5 things to watch in tonight’s primaries
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Welcome to another election edition of Score. Tonight, we have a lot of big races that will be decided in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, the special election in Ohio’s 12th District and Washington state. Check POLITICO at around 7:15 p.m. Eastern for a live chat featuring your favorite election team (that’s the Campaign Pro team, if you were confused). Polls close first in Ohio at 7:30 p.m.
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With that many races up for grabs, POLITICO’s Steve Shepard and Elena Schneider outline the things you should watch tonight. The first comes in the OH-12 matchup between Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor. The race “will test the potency of boiling down a House race to two candidates not on the ballot: Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi, a pair of polarizing figures that each party hopes will drive turnout. Trump campaigned alongside Balderson last weekend, aiming to juice support for the state senator in a race that’s tightened into single digits, according to public and private polling. … Republicans also tried to tie Democrat Danny O’Connor to Nancy Pelosi in TV ads, a strategy the GOP has used in special elections throughout the last year and is prepared to replicate in the fall.”
Trump’s primary power will also be put to the test. Trump waded into the Kansas GOP gubernatorial primary, endorsing longtime supporter Kris Kobach in a Monday tweet as he tries to oust Gov. Jeff Colyer. Trump waded into the race despite the fact that he had “been urged to stay on the sidelines by the Republican Governors Association and some White House advisers, who fear that Kobach could be defeated in a general election.” Trump also endorsed in two Michigan primaries: state Attorney General Bill Schuette in the gubernatorial contest and John James for Senate.
The battle for the future of the Democratic party will continue tonight, as progressives try to secure some victories. Both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Abdul El-Sayed, who is running for governor in Michigan, and Brent Welder, who is running in Kansas’ 3rd District. El-Sayed has trailed the establishment-backed Gretchen Whitmer in polling, while “Republicans are confident they can paint [Welder] as out-of-step with a traditionally Republican area that has recoiled at Trump’s GOP.”
— A grab bag of the remaining races to watch: In WA-08, Republican Dino Rossi is expected to emerge from the jungle primary, but what Democrat will join him in this battleground seat? What Republican will face Democrat Paul Davis (who ran unopposed) in KS-02, another battleground? Which Democrats will win the primaries in MI-09 and MI-13 and become a likely member of Congress in a safe blue district? And what will the general election matchup be in the MI-11 battleground?
Good Tuesday morning. As always, you can email me at [email protected] or DM me at @ZachMontellaro.
Email the great Campaign Pro team at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] Follow them on Twitter: @PoliticoScott, @ec_schneider, @DanielStrauss4, @MaggieSeverns and @JamesArkin.
Days until the 2018 election: 91.
Upcoming election dates — Aug. 11: Hawaii primaries. — Aug. 14: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Vermont primaries.
TALKING TARIFFS — Republican leaders worried that the president’s tariffs could come into play in some battleground districts — for example, in Minnesota’s 1st District. The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Judy Keen: “Farmers, particularly soybean growers, have been hurt by retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other countries after they were hit with U.S. levies on imports such as steel and aluminum. No top-tier candidates in the district — including Republican primary rivals Jim Hagedorn of Blue Earth and state Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester — unreservedly endorse the tariffs. These misgivings are one way they’re trying to demonstrate that they’re attuned to rural voters’ worries and priorities.”
BIG SPENDING ALERT — The League of Conservation Voters and United Steelworkers have teamed up to spend $3.1 million on voter mobilization in four battleground Senate seats. Campaign Pro’s James Arkin: “The money will go to Arizona and Nevada — Democrats’ two best opportunities to flip Senate seats this cycle — as well as Montana and Ohio, two races featuring Democratic incumbents. The partnership will be run through the joint New American Jobs Fund, according to a press release. It will focus on voter persuasion and turnout, but will include some digital and TV advertising and direct mail. The groups aim to contact 106,000 voters in Phoenix; 106,000 voters in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada; and 58,000 voters in Cincinnati, Ohio and the surrounding county.”