A big day of primaries with several BIPAC endorsed candidates doing well. As you know, BIPAC endorses only in competitive races where there is broad consensus at the federal, state and local level that one candidate is the strongest advocate for the business community's policy priorities. Yesterday's results were good news for the business community in those key races where all but one BIPAC endorsed candidate won their primary.
BIPAC Endorsed Candidate Results
- MS-Sen: Thad Cochran: Runoff
- MT-Sen: Steve Daines: Won Primary
- IA-Sen: Joni Ernst: Won Primary
- IA-1: Swati Dandekar: Lost Primary
- NOTE: CA has an open primary with top 2 candidates, regardless of party, advancing to a general election
- CA-7: Doug Ose: Advanced to General Election
- CA-15: Eric Swalwell: Advanced to General Election
- CA-21: David Valadao: Advanced to General Election
- CA-33: Ted Lieu: Advanced to General Election
- CA-52: Carl DeMaio: Advanced to General Election
In perhaps the most watched race of the day, Senator Thad Cochran and tea-party challenger Chris McDaniel will advance to a run off because neither broke 50% of the primary vote and ended less than 1% away from each other in the final tally. BIPAC and much of the rest of the business community rallied to support Cochran and will now need to redouble their efforts to reelect him. The runoff was a completely unexpected scenario as a little known third candidate in the primary ended up with less than 2% of the vote, but it was enough to hold both Cochran and McDaniel under 50%. The runoff will be held June 24. The winner will face former Democratic Congressman Travis Childers in the general election.
All Incumbents won their primaries and are not expecting difficult general election challenges. Of note, in MS-4: Republican Congressman Steven Palazzo held off a primary challenge from former Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor who had represented the district for many years and switched parties to run for his old seat in the primary. Palazzo won 50-43 with other minor candidates taking the balance.
BIPAC endorsed candidate Joni Ernst overwhelmingly won the Republican nomination against a crowded field including former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs and US Attorney Matt Whitaker. Ernst took over 55% of the vote to Jacobs' 17% and the balance going to the remaining candidates. Clearing the 35% threshold means Ernst wins the nomination outright without having to go to a state nominating convention, which could have presented great uncertainty to the process. Ernst will now face Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley in the general election and the race is expected to be one of the most competitive of the cycle.
Congressmen Dave Loebsack and Steve King both won their primaries easily and do not face strong general election challenges.
IA-1: In the Bruce Braley held open seat, Democratic Pat Murphy won the nomination with 37% of the vote over BIPAC endorsed candidate Swati Dandekar and Cedar Rapids Congresswoman Monica Vernon. Murphy has served as Speaker of the Iowa legislature for many years and has compiled a disappointingly anti-business record over that time. He will face Republican Rod Blum in the general election which has the potential of becoming competitive but has been a consistently Democratic district to date.
IA-3: In the Tom Latham open seat, Republicans Brad Zaun and Robert Cramer will advance to a district convention to determination the nomination as no candidate received over 35% of the vote. The business community in Iowa and the district was very split during the primary with no candidate emerging as the consensus business candidate. The eventual nominee will face Democratic nominee Staci Appel in what is expected to be one of the most competitive elections of the cycle.
BIPAC endorsed candidate Steve Daines secured the Republican nomination for Senate to take on Democrat John Walsh who was appointed to the seat upon Max Baucus confirmation as Ambassador. Daines is the current at-large member of Congress and has amassed a strong record of supporting the business community. Daines has maintained a lead in most polls to date and Republicans consider this one of their most likely pick up opportunities.
In the open seat for the state's sole Congressional seat, Republican Ryan Zinke will face Democrat John Lewis, a long time staffer to Sen. Baucus in the general election. The seat is expected to remain in Republican hands and Zinke is expected to have a good working relationship with the business community which split between him and other candidates during the primary.
AL-6: In the six person primary to fill retiring Republican Spencer Bachus' seat, Republicans will face a runoff between Paul DeMarco and Gary Palmer. In such a crowded field, the business community split amongst a number of the candidates, but DeMarco has a strong record as a friend of the business community in the state legislature and was supported by BIPAC's deployment partner Manufacture Alabama. He is expected to be a friend to the business community in Washington in what is the most Republican district in one of the most Republican states in the country.
In California, the top two vote getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election.
CA-7: Rep. Ami Bera (D) and BIPAC endorsed candidate, former Congressman and businessman Doug Ose (R) made it out of with primary, with 47 and 27 percent, respectively. This is a top race to watch going into the general and a good opportunity for the business community to elect a pro-business candidate.
CA-10: Rep. Denham (R), from the 10th district, will face bee farmer Michael Eggman (D) in the general. This could be a race to watch as the general shapes up, but Denham starts out with an advantage.
CA-11: In the 11th district, Rep. Miller (D) is retiring, and the field quickly cleared for state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D). He advanced to the general, along with Republican Tue Phan though DeSaulnier is the easy favorite to win the general in this heavily Democratic seat.
CA-15: BIPAC endorsed candidate Eric Swalwell will face Republican Hugh Bussell who edged out a Democrat who was seeking to upset the incumbent, business friendly Democrat. Swalwell is expected to retain the seat in the general election.
CA-17: Democrats have been dealing with a family feud in the 17th district, with former Obama administration official Ro Khanna (D) challenging sitting Rep. Mike Honda (D). Both advanced to the general, with Honda winning 49 percent of the vote and Khanna pulling in 26 percent. This could become a competitive race, but Honda currently has the advantage.
CA-21: Former Congressional aide Amanda Renteria (D) received 24 percent of the vote and will challenge Rep. David Valadao (R) in the general. Renteria is a top Democratic recruit and this will be a competitive general election race. Valadao has been a great friend to business and has been endorsed by BIPAC this cycle.
CA-25: The race to replace retiring Rep. McKeon (R) led to a competitive primary between three of the candidates, Lee Rogers (D), Tony Strickland (R) and Steve Knight (R). Strickland and Knight will advance to the general election, so the seat is assured to remain republican. The business community is rallying around Strickland, who is now the favorite for the general election.
CA-26: Freshman Rep. Julia Brownley (D) will face off against Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R) in November. A member of the U.S. Navy Reserve and a former prosecutor, Gorell is a formidable challenger and could make this race competitive.
CA-31: The 31st district has been a top target for Democrats, especially once Rep. Miller (R) announced his retirement. With four Democrats on the ballot and two serious Republican contenders, Democrats were worried that once again, the Democrats' votes would be too split and the two Republicans would make it out of the primary. The general election will be Republican businessman Paul Chabot against Democrat Pete Aguilar in this Democratic-leaning district.
CA-33: The 33rd district had a whopping 18 candidates running to replacing outgoing Rep. Waxman (D) in this reliably safe Democratic seat. Former LA Controller Wendy Greuel (D) and BIPAC endorsed candidate, state Sen. Ted Lieu (D) battled it out on the Democratic side while most Republican votes went to Elan Carr. Lieu and Carr will advance to the general election. This is an opportunity for the business community to gain a pro-business candidate in the delegation as Lieu is a pro-business Democrat and was the favorite of the business community to emerge amongst the crowded field.
CA-35: State Sen. Norma Torres (D) and Christina Gagnier (D) won the top two spots in the 35th district to succeed Rep. Negrete McLeod (D). Torres is expected to easily win the general.
CA-36: In the 36th district, Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) formalized their general election. Nestande is a great business candidate and Ruiz is vulnerable going into the general. This will be a race to watch.
CA-45: With Rep. Campbell's (R) retirement, the top two spots went to state Sen. Mimi Walters (R) and Democrat Drew Leavens. Walters is the favorite to become the next Congresswoman from the 45th district and would be a good friend to the business community.
CA-52: In the 52nd district, BIPAC endorsed candidate and former member of the San Diego City Council Carl DeMaio (R) became the official challenger to vulnerable Rep. Scott Peters (D). This will be competitive general election and one the business community should pay attention to.
NJ-3: Rep. Jon Runyan (R) is retiring, setting off a competitive Republican primary and general election. In the primary, former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur beat former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, a conservative firebrand, 60-40. MacArthur was leading Lonegan in the polls and is the best bet for Republicans to hold this seat. Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard (D) won the Democratic nomination with 84 percent of the vote.
NJ-12: Rush Holt's (D) retirement in this safe Democratic seat led to a four way race in the Democratic primary. The two frontrunners were state Sen. Linda Greenstein and state Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. Coleman won with 43 percent of the vote and is expected to become the next Congresswoman in the Trenton area district.
Businessman and former state Republican Chair Allen Weh won the Republican nomination to take on Sen. Tom Udall (D). The Senate race is not expected to be competitive, and Tom Udall will keep his seat.
The nominees are officially set for the open U.S. Senate seat due to Sen. Johnson's (D) retirement. Former Gov. Mike Rounds won the Republican nomination, as expected. Rick Weiland is the Democratic nominee. South Dakota is one of the Republican's best chance at a pickup in 2014 and Rounds goes into the general election as the favorite.
All other incumbents easily won their primaries and none anticipate difficult general election battles.