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Primary Voters eject Madison Cawthorn, but Kurt Schrader’s fate remains undecided

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The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

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Leading Off

 Primary Night: Tuesday was a huge primary night, and below is a summary of where things stood as of 8 AM ET in the big contests. You can also find our cheat sheet here.

First up are the races that have been called by the Associated Press or where the second-place candidate has conceded:

  • NC-Sen (R): Rep. Ted Budd, who had the backing of both Donald Trump and the Club for Growth, beat former Gov. Pat McCrory 59-25 in the primary to succeed their fellow Republican, retiring Sen. Richard Burr. Budd’s general election opponent will be former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who won an uncompetitive Democratic primary with 81% of the vote.
  • PA-Sen (D): Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who spent the entire primary as the frontrunner, defeated Rep. Conor Lamb 59-26. Fetterman, as we’ll discuss, will need to wait a little while to learn the identity of his Republican rival in what will be one of the most competitive Senate races in the nation.
  • PA-Gov (R): Anxious Republicans are about to find out if state Sen. Doug Mastriano will be as toxic a nominee as they’re afraid he’ll be. Mastriano, who is a QAnon ally and Big Lie proponent, beat former Rep. Lou Barletta 44-20. Mastriano will go up against Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who faced no primary opposition in the primary to succeed his fellow Democrat, termed-out Gov. Tom Wolf.
  • NC-11 (R): State Sen. Chuck Edwards ended freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s brief but unforgettable career by pulling off a tight 33-32 upset in this crowded contest, which was above the 30% Edwards needed to avoid a runoff. The state senator will go up against Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who won her own Democratic primary with 60%, in a western North Carolina seat Trump would have carried 54-44.
  • OR-06 (D): State Rep. Andrea Salinas won the Democratic primary for this new seat by defeating economic development adviser Carrick Flynn, who benefited from a truly staggering $13.2 million in outside support, 38-19; Flynn himself conceded a little more than an hour-and-a-half after the polls closed. Most of Flynn’s support came from cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s super PAC, Protect Our Future; House Majority PAC, a decade-old group that exists to help Democrats in general elections, also dropped nearly $1 million to support Flynn, an unprecedented departure condemned by Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Next up are the major races that are still unresolved:

  • PA-Sen (R): With 1.3 million votes counted, TV personality Mehmet Oz leads former hedge fund manager David McCormick 31.3-31.1―a margin of 2,564 votes―with election conspiracy theorist Kathy Barnette at 25%. The trio is competing to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.
  • OR-05 (D): Attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner leads moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader 61-39 with 40,500 votes counted, but a significant portion of the vote remains untabulated. Clackamas County, which is home to about 45% of the new district’s Democratic voters, has to count ballots by hand because of a printing error, and McLeod-Skinner’s campaign says they don’t expect it to report until Thursday. 
  • OR-05 (R): With 39,000 votes counted, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer leads businessman Jimmy Crumpacker 42-31. Republicans are hoping for an opening in a central Oregon seat that Biden would have carried 53-44.
  • OR-06 (R): Mike Erickson, who was the GOP’s unsuccessful 2006 and 2008 nominee in an old version of the 5th District, leads state Rep. Ron Noble 35-20 with 39,000 voted in. Biden would have carried this new mid-Willamette Valley constituency 55-42.

There were far more contests on the ballot Tuesday in all five states, and we’ll be summarizing the outcomes in our next Digest. For now, you can find real-time results for Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Redistricting

NH Redistricting: A joint committee in New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled legislature has advanced yet another congressional map that seeks to secure the GOP an advantage against 1st District Rep. Chris Pappas by packing Democratic voters, including Pappas himself, into the 2nd District held by fellow Democrat Annie Kuster (though there’s no requirement that members live in their particular district). However, it remains to be seen whether this latest iteration will satisfy GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, who has vowed to block previous lines that failed to maintain both districts as competitive seats.

If lawmakers fail to adopt a map by May 26, the state Supreme Court is poised to do so itself and recently said it would require the court-appointed special master to adhere to a “least change” approach that largely preserves the existing districts.

Senate

GA-Sen: Banking executive Latham Saddler’s latest ad before next week’s GOP primary shows the candidate bashing frontrunner Herschel Walker for refusing to debate him, claiming that Walker would lose in November, while Saddler appears wearing military gear and touts his service as a Navy SEAL. However, Saddler has been badly outmatched in his primary bid, and the seven-figure outside spending by groups opposing Walker that was reportedly in the works back in early April has failed to materialize. The few available polls have found Walker utterly dominating the rest of the field.

IA-Sen: Retired Navy Vice Adm. Michael Franken has publicized a poll of the June 7 Democratic primary from Change Research that finds him surging into a narrow 42-40 lead over former Rep. Abby Finkenauer. Franken’s campaign revealed that a previously unreleased month-old survey from the same firm had Finkenauer holding a large 53-26 edge over Franken, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2020 primary.

If those numbers are accurate, Franken’s advertising advantage may be a big reason why his standing has improved: Inside Elections’ Jacob Rubashkin notes that Franken has spent at least $481,000 on TV ads since mid-April and another $544,000 on Facebook ads over the last three months. By contrast, Finkenauer has spent very little on Facebook and only began airing her first TV spot on Tuesday as part of a $75,000 ad buy for the first week. Her initial TV spot blames GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley for failing to stand up for democracy after Jan. 6 and draws a contrast between his 47 years in Congress and Finkenauer’s support for term limits.

NV-Sen: Army veteran Sam Brown’s newest ad for the June 14 Republican primary firmly embraces the Big Lie as he attacks frontrunner Adam Laxalt for failing to file the litigation trying to overturn Biden’s win in 2020 until weeks after the deadline. Brown’s spot argues that Laxalt should have known better as the state’s former attorney general and calls him a liar for claiming he “was not in charge of any lawsuits.”

Governors

GA-Gov: Rep. Drew Ferguson recently declared that former Sen. David Perdue’s Republican primary campaign against Gov. Brian Kemp is “on life support,” but Perdue himself doesn’t seem to be anywhere near that optimistic. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that, with just a week to go, “Perdue’s commercials are absent from the airwaves” as “[h]elp from outside groups has all but dried up, too.” The former senator also has just a handful of events scheduled for the closing days.

LA-Gov: Republican Rep. Garret Graves acknowledged this week that he’s considering running for governor next year, arguing, “It’s amazing how much discontent there is with the current roster.” He implied his decision would come after this fall’s congressional elections, saying that “right now I’m focused 100% on my campaign and my job now in Congress.”

MA-Gov: Attorney General Maura Healey has earned endorsements from Reps. Jake Auchincloss and Katherine Clark ahead of the September Democratic primary.

VT-Gov: Republican Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday that he would seek a fourth two-year term. Scott won re-election last cycle in a 68-27 landslide even as Joe Biden was carrying Vermont by a similar 66-31 margin, and no notable Democrats have shown any interest in challenging him ahead of the May 26 filing deadline.

WI-Gov: Milwaukee Works, which urbanmilwaukee.com calls “a 501(c)(4) that periodically polls on local policy issues and candidates,” is out with a survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that gives 2004 Senate nominee Tim Michels a tiny but surprising 27-26 edge over former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch ahead of the August Republican primary; businessman Kevin Nicholson is a distant third with 9%, while state Rep. Timothy Ramthun takes 6%. This is the first poll we’ve seen since Michels unexpectedly entered the race to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers last month with a large opening ad buy.

House

FL-15: Former Secretary of State Laurel Lee said Tuesday that she was joining the crowded Republican primary for this new seat in the eastern Tampa suburbs, an announcement that came days after she stepped down as Florida’s chief elections officer. Lee is the wife of former state Sen. Tom Lee, who was mentioned as a potential candidate himself before she got in. Laurel Lee previously served as a local judge before Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed her secretary of state in 2019.

IL-06: Democratic Rep. Marie Newman begins her opening ad for her June 28 primary against fellow incumbent Sean Casten by confiding to the audience, “When I was 19, I made the very difficult decision to have an abortion. I just wasn’t ready to start my family.”

After she talks about her 2020 primary win over incumbent Dan Lipinski, who she calls “one of the last anti-choice Democrats in Congress,” Newman continues, “My opponent now is Sean Casten, who voted for anti-choice Republicans like George Bush.” Casten, E&E News wrote in 2020, cast his first vote for George H.W. Bush in 1992 when he was 20 and supported Bob Dole four years later.

Attorneys General

MD-AG: Rep. Anthony Brown is out with an internal from Garin-Hart-Yang Research that shows him beating former Baltimore Judge Katie Curran O’Malley 44-25 in the July Democratic primary for this open seat. This is the first survey we’ve seen of this contest.

MN-AG: Doug Wardlow, who was the 2018 Republican nominee for attorney general, announced Tuesday that he’d be competing in the August primary despite losing the party endorsement to attorney Jim Schultz at Friday’s convention. However, former state Rep. Dennis Smith announced hours later that he was abandoning his campaign to take on Democratic incumbent Keith Ellison and endorsing Schultz​.

Wardlow currently serves as general counsel for MyPillow, which is run by Big Lie celebrity Mike Lindell, and the candidate threw some evidence-free attacks at his own party by claiming his “opponents brokered a backroom deal to wrest away the endorsement.” The state GOP fired back by blasting Wardlow’s “empty promise” to drop out if he lost the endorsement.

Mayors

Los Angeles, CA Mayor: City Attorney Mike Feuer on Tuesday dropped out of the June 7 nonpartisan primary and endorsed Rep. Karen Bass. Feuer, whose name will remain on the ballot, made his move the week after City Councilman Joe Buscaino departed the race and backed Bass’ most serious rival, billionaire developer Rick Caruso. The race also includes City Councilman Kevin de León and several lesser-known contenders. The top-two vote-getters would advance to a November general election unless someone takes a majority of the vote next month.

Prosecutors

San Francisco, CA District Attorney: The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling has conducted a survey for the campaign opposing the recall effort against District Attorney Chesa Boudin, but it finds a 48-38 plurality in favor of ejecting the incumbent on June 7.

That’s better for Boudin than the 57-22 pro-recall result that Embold Research recently found for The San Francisco Standard, and his allies argued that PPP’s numbers show that “this is a much closer race than has been reported and will come down to turnout and how the late undecided voters break.” SFGate notes, though, that even if PPP has the correct read on the contest, Boudin would still need to win over the undecided by a herculean 93-7 margin in order to remain in office.

Ad Roundup

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