Fight Night Preview: Primaries From Georgia to Idaho
It’s primary night in six states, with plenty of races to watch in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
The only night with more states holding consequential primaries? In two weeks, on June 3.
(For a full list of the primary calendar, check out CQ Roll Call’s Primary Dates chart.)
There are no fewer than five competitive primary races in Georgia. Beyond that, three Republican incumbents steeped in the establishment will, by all appearances, swat back tea party rivals after the polls close. Unless there is a sleeper primary upset, the only incumbent who is in any sort of political trouble is a Democrat, Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., our Politics Team will have a live blog of the results below. After polls close, @Alexis_Levinson and @KyleTrygstad will track the Senate races, while @CahnEmily and @RollCallAbby will watch the House side of politics.
Here are the races to watch, accompanied by each race’s Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race rating:
Kentucky – Polls close at 7 p.m. EST
At first, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin seemed to pose a serious threat to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But over the last year, McConnell stomped his primary rival in fundraising and discredited the tea party challenger. So much so, that McConnell telegraphed weeks ago that he was moving his campaign on to the general election. Race rating: Leans Republican
Georgia – Polls close at 7 p.m. EST
Senate (open): Georgia Republicans have a lot of options on Tuesday when they go to the polls to pick their nominee for Senate. Businessman David Perdue, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun are all vying for the nomination to succeed Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who is retiring. The race is expected to go to a July 22 runoff between the top two candidates. Perdue has consistently led in polling, but it’s likely a three-person race, with Handel and Kingston. The winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn. Race rating: Favored Republican
1st District (open): Six Republicans are vying for the change to replace Kingston in this southeastern Georgia district. With such a crowded field, the race is expected to head to a runoff. Georgia GOP operatives say state Sen. Buddy Carter is favored to advance, while former Capitol Hill aide John McCallum, state Rep. Jeff Chapman and surgeon Bob Johnson all could find a path to that second-place spot. Race rating: Safe Republican
4th District: Political junkies should also keep a close eye on Georgia’s 4th District — this race could be the sleeper contest of the evening. Johnson, a Democrat known for his unscripted comments, faces a serious primary threat from former DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown. Local operatives say Brown has been visible on the trail and kept pace with Johnson in fundraising, giving him a good shot at ousting the incumbent. Race rating: Safe Democrat
10th District (open): With seven Republicans looking to succeed Broun in this heavily Republican district, this contest is also assured to head to a July runoff. GOP operatives say trucking company executive Mike Collins and Baptist Pastor Jody Hice are likely to land in the top-two. In a low-turnout situation, Republicans note there is also a path for state Rep. Donna Sheldon to advance. Race rating: Safe Republican
11th District (open): Look for former Rep. Bob Barr to advance in this Atlanta-area district, open because of Gingrey’s Senate bid. Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk is also expected to advance to the July runoff. Race rating: Safe Republican
Five Republicans are competing for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. John Barrow, a top GOP target. With such a crowded field, this race also likely headed to a runoff. Construction company owner Rick Allen is likely to advance, with state Rep. Delvis Dutton and businessman Eugene Yu running for second-place. Race rating: Leans Democrat
Pennsylvania – Polls close at 8 p.m. EST
8th District: National Democrats have avoided many competitive primaries in targeted districts, but this race to take on Republican Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick is one of the few exceptions. Veteran Kevin Strouse, who has the support of the DCCC, is expected to defeat small business owner Shaugnessy Naughton, who had marginal support from EMILY’s List. Race rating: Favored Republican
Some Pennsylvania Republicans were alarmed last fall that six-term Republican Bill Shuster had a tea party challenge on his hands in the form of retired Coast Guard Captain Art Halvorson. But Shuster took the threat seriously and raised nearly $3 million over the course of the cycle. Halvorson raised a total of $261,000, and $175,000 came in the form of candidate loans. It should be an early night here. Race rating: Safe Republican
13th District (open): State Rep. Brendan Boyle is the front-runner in this Philadelphia-area district. But ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies is also running. If she wins, it will likely have to do with the fact that an old friend – and in-law – by the name of Bill Clinton campaigned on her behalf. The Democratic nomination in this race to replace Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz will likely determine her successor. Race rating: Safe Democrat
Idaho – Polls close at 11 p.m. EST
Idaho 2nd District: The nuclear war between the tea party and Boehner’s inner circle was supposed to come down to this district on this night. Attorney Bryan Smith earned endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund. But even operatives who would like to see Smith win say this race is Rep. Mike Simpson’s to lose. Race rating: Safe Republican
Arkansas – Polls close at 8:30 p.m. EST
2nd District (open): Banker French Hill is expected to defeat state Rep. Ann Clemmer in the Republican primary — an open seat thanks to GOP Rep. Tim Griffin’s bid for lieutenant governor. While Clemmer is an elected official, Republican operatives say Hill’s cash advantage makes him the favorite on Tuesday. Whoever emerges from that primary will face former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Race rating: Leans Republican
4th District (open):
State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman faces a tough Republican primary against energy executive Tommy Moll in the race to replace Rep. Tom Cotton, who is running for Senate. Westerman went into the primary with $83,000 in cash on hand to Moll’s $345,000. GOP operatives say Westerman’s leadership role in the legislature makes him a known quantity in the district and could help him emerge victorious Tuesday. The winner faces James Lee Witt, a Democrat who served as FEMA director under President Bill Clinton. Race rating: Safe Republican
Oregon – Polls close at 11 p.m. EST
Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby and state Rep. Jason Conger face off in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley. This is not among the top tier of Senate races this cycle, but it could enter the limelight, especially if Wehby wins. Oregon recently announced it would abandon it’s state-run exchange, potentially putting health care at the forefront. Still, Oregon remains a solidly Democratic state and opposition research on Wehby is already flying. Race rating: Safe Democrat