Summing Up Tonight’s Primaries

While no race has been quite as exciting or will be so controversial as Senator Thad Cochran’s primary victory in Mississippi, there were a number of interesting federal elections going on across the nation tonight. The more newsworthy ones:


To win the gubernatorial nomination, Bob Beauprez triumphed over a number of challengers tonight, most prominently former congressman Tom Tancredo. Beauprez won 30 percent of the vote, to Tancredo’s 27 percent (two other candidates scored around a fifth of the vote). Beauprez, a former congressman who lost the 2006 governor’s race, has looked competitive against the state’s incumbent Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper.


Lieutenant governor Anthony Brown easily beat attorney general Doug Gansler in the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary. The political significance here is likely fleeting, but the irony is rich: Brown was personally given the responsibility for overseeing Maryland’s Obamacare exchange, which has been disastrous, yet managed to beat Gansler, who apparently did little about it because he hoped to pin the program’s failures on his opponent.

New York

Elise Stefanik, who worked on Paul Ryan’s vice-presidential campaign staff and in the Bush White House, won the nomination in the 21st congressional district, in the Albany area, defeating a Republican foe for an open seat that the Cook Political Report ranks as a “Democratic toss-up.” Stefanik, at 29, could be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

The controversial Harlem Democrat Charlie Rangel barely held onto the nomination he’s gotten for the past 22 terms, beating out New York state senator Adriano Espaillat 47–44. (Fun fact: Ask Mike Potemra how he voted.)

Lee Zeldin, an Iraq War veteran whom the national Democratic campaign apparatus briefly portrayed as a “cowardly lion,” won his primary in New York’s first district, where scandal-plagued Tim Bishop has been teetering on the edge of defeat for the past couple cycles.

Richard Hanna, a relatively moderate incumbent Republican, survived — by just six points — a challenge from Claudia Tenney, a New York state-house member who received support from Rick Santorum and a number of other national conservative figures.


Representative James Lankford beat state senator T. W. Shannon handily, 57 percent to 34, for the Republican nod to run for the seat that Senator Tom Coburn will empty. Read Joel Gehkre’s recent reporting for more on this race.

Patrick Brennan — Patrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

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