing pho­tos of Co­chran’s bedrid­den wife in her nurs­ing home. Co­chran’s team has at­temp­ted to pin the con­tro­versy on McDaniel, whose cam­paign denies any in­volve­ment, but it is un­clear if voters will do the same.

IOWA SENATE

Un­like in Mis­sis­sippi, there’s no dis­agree­ment between the dif­fer­ent fac­tions of the GOP in the Hawkeye State’s Sen­ate primary. Groups aligned with both sides have ral­lied be­hind state Sen. Joni Ernst as she seeks to clear the 35 per­cent threshold ne­ces­sary to win the nom­in­a­tion out­right in­stead of go­ing to a con­ven­tion. The cham­ber, the Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund, and Flor­ida Sen. Marco Ru­bio’s PAC have all run ads on her be­half. Mitt Rom­ney ap­peared in one of the cham­ber’s spots and stumped for Ernst in Iowa. But Ernst first broke through after launch­ing a TV ad where she talked about cas­trat­ing hogs on her fam­ily’s farm. Re­cent polls show Ernst pulling away from self-fund­ing busi­ness­man Mark Jac­obs, des­pite his sig­ni­fic­ant cash ad­vant­age, in the race for the right to take on Demo­crat­ic Rep. Bruce Bra­ley in the fall. A strong Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenge for this seat would make Demo­crats’ task of hold­ing the Sen­ate much tough­er in five months.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR

Even though they aren’t likely to pre­vent Demo­crat­ic Gov. Jerry Brown from win­ning a fourth term, Re­pub­lic­ans will be pay­ing close at­ten­tion the res­ults of Cali­for­nia’s non­par­tis­an, top-two primary. Re­pub­lic­ans worry that Tim Don­nelly, an out­spoken mem­ber of the state As­sembly, could have a neg­at­ive ef­fect on down-bal­lot races where the GOP is more com­pet­it­ive if he ad­vances to the gen­er­al elec­tion. Don­nelly has held the ad­vant­age in polls over a bet­ter-fun­ded Re­pub­lic­an, Neel Kashkari, but the former Treas­ury De­part­ment of­fi­cial closed that gap thanks in part to spend­ing $2 mil­lion of his own cash on the cam­paign. Rom­ney, former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Sec­ret­ary of State Con­doleezza Rice are pulling for Kashkari.

NEW JERSEY'S 3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Both parties see the race for the New Jer­sey seat left open by Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Jon Run­yan as one of the most com­pet­it­ive of the cycle. House Demo­crats have already backed law­yer Aimee Bel­gard, while two can­did­ates on the Re­pub­lic­an side have fought a nasty race. Ran­dolph Town­ship May­or Tom Ma­cAr­thur is the fa­vor­ite to win the GOP nom­in­a­tion after seed­ing his cam­paign with $2 mil­lion and earn­ing the coveted en­dorse­ments of New Jer­sey’s power­ful county parties. Tea-party fa­vor­ite Steve Loneg­an, the 2013 Sen­ate nom­in­ee, star­ted the race bet­ter known but couldn’t keep up with Ma­cAr­thur’s spend­ing — to the de­light of the Re­pub­lic­ans who wor­ried that the out­spoken Loneg­an would be a li­ab­il­ity in a bell­weth­er dis­trict in Novem­ber.

CALIFORNIA'S 7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

On the House side in the Golden State, Re­pub­lic­an former Rep. Doug Ose is at­tempt­ing a comeback bid in the battle­ground 7th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, cur­rently rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat­ic Rep. Ami Be­ra. Ose’s main obstacle in the jungle primary is Ig­or Birman, a tea-party darling en­dorsed by both Rand and Ron Paul. The House Ma­jor­ity PAC, a Demo­crat­ic su­per PAC, has at­tacked Ose with TV ads and mail­ers in hopes of pre­vent­ing him from ad­van­cing.

CALIFORNIA'S 31ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Demo­crats are try­ing to avoid a 2012 re­peat in the 31st dis­trict, a Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing seat where sev­er­al can­did­ates sur­pris­ingly split the lib­er­al vote and let two Re­pub­lic­ans sneak in­to the gen­er­al elec­tion. The Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee and the League of Con­ser­va­tion Voters is sup­port­ing Red­lands May­or Pete Aguilar, while EMILY’s List is back­ing law­yer Eloise Gomez Reyes. Then there’s former Demo­crat­ic Rep. Joe Baca, who is well-known from his time in elec­ted of­fice; he is be­ne­fit­ing from spend­ing by a se­cret­ive su­per PAC that hasn’t filed re­quired dis­clos­ures with the FEC, which has some Demo­crats wor­ried about an­oth­er split vote. Re­tired Navy of­ficer Paul Chabot, a Re­pub­lic­an, ap­pears most likely to emerge from the primary, but former Miller aide Lesli Gooch could sneak by if there is enough di­vi­sion among the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates — which is why the DCCC at­tacked her with mail­ers re­cently.

CALIFORNIA'S 33RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Long­time Demo­crat­ic Rep. Henry Wax­man’s dis­trict is a safe Demo­crat­ic seat, but that doesn’t mean the fight to take it over after his re­tire­ment isn’t fierce. A total of 18 can­did­ates to enter the 33rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict race, in­clud­ing a pair of ex­per­i­enced loc­al Demo­crats, state Sen. Ted Lieu and former Los Angeles City Con­trol­ler Wendy Greuel; in­de­pend­ent Mari­anne Wil­li­am­son, the fun­drais­ing lead­er after put­ting in nearly $400,000 of her own money; and Demo­crat­ic ra­dio host Matt Miller, among oth­ers. The race in the Los Angeles County-based dis­trict has at­trac­ted celebrit­ies such as Eva Lon­gor­ia, Katy Perry, and Kim Kar­dashi­an, who all sup­port Wil­li­am­son.

IOWA'S 3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

While Demo­crats have already se­lec­ted former state Sen. Staci Ap­pel to run for this evenly di­vided, GOP-held seat, the crowded Re­pub­lic­an primary in Iowa’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict seems destined to be in­con­clus­ive. (If no one wins 35 per­cent of the vote, there will be a nom­in­a­tion con­ven­tion in­stead, and such gath­er­ings are of­ten un­pre­dict­able.) Former con­gres­sion­al aide Dav­id Young and civil en­gin­eer Robert Cramer have raised the most cash after dip­ping in­to their per­son­al cof­fers, but re­peat can­did­ate Brad Za­un is the best known, thanks to his pre­vi­ous cam­paigns and le­gis­lat­ive ser­vice. The Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund, Freedom­Works and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick San­tor­um have all thrown their sup­port be­hind Sec­ret­ary of State Matt Schultz, while Iowa Re­new­able Fuels As­so­ci­ation Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Monte Shaw has an en­dorse­ment from the Des Moines Re­gister go­ing for him.

COR­REC­TION: An earli­er ver­sion of this story misid­en­ti­fied re­tir­ing Cali­for­nia Demo­crat­ic Rep. Henry Wax­man. 

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
1 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×