While there's no high drama on the scale of the fast approaching NY-26 special election tonight, there are enough different things going on tonight that election junkies will be hitting 'refresh' a lot. Let's take a look at what will be on voters' minds tonight.
At the top of the list, at least for Democratic observers, is the special election in CA-36, a solid-blue district in the affluent southern suburbs of Los Angeles that was left vacant by Jane Harman's resignation. There are 16 contestants in the election, but the key combatants are Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn and Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Both will be substantial improvements over the Blue Doggish Harman, although they represent different pegs in the Democratic tent. Hahn is labor's candidate in the race but also the candidate for Los Angeles's establishment machinery (the Hahn dynasty goes way back here), while Bowen is more the clean-government outsider with environmental groups' backing; Bowen is also generally the netroots' preferred candidate in the race.
This is likely only a forerunner to the main event on July 12, unless Bowen or Hahn pull the unusual feat of clearing the 50% bar in a field this large. (Note that this is California's first congressional special election using the Top 2 method, so rather than advancing the top Dem and the top GOPer, it's literally between the Top 2.) That's probably why we haven't seen a lot of aggressive campaigning here yet by the main two, as they're saving their powder for the second round. The only polling we've seen dates back to February, where dueling internals from Bowen and Hahn each showed them up by a few points. There's enough of a Republican presence in the district that if there was only one strong Republican in the field, he could squeak into the top 2 courtesy of a split between two strong Dems, but the field is fragmented between moderate Redondo Beach mayor Mike Gin, self-funding Craig Huey, bomb-throwing Kit Bobko, and miscellaneous other GOPers, so that looks like it isn't happening. Progressive Democrat Marcy Winograd, frequent primary election tormentor of Harman, is also in the mix, but seems to have no traction this time, what with Harman out of the picture. (Polls close at 8 pm PT/11 pm ET.)
Also tonight: the primary elections in Kentucky. The main event is the Republican gubernatorial primary, where the ticket of state Senate president David Williams and aptly-named Ag Commissioner Rich Farmer appears to be heavily favored (despite Williams' unlikeability and Farmer's spate of recent bad press). Williams faces two competing Republican tickets, led by teabagging businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.
If you're looking for any Dem-on-Dem action, the SoS primary is the main one to watch. Appointed incumbent SoS and former Bowling Green mayor Elaine Walker (appointed when Trey Grayson fled the state) may get knocked off by attorney Alison Grimes, daughter of a former state party chair and recipient of many establishment Dem endorsements. Polls in Kentucky close at the super-early 6 pm ET/3 pm PT.
In Pennsylvania, there's a plethora of down-in-the-weeds races to be decided tonight in mayoral and county primaries, and in state appellate court races. PoliticsPA has done yeoman's work in previewing just about every possible race of interest, so I'll just refer you there, but key races to watch are the primaries in the Allegheny County Executive race, and Philadelphia city council seats. The mayoral primary in the City of Brotherly Areyoutalkintome? should have been the main event, but incumbent Michael Nutter looks likely to glide past Milton Street, the ex-con brother of ex-mayor John Street.
Finally, there's a runoff election tonight to decide the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida (one of the nation's most Republican-friendly major cities, thanks to the fact that much of its suburbia lies within its city limits), between Republican Mike Hogan and Democrat Alvin Brown. If there's anything else going on tonight that we've missed, please let us know in comments.
And, of course, feel free to share your predictions for tonight!