Breaking Down Tuesday’s Senate Primaries

Thad Cochran (R-MS) listens during a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 9, 2009.                                                                                                                                                                                
National Journal
Alex Roarty
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
June 4, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

Tues­day’s primary res­ults are in ““ well, sort of any­way. We’re still await­ing a fi­nal count on the much-hyped Mis­sis­sippi battle between Sen. Thad Co­chran (R) and Chris McDaniel (R), but most oth­er mar­quee res­ults are com­plete. Here’s what we found in­ter­est­ing:

It’s a run-off in Mis­sis­sippi. Bar­ring some wholly un­ex­pec­ted late re­turns, McDaniel and Co­chran will square off again in three weeks after neither earned a ma­jor­ity of the vote (though both got very close). It’s ob­vi­ously not the worst-case scen­ario for the six-term sen­at­or, but the res­ult should non­ethe­less deeply worry Co­chran sup­port­ers. Long­time in­cum­bents aren’t dragged to a run-off un­less voters have ser­i­ous ques­tions about their cam­paign. It’s hard to con­sider McDaniel (who will also be­ne­fit as the state’s strange blog­ger scan­dal fades from head­lines) any­thing oth­er than a fa­vor­ite the next three weeks, es­pe­cially if the me­dia be­gins ag­gress­ively ques­tion­ing Co­chran’s aptitude after a re­veal­ing, hard-hit­ting At­lantic story about the sen­at­or sug­ges­ted he has a weak grasp on his own agenda.

— State Sen. Joni Ernst (R) was ex­pec­ted to fin­ish first in the Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an primary in Iowa, but nobody pre­dicted she’d end up well north of 50 per­cent. That’s a big boost of mo­mentum for a can­did­ate who ““ while cer­tainly vi­able ““ still prompts a few private doubts among Re­pub­lic­an op­er­at­ives about her read­i­ness. Still, Iowa is a purple state with an open seat in a tough na­tion­al cli­mate for Demo­crats. It’s clearly a pick-up op­por­tun­ity for the GOP, in the same cat­egory of oth­er second-tier op­por­tun­it­ies like Col­or­ado and New Hamp­shire.

— Oth­er than per­haps Allyson Schwartz (D), the year’s most dis­ap­point­ing can­did­ate might be mil­lion­aire busi­ness­man Mark Jac­obs (R) in Iowa. Des­pite a big cash ad­vant­age, he some­how man­aged to fin­ish be­low even un­der­fun­ded ra­dio talk show host Sam Clo­vis (R). What’s es­pe­cially strange is polit­ic­al neo­phytes with a big wal­let ““ Tom Wolf (D) in Pennsylvania, Dav­id Per­due (R) in Geor­gia, and most re­cently an­oth­er Tues­day primary win­ner Tom Ma­cAr­thur (R) in New Jer­sey ““ have oth­er­wise had a strong start to 2014.

One quick note on House races: Demo­crats ap­pear to have qual­i­fied a can­did­ate for the gen­er­al elec­tion in lib­er­al-lean­ing CA-31 in Pete Aguilar  (D), something they couldn’t man­age in 2012. (This is a dis­trict Obama car­ried twice.) But the fact that dis­aster nearly struck again, even though the DCCC and oth­er groups were pain­fully aware of the dangers, sug­gest that Cali­for­nia’s top-two primar­ies will con­tin­ue caus­ing trouble for Demo­crats un­less they ad­just their strategy in situ­ations like this — per­haps to in­clude massive spend­ing like Demo­crat­ic out­side groups did on Ju­lia Brown­ley‘s (D) be­half in CA-26 two springs ago.

— Alex Roarty and Jack Fitzpatrick

What We're Following See More »
CNN/ORC Has Clinton Up 5 Points
12 hours ago

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49%-44% in a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday afternoon. But it's Gary Johnson's performance, or lack thereof, that's the real story. Johnson, who had cleared 10% in some surveys earlier this fall, as he made a bid to qualify for the debates, is down to 3% support. He must hit 5% nationwide for the Libertarian Party to qualify for some federal matching funds in future elections.

McCarthy, Pelosi Team Up on National Guard Bonuses
15 hours ago

The majority and minority leader of the House are both saying "California's veterans are not to blame for being mistakenly overpaid, after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that officials are trying to claw back millions in bonuses from California National Guardsmen. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the efforts to recoup the money 'disgraceful,' and asked for the Department of Defense to waive the repayments soldiers would be forced to make if they inappropriately received re-enlistment bonuses for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's looking for a "legislative fix" in the lame-duck session.

IBD/TIPP Poll Shows a Dead Heat
17 hours ago

A new Investor’s Business Daily/TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each earning 41% support. On the one hand, the poll has been skewing in Trump's favor this year, relative to other polls. But on the other, data guru Nate Silver called the IBD/TIPP poll the most accurate in 2012.

Clinton Leads by 12 in ABC Tracking Poll
22 hours ago

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in a new ABC News tracking poll, "her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent. Clinton led by only four points in the last ABC/Post poll on Oct. 13.

Morning Consult Poll: Clinton Decisively Won Debate
3 days ago

"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.