SPOTLIGHT

The Primary Tsunami Is Two Weeks Away

President Barack Obama, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, help Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., as they get off Air Force One at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 16, 2016. Obama is in Orlando today to pay respects to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and meet with families of victims of the attack.
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
Aug. 16, 2016, 10:25 a.m.

With primar­ies Tues­day for just three con­gres­sion­al seats across two states, con­sider this the calm wa­ters be­fore a wave crashes in two weeks. Three Sen­ate primar­ies and a seem­ingly end­less stream of House races to watch on Aug. 30 make it the last big day of pre­lim­in­ary elec­tions be­fore the fi­nal two-month sprint to Novem­ber.

— Even with Rep. Ron De­S­antis opt­ing out of the Sen­ate race to seek reelec­tion, the num­ber of House primar­ies to watch in Flor­ida is still in double-di­gits. Thanks to mid­dec­ade re­dis­trict­ing, re­tire­ments, and the al­lure of the Sen­ate, there are sev­en open seats and three in­cum­bents are seek­ing reelec­tion in new dis­tricts. The races fea­ture: one in­dicted mem­ber of Con­gress, Rep. Cor­rine Brown (D), in the 5th Dis­trict; the wife of Rep. Alan Grayson (D), who is vy­ing for the Sen­ate nom­in­a­tion, in the 9th Dis­trict; a former can­did­ate for speak­er, Rep. Dan Web­ster (R), tak­ing on a former staffer for the re­tir­ing in­cum­bent in the 11th Dis­trict; an ous­ted party chair fend­ing off a lib­er­al chal­lenger in the 23rd Dis­trict; and a former mem­ber of Con­gress seek­ing his old seat in the 26th Dis­trict but not backed by House Demo­crat­ic lead­ers.

— Just up the bal­lot in Flor­ida are two Sen­ate primar­ies. A once un­wieldy and un­pre­dict­able Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion fight all but re­solved it­self when Sen. Marco Ru­bio filed for reelec­tion at the 11th hour. He has only a pesky op­pon­ent in wealthy de­veloper Car­los Beruff, whose per­son­al fin­an­cial in­vest­ment has kept him in the game but has trailed Ru­bio by sig­ni­fic­ant mar­gins in polling. Rep. Patrick Murphy is favored over Grayson in the Demo­crat­ic primary, and his vic­tory is crit­ic­al for Demo­crats to keep this pickup op­por­tun­ity on the map.

— Flor­ida hosts the li­on’s share of races on Aug. 30, giv­en its sheer size and unique cir­cum­stances, but Ari­zona is host­ing two open-seat House primar­ies and a Sen­ate primary for John Mc­Cain. The five-term Re­pub­lic­an won by 24 points against a con­ser­vat­ive chal­lenger in 2010, and he faces an­oth­er one in an­oth­er tu­mul­tu­ous elec­tion year. His op­pon­ent this time, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, has a sup­port­ive su­per PAC that just in­ves­ted $600,000 in a TV and di­git­al ad cam­paign cri­ti­ciz­ing the in­cum­bent on im­mig­ra­tion, Wall Street, and for­eign policy. The win­ner faces Demo­crat­ic Rep. Ann Kirk­patrick, whose Sen­ate bid led to the state’s most in­ter­est­ing House race.

To­night’s res­ults in Alaska and Wyom­ing should be a mostly sleepy af­fair, and not just be­cause they will roll in late. The sheer pleth­ora of races two weeks from now will provide a jolt worth wait­ing for.

Kyle Tryg­stad

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