- Tommy, Tammy and Paul lead big week in Wisconsin
- Sunshine state surprises, sunsets Stearns
- Easy night for incumbents in Connecticut and Minnesota
- And then there were 8
Not only has Wisconsin been in the spotlight since Saturday, but it was once again last night. The marquee race from last night was the contest to win the Republican nomination for Senate in Wisconsin between Tommy Thompson (R) and Eric Hovde (R). Thompson is former four-term Governor, state legislator, Cabinet member and unsuccessful candidate for president. His long political career stretches back to when he won a seat to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1966. By contrast, businessman Eric Hovde was born in 1964 and was making his first run at political office. Former congressmen Mark Neumann (R) and Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald (R) were also vying for the nomination.
Thompson’s victory speech showed the energy he will need if he is to find his way to the Senate in the 113th Congress come January. Thompson will be facing seven-term Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), who will draw upon strong support from liberal organizations across the country. Baldwin ran unopposed in her primary. Most polls indicate a slight advantage for Thompson to win this open seat that was created when Sen. Herb Kohl (D) decided to retire. A Democrat hold here would go a long way in keeping Democrats in the majority while a Thompson win could give Republicans a solid chance to have an outright majority.
Results for the Wisconsin Senate GOP nomination (with 100% reporting):
Florida is one of the Big Three states along with Ohio and Virginia. All three are must-win states for Romney to win the White House and all three states have competitive Senate races where Republican victories would take a seat from Democrat control. While the Primary Election was settled quickly, the General Election could likely prove to be a long night in determining if incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) wins a third term. If Rep. Connie Mack (R) wins, Florida’s Senior Senator becomes Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who first won election in 2010. Both Nelson and Mack won their respective primaries by 78.8% and 58.7%. The growing central region of the state that is home to a large number of hospitality industry voters will be key one of the main keys in deciding this contest.The upset of the night occurred in Florida’s Third District where veterinarian Ted Yoho (R) surprised nearly everyone by defeating 12-term incumbent Rep. Cliff Stearns (R) narrowly in a four way primary by just 829 votes (34.4% to 33.1%). While the race has not been officially called as of 3:30am ET, to trigger an automatic recall the margin would have to be under 0.5%. The stinger for Stearns is that, as of his last FEC report on July 25, he had nearly $2.1 million cash on hand in his campaign. Ouch! The combination of 35% of the district being new to Stearns as a result of redistricting and the effective “he is a career politican” ads proved to be lethal for Yoho. Nearly every GOP candidate receives over 55% in this district and Yoho will be a favorite to make it to Washington.In 2012 there are 13 contests involving 11 pairs of House incumbents running against each other (2 pairs in California face each other in the Primary and General Elections). One of those contest involved two Florida House members. In Florida’s Seventh District, Rep. John Mica (R) defeated freshman Rep. Sandy Adams (R) by a 61.2% to 38.8% margin. This result is one of the more lopsided member versus member contest as a result of Mica receiving strong support from nearly all constituent bases inside and outside of Florida, while Adams was not able to garner much support that left her campaign vulnerable. Mica currently serves as the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The two candidates expected to claim their party’s nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat created by the retirement of Sen. Joe Leiberman (I) did so with ease. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT05) won his primary with 67.5% over former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D), while Linda McMahon bested former Congressman Chris Shays (R) by receiving 72.7% of the vote. McMahon received 43% while spending over $50 million in her 2010 failed Senate effort against Richard Blumenthal (D). McMahon’s background and involvement with the WWF will attract attention to this race. Regardless of the winner, Connecticut will have Senators first elected in 2010 and 2012.The race to replace Rep. Murphy in the fifth district was contested by both major parties. On the Democrat side, which has a slight advantage in the fall, Elizabeth Esty (D) won her three primaries with 44.5% and was the surprise winner over Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan (D), who tallied 32.4%. Donovan was the prohibitive favorite and had the support of the party and labor unions. This all changed at the end of May when a campaign finance scandal rocked his campaign and saw his finance director arrested for allegedly concealing large amounts of contributions. Esty, a former state representative, will face state senator Andrew Roraback (R) who won his party nomination with 32.3% in a four way primary.
All eight House incumbents (four Republican and four Democrat) are running for re-election and all eight received at least 80% of the vote in their primary races. The race to keep your eye on here is in the eight district where freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) finds himself in a district that voted for both Barack Obama for president and Al Franken for senate. Cravaack will be challenged by Richard Nolan (D), who severed in Congress from 1975 to 1981.