The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Primaries Are Almost... Almost... Over.


Tomorrow is the last big primary day of 2010. Going through the states…

Delaware: Besides the high-profile GOP Senate primary fight, there’s the fight for the Republican nomination to the state’s lone house seat. Three Republicans are competing: Rose Izzo, lawyer and philanthopist Michele Rollins, and real estate developer and Reagan appointee Glen Urquhart. The winner will face a tough fight against the Democrat, former Lt. Gov. John Carney Jr.

The District of Columbia: In a city where 75 percent of the voters are registered Democrats, District of Columbia’s Democratic mayoral primary is the real contest. Incumbent Adrian Fenty appears to be in real trouble against City Council President Vince Gray.

The Washington Examiner guys want four more years of Fenty, and they sense some ugly racial appeals from his rival: “When he met with the Examiner editorial board, Gray raised the specter of a city that builds “dog parks” for yuppies at the expense of playgrounds for black children. He offered this explanation for Fenty supposedly favoring the white parts of town: “Politically, I think he sees his base as over there, and he wants to maintain his base.” He added, “That is not to suggest anyone’s a racist,” which struck us as a good way of putting that image into people’s minds. Gray dismissed the ongoing development and progress in the east of town by noting that “all that stuff was in the pipeline when he started” — as though Fenty should increase construction even more in Wards 7 and 8 just because he wasn’t the one to think up the already-substantial city investments going there.”

At times like this, I’m glad I’m governed by a much better class of Socialist across the river in Alexandria.

Maryland: A lot of Republicans are competing for the right to take on Sen. Barbara Mikulski. (Fun fact: Seven Democrats have filed papers to run against her in the primary.) Eleven Republicans will be on the ballot; if cash-on-hand translates to votes, then self-funder Dr. Eric Wargotz has the inside track; some of my readers in Maryland love Jim Rutledge.

There will be some curiousity to see if Sarah Palin’s endorsement gives Brian Murphy some traction against former governor Robert Ehrlich in the gubernatorial primary.

Most of the House primaries will be predictable, but in Steny Hoyer’s district features two GOP contenders who are roughly evenly matched: Charles County Board of Education member Collins Bailey and Charles Lollar, Major in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.

Massachusetts: The most interesting House primary is the slugfest in the open seat race in the 10th Congressional District, where the bigger names are former state Treasurer Joseph Daniel “Joe” Malone and State Rep. Jeff Perry, as well as Ray Kasperowicz and Bob Hayden. Quite a few of my readers in that neck of the woods are pulling for Perry.

New Hampshire: The GOP Senate primary is probably the second-most dramatic race of the day after Delaware. As noted last week, former state attorney general Kelly A. Ayotte is the frontrunner; Ovide Lamontagne is coming on strong in the final weeks. If he falls short, I suspect his folks will conclude that he didn’t lose the race because he couldn’t run as fast, he just ran out of track. Jim Bender and “Bill” Binnie will probably scoop up the remaining votes.

There is a big primary fight over which Republican will take on Carol Shea-Porter, between Manchester Mayor Frank C. Guinta and former RNC Committeeman Sean Mahoney.

In New Hampshire’s other House race, an open seat race, former Rep. Charlie Bass should win, but we’ve seen lots of well-known names underperform this cycle. He’s challenged by former state Representative Bob Giuda and columnist and radio host Jennifer M. Horn.

Four Republicans are trying to knock off incumbent Democrat Gov. John Lynch: former state representative Frank Emiro, entrepreneur Jack Kimball, Jr.  former state Health and Human Services commissioner John Stephen and Karen Testerman.

Polling indicates a big GOP wave forming in New Hampshire; the winners of the Republican primaries will have a strong wind at their backs come November.

New York: Ah, the Empire State. How different would this year look if there were a well-functioning New York State Republican Party?

Of the three big statewide races, I had a bit of hope for the governor’s race; it’s hard for any Democrat to argue that after Eliot Spitzer – now hosting CNN’s new prime time show, Number Nine at Eight – and David Paterson, the state is one more Democratic governor away from a thrilling renaissance. Tomorrow Rick Lazio and Carl P. Paladino will compete to appear on the GOP line in November; Lazio was endorsed by the state Republican convention. I think Lazio’s had some delightfully sharp jabs at Democrat Andrew Cuomo, but it doesn’t appear to have translated much into poll support. Yet.

Two Republicans are competing for the right to take on incumbent Chuck Schumer, retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen and small businessman and college lecturer Jay Townsend. (I loved Berntsen’s book about being among the first CIA folk sent into Afghanistan after 9/11,  Jawbreaker.)

Appointed Democrat senator Kirsten Gillibrand is perceived as more vulnerable, and thus there was a bit more Republican interest in running for that seat.  The New York Post and Rudy Giuliani prefer David Malpass, who served in the Treasury and State Departments under Reagan and the first Bush presidency; he takes on Bruce Blakeman, a former member of the Nassau County Legislature. (UPDATE: I thought former Congressman Joe DioGuardi hadn’t qualified for the ballot, but I see he made it through a petition.)

There are a few intriguing House primaries. In New York’s 1st Congressional District, Republicans will choose among Randy Altschuler, Chris Cox, and George Demos to take onTim Bishop, a Democrat. Rush Limbaugh listeners learned last week that Demos was an early correspondent to the Limbaugh Letter.

In the 13th District, it’s the battle of the Mikes: Michael A. Allegretti vs. “Mike” Grimm in the GOP primary to take on Congressman Mike McMahon, whose campaign last attracted our attention for sorting out all the Jewish money to his GOP rival.

And a familiar name reappears in the 23rd District, where Doug Hoffman, who came within a few percentage points of beating Democrat Bill Owens last fall, takes on Matt Doheny.


Rhode Island: It’s easy to forget that this state has had a Republican governor in Don Carcieri for the past eight years, but the course ahead is tough for the GOP. Carcieri staffer John F. Robitaille and former state Rep.Victor G. Moffitt are the options.

The seat of retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy* is considered one of the longer-shot opportunities for a GOP takeover. State Rep. John Loughlin appears the favorite; Kara D. Russo is running for this office and for the lieutenant governor’s office simultaneously.

In the state’s other congressional district, where Democrat James Langevin will be tough to dislodge, four Republicans face off: retired Col. Bill Clegg, lawyer Michael Gardiner, Donald F. Robbio, and former North Kinston town councilman Mark S. Zaccaria.

Wisconsin: Ron Johnson looks like a safe bet for the Republican Senate nomination vs. incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold; Mark Neumann and Scott Walker face each other in the GOP gubernatorial primary. The winner likely will face on Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee. Wisconsin has been a pretty blue state lately, but there are a lot of indicators that the winds are shifting quickly. 

In the state’s 8th Congressional District, former state Rep. Terri McCormickReid J. Ribble and current state Rep. Roger Roth compete for the chance to knock off Democrat incumbent Steve Kagen.

*I originally wrote Murphy, which is the name of a Pennsylvania Democrat in the U.S. House. My subconscious have been hoping to trigger his retirement.

Tags: Adrian Fenty , Brian Murphy , Jim Rutledge , Robert Ehrlich , Vincent Gray


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