Besides the granddaddy of them all- the Wisconsin Governor recall election (discussed below)- six states will be holding primaries to determine candidates for Senate and Congressional seats. The following is a listing of interesting races in these states and the stakes for November. Lets start in California.
There is no doubt that whoever emerges from the very crowded GOP field for Senate, they will lose to incumbent Democrat Diane Feinstein come November. Instead, the intrigue will be in the congressional races. Redistricting was not kind to Republicans. In addition, the top two vote getters, regardless of party, square off in November so even where Democrat is pitted against Democrat, a Democrat will likely win the seat in November. If the GOP hopes to pick up anything in California, it would be in the Third where incumbent Democrat John Garamendi is running. The GOP's best chance is Kimberly Vann. In the 10th, Republican Dan Lungren, who always seems to be a target of Democrats, believe they have their candidate in Ami Berra and tomorrow is simply a practice run. Another place to look for a GOP pick up is in 9th where Jerry McNerney faces no primary opposition while Ricky Gill will likely be his opponent in November.
Republican Jeff Denham will likely face a tough opponent in Jose Hernandez in the Tenth District. With redistricting, no incumbent decided to run in the 21st. In November, David Valadao will likely represent the GOP and has the inside edge a this point. In the 24th, Lois Capps faces no primary opposition for the Dems but she will face a stiff GOP challenge from Abel Maldonado come November should he prevail. In the 26th, Republican Elton Gallegly is retiring and the GOP nominee Tony Strickland is unopposed in the primary. This will likely be a Republican hold. Gary Miller must first survive today against Bob Dutton and his task against the Dems in November will be difficult given redistricting. Pete Aguilar may have the inside track for the Democrats here. Like the 21st, no incumbent decided to run in the newly drawn 41st district. It is most likely that Republican John Tavaglione will face off against Democrat Mark Takano in November. The same can be said for the newly drawn 47th. However, there are two qualified Republicans facing off against each other today- Gary DeLong and Steve Kuykendall. Alan Lowenthal will likely win the Democratic nod. In the 52nd, GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray faces a crowded GOP field. Although he will likely emerge the winner, he faces an uphill battle in November.
There are also opponents to be decided in the open 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 51st districts. In the newly configured 29th, there is not even a GOP candidate. And as stated earlier, Democratic incumbent upon incumbent match ups will likely occur in the 30th and 44th districts.
Today's primary in Iowa is simply a rubberstamp by the parties for November match ups. Tom Latham's old district was merged into the 3rd represented by Democrat Leonard Boswell. Neither has primary opposition and they will face off in November. Over in the new 4th, incumbent GOP congressman Steven King will face Christie Vilsack in November and both face no primary opposition in their respective parties today
Up in Montana, it is a foregone conclusion that Denny Rehberg will take on incumbent Democrat John Tester in November in what should be a good, close race to the end. Therefore, the interest will be in the At-Large seat being vacated by Rehberg because of his Senate run and whether it will remain in GOP hands. The likely GOP winner will be Steve Daines. There are seven Democrats on the ballot. Whoever wins will be the underdog to the GOP in November.
In New Jersey, Robert Menendez will likely get the nod for the Democrats while state senator Joe Kryillos will likely get the GOP nod. Some see the chance for this race to be competitive in November given Menendez' terrible ratings in his home state. However, this is New Jersey and that is a pipedream. The only drama in the congressional races today will be in the 9th where two Democratic incumbents will square off against each other: Steve Rothman vs. Bill Pascrell. And some Democrats see Scott Garrett as vulnerable in the 5th District, but first they need a viable candidate.
In New Mexico, incumbent Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman is retiring. The Democratic primary ha been a slugfest between Martin Heinrich and Hector Balderas with Heinrich the likely victor. For the GOP, former representative Heather Wilson looks poised to take the Republican nod. Although that may not sit well with some readers here (she may be a RINO to some), she offers the best chance for an unexpected GOP pick up in the Senate against Heinrich. For control of the Senate, some folks might just have to bite the bullet. To replace Heinrich in the 1st District, we will have to await the outcome of today's results as the GOP candidate will be Janice Arnold-Jones who could put this seat into play for the GOP. There will also be a rather inconsequential primary in South Dakota today without much at stake.
Which brings us to the race eveyone will be watching today- the Wisconsin recall attempt of Scott Walker as Governor. The most recent poll apparently showed Barrett ganing on Walker and was wthin 3 points. Personally, I doubt that Barrett surged three points in three days. Granted, Democrats started to belatedly bring in their heavy hitters here, but their effect remains to be seen. It is telling that Obama has steered clear of Wisconsin perhaps learning the lesson of Massachusetts where he helped elect Scott Brown. In a volatile political atmosphere such is Wisconsin, another Obama kiss of death to a Democratic candidate would have even dead spinmeisters spinning in their graves.
The news tonight reported that more than $67 million in outside money has been expended on this race. Of course, the lamestream media then parenthetically states that most of it is unions. Apparently, organized labor has not learned the lesson of Arkansas where they spent tons on a effort to oust then-incumbent Blanche Lincoln in the 2010 Democratic primary and run-off. Equally disgusting is the fact that unions are using hard-earned union money for these losing efforts every time they have a hissy fit. Then, they sit back and lament the fact that union membership is declining and at all time lows. Besides the expenditures on the campaigning, there is also the associated costs to the state in running the election. Put any other way, its a waste of taxpayer money.
Obviously, the outcome of this race has important national implications. Obama is probably secretly fretting the outcome. By Walker prevailing, it sends a strong signal that the Republican governors now in power in the upper midwest are forces to be reckoned with and it potentially puts Wisconsin into play as far as the November election is concerned. It will be interesting to see polling data in the presidential race in Wisonsin after the recall election. It will also be another slap in the face of his policies and in the strength of unions. It will also be illustrative of the fact that despite the influx of money into the electoral process, in the end the voters, not dollar bills, decide elections!
After the dust settles on Thursday, we should have a more clear picture of congressional and Senate races in six more states bringing the total to 19 states that can mae that claim. After an analysis of the June 5th primaries, I would like to inform readers of the remaining June primaries (Presidential and non-presidential) and also the two in July. They are: AR (runoff), ME, NV, ND, SC (and possible runoffs), VA, CO, OK, UT, GA and TX (runoff).