Arizona GOP voters are surprising me in two House races. At this hour, Ben Quayle (sigh) leads a divided, crowded primary in the 3rd district; perhaps he will get to knock the hell out of Washington after all.
And in Arizona’s 8th district primary, I figured Jonathan Paton had a leg up on Jesse Kelly. It’s early, but Kelly leads, about 50 percent to about 39 percent.
Tomorrow is primary day in four states, and runoff elections occur in a fifth.
Alaska: The Senate GOP primary featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Palin-backed Joe Miller is one of those races I’ve been meaning to take a look at, although it’s entirely possible — in fact, likely — that we’ll get the predictable win by the incumbent. There hasn’t been a ton of polling, and Alaska seems like one of the tougher states to poll; what little polling there is shows Murkowski ahead comfortably. It’s not unthinkable that Miller could get some traction, but it’s not yet clear that Alaska Republicans see Murkowski as an unacceptable squish on par with Arlen Specter or Charlie Crist. She has a lifetime ACU rating of 70. (The Power Line guys examined whether Murkowski rates as a “RINO” here.)
Arizona: Earlier this year, the John McCain-J. D. Hayworth fight in the Arizona Senate primary looked like one of this cycle’s clashes of the titans, but Hayworth hasn’t really been able to get within striking distance.
In Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, John Shadegg is retiring, and a crowd of Republicans (10!) seek to fill his shoes. The most famous name belongs to the son of a former vice president, with a rather odd commercial:
Somebody’s going to be sent to knock the hell out of Washington, but it’s probably going to be Pamela Gorman, Steven Moak, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, or former state senator Jim Waring. (If Gorman doesn’t win, the winner ought to hire her for security.)
In Arizona’s 8th, it’s a simpler but no less hard-fought GOP primary. Former state senator Jonathan Paton is the fund-raising leader and establishment choice, but Iraq War veteran Jesse Kelly is coming on strong. A mid-July poll showed Paton with a one-percentage-point lead over incumbent Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.
Florida: In the Sunshine State’s statewide races, we know four of the big six candidates. The Senate race will feature Republican Marco Rubio, independent Charlie Crist, and an underdog Democrat. Right now, that Democrat appears to be Kendrick Meek, who is coming back against Jeff Greene, who has spent a king’s ransom in his bid. (More on the impact of negative ads in that race here.)
In the governor’s race, the Democrat will be Alex Sink, the independent will be Lawton Chiles III, and the Republican will be either health-care executive and anti-Obamacare activist Rick Scott or state attorney general Bill McCollum. McCollum appears to be enjoying a surge, in the Mason-Dixon and the Quinnipiac poll.
There are a couple of interesting House primaries in Florida. In the 8th district, every Republican and their brother is itching to take on an infamous incumbent. The likely favorite is former state senator Daniel Webster (Republican–Winter Garden) but he’s facing a strong push from state representative Kurt Kelly (Republican–Ocala). The winner faces off against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (Troll–Daily Kos).
In the 24th district, incumbent Democrat Suzanne Kosmas looked beatable even before her vote for health-care reform and more job losses on Florida’s Space Coast. If former Ruth’s Chris steakhouse chain CEO Craig Miller wins the primary, I will require an immediate catered interview. A bit behind in fundraising are state representative Sandy Adams and Winter Park vice mayor Karen Diebel.
Oklahoma runoff: Republicans in two House districts will vote in runoffs. In the eastern 2nd district, Charles Thompson, Jr. received 34 percent in the July 27 primary; Daniel Edmonds received 28 percent. The winner takes on incumbent Democrat Dan Boren, a well-established conservative Democrat. However, in a year like this in a district that scores R+14, nothing is guaranteed.
In the Oklahoma City–based 5th district, the current congresswoman, Republican Mary Fallin, is running for governor; former state representative Kevin Calvey and James Lankford finished within two percentage points of each other in the primary’s first round and face off tomorrow for the GOP nomination. In this R+13 district, the winner will be heavily favored to win in November.
Vermont: There are five Democrats battling it out for their gubernatorial nomination; the GOP has avoided a primary and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie will be the nominee.
Sen. Pat Leahy is up for reelection; Len Britton faces the tough task of trying to knock off the longtime incumbent.
You wrote today, “A bit of a surprise in Indiana’s 9th District, where Mike Sodrel will not be the GOP nominee against Baron Hill;”
Please do not be surprised if/when Jonathan Paton fails to win the nomination in the AZ 8th. Pundits picking winners before a primary is inappropriate, no better than when the Republican Party attempts it. Please stop interfering in a local decision yet to made.
“Interfering”? Look, as much as I would like to say that kind words from the Campaign Spot can be the difference between victory and defeat for a candidate, a lot of factors go into an election. Any candidate who wants to put the blame for a second-place finish on my blog is looking for excuses.
Would you prefer I lied to you, and told you every candidate who files has an equal shot at winning? Or should I hide the fact that a former congressman who has won a race or two before has a leg up on a first-time candidate? (Todd Young outraised Sodrel by more than 2-to-1, according to OpenSecrets, a pretty rare advantage for a first-time candidate over a guy who represented the district earlier.)
Perhaps one of the other candidates will overtake Jonathan Paton; but he currently leads in fundraising and he’s won some races already. He has $200,000 more cash-on-hand than any other Republican in the race, and he’s actually run and won races as a state senator before. This is not to say the other candidates, Jesse Kelly and Brian Miller, aren’t good guys, or that they wouldn’t make good candidates. But we just don’t know if these guys can bring out their voters, whereas Paton has run for state senate four times and won the last two.