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One Step Closer to Midterms

by | May 24, 2018 | Politics

Another round of primaries is in the bag, as voters hit the booths Tuesday in several southern states. In Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky, there were few major surprises, but that is not to say there were none. The most significant thing about this latest phase of the run-up to the November midterms is that three of these four states are firmly in the crosshairs of the Democratic Party.

 

Georgia and Texas are among the 11 most populous states in the U.S. Turning them blue is a major focus for Democrats in their quest to dominate the Electoral College and Kentucky is another state they would like to flip. As the Ragin’ Cajun James Carville taught us many years ago, however, it’s the economy, stupid and, even as Democrats look for hope in every result, their chances of winning the House of Representatives in November may be fading.

In Arkansas, two incumbent Republicans, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman, easily fended off primary challengers. Governor Asa Hutchinson defeated his own primary challenger in the gubernatorial race, taking 71% of the vote.

The Fight for the Soul of Georgia

A host of Democratic candidates were competing for two battleground districts in Georgia currently represented by Republicans. In the Democratic primary for the sixth district, Lucy McBath and Kevin Abel advance to runoff from a field of four candidates. Incumbent Karen Handel was unopposed. In the party’s seventh district primary, Carolyn Bourdeaux and David Kim came out atop a list of six competitors and will face a runoff to decide who faces incumbent Republican Rob Woodall, who comfortably defeated his single primary challenger.

In the state’s gubernatorial primary, Democrat Stacey Abrams secured the nomination and will run for the chance to become America’s first black female governor. On the Republican side, Lieutenant Governor Lowell S. “Casey” Cagle and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp won out over a field of five candidates and will go to a runoff in July.

Upset in Kentucky State House Race

Kentucky’s sixth district is a race to watch in November. Six Democrats appeared on the primary ballot. Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath advances to the midterm election and will challenge Republican incumbent Andy Barr. There was an upset in a primary for the State House’s 71st district: R. Travis Brenda – a school teacher and first-time candidate – narrowly beat incumbent and House Majority Leader Jonathon Shell – a result that may have reflected the teachers’ dispute with the state legislature.

There were no big surprises in the Texas congressional primaries but, in the gubernatorial race, openly gay Latina Lupe Valdez topped a list of nine Democrats to run against Greg Abbott in November.

In at least one poll, Democrats have seen their lead in the generic ballot disappear. The development adds more drama to what will surely be the most important and consequential midterm election in living memory. What is left of the Obama legacy, the legislative agenda for the next two years, the integrity of the Second Amendment, and perhaps even the future of a presidency may be decided in a little more than five months from now.

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