House Primary Recap: 8/2

*All numbers current as of publication per New York Times*


AZ-01 Likely Schweikert (Predicted Correctly)

In Arizona’s 1st district, incumbent Republican David Schweikert won renomination with 43% of the vote. His nearest opponent, businessman Elijah Norton, took 33%. Given the incumbent’s relatively-low share of the vote, it is probable that he would have lost had intraparty opposition been combined. Schweikert faces Democrat Jevin Hodge, a former County Supervisor candidate, in November. This Biden +1.4 seat, located in northeastern Maricopa County, is rated Leans Republican.

AZ-02 Leans Blackman (Predicted Incorrectly)

Despite living outside of Arizona’s 2nd district, former Navy SEAL Eli Crane won last night’s GOP primary against state representative Walt Blackman 34-24%. Blackman carried counties like Gila and Navajo, parts of which lie within his legislative seat, while Crane won Yavapai and Coconino. His lopsided victory in the former county was crucial because it includes Prescott, one of the 2nd’s more populated cities. Crane, endorsed by Trump, clearly used his fundraising advantages and outsider status to appeal to Republicans who were unfamiliar with Blackman. Because this seat is Trump +7.9 post-redistricting, incumbent Democrat Tom O’Halleran is a heavy underdog. Likely Republican (flip)

AZ-04 Leans Wheeless (TBD)

The Republican primary in Arizona’s 4th district is too close to call as of this writing. With 62% of votes reporting, restaurant owner Kelly Cooper leads ex-McSally staffer Tanya Wheeless 30-25%. Cooper and Wheeless, both of whom were considered the frontrunning candidates going into the primary, have similar warchests. Dave Giles, a previous congressional nominee, evidently had enough residual name recognition to finish third with 19% of the vote. Whoever ends up the primary will advance to a Leans Democratic general election against incumbent Democrat Greg Stanton in this Biden +10 seat.

AZ-06 Ciscomani, Leans Hernandez Jr (Predicted Semi-Correctly)

In Arizona’s 6th district, former state senator Kirsten Engel won the Democratic primary against state representative Daniel Hernandez. Engel, supported by outgoing Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, had fewer endorsements and trailed in the only public poll of the primary back in May. Her Republican opponent will be Juan Ciscomani, a top candidate of both the NRCC and the CLF. Ciscomani won 47% of the vote against split opposition, with the bulk of his strength coming from Pima County (Tucson). This Biden +0.1 district, situated in southeastern Arizona, is currently rated Leans Republican (flip).

AZ-09 Safe Gosar (Predicted Correctly)

Despite losing Yavapai County in redistricting, conservative firebrand Paul Gosar was able to secure renomination with 65% of the vote. His weakest county, predictably, was Maricopa. He received over 70% of the vote in every other portion of the new 9th district. Gosar faces no Democratic challenger this fall, making reelection a mere formality.

MI-02 Safe Moolenaar (Predicted Correctly)

In Michigan’s 2nd district, incumbent Republican John Moolenaar won renomination against veteran Tom Norton with 65% of the vote. His weakest county was Kent, which he carried only 58-42%. While the argument for mild anti-incumbent sentiment in the district should be made, it should also be noted that large swathes of the redrawn 2nd were unfamiliar to Moolenaar when voters went to the polls last night.

MI-03 Leans Meijer (Predicted Incorrectly)

Michigan’s 3rd district, a Biden +8.5 seat, drew more attention than any GOP House primary that occurred yesterday. Incumbent Republican Peter Meijer, a supporter of former President Trump’s second impeachment, was defeated by challenger John Gibbs 52-48%. Gibbs had been endorsed by Trump and received indirect pecuniary support from the DCCC. 

While Split Ticket was ultimately wrong about Meijer, our reasoning remains well-founded considering the evidence available at the time. Meijer’s moderate conservatism may have appealed to certain voters of Dutch heritage living in and around Grand Rapids, but it was anything but an electoral silver bullet. Though Gibbs won all three counties in the 3rd, Kent was predictably his worst. 

Meijer is the fifth incumbent this cycle to lose to a non-incumbent primary challenger. Counting double-bunkings (races between two incumbents) he is the ninth sitting Representative to fall this year.* Regarding the general election, John Gibbs is indeed a weaker candidate than Meijer. But his primary victory does not make Hillary Scholten a clear favorite either. If Split Ticket were to pick today, we would probably go with the Democrats, but for now the 3rd will remain in the Tossup column.

*Van Taylor (TX-03) and Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) are excluded from this statement*

MI-08 Leans Junge (Predicted Correctly)

In Michigan’s 8th district, Republican Paul Junge secured his party’s nomination with 54% of the vote, defeating Matthew Seely and Candice Miller. Genesee County was the only portion of the seat where he received less than 50% of the vote. Junge, a former news anchor, lost a close race to Democrat Elissa Slotkin in the old Michigan-8. This Biden +2.1 district, running north from Flint to Saginaw and Midland, is more similar to the current 5th. The Democrat here is Dan Kildee, an experienced lawmaker with a strong family name who is no stranger to outrunning the top of the ticket despite hostile trends. Tossup

MI-10 Likely Marlinga (Predicted Correctly)

The Democratic primary in Michigan’s 10th district, a marginal Trump-Peters district, initially appeared close. After the remaining ballots from Macomb County were counted, though, former judge Carl Marlinga took a commanding lead over the rest of the field with 48% of the vote. He will face two-time Senate candidate John James this fall in a race rated Leans Republican (flip). This seat would be a more viable target for Democrats if the party were on offense in a more favorable environment.

MI-11 Likely Stevens (Predicted Correctly)

In Michigan’s 11th, a Safe Democratic seat located in southeastern Oakland County, incumbent Democrats Haley Stevens (MI-11) and Andy Levin (MI-09) were double-bunked. Despite running in the more progressive lane, Levin was defeated 60-40% by Stevens. Stevens had a slight geographic advantage on her own, but clearly won the majority of voters currently represented by Brenda Lawrence as well. Many analysts attributed Levin’s lack of national support among non-progressives to his stance on Israel. This result aligns with expectations in every sense. No double-bunking, Republican or Democratic, has been truly close this cycle. Republicans do not have a serious path in this Biden +19 seat in November. Safe Democratic

MI-12 Safe Tlaib (Predicted Correctly)

Michigan’s 12th includes western Detroit and Dearborn. Progressive Democrat Rashida Tlaib moved to this district after incumbent Brenda Lawrence announced her retirement earlier this year. Tlaib won renomintion with 64% of the vote, defeating Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and a smattering of other challengers. 

MI-13 Leans Thanedar (Predicted Correctly)

Despite having a plurality black 2020 voting population, the Detroit-based 13th district will not have a black representative in Washington next year. This seat was vacated by Rashida Tlaib after the neighboring 12th became vacant, resulting in a deluge of credible Democratic candidates seeking the nomination to replace her. The winner of that primary, with 28% of the vote, was well-funded state representative Shri Thanedar. He defeated state senator Adam Hollier and Lawrence-endorsed activist Portia Roberson. Thanedar’s best precincts were located southwest of Detroit near Lincoln Park and Romulus, though he held up well in the city itself too.

MO-01 Likely Bush (Predicted Correctly)

With 69% of the vote, progressive Democrat Cori Bush will win renomination in Missouri’s St. Louis-based 1st district. Her opponent, state senator Steve Roberts, had been accused of sexual harrasment prior to the electioin. Bush’s protest vote was smaller than that levied against fellow “squad” member Tlaib in Michigan.

MO-02 Safe Wagner (Predicted Correctly)

Despite the addition of Franklin County into the 2nd district, Republican Ann Wagner was able to comfortably win renomination. She could be vulnerable to a more unified and aggressive right-wing challenger in the future, but managed to clear the field this cycle. At Trump +7.8, this is also the type of district that the GOP might have to worry about in a more difficult environment.

MO-04 Leans Alford (Correctly Predicted)

In the west-central 4th district, former TV reporter Mark Alford won the GOP nomination with 35% of the vote. He won all of the counties in the district close to Jackson, generally performing well in the greater Kansas City media market. His closest challenger, state senator Rick Brattin, took 21% but failed to win important parts of his district like Cass County. 

Other candidates like cattle farmer Kalena Bruce and ex-Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks won their home turf but failed to make a dent district-wide. Jim Campbell, a former hockey player spending a lot of his own money, predictably failed to establish a geographic base. This seat, currently held by unsuccessful Senate candidate Vicky Hartzler, is Safe Republican.

MO-07 Leans Burlison (Correctly Predicted) 

In southwestern Missouri, the 7th district opened up after incumbent Billy Long announced his ill-fated run for the Senate. The victor in the primary to replace him was state senator Eric Burlison by a 38-23% margin. Jay Wasson, a former member of Missouri’s upper chamber, finished second. A notable loser was state senator Mike Moon, well-known for his arch-conservative approach to abortion-related issues, who came in fourth behind minister Alex Bryant. Safe Republican

WA-03 Leans R vs. R (Incorrectly Predicted)

Due in large part to Democrats taking advantage of Washington’s jungle primary to stop more extreme candidates by voting for incumbent Republicans, both Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse find themselves likely to advance to safe November general elections against Democrats.

In the more competitive third district, Herrera Beutler, an impeachment Republican, trails Democrat Marie Perez 32-25%. Trump-endorsed challenger Joe Kent lags behind in third place with 20% of the vote. There are still many votes left to be counted, but most of them hail from anti-Kent Clark County (Vancouver). Assuming a Perez vs. Herrera Beutler contest, the 3rd will stay Safe Republican.

WA-04 Leans R vs. R (Incorrectly Predicted)

Out by the Cascades in Yakima and Benton counties, an expected R vs. R race did not come to fruition. Current returns suggest that incumbent Republican Dan Newhouse will advance to a Safe Republican general election against farmer Doug White, leaving Trump-endorsed contender Loren Culp in 3rd place. Newhouse currently leads White 27-26% with Culp at 22%. Most outstanding votes are in either Yakima or Benton County, both of which have been hostile to Culp.

WA-08 Leans Schrier vs. Dunn (TBD)

In the 8th district, a Biden +6.7 seat based primarily in King County, incumbent Democrat Kim Schrier has advanced to the general election. Her Republican opponent is undetermined as of this writing, though Councilman Reagan Dunn was considered the frontrunner going into the primary. 

He currently trails manufacturing executive Matt Larkin 15.9 to 15.0% with almost half of the vote remaining to be counted. The majority of outstanding votes are in King, though, where Dunn is clearly in second place. This seat is rated Tossup in November, and will probably stay there for the foreseeable future.

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