- Huge week for the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY13) fends off challenge in New York.
- Major fires and evacuations in Colorado disrupt lives and elections.
- Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK1) ignores primary for too long and loses.
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT Sen) easily survives in Utah.
- Remembering the GOP Presidential contest.
State in the spotlight – NY
Many would point to 21-term Rep. Charles Rangel (D-13) as the example to use as why Congress needs to be fixed. The voters on Manhatten Island disagreed one more time. Rangel was able to hold off state Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D) by a 45% to 40% margin (with 84% reporting). Despite ethics issues that lead to Rangel’s censure by the U.S. House and changing demographics of the district (the district is now majority Hispanic), the incumbent survived a tough test.
Two Upstate districts will result in competitive, high-profile General Election contests. Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-27) will be in a tough contest with Chris Collins (R), who won nearly 60% of the primary vote. Hochul won a special election in May 2011 to replace Rep. Chris Lee (R) who resigned the seat. McCain (R) carried this district with 54% and Sen. Schumer (D) carried it with 53%. In the redrawn 18th district, Rep. Nan Hayworth (R) will face former Clinton White House aide Sean Maloney (D), who won a five-way primary. This district was won by Obama, Schumer and Cuomo and will be a top target for Democrats.
In a state where the presidential and U.S. Senate (Sen. Gillibrand will cruise to victory) are uncompetitive, look to the U.S. House and state legislative contests for several interesting battles with significant implications.
Biggest story in Colorado last night was not the Primary Election, but the devastating fires that forced the evacuation of 32,000 people around Colorado Springs. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) immediately showed strong leadership by being present and supportive at the command center located near the fires. The U.S. Air Force Academy was evacuated and the El Paso County Clerk was evacuated that resulted in the halting of tabulating election results. Questions were starting to surface overnight on the lack of federal/military assistance that could become a political issue for the President in a competitive state.
Three BIPAC staff members were also in the Colorado Springs area, but thankfully all are safe.
In the Fifth Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) held off a challenge from Robert Blaha (R) in a contest where the final numbers will not be known for several days due to the fires.
Not only because of the presidential contest, Colorado is a state to watch in the General Election as three congressional contests could/should be competitive. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO3) will face Sal Pace (D), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO4) will be challenged by Brandon Shaffer (D) and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO6) faces the toughest contest against Joe Miklosi (D).
How any incumbent could ignore a primary challenge in this tough climate is mind boggling, but that is exactly what five-term Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK1). Sullivan was recently quoted by the AP as saying, “The only mistake I made was I ignored it for too long.” Tea Party backed candidate Jim Bridenstine didn’t ignore the race and walked away with the surprise of the night by winning with a 54% to 46% tally. The district favors Bridenstine in the fall and the next Oklahoma delegation will likely be 5-0 Republican.
The one current member of the delegation that is not a Republican, Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK2) is not running for re-election. While both the Republican and Democrat primaries will be decided by a runoff, the district is nearly a 60% GOP seat.
In a long multi-step process to win a contest in Utah, six-term Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) cruised to a GOP Primary victory with 67% of the vote and has put what is likely his toughest tests behind him. Dan Liljenquist (R) was never able to mount a strong challenge for this contest. In a state that surprisingly saw Sen. Bob Bennett (R) defeated in the 2010 GOP convention by now Sen. Mike Lee, Hatch quickly learned from that contest and was able to survive. With the primary election defeat of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Hatch is now poised to be the most senior Republican in January.
Three of the four Utah House seats are held by Republicans and will likely stay that way following the General Election. The one seat that is in play is the seat held by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT4). At 56% Republican, the 4th District is the least Republican district in the state. This seat is a top target by the GOP.
South Carolina gained one seat through reapportionment and the new 7th district is based around Myrtle Beach. Horry County Councilman Tom Rice (R) won 56% of the GOP runoff vote and will be the favorite against Gloria Bromell Tinubu (D) in the General Election. Gov. Nikki Haley (R) threw her support behind Rice in the closing weeks of the campaign. Rice’s opponent, Andre Bauer (R), was one of Haley’s opponents in the 2010 Governor’s race.
Notable items from the elections on June 26:
- It is only fitting to mention the GOP presidential primary in this section. With Utah holding their presidential primary last night, all 50 states have now voted and Mitt Romney can move on to the GOP Convention in Tampa. Hardly news since the math lead to a Romney long before the contest was “called.”
- Celebrate July 4th next week by going to a parade, watch some fireworks and learn more about the candidates running to win your vote and where they stand on issues important to your job and company.