State Rep. Brendan Boyle won the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District Tuesday and is overwhelmingly favored to take over the Democratic-leaning district, after besting Clinton in-law and former Rep. Marjorie Margolies in the primary.
Boyle had 58 percent of the vote when the Associated Press called the race around 9:30 Eastern time, beating Margolies’s 22 percent. Physician Val Arkoosh took 11 percent and state Sen. Daylin Leach earned 8 percent of the Democratic vote.
Margolies, who served in the House from 1993 to 1994, started the race as an early favorite thanks to her experience and her connections to the Clintons: Her son, Marc Mezvinsky, is married to Chelsea Clinton, and Margolies cast a pivotal vote in favor of Bill Clinton’s budget in 1993. Margolies featured Bill Clinton in a TV ad, and Hillary Clinton hosted a fundraiser for her at Lynn Forester de Rothschild’s home in New York City earlier this year.
But Margolies’s opponents spent heavily to catch up. Boyle, who had the support of a super PAC backed by local labor unions, drew a target on his back in the final weeks of the race, as Margolies, Leach, and Arkoosh all directed criticism at him for several alleged antiabortion votes in the state legislature. EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice America launched a mail ad campaign criticizing him.
President Obama won the district by more than 30 percentage points in 2012, underscoring Boyle’s advantage in the general election.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Republican Rep. Bill Shuster won renomination in the 9th District with 52 percent of the GOP primary vote against an under-funded challenger, Art Halvorson.
GEORGIA: Republicans Fight Over Open Safe Seats
In Georgia, Rep. John Barrow is the last white Democrat from the Deep South still in Congress, and Republicans are after his conservative-leaning 12th District once again this year. Barrow’s GOP opponent will be businessman Rick Allen, who emerged from a crowded field in Tuesday’s primary.
Allen, who also ran in 2012, won 54 percent of the vote — just above the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff — at the time the AP called the race with 93 percent of precincts reporting. Businessmen Eugene Yu, who loaned his campaign more than $700,000, finished second with 16%, compared to 15% for state Rep. Delvis Dutton and 12% for former congressional aide John Stone.
Meanwhile, Senate runs by GOP Reps. Jack Kingston, Paul Broun, and Phil Gingrey left heavily Republican districts open across Georgia. The contest in Broun’s 10th District will go to a runoff in July between Baptist pastor Jody Hice and businessman Mike Collins, who advanced through the initial round of voting Tuesday. Hice took 35 percent of the GOP primary vote and Collins took 32 percent when the Associated Press called the runoff with 79 percent of precincts reporting. State Rep. Donna Sheldon took third place with 15 percent.
Collins has never held elected office, but his father, Mac, served six terms representing the 8th Congressional District in Georgia. Hice, who also hosts a radio talk show, has the backing of several local tea party groups and is considered an ideological heir to the fiery Broun.
ARKANSAS: No Runoffs Necessary
Banker and former George W. Bush White House aide French Hill won the Republican nomination to succeed Rep. Tim Griffin, who’s running for lieutenant governor, in Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District. Hill took 54 percent of the vote, bypassing a potential runoff primary against either state Rep. Ann Clemmer or retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds, who split the remainder of the vote.
Hill will face former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays, the Democratic candidate, in November. The district favors Republicans in national politics at this point, but Democrats retain some hope that the experienced Hays can rekindle the party’s fortunes in a state that’s given them heartburn recently.
In the 4th District, left empty by GOP Rep. Tom Cotton’s Senate run, state Rep. Bruce Westerman captured the Republican nomination with 53 percent of the primary vote over energy executive Tommy Moll. The Democratic nominee is former Clinton administration FEMA director James Lee Witt, whose support from the former president and governor makes for an interesting subplot as Democrats try to retake a district they’ve held with only two breaks since Reconstruction.
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