Update 278 – June 12 Voting In ME, NV, ND, VA
49% of Dem House Nominees are Women
Yesterday’s primary elections marked another big night for Democratic women across the country. After last night, Ds have nominated women in 49 percent of house races — 73 out of 150. On the R side, that number is only 16 percent. GOP establishment candidates, such as Rep. Mark Sanford, continue to lose primaries, demonstrating Republican voters’ continued allegiance to President Trump.
We take a closer look at yesterday’s primaries below.
- VA-10: Wexton vs. Rep. Comstock
- 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 52/Trump 42
- 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 50/Obama 49
- 2016 House: Comstock (R) 53/Bennett (D) 47
- Cook PVI: D+10
In VA-10, State Sen. Jennifer Wexton emerged from a crowded field to claim the Democratic nomination with an emphatic 42 percent of the vote. She will take on vulnerable incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock in a district that is widely seen as one of the Democrat’s best flip opportunities of 2018. Mitt Romney won VA-10 by one point in 2014, and Hillary Clinton carried the northern Virginia district by a ten point margin in 2016. Continuing the trend, Ralph Northam won the district by 13 points in last year’s gubernatorial race.
Wexton, who won the endorsements of establishment figures such as Sen. Tim Kaine and Gov. Ralph Northam, deployed a progressive legislative record to claim victory in yesterday’s primary. During her time as a State Senator, Wexton voted in favor of raising the minimum wage, closing the gender pay gap, and establishing paid medical leave. She also called for increased spending on vocational job training, expanding workers’ rights, and reining in Wall Street’s excesses.
VA-07: Spanberger vs. Rep. Brat
- 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 50/Clinton 44
- 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 54/Obama 44
- 2016 House: Brat (R) 58/Bedell (D) 42
- Cook PVI: R+6
Former covert CIA operative Abigail Spanberger handily defeated retired Marine Col. Dan Ward in yesterday’s Democratic primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Spanberger received over 73 percent of the vote and will face off against GOP Rep. Dave Brat in November. Spanberger is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in Virginia. She is a vocal proponent of organized labor, public schools and workforce training programs. Spanberger opposes the recent GOP tax cuts, any attempts to cut or privatize social security, and is endorsed by End Citizens United for her campaign finance reform credentials.
VA-02: Luria vs. Rep. Taylor
- 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 48/Clinton 45
- 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 50/Obama 48
- 2016 House: Taylor (R) 62/Brown (D) 38
- Cook PVI: R+3
Veteran and business owner Elaine Luria won her primary with over 62 percent of the vote. She emerges to challenge incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Taylor in a coastal Virginia district that leans conservative. Luria is campaigning to improve workplace conditions, establish equal pay for equal work, and expand access to jobs with living wages and benefits. The race will be tight, but winning it will mean Democrats have secured the gains they hoped for come November.
VA-05: Cockburn vs. Riggleman
- 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 53/Clinton 42
- 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 53/Obama 46
- 2016 House: Garrett, Jr. (R) 58/Dittmar (D) 42
- Cook PVI: R+6
Longtime journalist Leslie Cockburn will campaign to flip the 5th Congressional district, which runs through central Virginia. Republicans chose craft distillery owner and former Air Force officer Denver Riggleman to replace retiring GOP Rep. Thomas Garrett Jr. To win this historically red district, Cockburn is emphasizing federal funding for new energy, an improved tourist and leisure industry, a minimum wage increase, and improved transportation infrastructure. Cockburn’s performance will reveal whether Democratic outreach to rural areas spells success in the coming months.
Last night’s primaries saw a historically high voter turnout in the state of Nevada, with 19 percent of eligible voters going to polls. Democrats saw higher numbers with 83,701 ballots cast, compared to 76,011 Republican ballots. There was also a slightly higher percentage of women voting than men, which bodes well for female Democratic candidates.
NV-03: Lee vs. Tarkanian
- 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 48/Clinton 47
- 2012 Pres. Election: Obama 50/Romney 49
- 2016 House: Rosen (D) 47/Tarkanian (R) 46
- Cook PVI: R+2
EMILY’s List champion and Nevada State Democratic Party favorite, Susie Lee, emerged as the Democrat candidate for NV-03 with 67 percent of the vote. She is proving to be a solid fundraiser and has the endorsement of incumbent Rosen, who is departing for a Senate bid. This will be Lee’s second run for a primary house race, after narrowly losing NV-04 to Ruben Kihuen in 2016. This time around, she stands a strong chance against GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian, who has already lost seven political races. Following in Rosen’s footsteps, Lee is focused on economic issues, including wage stagnation, credit availability, energy affordability, and the protection of social security.
NV-04: Rep. Horsford vs. Rep. Hardy
- 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 50/Romney 45
- 2012 Pres. Election: Obama 54/Romney 44
- 2016 House: Kihuen (D) 49/Hardy (R) 45
- Cook PVI: D+3
Following yesterday’s primary, NV-04 will see a November general election between two of the district’s former representatives, Democrat Steven Horsford, who held the seat 2013-2015 and Republican, Cresent Hardy, who held the seat from 2015-2017. Democrats will have to strive to continue to drive up voter turnout in a district that encompasses a large section of northern Los Vegas.
Like other Nevadan Democrats, Horsford is highly focused on economic security. He advocates for job training programs, renewable energy, and education reform aimed at ending the school-to-prison pipeline. He was Nevada’s first African American State Senate Majority Leader between 2009-2012.
Ranked Choice voting
Yesterday’s Maine primaries represented the first use of ranked choice voting in US electoral history. Under ranked choice voting, if no candidate receives a majority of the first place votes, the last place candidate’s votes are redistributed to voters’ next choices until someone breaks 50 percent. The Associated Press will only call winners for the first round of tabulation and if additional rounds are required to determine a winner, final results will not be available for a few days.
ME-02: Golden vs. Rep. Poliquin
- 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 51/Clinton 41
- 2012 Pres. Election: Obama 53/Romney 44
- 2016 House: Poliquin (R) 55/Cain (D) 45
- Cook PVI: R+2
Current projections show that former Marine Jared Golden is closest to the 50 percent mark with 49.7 percent of the vote, making it a near-certainty that he will be the Democratic nominee. Golden will take on incumbent GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a veteran of the House Financial Services committee and strong proponent of the dangerous S.2155.
Golden, who campaigned on his bipartisan perspective, has a progressive streak in his economic policies. He calls for the strengthening of social security and medicare, investing in infrastructure and business, and campaign reform beginning with overturning Citizens United.
North Dakota: Tough Senate Fight in November
Although the results of North Dakota’s 2018 Senate primary were all but predetermined, the race will be one of the most talked about in the 2018 general election. Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp will face off against North Dakota’s At Large Representative Kevin Cramer. Senator Heitkamp has largely been loyal to her constituents and the Democrats, but may have committed an unforced error by championing unpopular banking deregulation in S. 2155. Having Senator Heitkamp in this seat will be important for Democrats to regain the Senate majority and will be one of the most important races to watch come November.
From the beginning of the primary season, the results have moved districts from toss-up to lean-D according to the Cook Political Report. The number of such districts can be expressed as a fraction of the total seats needed for the Democrats to secure a majority in the US House in November.
Not including yesterday’s primaries, we estimate that Democrats can confidently claim six flips, or 6 of the 24 seats needed to win back the House.