TagRepublican primaries

Kansas’ state legislative Republican primaries alter the ideological makeup of GOP caucus

On August 4, 12 of the 28 Republican state legislative incumbents facing primary challenges in Kansas lost their primaries. These results could alter the makeup of the Republican caucus in 2021.

Local media sources like The Wichita Eagle, Shawnee Mission Post, and The Kansas City Star identified nine incumbents whose primaries and defeats were representative of an intra-party divide over issues including Medicaid expansion and abortion laws.

Michael Ryan wrote in The Kansas City Star, “A good number of conservatives absolutely washed over their more moderate state legislative opponents in Tuesday’s Republican primary election.”

Jonathan Shorman wrote in The Wichita Eagle, “The influence of Kansas Republican moderates has waxed and waned. Gov. Sam Brownback [(R)] helped oust them in 2012. Voters then swept them back into office in 2016 to end his signature income tax cuts and stabilize the budget.” Shorman continued, “But with last week’s primary losses, their ranks have been depleted to levels not seen for years.”

The following six state senators lost Republican primaries this year. All were first elected in 2016, the year of the most recent state senate elections. Sens. John Skubal, Bruce Givens, Randall Hardy, and Edward Berger defeated Republican incumbents in primaries themselves that year.

• District 11: Sen. John Skubal, lost to Kellie Warren 64-36%
• District 14: Sen. Bruce Givens, lost to Michael Fagg 54-46%
• District 15: Sen. Dan Goddard, lost to Virgil Peck, Jr. 50.1-49.9%
• District 24: Sen. Randall Hardy, lost to J.R. Claeys 63-37%
• District 33: Sen. Mary Jo Taylor, lost to Alicia Straub 60-40%
• District 34: Sen. Edward Berger, lost to Mark Steffen 57.5%-42.5%

The following three state representatives lost Republican primaries this year.

• District 20: Rep. Jan Kessinger, lost to Jane Dirks 57-43%
• District 42: Rep. Jim Karleskint, lost to Lance Neelly 52-48%
• District 71: Rep. Diana Dierks, lost to Steven Howe 62-38%

Local media outlets identified the No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment as a noteworthy issue in the primaries featuring Sen. Skubal and Rep. Kessinger. If passed, the measure would have placed a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on the August 4 ballot stating that there is no right to abortion or public funding for abortions in the Kansas Constitution.

A two-thirds vote of all members in each chamber of the Kansas State Legislature was required to refer the amendment to the ballot for voter consideration.

In the Senate, that equaled 27 votes and, in the House, 84. Republicans held supermajorities in both the Senate and House with 29 and 84 members, respectively, equal or greater to the two-thirds threshold in both chambers.

Skubal and Kessinger voted against placing the measure on the ballot. The Senate approved the amendment. Kessinger and three other Republicans joined 39 Democrats to vote against the amendment in the House, resulting in a final vote of 80-43, four votes short of passage.

Skubal’s and Kessinger’s primary defeats and the retirement of the three House Republicans who voted against the amendment with Kessinger means none of the five Republicans who opposed the No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment will return for the 2021 legislative session.

Heading into the November elections, Kansas has a divided government. Republicans control both the Senate and the House. Democrats hold the governorship following Gov. Laura Kelly’s election in 2018. The next gubernatorial election will be held on November 8, 2022. In the Senate, Republicans will retain a veto-proof supermajority if they gain seats, hold their current number of seats, or lose a net of two seats. In the House, Republicans will retain a veto-proof majority if they gain or hold their current number seats. If Democrats gain a net of one seat, they will control more than one-third of the House seats.

To read more background, local commentary, and historical data on Kansas’ state legislative Republican primaries, click here.



Mowers wins Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District

Matt Mowers won the five-candidate Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. With 38% of precincts reporting, Mowers had received 61% of the vote and Matt Mayberry was second with 27%.

Mowers has worked as the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, an official in the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, and a senior White House advisor in the State Department. He received endorsements from President Donald Trump (R) and U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Mayberry is an Air Force veteran and businessman. He was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R).

Incumbent Chris Pappas (D) was first elected in 2018, defeating Eddie Edwards (R) 54% to 45%. Pappas is seeking re-election and was unopposed in the Democratic primary. The 1st District changed party hands five times between 2006 and 2016.



Messner wins Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire

Bryant “Corky” Messner won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. With 66% of precincts reporting, he had received 50% of the vote to Don Bolduc’s 43%. Two others ran.

President Donald Trump (R) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) endorsed Messner in the primary. Bolduc had endorsements from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.).

Incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D) is seeking re-election and won the Democratic primary. She was first elected in 2008 and won re-election in 2014 with 51.5% of the vote to Scott Brown’s (R) 48.2%.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 33 (September 2, 2020)

This week: Recapping Kansas’ state legislative primaries and looking ahead to New Hampshire

With Labor Day just around the corner and general election season in full swing, this will be the last regular edition of 2020’s Heart of the Primaries. Notable election results from the primaries in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware will be featured in Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew. We hope you have enjoyed our reporting on 2020’s primaries as much as we have enjoyed bringing you this newsletter. Heart of the Primaries will return ahead of the 2022 midterms.

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On 2024:

“I don’t believe that a candidate who runs for the nomination, let’s say in 2024, is going to be able to go back to free trade, globalism, or interventionism … because …  the Republican Party has been changed and reoriented to a great degree by Donald Trump.

“So I think that’s what controls it. … [T]he Republicans today, many of them are … basically establishment Republicans, Conservative Inc., and all the rest of it and they may not believe what they are mouthing, but the fact that they are required to speak in a certain way and address these issues indicates a realization on their part that, intellectually, they have lost the battle for the party’s issues and the party’s identity. And frankly if someone came in and attempted to impose free trade and open borders on the Republican Party, he would not be nominated by the GOP.”

Pat Buchanan, Newsmax TV, Aug. 29, 2020

 

“Donald Trump took over the Republican Party, but it’s still discernibly the Republican Party. …

“There … are notable differences of substance. Trump’s party has reversed itself on trade and jettisoned concern over deficit spending. The party is much less hawkish than George W. Bush’s GOP and much more skeptical of immigration than Ronald Reagan’s. It doesn’t have the focus of the 2004 Republican convention on terrorism or the 2012 Republican convention on out-of-control entitlement spending.

“And yet there is a clear throughline between today’s Republican Party and the GOP of the past several decades. …

“Take Don Trump Jr.’s forceful speech, which by lineage and inclination should be most representative of the Trump GOP. …

“Trump Jr. argued that “Biden’s radical left-wing policies would stop our economic recovery cold,” in part by raising taxes.

“This contrast with Democrats is a GOP commonplace. …

“Trump Jr. underlined the importance of safety and security and hailed the police as American heroes.

“Again, back in 1984, Vice President Bush said, ‘President Reagan and I think it’s time that we worried less about the criminals and more about the victims of crime.’ …

“This perspective sheds some light on the future of a post-Trump GOP. In the main, it’s not likely to be radically different from the current Trump GOP. …

“If this week’s convention has again demonstrated Trump’s personal grip on the party, it also showed that the Republican Party as it has existed for decades isn’t going away.”

Rich Lowry, The National Review, Aug. 28, 2020

U.S. Congress

Previewing the U.S. Senate Republican primary in New Hampshire

Four candidates are running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire on Sept. 8. Don Bolduc and Bryant “Corky” Messner have led in media attention, endorsements, and campaign finance. 

The Concord Monitor’s Ethan DeWitt wrote:

“In Bolduc, voters can choose a career military servant, a brigadier general who rose through the ranks under a long line of presidents and now seeks change from the outside. In Messner they can pick an avowed capitalist, a Trump-endorsed corporate lawyer who built a Denver-based law firm and is running to stand up for small businesses.”

Bolduc received endorsements from the Senate Conservatives Fund, New Hampshire’s former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith (R), and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who said Bolduc “has the integrity, courage, and conviction to lead a positive strategy, and keep America safe.” Messner received endorsements from U.S. President Donald Trump (R), who said Messner was “Strong on jobs, crime, veterans, and the Second Amendment”, and the National Association for Gun Rights.

According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, Messner has raised more than $4.4 million, including $3.9 million he loaned to his campaign. Bolduc had raised $889,000. The candidates have $2.5 million and $178,000 cash on hand, respectively.

Gerard Beloin and Andy Martin are also running in the primary.

Incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), first elected in 2008, is seeking re-election. In 2014, Shaheen defeated Scott Brown (R), 51.5-48.2%. New Hampshire most recently held a U.S. Senate election in 2016, when Maggie Hassan (D) defeated incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), 48-47.9%.

Previewing New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary

Five candidates are running in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary on Sept. 8. Matt Mayberry and Matt Mowers lead the field in noteworthy endorsements and fundraising.

Mayberry, a former Dover City Councilor and chairman of the N.H. Commission on Human Rights, received endorsements from U.S. Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R). Mowers worked as the executive director of the N.H. Republican State Committee and a senior White House advisor in the U.S. State Department. He received endorsements from U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, Mowers has raised $693,000 and has $373,000 cash on hand. Mayberry has raised $173,000 and has $22,000 cash on hand.

Michael Callis, Jeff Denaro, and Kevin Rondeau are also running in the primary.

Denaro, Mayberry, and Mowers completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Read their full responses here. Each candidate is asked to provide three key messages, excerpts of which include:

  • Denaro: “Our National Debt at this time is 26.6 Trillion. I want to propose bills to lower our debt.”
  • Mayberry: “Matt Mayberry is a true New Hampshire Conservative. He believes in smaller government, lower taxes and more personal freedom.”
  • Mowers: “It’s time for a new generation of conservative leadership that will stand up for New Hampshire.”

The winner of the primary will face incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D), first elected in 2018 after defeating Eddie Edwards (R), 54-45%. Pappas’ victory made the 1st District one of 30 House Districts represented by a Democrat in 2020 that voted for Trump in 2016. During the presidential election, Trump received 48% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 47% in the 1st District.

State legislatures

Race recap: Kansas’ state legislative elections

Kansas’ state legislative primaries took place on Aug. 4. Over one-quarter of the Republican incumbents seeking re-election faced primary challenges this year, and roughly 40 percent of them lost to their challengers.

The Wichita Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman said these primary challenges illustrated a longstanding, intra-party ideological divide in the state’s legislature: “The influence of Kansas Republican moderates has waxed and waned. Gov. Sam Brownback [(R)] helped oust them in 2012. Voters then swept them back into office in 2016 to end his signature income tax cuts and stabilize the budget.” Shorman continued, “But with last week’s primary losses, their ranks have been depleted to levels not seen for years.”

Below are the results of Republican primaries that featured this ideological divide, according to local media sources like The Wichita Eagle, Shawnee Mission Post, and The Kansas City Star.

In the state Senate races listed below, all of the incumbents who lost primaries this year were first elected in 2016, the last time state Senate elections took place. Four of the 2020 incumbents—Skubal, Givens, Hardy, and Berger—all defeated Republican incumbents themselves in 2016.

The House last held elections in 2018. Of the four incumbents defeated below, Dirks was first elected in 2012 and Moore in 2018. Kessinger and Karleskint were both elected in 2016 after defeating Republican incumbents in their respective primaries.

Power players

“Making the change one outsider at a time.” – Conservative Outsider PAC website

Conservative Outsider PAC (COPAC) is a political action committee founded in 2020. Its current treasurer is Kate Teasdale, who works as a Republican political consultant. Notable contributions to COPAC during the 2020 election cycle include $315,000 from Club for Growth and $750,000 from Protect Freedom PAC.

COPAC has not made any direct campaign contributions during the current election cycle, but it has made independent expenditures in Republican primaries totaling $1,376,922. Most recently, it spent $385,000 on television ads opposing Bill Hagerty’s (R) bid for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, bringing its total spending in opposition to Hagerty to $968,000. COPAC also spent $250,835 and $102,468 to oppose Dane Eagle’s (R) campaign in Florida’s 19th Congressional District and Tracey Mann’s campaign in Kansas’ 1st Congressional District. Both Hagerty and Mann won their primary elections, while Eagle lost his by a margin of .7 percentage points.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 32 (August 26, 2020)

This week: Endorsements for Mayberry, Mowers in NH-01, Gonzales wins TX-23 primary runoff following recount, Mass. GOP runs Facebook ad supporting incumbent Rep. Boldyga in 3rd Hampden House District primary

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On President Trump’s second-term agenda

“A couple of weeks ago, I asked of the Trump campaign, ‘Where’s the energy? Where are the ideas for the future?’ Well, with [the president’s second-term agenda], they’ve answered those questions and then some. … It seems to me that the president and his team are bursting with ideas to move the country forward, concrete plans, not the vague platitudes we heard last week, which themselves were completely overshadowed by the nonstop negativity of the Democrats’ doom and gloom convention. …

“People want to know what you’re going to do for them, specific, practical things, not just esoteric academic concepts. And here’s what the Trump campaign is promising to do for you and this country in a second term:

“The plan is called ‘Fighting for You! The Best is Yet to Come.’ There are fifty commitments in ten categories including jobs, ending our reliance on China, drain the swamp, defend our police, end illegal immigration and protect our workers, and innovate for the future. … Here are a few specific highlights: tax credits for companies that bring manufacturing jobs back from China with a target of a million jobs returning, providing school choice to every child in America …

“There is so much more. Exactly what we wanted to see.”

Steve Hilton, Fox News, Aug. 24, 2020

 

“If Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s acceptance speech was full of gauzy platitudes with few real policy specifics, President Trump’s 49-point second-term ‘agenda’ is even more of an insult to voters’ intelligence. …

 

“The first seven agenda items come under the rubric of ‘jobs.’ The first is typical: ‘Create 10 million new jobs in 10 months.’

 

“Yes, that’s it. There is nothing about how he would ‘create’ such jobs. Trump promises the moon and the stars without even identifying the type of jet fuel, much less designing the rocket. …

 

“On and on goes this tommyrot, until finally concluding with two great policies related to national security. First, ‘wipe out global terrorists who threaten to harm Americans,’ and then ‘build a great cybersecurity defense system and missile defense system.’

 

“Gee, why didn’t Biden think of those things? Biden must really be a dolt. Only by reelecting Trump will we be awarded the executive order that wipes out global terrorists. After all, everybody knows that ‘eradicate terrorists’ executive orders are unconstitutional in a president’s first term but not in the second. Otherwise, Trump would have done it already. Still, we can trust him to do it in 2021, because it says so in his agenda.”

Quin Hillyer, The Washington Examiner, Aug. 24, 2020

Election results

Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District runoff: Stephanie Bice defeated Terry Neese to win the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Kendra Horn (D). The two advanced to a runoff after no candidate won a majority in the June 30 primary. In the primary, Neese placed first with 37% of the vote, while Bice followed with 25%. Bice, a state senator whose endorsers included former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), said she would be the more effective legislator. Neese, a business owner and the national co-chairwoman of President Trump’s small business advisory council, said she would be the stronger ally to the president.

U.S. Congress

Endorsements for Mayberry, Mowers in NH-01

In the past month, prominent endorsers have weighed in on New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary. Of the five candidates, Matt Mayberry and Matt Mowers lead in endorsements.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the American Conservative Union—which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)—endorsed Mowers. Former U.S. Sen. John Sununu endorsed Mayberry. Before serving in the Senate, Sununu represented the 1st District in the House. He is Gov. Chris Sununu’s brother.

WMUR’s John DiStaso wrote, “Sununu during the 2016 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination was a national co-chair for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign. Mowers headed the campaign of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the Granite State but later worked in the Donald Trump campaign and was appointed to the State Department post by the Trump administration.” 

Mowers was a senior White House advisor and chief of staff and chief policy officer at the State Department. Mayberry is a former member of the Dover School Board and Dover City Council.  

The primary winner will face incumbent Chris Pappas (D) in November. This is one of 30 congressional districts with a Democratic incumbent that Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.

Both Mayberry and Mowers completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey.

Here is each candidate’s response to: “Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?” Click their names to read full survey responses.

Matt Mayberry:

“Matt Mayberry is a true New Hampshire Conservative. He believes in smaller government, lower taxes and more personal freedom.

“We need a true conservative, common sense, New Hampshire voice down in Washington and Matt Mayberry is the person for the job.

“Matt Mayberry was a 2016 & 2020 Trump Delegate to the RNC Convention.”

Matt Mowers:

“It’s time for a new generation of conservative leadership that will stand up for New Hampshire

“In Congress, Matt will ignore the partisan battles and work with the President to deliver real results

“Matt has seen first hand the damage that implementing socialist policies can do to a country. We don’t need someone who campaigns like JFK but votes like AOC. We deserve better, someone who will put New Hampshire first.”

Gonzales wins TX-23 primary runoff following recount

Tony Gonzales defeated Raul Reyes Jr. by a margin of 39 votes in the Republican primary runoff for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. 

The runoff was held on July 14. On July 31, the Republican Party of Texas certified Gonzales as the winner of the primary, with unofficial vote totals showing him ahead by 45 votes. Reyes filed a request for a recount on Aug. 3. On Aug. 21, Reyes said, “Without a sizable shift in the vote margin after a recount in the most populous parts of the district I have decided to end the recount.”

President Donald Trump and incumbent William Hurd (R) had endorsed Gonzales. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had endorsed Reyes.

Gonzales will face Gina Ortiz Jones (D) and two others in the Nov. 3 general election. Three election forecasters rate the general election Lean Democratic.

State executives

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu leads primary challenger in fundraising

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu leads primary challenger Karen Testerman in fundraising, according to campaign finance reports filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State on Aug. 19.

Sununu, who is running for a third two-year term, raised $150,000 since June from 577 separate contributors and spent $100,000 during the same period. Overall, Sununu has raised $1.1 million and spent $560,000. 

Testerman, a Franklin city councilor who says Sununu’s response to the coronavirus pandemic crippled New Hampshire’s economy, raised $15,000 from 94 separate donors since launching her campaign in June. She spent $6,900 during that period.

A third candidate, whose name is Nobody, filed a statement indicating he had no campaign activity to report.

The winner of the Sept. 8 primary will advance to the general election, which two election forecasters say Republicans are likely to win. A third forecaster says the race leans towards Republicans.

Race recap: Governor of Missouri

In this series, we look back at recent state executive primaries and ahead to the general election.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson defeated three challengers to win the Republican nomination for his first full term in an Aug. 4 primary. Parson became governor in June 2018 following the resignation of Eric Greitens (R) amid investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and misuse of voter information.

Parson received 75% of the primary vote, followed by Saundra McDowell with 12%, Jim Neely with 9%, and Raleigh Ritter with 4%. 

McDowell, the Republican nominee for state auditor in 2018, said she was running to bring transparency to state government. Neely, a state representative, said he would oppose shutdowns and mask mandates in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ritter, a rancher and small business owner, said he had the most business experience.

Parson will face Nicole Galloway (D), Jerome Bauer (G), and Rik Combs (L) in the November general election. Two election forecasters say Parson is likely to win and one says the race leans towards Parson.

 

Legislatures

The number of incumbents who did not seek re-election is provided for the 44 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 39 states that had held state legislative primaries as of Aug. 25, 2020.

Mass. GOP runs Facebook ad supporting incumbent Rep. Boldyga in 3rd Hampden House District primary

On Aug. 19, the Massachusetts Republican Party ran a Facebook ad encouraging voters in the 3rd Hampden House District to support incumbent Rep. Nick Boldyga (R) in the Sept. 1 primary. Boldyga, first elected in 2010, is facing his first primary challenge from Agawam City Councilor Dino Mercadante (R).

Both candidates completed questionnaires for MassLive on Aug. 15, which asked the candidates: “What is the most important issue facing the district, and how would you address it?”

Boldyga, a former police officer and auditor, said he would “ensure that our communities remain affordable and the best towns to live, work, and raise a family,” adding, “I have a proven track record of voting to lower taxes, create jobs, and cut wasteful spending to achieve those goals.”

Mercadante, a restaurant owner, said, “Our district lacks proactive and aggressive representation. Our communities receive funding based on predetermined formulas that the state utilizes,” adding, “It is critical that this district elect someone who WILL advocate, who WILL go above and beyond for our schools, our infrastructure projects.”

The winner of the primary will face Agawam School Committee member Kerri O’Connor in the general election. In 2018, Boldyga defeated Forrest Bradford (D) 66% to 34%.

Xiarhos releases tax returns in Mass.’ 5th Barnstable House District primary

On Aug. 17, the Cape Cod Times’ Geoff Spillane reported that Steve Xiarhos released his income tax returns from 2017, 2018, and 2019 and called on his primary opponent, Tom Keyes, to do the same. Xiarhos and Keyes are running in the Republican primary for the 5th Barnstable House District. The current incumbent, Rep. Randy Hunt (R) is retiring. Hunt has endorsed Xiarhos. 

Xiarhos reported an income of $142,506 in 2019.

Xiarhos campaign chairman David Sampson said, “We are dedicated to being aboveboard and transparent … There is no question that our opponent in the primary has not validated who he is, relative to claims to business experience.”

Keyes’ campaign strategist Holly Robichaud said, “It sounds like a very desperate campaign taking advice from Hillary Clinton,” adding, “We strongly believe that the people of [the district] are concerned about who can best revive the economy.”

Xiarhos is a former deputy chief of police with the Yarmouth Police Department. He has not held elected office. In addition to Hunt, Xiarhos has received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police and the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, among others.

Keyes is the president of Keyes Quality Systems, a business coaching and consulting firm. He served on the Sandwich Board of Selectmen from 2002 to 2008 and on the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates from 2008 to 2011. Sandwich Mayor Shaunna O’Connell and the Gun Owners’ Action League are among his endorsers.

The winner of the Sept. 1 primary will face James Dever (D) in the general election.

Power players

“The American Dream is back — bigger, better, and stronger than ever before! With your help, we will defeat the do-nothing Democrats, replace them with pro-Trump conservatives, and remove Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House!” – Majority Committee PAC website

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) assumed office in 2007 and has led Republicans in the House since 2014. According to Open Secrets, he is the second-highest fundraiser in Congress for the 2020 election cycle at $16,638,004, behind House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). McCarthy ranks highest in Congress for candidate-to-candidate giving from both his leadership PAC, Majority Committee PAC, and his campaign committee at $2,038,520.

Among the top disbursements reported to the Federal Election Commission from McCarthy’s campaign committee, Kevin McCarthy for Congress, are: $541,388 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, $100,000 to the California Republican Party Federal Acct., and $20,000 to the Kern County Republican Central Committee (FED), along with 14 $4,000 contributions to individual Republican congressional campaigns. Majority Committee PAC’s top Congressional campaign contributions include $20,000 to Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) and Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), and $15,000 to Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.) and Tony Gonzales (R), who is running in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.



Neese, Bice to compete in Republican primary runoff in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District August 25

Terry Neese and Stephanie Bice will compete in the Republican primary runoff in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District on Tuesday, August 25. The two advanced to a runoff when no candidate won 50% of the vote in the June 30 primary. Neese won 36.5% and Bice won 25.4% in the primary.

David Hill, who finished third in the primary with 19% of the vote, endorsed Neese on July 14 saying, “Terry Neese is a pro-life, pro-gun, conservative, and she has our full support as she fights to beat Kendra Horn and deliver President Trump’s agenda.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) endorsed Bice on August 6, saying, Stephanie is a proven conservative who is committed to defending our Second Amendment rights, protecting the unborn, and standing up for Oklahoma’s taxpayers.”

Incumbent Kendra Horn (D) is running for re-election. In 2018, she defeated incumbent Steve Russell (R) by a margin of 1.4 percentage points to become the first Democrat to hold the office since 1975. Oklahoma’s 5th is one of the 31 Democratic-held House districts that President Donald Trump (R) won in 2016, with Trump defeating Hillary Clinton (D) by a margin of 13.4 percentage points.

In February 2019, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee identified Oklahoma’s 5th as a Frontline district and the Republican National Congressional Committee identified the district as an offensive target for the 2020 election cycle.



Carlos Gimenez wins Republican nomination to challenge Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in FL-26

Carlos Gimenez defeated Omar Blanco to win the Republican nomination in Florida’s 26th Congressional District in a primary on August 18. As of 8:45 p.m. on election night, Gimenez had 60% of the vote to Blanco’s 40%.

Gimenez, who has served as mayor of Miami-Dade County since 2011, says he reduced tax rates and cut spending while increasing the speed of county services. He said he would be the stronger challenger to Mucarsel-Powell.

Blanco, the president of Miami-Dade Firefighters and Paramedics Local 1403, said he had experience with seeking policy change in Washington. He also accused Gimenez of having mismanaged the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying his policies had been harmful to local businesses.

Gimenez will face incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) in the general election. One election forecaster says the race is a toss-up, one says it tilts towards Mucarsel-Powell, and one says it leans towards Mucarsel-Powell.


Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 31 (August 19, 2020)

This week: Club for Growth ad opposes Bice ahead of runoff, New Hampshire Republicans split endorsements between Executive Council candidates, and NRA endorses Tyler Gouveia in New Hampshire’s Hillsborough County District 36

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On college football

“Democrats, of course, are thrilled that the season is canceled, because a return to the gridiron is a sure sign that life is returning to normal. And Democrats don’t want that to happen — at least not until after Election Day. …

“In a very real sense, then, the debate over college football has become a debate about Liberty itself — a debate about the rights of free men in an ostensibly free country. And it’s clear which side the players and coaches are on, and which side the Pac-12 and Big Ten bosses are on. …

“[F]ootball, being a collision sport, has always been fraught with risk. Its players are well aware of these risks, though, and for more than a century, boys and young men have donned the gear and gotten after each other with abandon. They do it because they love this quintessentially American sport — and because the rest of us love it, too.

“Let’s not be sissies about this. That’s for those on the Left. Kudos to the Big 12, the ACC, and the SEC for listening to the players and the coaches, and for honoring their love for the game and their commitment to it.

“Let’s play some football this fall.”

Douglas Andrews, The Patriot Post, Aug. 12, 2020

[T]he risk of coronavirus complications from myocarditis — an inflammation of the heart muscle — is small but cannot be hand-waved away. Left undiagnosed and untreated, myocarditis can cause heart damage and sudden cardiac arrest, which can be fatal. … A person with myocarditis will not necessarily have a cardiac arrest if he catches the coronavirus but is at risk of it; doctors are still trying to fully understand how the coronavirus can affect the heart. …

“Some players will have no risk of long-term health effects and be asymptomatic, perhaps the vast majority of them. Football players are indeed used to living with risk … But the onset of cardiac arrest and sudden death is a different level of risk, and it’s difficult to begrudge any student-athlete, coach, athletic director, university president, or conference director who looks at the situation and concludes the fatal consequence makes the reward just not worth the risk. …

“Still, considering the colossal financial implications of canceling or postponing the season, and the extraordinary amount of disappointment and frustration that this decision will generate among student-athletes, coaches, and fans, it is unlikely that these conferences are reaching these decisions simply because they’re ‘sissies.’”

Jim Geraghty, National Review, Aug. 13, 2020

Election results

U.S. Senate in Wyoming: Cynthia Lummis defeated eight candidates to win the Republican nomination to succeed Mike Enzi. Lummis led with 60% of the vote, followed by Robert Short with 13%. The general election has been rated by independent outlets as Solid Republican, with Enzi (R) winning his 2018 race by a margin of 36.9 percentage points.

Florida’s 3rd Congressional District: Kat Cammack defeated Judson Sapp, Gavin Rollins, James St. George, and six others to win the Republican nomination to succeed Ted Yoho (R). Cammack received 25% of the vote followed by Sapp, Rollins, and St. George with 20%, 15%, and 14%, respectively. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote.  In 2016, Donald Trump (R) received 56% of the vote in the district to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 40%.

Florida’s 15th Congressional District: Scott Franklin defeated incumbent Rep. Ross Spano, becoming the eighth primary challenger to defeat a member of the U.S. House this year. With 99% of precincts reporting, Franklin received 51% of the vote to Spano’s 49%. Three election forecasters rate the general election Lean Republican. In 2018, Spano received 53% of the vote to Kristen Carlson’s (D) 47%.

Florida’s 13th Congressional District: Anna Paulina Luna defeated Amanda Makki, George Buck, and two others to win the Republican nomination to challenge Charlie Crist (D). Luna received 36% of the vote followed by Makki and Buck with 29% and 26%, respectively. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote. Two election forecasters say Crist is a solid bet to win the general election and a third says the race leans towards him.

Florida’s 19th Congressional District: Byron Donalds defeated eight other candidates to win the Republican nomination to succeed Francis Rooney (R). Donalds received 23% of the vote, followed by Dane Eagle with 22% of the vote, Casey Askar with 20%, and William Figlesthaler with 18%. The district has been rated as Solid Republican, with incumbent Francis Rooney (R) winning his 2018 race by a margin of 24.6 percentage points.

Florida’s 26th Congressional District: Carlos Gimenez defeated Omar Blanco to win the Republican nomination to challenge Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D). Gimenez received 60% of the vote to Blanco’s 40%. One election forecaster says the general election is a toss-up, one says it tilts towards Mucarsel-Powell, and one says it leans towards Mucarsel-Powell.

U.S. Congress

Bolduc on the air in Senate primary in NH

Don Bolduc released his first TV ads in the Senate primary in New Hampshire. They highlight his background as an Army brigadier general. 

His first ad says, “I am the only candidate running that was on the ground fighting terrorists on behalf of this president, and fulfilling his policies and doing the right thing.” Bolduc retired from the Army in October 2017. He says in his second ad, “I didn’t spend my life defending this country to let a bunch of liberal, socialist pansies squander it away.”

The Human Rights Campaign criticized the second ad, saying Bolduc used a homophobic slur.

President Donald Trump endorsed Bryant “Corky” Messner in the primary. Messner was an Army Ranger and then became an attorney. He’s released three TV ads. They discuss his economic recovery plan and his background as a Ranger.

The Messner campaign is receiving financial and other support from Trump’s New Hampshire campaign organization and the Republican National Committee. Bolduc recently said, “The endorsement doesn’t matter. … It’s the action of the RNC that everybody should be concerned about and that is allowing D.C. to pick their primary candidate and that is wrong. We do not like to be told what to do by Washington, D.C., no matter who it is.”

John DiStaso of WMUR wrote, “Conventional wisdom has Messner as the frontrunner thanks in large part to the Trump endorsement and Messner’s deep personal pockets. But conventional wisdom is a risky thing to believe in the Granite State, where an independent streak still thrives. This race is far from decided, especially with the turnout amid the COVID-19 crisis more unpredictable than ever.”

The primary is Sept. 8. Incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), first elected in 2008, is seeking re-election. Three election forecasters rate the general election Solid or Likely Democratic.

Club for Growth ad opposes Bice ahead of runoff

Club for Growth Action recently released an ad opposing Stephanie Bice in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District primary runoff. The group had spent more than $300,000 opposing Bice in the June 30 primary but did not endorse in the nine-candidate field. Club for Growth PAC endorsed Terry Neese in the runoff.

The recent ad refers to a budget vote, saying Bice voted to raise her legislative salary and to take money away from teachers and police. Bice serves in the Oklahoma state Senate. 

Penny Seale, a Bice campaign representative, said, “Everyone in Oklahoma knows that an appointed Commission sets the pay of the legislature, but the D.C. Never-Trumpers don’t know it, because they aren’t from here — they’re from the swamp.”

Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh said, “Terry Neese is a successful entrepreneur who has seen firsthand why we must push back against government interference in the economy. Neese is clearly the true conservative in this race and we can count on her to fight for pro-growth priorities like cutting taxes and reducing red tape.”

Neese, a businesswoman and former national co-chair of President Trump’s small business advisory council, received the most votes in the June 30 primary with 37%. Bice followed with 25%. A candidate needed more than 50% to avoid a runoff.

The runoff is Aug. 25. The winner will face incumbent Kendra Horn (D). In 2018, Horn defeated incumbent Steve Russell (R) 50.7% to 49.3%. Trump won the 5th District against Hillary Clinton (D) 53% to 40% in the 2016 presidential election

State executives

New Hampshire Republicans split endorsements between Executive Council candidates

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) endorsed Dave Wheeler in the Republican primary for District 5 on the New Hampshire Executive Council Aug. 12. Sununu’s endorsement, his first in a contested executive council primary, followed District 4 incumbent Ted Gatsas’ (R) endorsement of Wheeler’s opponent, Bob Clegg.

New Hampshire’s executive council is a five-member board responsible for approving most expenditures and providing oversight of state government. Members are elected to two-year terms in by-district elections. The council currently has a 3-2 Democratic majority.

Clegg, a former state Senator who served as majority leader, also has an endorsement from former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.). Wheeler, who represented District 5 before losing to Debora Pignatelli (D) in 2018, also has the backing of former Gov. Craig Benson (R-N.H.) and the state branch of Americans for Prosperity.

The winner of the Sept. 8 primary will face Pignatelli, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Race recap: Utah Attorney General

In this series, we look back at recent state executive primaries and ahead to the November elections.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) won the GOP nomination for a second full term in a primary on June 30. Reyes received 54% of the vote to challenger David Leavitt’s 46%. 

The primary was held after no candidate received the necessary 60% of the vote at the state GOP convention to win the nomination outright. A third candidate, former Attorney General John Swallow (R), was eliminated after placing last at the convention.

Reyes, who took office following Swallow’s resignation in 2013, said he was running to continue his record of success. Reyes said he had protected children and teens, defended online privacy, and kept Utah families safe from scams.

Leavitt, who was elected as Utah County Attorney in 2018, said he would seek to change Utah’s approach to criminal justice. Leavitt said he would seek more jury trials and fewer plea bargains and that the office’s policies under Reyes had placed too much emphasis on punishing criminals at the expense of rehabilitation.

Reyes faces Democratic nominee Greg Skordas and Libertarian Rudy Bautista in the November general election. The last Democrat to win the attorney general’s race was Jan Graham (D) in 1996.

Legislatures

The number of incumbents who did not seek re-election is provided for the 44 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 36 states that had held state legislative primaries as of Aug. 17, 2020.

Reopen NH, Gov. Sununu endorse competing candidates in New Hampshire’s Senate District 24

On Aug. 12, Reopen NH, a political action committee formed in response to the state’s coronavirus restrictions, endorsed Regina Barnes after Gov. Chris Sununu (R) endorsed her primary opponent, Lou Gargiulo, on Aug. 9. The two candidates are running in Senate District 24’s Republican primary.

In a press release accompanying the endorsement, Reopen NH said it expects endorsed candidates “to amend or repeal RSA 4:45, the state statute the governor has been using to conjure up his ‘emergency powers,” adding, “No emergency, whether real or imagined, is big enough to justify the suspension of our rights.”

Barnes, an accountant and member of the Hampton Board of Selectmen, recently submitted a public comment to Sununu’s reopening task force committee, saying, “It is time to begin the process or reopening in the very near future … The government does NOT have the right to take our rights away, we the people do have the right to practice our rights freely, even during a pandemic.”

In his endorsement of Gargiulo, Sununu said, “Tested leaders like Lou can be trusted to work with the business community and municipalities to help steer our state through these uncharted waters.” On his campaign website, Gargiulo, owner of a property management company, wrote, “I support measures that will keep our most vulnerable as safe as possible while working to open up our economy,” adding, “When the economy is sick, you call a businessperson.”

The winner of the Sept. 8 primary will face Sen. Tom Sherman (D). Sherman was first elected in 2018 after defeating then-incumbent Sen. Dan Innis (R) 53-47%.

NRA endorses Tyler Gouveia in New Hampshire’s Hillsborough County District 36

On Aug. 11, the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund endorsed Tyler Gouveia in New Hampshire’s Hillsborough County District 36. In addition to Gouveia, three other candidates—Paula Desjardins Moran, Bill O’Brien, and Bill Ohm—are running in the Republican primary. District 36 is a three-member seat, meaning three of the four Republican candidates will advance to the general election. 

Only Gouveia received an endorsement from the NRA. Ohm received an A grade from the group. No grades were given for Desjardins, Moran, or O’Brien.

Gouveia and Moran are making their first runs for elected office. Gouveia is the president of Granite State Strategy, a political consulting firm. Desjardins Moran is a program manager at BAE Systems, an aerospace firm. 

O’Brien and Ohm have both served in the New Hampshire House. O’Brien, an attorney, previously represented Hillsborough District 4, which later became District 5, from 2008 to 2016, including one term as Speaker of the House. Ohm represented District 36 from 2014 to 2018. He lost his re-election bid in 2018, placing fourth.

District 36 is currently represented by three Democrats: Linda Harriott-Gathright, Martin Jack, and Michael O’Brien Sr. The primary is Sept. 8.

Power players

“He works relentlessly each and every day on behalf of every member of the Republican Conference to bring a fresh voice and new ideas to the leadership table to help solve our country’s problems for hard-working Americans by advancing conservative principles that move America forward.” -Scalise Leadership Fund website

Eye of the Tiger PAC is a leadership political action committee sponsored by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). The PAC’s earliest Federal Election Commission reports date back to 2009 when Scalise first entered office. According to a Roll Call interview with Scalise’s communications director, Scalise named the PAC himself in tribute to the mascot of his alma mater, Louisiana State University.

As of June 30, Eye of the Tiger PAC has reported $1,991,803 in donations this election cycle and has spent $1,570,418. Among its largest campaign contributions were three $15,000 donations to the campaigns of Rep. Greg Murphy (R), running for re-election in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Dan Bishop (R), running for reelection in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, and Rep. Chris Jacobs (R), who is running for reelection in New York’s 27th Congressional District. According to the FEC, Eye of the Tiger PAC’s second-largest expense, coming second only to credit card processing fees, was $55,750 in event entry fees and dues to the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians, a D.C.-based social organization that hosts a yearly Mardi Gras Ball in the nation’s capital.



Kat Cammack wins Florida’s 3rd Congressional District’s Republican primary

Kat Cammack defeated Judson Sapp, Gavin Rollins, James St. George, and six others in the Republican primary in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District. With 98% of precincts reporting, Cammack received 25% of the vote followed by Sapp, Rollins, and St. George with 20%, 15%, and 14%, respectively. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote.

Incumbent Rep. Ted Yoho (R) is not running for re-election, leaving the seat open.

Cammack, a former deputy chief of staff to Yoho, received endorsements from two Tea Party organizations and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said, “We need to send strong conservatives like … Cammack to Washington who have the courage to take on career politicians and drain the swamp.”

First elected in 2012, Yoho has represented District 3 since district lines were redrawn following the 2010 census, receiving over 55% of the vote in each election. In 2016, District 3 voters supported Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D). Trump received 56% of the vote in the district to Clinton’s 40%.


Byron Donalds defeats eight candidates in Florida’s 19th Congressional District Republican primary

Byron Donalds defeated eight other candidates in the Republican primary in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. At 9:52 p.m. on election night, Decision Desk HQ called the race with 100% of precincts reporting. Donalds received 22.6% of the vote, followed closely by Dane Eagle with 21.85% of the vote, Casey Askar with 19.99%, and William Figlesthaler with 18.35%.

The district has been rated as Solid Republican. Incumbent Francis Rooney (R) won his 2018 race by 24.6 percentage points.


Bitnami