The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
Be sure to check out our complete recap of all of Tuesday’s primaries at the end of this post.
● HI-01: A rather unwelcome blast from the past emerged right at Hawaii's candidate filing deadline when former Rep. Ed Case unexpectedly announced he'd run in the Democratic primary for the state's open 1st Congressional District. During his brief tenure in the House from 2002 to 2007, Case joined the conservative Blue Dog Coalition and became a supporter of the war in Iraq, despite representing a district that had always been strongly Democratic.
But Case quickly let his ambition get the better of him. He infuriated every corner of Hawaii's political establishment when he challenged Sen. Dan Akaka in the Democratic primary in 2006, a challenge whose only justification seemed to rest on Case's desire to seek higher office. After losing that race, he lost a special election for the 1st District in 2010, then lost another primary for Akaka's seat when the senator retired in 2012. Following those three straight failures, he joined a hotel management company in 2013, saying the move "likely ends any further political career." If only.
Case's late entry gives him just two months until the primary, where he faces a host of opponents who've been preparing for months (and also haven't lost their last three elections). The best-known candidates are state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, who served as Senate president for three years, and Lt. Gov. Doug Chin, who earned lots of media attention last year when he challenged Trump's travel ban in his former role as state attorney general. Meanwhile, Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin put together the strongest fundraising report in the first quarter of the year. Also running are state Reps. Beth Fukumoto and Kaniela Ing.
Case does stand out for one reason, though: He's the only white person in the race. Hawaii's 1st District is unusually diverse, with 49 percent of residents identifying as Asian-American or Pacific Islander—the highest such proportion in the nation—15 percent as white, 8 percent as native Hawaiian, and 18 percent as two or more races. Voting patterns often break down in Hawaii in complex ways, so demographics are by no means destiny, but it's very possible that Case could benefit if there's a split between candidates of AAPI ancestry.
● TX-Sen: On behalf of Giffords, which is former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords' gun-safety group, Democratic pollster PPP has surveyed Texas' Senate race between GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke. The poll gives Cruz a modest 48-42 lead, not far off the margin of PPP's last publicly available poll from January, which had Cruz up 45-37. However, this latest result is notably better for O'Rourke than a recent Quinnipiac survey that had Cruz leading by a wider 50-39.
● VA-Sen: Roanoke College has published a new poll that tested Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine against three of his prospective Republican rivals ahead of next week's primary. Kaine holds a 44-33 lead over Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart, while he beats state Del. Nick Freitas and Minister E.W. Jackson by 45-30 margins.
● CO-Gov: Businessman Victor Mitchell's latest Republican primary ad hits state Treasurer Walker Stapleton for being a cousin of the George W. Bush family, claiming he's funded by the family's "Never Trump" network. The ad contends that Stapleton's attacks against Mitchell are false, that Stapleton doesn't show up for his state job, and that he supports tax increases to pay for transportation projects. By contrast, the narrator says Mitchell opposes tax increases and supports Trump.
● FL-Gov: Former Rep. Gwen Graham has begun airing her first TV ad ahead of the Aug. 28 Democratic primary, and it's part of a $1 million buy in the Orlando and Tampa media markets. The spot introduces Graham as a devoted mother who formerly served as a PTA president and notes that she's the daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham. Gwen Graham promises to end 20 years of unfettered Republican rule, excoriating GOP lawmakers for not expanding Medicaid and shortchanging education funding.
● ME-Gov: Former state House Speaker Mark Eves and activist Betsy Sweet just endorsed each other ahead of next week's Democratic primary for governor—and yes, you read that right. Eves and Sweet are taking advantage the state's new instant-runoff voting system by urging their supporters to rank them first and second (or second and first) so that at least one of these two self-described "strong progressives" will have a chance to secure the nomination.
So far, though, this joint effort appears limited to email and social media, so it may not reach that many voters, though the unusual natural of this appeal ought to generate some buzz in the press. Yet even if Eves’ and Sweet’s voters do learn of their request and heed it, there may not be enough of them to make a difference: A month-old poll from SurveyUSA that sought to simulate the instant runoff found Sweet taking just 5 percent in a hypothetical first round while Eves earned 16, second to state Attorney General Janet Mills’ 32 (who eventually beat Eves 55-26 in the poll's fifth round).
● MD-Gov: Former Montgomery County Councilor Valerie Ervin won't appeal a state court ruling from earlier this week that had rejected her bid to have her name replace her deceased running-mate, Kevin Kamenetz, on the June 26 Democratic primary ballot. Consequently, her supporters will have to mark his name to vote for her, although election administrators have said they'll put up notices at polling places and online that Kamenetz votes will count for Ervin.
● NV-Gov: AFSCME has dropped $560,000 on a TV ad buy opposing likely GOP nominee Adam Laxalt. They blast the state attorney general for how his office "sold us out" by trying to cut a deal with price-gouging drug companies instead of standing up for a new law that forces them to justify their price hikes.
● SC-Gov: Businessman John Warren has released a Fabrizio Lee poll that shows him in contention to make it to a likely June 26 GOP primary runoff. The survey has Gov. Henry McMaster in first with 33 percent, while Warren holds a 19-17 lead for second place against former state cabinet member Catherine Templeton. This poll follows on the heels of a recent Target-Insyght survey that had McMaster up by 37-25 against Templeton while Warren wasn't far behind at 20 percent.
Meanwhile in the Democratic primary, VoteVets has endorsed state Rep. James Smith, who earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart in Afghanistan while serving in the South Carolina Army National Guard.
● AR-02: Republican Rep. French Hill has already begun attacking Democratic nominee Clarke Tucker on TV. His latest ad claims Tucker is supposedly in favor of "higher taxes and bigger government” and predictably tries to tie him to Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.
● CO-05: The NRA has endorsed Rep. Doug Lamborn ahead of the June 26 Republican primary.
● NY-11: The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which is New York City's largest police union, has endorsed Rep. Dan Donovan in his Republican primary battle with former Rep. Mike Grimm.
● NY-19: Democrat Antonio Delgado's latest primary ad, which the campaign says is airing on both broadcast TV and cable, features him making an impassioned speech criticizing Republican Rep. John Faso. Delgado talks to a group of people about principles like "integrity ... equality ... service" and says Faso has failed to live up to them by trying to take away their health care. By contrast, Delgado calls for truly universal health care and action to address climate change.
● NY-24: Syracuse professor Dana Balter has debuted her first TV ad ahead of the upcoming June 26 Democratic primary. The spot begins with Balter relaying how she stood up to those who wanted to bully her disabled younger brother when they were growing up; she says she became a special ed teacher because not everyone with a disability has someone looking out for them. Balter then calls Trump "the biggest bully of them all," arguing she'll stand up to him in Congress. The spot closes by highlighting her endorsements from every county party organization.
● SC-04: The Club for Growth has launched a TV ad attacking state Sen. William Timmons and state Rep. Dan Hamilton that uses some of their past quotes disparaging Trump to argue they won't stand with the administration. This ad comes just after the Club endorsed former Spartanburg County party chair Josh Kimbrell for next week's GOP primary.
● TN-02: State Rep. Jimmy Matlock's first Republican primary ad plays up his business experience, saying, "I've spent the last 47 years changing your family's tires. Now I need your help in changing Washington." He calls himself a Christian conservative who will protect the Second Amendment and build Trump's border wall.
● Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso brings us the results of Tuesday's action:
California AD-39: Democrats held this one, with Luz Maria Rivas defeating Republican Ricardo Benitez by a 70-30 margin.
California AD-45: This was also a Democratic hold. Jesse Gabriel defeated Justin Clark by a 64-36 margin.
Missouri SD-17: Democrats picked this seat up in a walk. Lauren Arthur defeated Republican Kevin Corlew by a 60-40 margin.
Arthur's win in Missouri's SD-17, which went for Trump 49-45 and Romney 51-47, is the Democrats' 42nd state legislative pickup of the cycle.
However, Team Blue got some very bad news in California. The GOP not only flipped SD-29 through a recall, in so doing they also cost Democrats the two-thirds supermajority that allowed them to pass tax increases and put constitutional amendments on the ballot without Republicans support. Democrats have some pickup opportunities in November that could restore it, though.
The GOP launched their recall campaign against state Sen. Josh Newman last year after he voted in favor of a gas-tax increase in order to fund a $52 billion transportation plan. Voters were first asked if they wanted to recall Newman, and they voted yes by a 60-40 margin. They were then asked to pick a replacement candidate, and they chose former Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, whom Newman narrowly beat in 2016, as his successor by a 34-20 margin over another Republican.
Chang will represent this Orange County seat, which backed Clinton 53-41 after favoring Romney 49.1-48.7, until it's up again in 2020.
● NY-AG, NY-18: As expected, Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney announced late on Tuesday night that he'd run in the September primary for New York's open attorney general post—but he also says he'll continue to seek re-election to the House at the same time.
That's just barely possible because, even though state law prohibits candidates from getting nominated for two different positions simultaneously, New York's congressional primary is in just a few weeks. It therefore appears that Maloney can win the Democratic nomination in the 18th Congressional District (he's the only Democrat who filed) but continue to run for attorney general, where the primary isn't for another three months.
Maloney says if he wins the attorney general's race, he'll drop his re-election plans, though that would put Democrats in a precarious position because Maloney's replacement would have just two months to execute an entire campaign in what's a potentially vulnerable swing district that Trump narrowly won. Maloney is, in other words, using his perch in the House as a backstop in case he loses his statewide bid, but in that scenario, he'd likely return to his congressional race broke.
That's because, say his lawyers, he thinks he can use his $3.1 million congressional war chest for his state race, a move that would give him a key advantage over his rivals. And he'd need it, because the state's Democratic establishment, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo (who soundly beat Maloney in the 2006 primary for attorney general), is backing New York City Public Advocate Tish James. Other experts aren't so sure that Maloney could transfer his cash, though, so if he faces an adverse legal ruling, it's possible he might just stick with his congressional race after all.
● CA-Sen: The Associated Press has called an all-Democratic general election. As of Wednesday evening, Sen. Dianne Feinstein was leading with 44 percent, while state Sen. Kevin de Leon had an 11-9 edge over Republican Some Dude James Bradley for the second general spot. Republican Patrick Little, a white supremacist who attracted national attention after a very flawed April poll showed him reaching the general election, was in 12th place with 1.4 percent.
● MT-Sen: State Auditor Matt Rosendale defeated former state Judge Russ Fagg 34-28 to win the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester; businessman Troy Downing and state Sen. Al Olszewski each took 19. Rosendale benefited from $1.6 million in spending from the Club for Growth, and groups funded by GOP mega donor Richard Uihlein also spent heavily on ads for him. The national GOP didn't publicly take sides, but they reportedly have a good relationship with their new nominee. Tester will be a top GOP target as he defends a state Trump decisively won.
● NJ-Sen: Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez won renomination 62-38 against little-known primary opponent Lisa McCormick, a very unimpressive showing for a two-term incumbent. Menendez's corruption trial ended in a mistrial in November and the Justice Department dropped all charges not long after, but Tuesday showed that many Democratic voters remain unhappy with him. The primary also came weeks after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously voted to admonish him.
Menendez will take on wealthy pharmaceutical businessman Bob Hugin, and while he should still be the clear favorite in this blue state, Hugin's money could help make things a bit more interesting for the incumbent than he'd like.
● AL-Gov: Gov. Kay Ivey defeated Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle 56-25 to win the GOP nomination, while Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox beat former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb 55-29 on the Democratic side. Because Ivey and Maddox each took a majority of the vote, they avoid a July runoff.
Ivey, who was elevated from lieutenant governor to governor last year after incumbent Robert Bentley resigned in disgrace, starts out as the heavy favorite in this very red state, but Democrats are hoping that fatigue with Republican corruption in the state capitol could give Maddox a chance for an upset. Daily Kos Elections rates the general election as Likely Republican.
● CA-Gov: While many ballots in California remain to be tallied, we know that Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican businessman John Cox will square off in the general election. At press time, Newsom was leading with 33 percent, while Cox had defeated former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, 26-13 for the second general election spot. Because California can take weeks to count all votes, these percentages may fluctuate, but there's no question we're in for a Newsom-Cox race.
California is one of the bluest states in the nation, and Daily Kos Elections rates the general election as Safe Democratic. However, while Republicans never had much hope of actually winning this seat, they'll be pleased to at least have a candidate in November. Team Red was worried that an all-Democratic race would have discourage conservatives from turning out for more-winnable races, and while Cox is hardly a top-tier candidate, he's at least someone who can get the base out the door.
The White House knew the stakes, and Trump tweeted his support for Cox a few weeks before Election Day. Newsom also wanted to face a Republican rather than another Democrat, so he also did his part to get Cox through to the top-two.
● IA-Gov: Wealthy businessman Fred Hubbell, who hails from a well-known Des Moines family, defeated local SEIU leader Cathy Glasson 56-21 to win the Democratic primary to take on GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds. Iowa moved hard against Democrats during the last two election cycles, but Team Blue hopes that a backlash against Trump and Reynolds' conservative agenda will give them the chance to reverse their fortunes. Daily Kos Elections rates the general election as Lean Republican.
● NM-Gov: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham beat businessman Jeff Apodaca 66-21 in the Democratic primary to succeed termed-out GOP Gov. Suzanne Martinez, and now she’ll take on GOP Rep. Steve Pearce, who had no primary opposition, in the general.
Between New Mexico's light-blue lean, Martinez's weak approval ratings, and Pearce's far-right record and rhetoric, we believe Lujan Grisham begins the general with the advantage. However, it's worth noting that Pearce has released polls showing him not far behind his House colleague, and we've seen no Democratic or independent surveys to contradict this data. Daily Kos Elections rates this as Lean Democratic.
● SD-Gov: Rep. Kristi Noem beat Attorney General Marty Jackley 56-44 in the GOP primary to succeed termed-out Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The GOP has held this seat continuously for 40 years, and if Noem continues that streak, she'd be the state's first woman governor. Noem will face state Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton in the general election in a contest Daily Kos Elections rates as Safe Republican.
● AL-02: GOP Rep. Martha Roby is headed to a July 17 runoff against former Rep. Bobby Bright, whom she unseated in 2010 when he was a Democrat. Roby took just 39 percent of the vote, while Bright beat state Rep. Barry Moore 28-19 for second place. The winner should have little trouble in the general election for this 65-33 Trump seat.
Roby pissed off local conservatives in 2016 when she said she wouldn't vote for Trump after the Access Hollywood tape emerged, prompting her detractors to launch a general election write-in campaign. Roby ended up beating her Democratic foe just 49-41, with the rest going to write-ins. Roby has tried cozying up to Trump since then, but her poor performance shows she still has many enemies at home in this Montgomery-area seat.
The big question is whether anti-Roby voters will flock to Bright, who was very conservative during his one term in the House but still voted to elect Nancy Pelosi speaker. Bright, who was mayor of Montgomery before going to Congress, has been running ads declaring that Roby turned "her back on President Trump when he needed her the most," while Roby didn't target any of her rivals during the first round of the primary.
● CA-04: GOP Rep. Tom McClintock will face national security strategist Jessica Morse in the general for a 54-39 Trump seat that stretches from the Sacramento suburbs into the Yosemite Valley. McClintock sits at 52 percent of the vote, while Morse leads former State Department officer and fellow Democrat Regina Bateson 20-13 for the second general election spot.
While McClintock only narrowly won a previous version of this seat in 2008, he's never had any trouble since then. However, Morse has been a strong fundraiser, while the congressman seems pretty complacent. In mid-May, McClintock had a $700,000 to $650,000 cash-on-hand over Morse, a pretty small edge for an incumbent who’s had years to amass a war chest. It's still going to take a lot to flip this district, but this race is worth keeping an eye on in a wave year.
● CA-07: Democratic Rep. Ami Bera currently has 52 percent of the vote, while businessman Andrew Grant is beating fellow Republican Yona Barash 33-12 for the other general election slot. However, while Republicans have worked very hard to beat Bera over the last three cycles, this contest isn't shaping up to be especially interesting this time. This suburban Sacramento seat moved from 51-47 Obama to 52-41 Clinton, so it's not exactly the most appealing GOP target in a year where they're on the defensive. Grant hasn't raised much money so far, and both parties are focusing their attention on other Golden State House seats.
● CA-08: GOP Rep. Paul Cook may need to wait a little while to learn if he'll face a Democrat or Republican in this 55-40 Trump seat. As of Wednesday afternoon, former GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly holds a 22.6-21.5 lead for the second place spot against Democrat Marge Doyle, while Cook takes 42. The Associated Press has not called the second general election spot; note that late-tallied votes in California tend to favor Democrats.
This northern San Bernardino seat is very much a longshot Democratic target, but it might be worth paying attention to should Doyle make it to November (and should Democrats have a banner year). Doyle, who is a registered nurse, raised $388,000 through mid-May and had $118,000 in the bank, while Cook had just shy of $600,000 on-hand. Donnelly, a far-right former legislator who narrowly missed the general election with Cook last cycle, had just $13,000 to spend.
● CA-10: Democrats appear to have narrowly averted an unexpected top-two disaster, but the Associated Press had yet to call the race in California’s 10th District as of Wednesday afternoon. GOP Rep. Jeff Denham currently is in front with just 38 percent, while Democrat Josh Harder leads Republican Ted Howze just 15.7-14.4, a margin of 850 votes, for the second general election spot. Democrat Michael Eggman, who ran against Denham in 2014 and 2016, is in fourth with 11. This Modesto-area seat narrowly backed Clinton 49-46 after supporting Obama by a similar margin, and Democrats very much plan to target Denham.
Six Democrats were on the ballot (though one of them, Dotty Nygard, ended her campaign in March) while Denham and Howze were the only Republicans, so a lockout was always a remote possibility. But Howze, a former Turlock city councilor, raised and spent very little, and state and national Democrats also never showed any obvious alarm about this seat the way they did for three Southern California districts. However, Howze argued that Denham was selling out Trump on immigration, and that seems to have touched a chord with enough of the GOP base in a way that Democrats didn't expect.
● CA-25: Bryan Caforio, the 2016 Democratic nominee, conceded defeat to nonprofit head Katie Hill, though the Associated Press has not yet called the race as of Wednesday evening. GOP Rep. Steve Knight leads with 53 percent, while Hill, who has EMILY's List's support, had a 20-18 edge on Caforio for the second position.
This northern Los Angeles County seat swung from 50-48 Romney to 50-44 Clinton, but Knight fended off Caforio 53-47 last cycle. Both sides are preparing for another expensive fight, and the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund has reserved $2.1 million to help Knight; Democrats have reserved millions in the Los Angeles media market that they can direct as they see fit to any number of races.
● CA-39: In the Fullerton-area 39th District, the Associated Press has called the race for former GOP Assemblywoman Young Kim and retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Gil Cisneros, who had the DCCC's support. As of Wednesday evening, Young was leading the way with 22 percent while Cisneros had edged out Republican Phil Liberatore 19-14 for that critical second-place spot.
This district, which swung from 51-47 Romney to 51-43 Clinton, was one of three Southern California seats where Democrats were extremely worried about a top-two lockout, and the DCCC and House Majority PAC spent a combined $2.3 million on ads either boosting Cisneros directly or hitting two Republicans, Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and former state Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff. The effort worked so well that Liberatore, who took a very close third place in the 2012 top-two primary for the far-off 8th District, appears to have finished well ahead of Nelson and Huff.
Democrats have avoided the nightmare they were dreading, but this seat is far from a guaranteed flip. Despite the 2016 presidential results, Republicans usually do well in this area further down the ballot, and they're hoping that voters who don't like Trump will still respond well to the usual GOP arguments. They also got encouraging news on Tuesday when Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman, whose district includes about 80 percent of the 39th's residents, badly lost a recall election after he voted in favor of a gas tax increase last year to fund transportation projects.
Kim, whom retiring Rep. Ed Royce endorsed early in the race, will also be well-funded. However, Cisneros, who won $266 million in a 2010 lottery drawing, won't lack resources or outside support either.
● CA-45: UC Irvine law Professor Katie Porter will take on GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in the general election for this Orange County seat, which swung from 55-43 Romney to 50-44 Clinton. At press time, Porter had edged Dave Min, a fellow Democrat and fellow UC Irvine law professor, 20-17 for the second general election spot, while Walters led with 53.
Porter had the backing of Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and EMILY's List, and she emphasized her support for Medicare for all. Min pitched himself as the more moderate candidate and argued that Porter's ideas would be unpopular in this traditionally Republican seat. The conservative Congressional Leadership Fund has reserved $2.3 million in fall TV time to help Walters, while Democrats have reserved millions in the Los Angeles media market that they could allocate between a number of seats, including this one.
● CA-48: On Wednesday, former Orange County GOP Chair Scott Baugh conceded and endorsed Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, despite the bad blood between the two. While the Associated Press had not called the second general election spot as of Wednesday evening, Democrats will be very relieved to have avoided a top-two lockout in a seat that went from 55-43 Romney to 48-46 Clinton.
However, it's not at all clear which Democrat will face Rohrabacher. The incumbent is in first with a feeble 30 percent, but after a ballot drop on Wednesday evening, stem cell researcher Hans Keirstead, who’d been endorsed by the state Democratic Party, retook the lead from real estate company owner Harley Rouda, who’d had the support of the DCCC. At the moment, Keirstead has a 45-vote edge on Rouda, who earlier was up by 73 votes. How close is that margin? Keirstead is up 17.22 to 17.18, but many more votes remain to be counted.
Baugh, meanwhile, is out of the running at 16 percent, but his narrow defeat did not come cheap for Democrats. The DCCC and House Majority PAC spent about $1.8 million mostly to attack Baugh, though the DCCC also made a late attempt to boost little-known Republican John Gabbard in an effort split the anti-Rohrabacher GOP vote. Gabbard is currently taking 3.2 percent, so national Democrats may have helped persuade just enough conservatives to support him over Baugh to avert an all-GOP general election. The conservative American Future Fund spent $725,000 to try and help Baugh secure a place in the general, to no avail.
● CA-49: It looks very likely that Republican Diane Harkey will face a Democrat in this open seat, which moved from 52-46 Romney to 51-43 Clinton, but it's not clear which one. As of Wednesday evening, Harkey leads with 26 percent, while three Democrats follow behind: environmental attorney Mike Levin at 17.1, former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign policy adviser Sara Jacobs at 15.5, and retired Marine Col. and 2016 nominee Doug Applegate at 13.2. Applegate is almost certainly finished, but Jacobs, who had massive support from EMILY’s List, is still holding out hope, given the large number of votes left to be tallied.
● CA-50: GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter will face Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former U.S. Labor Department official, in the general election. Hunter currently leads with 49 percent of the vote while Campa-Najjar is edging out GOP El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells 16-13 for the second slot.
This inland San Diego County seat backed Trump 55-40, and Hunter has never faced a tough race. However, he's currently under FBI investigation for allegedly putting campaign money to his personal use, including a $600 flight for his family's pet rabbit. It's going to take a lot to flip a seat this red, but this one is worth keeping tabs on, especially if Hunter's legal woes deepen.
● IA-01: State Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who had the support of DCCC, EMILY's List, and several local unions, decisively beat former Labor Department official Thomas Heckroth 67-19. Finkenauer will take on GOP Rep. Rod Blum in an eastern Iowa seat that swung from 56-43 Obama to 49-45 Trump. Finkenauer, who turns 29 at the end of the year, would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Democrats hope that the political climate, as well as Blum's own behavior, will give them a big opening against the incumbent, and the House Majority PAC and the DCCC have each purchased about $540,000 in fall TV time here. So far, national Republicans haven't announced any ad reservations.
● IA-03: Business consultant Cindy Axne defeated insurance company owner Eddie Mauro 58-26 in the Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. David Young; longtime political operative Pete D'Alessandro, who had Bernie Sanders' support, took a distant third with 16. Axne, who was backed by EMILY's List, will be competing for a swingy Des Moines-area seat that moved from 51-47 Obama to 49-45 Trump. The House Majority PAC has so far reserved $600,000 in fall TV time to aid Axne.
● MS-03: The GOP will have a June 26 runoff for this 61-37 Trump seat in central Mississippi, but there's a very clear frontrunner. Michael Guest, who serves as district attorney for Rankin and Madison counties, led Baptist Health Foundation President Whit Hughes 45-22, just a few points away from the majority he needed to avoid a runoff. Retiring Rep. Gregg Harper hasn't publicly taken sides, but he's contributed to Guest, and his daughter and longtime top aide are supporting him.
● MT-AL: Despite being decisively outspent, former state Rep. Kathleen Williams defeated attorney John Heenan 34-32 in the Democratic primary to face GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte. This 56-35 Trump seat is unlikely to be a top Democratic target, but Team Blue hopes that there will be a backlash against Gianforte, who infamously won a May special election last year 50-44 the day after he physically attacked Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.
● NJ-02: State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, the favored candidate of the state and national Democrats, easily beat teacher Tanzie Youngblood 55-19 in the primary. While plenty of progressives were unhappy with Van Drew's conservative record, he benefited from the support of the powerful local Democratic leaders, as well as three opponents who each raised very little money.
This open South Jersey seat swung from 54-44 Obama to 51-46 Trump, but Republicans had a very hard time finding a viable candidate. They also got one more surprise on Tuesday when former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman beat engineer Hirsh Singh, who had the support of many of the local county parties, by a 39-31 margin. Singh reportedly earned that support by saying he'd pour $2 million of his own money into his bid, but his financial disclosures later revealed he was far from the multi-millionaire he made himself out to be. At least he'll have those casino winnings ;-).
By contrast, Grossman's flaws are a lot more obvious. He's reported raising a total of $12,000 through May 16, which won't go anywhere in the expensive Philadelphia media market. He also won his last election in 1988; more recently, he lost a quixotic 2013 primary challenge to Gov. Chris Christie 92-8. In a year where the national GOP has so many other seats to worry about, we'd be surprised if they put much effort into boosting Grossman here.
● NJ-05: Attorney John McCann beat former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, a well-known movement conservative who has lost several high-profile races, 53-47 in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
This seat narrowly backed Trump, but Gottheimer is a very strong fundraiser while McCann, who is close to local Bergen County party leaders, only brought in $62,000 from donors through mid-May while self-funding another $125,000. This seat is located in the ultra-expensive New York City media market, and national Republicans would need to part with a lot of money if they want to boost McCann.
This is Lonegan's fifth loss in a row, but it was still unexpected. Lonegan decisively outspent McCann, and he released a poll in the final weeks of May from a group called Victory Phones giving him a 46-27 primary lead. However, McCann ran an ad that featured 2016 footage of Donald Trump declaring that he'd "known Lonegan for 25 years," and pronouncing, "He's always lost. He's a loser. Check his record—loss, loss, loss." Trump calls so many people losers that occasionally, he'll accidentally be right.
● NJ-07: Former State Department official Tom Malinowski defeated 2016 nominee Peter Jacob 67-19 to win the Democratic nod against GOP Rep. Leonard Lance. Malinowski largely cleared the field once he started winning powerful county party endorsements, and his decisive victory was no surprise. This will be an expensive contest for a seat in the middle of the state that moved from 53-46 Romney to 49-48 Clinton.
● NJ-11: Assemblyman Jay Webber defeated wealthy businessman Peter DeNeufville 39-31 in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. Webber will take on former Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill, who won the Democratic primary with 78 percent of the vote, for an ancestrally red seat that went from 52-47 Romney to 49-48 Trump. Sherrill has been one of the strongest Democratic fundraisers in the country, and Team Blue is hoping that Webber's ardent support for Trump will cost him in this suburban seat.
● NM-01: Former state Democratic Party Chair Deb Haaland won the expensive primary to succeed gubernatorial candidate and outgoing Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham with 41 percent of the vote, well ahead of former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez's 26 percent; retired University of New Mexico law school professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez took 21. This Albuquerque seat backed Clinton 52-36, and as a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, Haaland is well on her way to becoming the first Native American woman to ever serve in Congress.
A number of outside groups got involved in this contest in the closing weeks. Martinez had air support from VoteVets, With Honor Fund, and Forward Not Back, a group that's affiliated with the "radical centrist" organization No Labels. A new group called 7Gen Leaders ran ads helping Haaland that promoted her chance to make history. (The group's name refers to the philosophy, attributed to the Iroquois, that those living today should strive to work for the benefit of those who will live seven generations from now.) EMILY's List didn't endorse either Sedillo Lopez or Haaland, but they aired ads attacking Martinez.
● NM-02: State Rep. Yvette Herrell beat former state party chair Monty Newman 49-32 to win the GOP nod to succeed Rep. Steve Pearce. Herrell, who has a reputation as one of the most conservative members of the legislature, ran to Newman's right throughout the campaign, and she picked up an endorsement from the NRA in the final weeks.
This southern seat went from 52-45 Romney to 50-40 Trump, but Democrats did flip it in 2008 when it was last open. (Redistricting didn't change the district's boundaries much.) The DCCC added water rights attorney Xochitl Torres Small, who won her primary with 73 percent of the vote, to their Red to Blue list for top candidates a few months ago.
● SD-AL: Former Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson, a former chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, defeated Secretary of State Shantel Krebs 47-29 in the GOP primary to succeed Rep. Kristi Noem; far-right state Sen. Neal Tapio, who mused that a terrorist attack would "just by the Trump effect" win him the primary, took 24. Johnson had Daugaard's support, and while No Labels didn't directly endorse him, one their many front groups did spend against Krebs. This seat backed Trump 62-32, and Johnson is the clear favorite in November against former state court judge Tim Bjorkman.