Voters will be casting ballots in six states, and the Mississippi Republican run-off contest between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel gains top national billing. Most polling suggests that McDaniel, who placed first in the primary with 49.4 percent of the vote, is favored to capture the party nod. His victory would unseat a veteran Republican senator who was first elected to Congress in 1972.
Another US House special election will be decided today as GOP businessman Curt Clawson is poised to win Florida’s 19th Congressional District, left vacant by freshman Rep. Trey Radel’s (R) resignation. Clawson, armed with $2 million of personal money and strong backing from various Tea Party groups, easily won the Republican nomination on April 22. The former Purdue University basketball player will cruise to victory against Democrat April Freeman in the safely Republican seat anchored in the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area. He will be sworn into office later this week, and then immediately begin running for a full term. The 2014 Florida primary is Aug. 26.
Most of the Colorado nominations were decided in an April convention, but the Republican gubernatorial nomination is still very much up for grabs. The four top candidates, ex-US representatives Tom Tancredo (R-CO-6) and Bob Beauprez (R-CO-7), along with Secretary of State Doug Gessler and former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, are battling one another for the opportunity of challenging potentially vulnerable Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). Most believe that nominating the strongly conservative Tancredo, who came to national fame as an immigration hardliner presidential candidate, would spell disaster for the GOP in the general election against Hickenlooper and could possibly hamper other races such as Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO-4) attempt to unseat Sen. Mark Udall (D). Tancredo has been under attack for the past several weeks and is now failing to even respond.
In the Colorado congressional races, the multi-candidate field will be sorted out in the eastern state open seat, as Weld County District Attorney and former US Senate nominee Ken Buck (R) leads three other GOP contenders. Representatives Scott Tipton (R-CO-3) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5) also face Republican primary challengers.
Maryland Democrats will virtually choose a new governor today, because the new Democratic nominee is a lock to win the open state house position in November. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) is a heavy favorite against Attorney General Doug Gansler (D).
The key New York primary features veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY-13), battling for re-nomination to a 23rd term, against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D), the man he defeated in 2012 by little more than 1,000 votes. Late polling stakes Rangel to at least a small advantage, but Espaillat has increased his institutional support from the last campaign. In upstate New York, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY-22) faces a Republican primary challenge from state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. In the open 21st District – Rep. Bill Owens (D) retiring – a bitter Republican primary battle has developed between 2010 and ’12 nominee Matt Doheny and former White House aide Elise Stefanik. Because the New York election system allows candidates to appear on multiple party ballot lines, all of these aforementioned candidates, with the exception of Rangel or Espaillat, who fail to capture the GOP or Democratic nominations will advance to the general election by way of either the Independence or Conservative political parties.
Balloting is also underway in Oklahoma, where Rep. James Lankford (R-OK-5) and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R) vie for the Republican Senate nomination. With seven candidates competing, a run-off between the two major contenders is the most likely outcome. In Rep. Lankford’s open Oklahoma City-based 5th District, six candidates vie for what will be an Aug. 26 run-off election. Most likely, two of the following three will advance: state Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, state Sen. Clark Jolley, and state Rep. Mike Turner. The eventual GOP nominee holds the seat in November.