Tomorrow is primary day in Kansas, Michigan, and Missouri.
In Kansas, Republicans will pick their state’s next senator. Okay, technically, there’s a general election in November, but in this GOP-heavy state, the former GOP congressman who wins the primary, either Jerry Moran or Todd Tiahrt, has a strong wind at his back.
Retiring U.S. senator (and former presidential candidate) Sam Brownback is expected to win the GOP gubernatorial primary; presuming he does, he will take on Democratic state senator Tom Holland.
The departures of Moran and Tiahrt have set off scrums in their heavily Republican districts. In Moran’s district, there is a crowded field of Republicans, with Tracey Mann, Tim Huelskamp, and Jim Barnett the leading competitors.
In Tiahrt’s district, Mike Pompeo, Wink Hartman, and state senator Jean Schodorf are fighting it out. The winner will face either state representative Raj Goyle or Robert Tillman. Meanwhile, nine Republicans are competing for the nomination in the open-seat race in Kansas’s 3rd district; Stephene Moore, the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore, is expected to get the Democrats’ nod.
In Missouri, frontrunners Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan should win their Senate primaries easily. The House race in this state that looks most competitive is the one involving longtime Democrat Rep. Ike Skelton; either former state representative Vicky Hartzler or state senator Bill Stouffer will earn the right to take on Skelton in November. Both have demonstrated solid fundraising.
(UPDATE: There’s also a bit of a GOP scrum in the race for Blunt’s old House district. Eight Republicans are competing; state senator Jack Goodman, auctioneer Billy Long, and state senator Gary Nodler have had the most fundraising success. It is a very Republican (R+17) district.)
In Michigan, the primary fields for the governor’s race once looked like rugby matches on both sides. Today Lansing mayor Virg Bernero appears to be the most likely Democratic nominee; the GOP field still looks like a tough three-way fight between businessman Rick Snyder, state attorney general Mike Cox, and Rep. Pete Hoekstra. For much of the year, the GOP options have led Democrats in head-to-head matchups, but starting Wednesday, the match-up is no longer hypothetical.
In the district of retiring Democrat Bart Stupak, six Republicans are competing for the nomination. Dr. Dan Benishek rode some early Tea Party and Obamacare-fueled momentum, but I’m told to not count out state senator Jason Allen. This seat is winnable, but not easily winnable, for the GOP in November.
There’s another crowded field in the GOP-leaning 2nd district that Hoekstra is departing; former NFL star Jay Riemersma stands out for his celebrity and fundraising success. (UPDATE: A reader argues that his University of Michigan football career is more relevant in this neck of the woods.) The state’s 3rd district is also losing its congressman, as Vernon Ehlers is retiring. Five Republicans are competing; state representative Justin Amash, state senator Bill Hardiman, and former Kent County commissioner Steve Heacock are the frontrunners. The winner is likely to be favored in November.
Michigan’s 7th district is nominally Republican and currently represented by Democrat Mark Schauer, making this one of the more competitive House races to watch in this region in November. Either Brian John Rooney or former U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg should have a healthy shot in November in this district.
Michigan’s 9th district is nominally Democratic, and Democratic incumbent Gary Peters is sitting on a ton of campaign funds. The two Republicans who have the most resources to compete are Rocky Raczkowski and Paul Welday.
One interesting note on the other side of the aisle: Some Democrats think Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, mother of the incarcerated former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick, could lose her primary to state senator Hansen Clarke. Don’t get your hopes too high about GOP chances in November; this Detroit-based district scores D+31 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index. Still, if Detroit voters held a Democratic lawmaker accountable for years of misery, the rest of them might finally get the Grosse Pointe.