Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Michigan, Kansas, Washington Primary Results

In Governor, House, Primary, Senate on August 6, 2014 at 9:57 am

MICHIGAN

Bentivolio Defeated; Amash Wins; 14th Tight

Freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford), a Tea Party favorite tabbed as an “accidental congressman” when he was elected in 2012 – after then-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) was disqualified from the ballot – lost his bid for renomination last night, as predicted. Attorney David Trott, brandishing endorsements from virtually all key state Republican leaders and overwhelming the incumbent in fundraising, won a huge 66-34 percent win in the 11th District that ended Bentivolio’s ill-conceived congressional career. Trott now faces former State Department official Bobby McKenzie, who barely won (671 vote margin) the Democratic primary against three opponents. Trott is the clear favorite to carry the open seat in November.

In the other incumbent challenge, controversial Tea Party-backed Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI-3) turned back a tough and well-organized campaign effort from businessman Brian Ellis. Amash notched a 57-43 percent margin to win the party nomination for a third term in office.

Turning to the north, in what was thought to be the closest race going into the primary vote, state Sen. John Moolenaar (R) rather easily defeated businessmen Paul Mitchell and Peter Konetchy, 52-37-11 percent. For most of the campaign Mitchell was either running ahead or tied with Moolenaar, a veteran office holder, in political polling. Moolenaar will now skate through the general election and succeed retiring House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4).

In the open 8th CD, with Rep. Mike Rogers (R) leaving Congress to host a new national radio program, former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, as predicted, easily won the Republican nomination, 60-40 percent, against state Rep. Tom McMillin. Also as forecast for the Democratic side, Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing defeated three opponents with 43 percent of the vote after trailing most of the night. Bishop now becomes a big favorite for the general election.

In the wild 14th District, the seat Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomington Township) is vacating to run for Senate, state Rep. Rudy Hobbs and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence are still in a race that is too close to call with all of the precincts reporting. Absentee and provisional ballots will likely decide the final outcome. Only 240 votes separate the two, with Rep. Hobbs clinging to the lead. Former US Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI-13) finished a distant third. The eventual winner will claim the seat in November.

Other victors were Debbie Dingell (D) in the open 12th District, vying to succeed her retiring husband, 59-year congressional veteran John Dingell (D-Dearborn). She will cruise in the general election. Incumbents Dan Benishek (R-MI-1), Fred Upton (R-MI-6), Tim Walberg (R-MI-7), and John Conyers (D-MI-13) all easily outpaced intra-party challengers.

Rep. Peters and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) were unopposed in their respective primaries for the open US Senate contest, as were Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7) in the gubernatorial race. Total statewide turnout was just under 1.2 million voters, with most of the action on the Republican side.

KANSAS

Roberts’ Victory Closer Than Expected

While Gov. Sam Brownback (R) looked to be the weakest Kansas Republican statewide official according to multiple polls over the past few months, it was Sen. Pat Roberts (R) who won re-nomination with the smallest vote percentage.

Brownback defeated Republican challenger Jennifer Winn, 63-37 percent, to claim re-nomination. Sen. Roberts, running for a fourth consecutive term, won his primary with just 48 percent of the vote. Physician Milton Wolf placed second with 41 percent. Two other candidates combined to score 11 percent. For the Democrats, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor won a relatively close nomination battle, 53-47 percent, over attorney Patrick Wiesner.

In the 1st Congressional District, in what we termed a sleeper race yesterday, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R) survived a scare from former school superintendent Alan LaPolice. The congressman garnered only 54 percent of the vote within his own party. LaPolice benefitted from support within the statewide agricultural community and the wind energy industry, but it was still not enough to win in the sprawling western Kansas CD in which Salina, with just over 48,000 people, is the largest population center.

Fourth District Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Wichita) fared considerably better in his challenge battle from a much tougher opponent. The two-term congressman won renomination over former 16-year congressional veteran Todd Tiahrt (R-Wichita), 63-37 percent. The Tiahrt challenge was ill-conceived, starting late and confronting a new incumbent who was well prepared for such a fight. Rep. Pompeo will now cruise to re-election in November.

Total statewide turnout was just over 330,000, with 264,000 of that vote being cast on the Republican side.

WASHINGTON

Incumbents Advance; Didier and Newhouse in WA-4

The Washington primary will take a while to completely count because of their vote-by-mail system that allows ballots to be accepted if postmarked on Election Day. The nine House incumbents seeking re-election – Washington does not host either a Senate or a gubernatorial race in 2014 – advanced to the general election in the state’s top-two jungle primary format.

Despite tabulation totals only reaching about half of the number of ballots cast, enough of a statistical pattern exists to project general election qualifiers in most races. All of the incumbents placed first and garnered between a low of 48 percent of the vote (Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler-R-WA-3) and a high of 76 percent (Rep. Jim McDermott-D-WA-7).

But the big news was in the open central Washington 4th District where veteran Rep. Doc Hastings (R), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, is retiring. There, two Republican candidates have already been projected as advancing to the general election. Eight Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents were on the ballot, and simple mathematics would indicate that the Democrats, despite being the minority party in this district, would have a strong chance of qualifying one contender. But, they failed to garner enough votes.

Former NFL football player and ex-statewide candidate Clint Didier appears to be placing first in the primary followed closely by former state Agriculture Director Dan Newhouse. By qualifying two Republicans in the general election, the GOP has secured the open seat for the next term regardless of which man wins in November.

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