The Campaign Spot

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

Looking Ahead to Today’s Actually Thrilling Primary Battles


It’s quite possible the Mississippi GOP Senate primary will go on for another three weeks. If neither incumbent senator Thad Cochran nor challenger Chris McDaniel gets 50 percent tonight, they’ll advance to a runoff. There’s a third candidate on the ballot, Thomas Carey, and none of the four most recent polls put either man at 50 percent. Hope you can stand another three weeks of mudslinging, Mississippians!

In Iowa, Joni Ernst is the clear frontrunner in the GOP Senate primary, but she may not quite clear the threshold required to end the primary. In that state, a candidate must receive at least 35 percent of the vote in the primary to win the nomination. If no candidate receives 35 percent in the primary, the nominee is chosen by the state convention of the party. She’s been polling right around that level; with her rivals Mark Jacobs, Sam Clovis, and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker significantly behind, would the state convention select any of the other candidates?

In California, Jerry Brown is looking like a safe bet for reelection in the governor’s race, but there’s a giant contrast in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Neel Kashkari, an assistant decretary in the treasury department of the George W. Bush administration, vs. state assemblyman Tim Donnelly. One’s a child of immigrants, solar-car-builder, MBA Wharton, lots of connections in Silicon Valley . . . 

. . . and the other is different:

A senior California Republican on Thursday angrily denounced fellow GOP member Tim Donnelly’s attempts to link gubernatorial rival Neel Kashkari to fundamentalist Islamic law.

“There is no place in any public discussion for this type of hateful and ignorant garbage,” Rep. Darrell Issa said in a statement. “As far as I’m concerned, this type of stupidity disqualifies Tim Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere. Donnelly is no longer a viable option for California voters.”

On Facebook and Twitter this week, Donnelly, an assemblyman from San Bernardino County who announced his candidacy for governor last year, said Kashkari — also a Republican — condoned the strictures of sharia law because he once participated in a U.S. Treasury conference about Islamic finance.

Tags: Thad Cochran , Chris McDaniel


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