In the triad of Midwestern primaries today, the biggest news was probably in Michigan, where labor stalwart Virg Bernero handily defeated House Speaker Andy Dillon for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, while “one tough nerd,” former Gateway exec Rick Snyder, defeated self-identified True Conservatives Mike Cox and Peter Hoekstra for the Republican nomination.
Meanwhile, in KS, in the conservative cage match for the Republican Senate nomination, as of this writing Jerry Moran holds a narrow lead over Todd Tiahrt, and is likely to hold on for the win.
In the rich assortment of House primaries, one incumbent, MI Democrat Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (mother and political victim of former Detroit mayor and now prison inmate Kwame Kilpatrick), has lost to state senator Hansen Clarke.
In the MI gubernatorial primary, Virg Bernero won virtually all of the higher-population Democratic areas, with narrow but consistent wins in the Detroit metro area (Andy Dillon’s base), and big margins in labor-dominated counties outside Detroit.
On the Republican side, Hoekstra won in his Western Michigan base, but Snyder won nearly everywhere else, with Cox finishing behind him in their common base region of the Detroit metro area. It’s unclear at this point if Snyder’s late effort to encourage Democratic crossover votes was a major factor, but it’s likely that he won a plurality of the Republican vote anyway.
In the KS GOP Senate race, Moran won his district, and Tiahrt won his, and they are surprisingly close in the vote-rich KC suburban 3d District. But Moran seems to have more voters in his district, and is probably going to pull out the win.
In the MO Senate primary, Roy Blunt destroyed Tea Party activist Chuck Purgason by a 71-13 margin.
Aside from Kilpatrick’s loss in MI, Sandy Levin easily held onto his own House seat. Among Republicans, Dan Beneshiak has a narrow lead over Jason Allen in Bart Stupak’s old UP-centered district; Club for Growth favorite Justin Amash won handily in the 3d District Western Michigan open seat; in southern Michigan’s 7th district, Tim Walberg won a rematch with freshman Democrat Mark Schauer; and in the Detroit-suburb 9th district, Rocky Raczkowski won the nomination to face another freshman Dem, Gary Peters.
In MO, the big GOP House primary was in the 4th District, to choose an opponent for House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton. Religious Right activist Vicki Hartzler beat front-runner Bill Stouffer 40-30 for the Republican nod.
And in KS’s 3d District, a vulnerable Democratic open seat, heavily funded establishment candidate Kevin Yoder beat conservative activist Patricia Lightner by a 45-37 margin, and will face Democrat Stephene Moore, wife of retiring incumbent Dennis Moore, in November.
WEDNESDAY AM UPDATE:
Last night’s report focused on contests expected to be competitive in November. But there were several House primaries in Republican-held open seats that are worth mentioning.
In MI-2, Pete Hoekstra’s western Michigan district, former state rep. (and former Hoekstra staffer) Bill Huizenga upset ex-NFL player Jay Riemersma by 660 votes. Huizenga appears to have gotten some traction with charges that Riemersma (who outspent the field significantly) violated campaign finance laws.
In MI-3, where Rep. Vern Ehlers is retiring, state rep. Justin Amash, a Club for Growth candidate with significant Tea Party backing, handily defeated former county commissioner Steve Heacock (Elhers’ choice) and state senator Bill Hardiman.
In central-western KS-1, where incumbent Jerry Moran is running for the U.S. Senate, state senator Tim Huelskamp used a significant financial advantage (including Club for Growth backing) to comfortably win the nomination over fellow state senator Jim Barnett and realtor Tracey Mann (who gained fame for publicly embracing “birther” views late in the campaign).
In Wichita-based KS-4, where Todd Tiahrt also ran for the Senate, still another Club for Growth endorsee, RNC member Mike Pompeo, beat pro-choice state senator Jean Schodorf and oil executive Wink Hartman, after a contest dominated by Pompeo-Hartman crossfire.
And in MO-7, represented by GOP Senate nominee Roy Blunt, auctioneer and first-time candidate Billy Long, who managed to win endorsements from the state’s powerful right-to-life lobby and from Mike Huckabee, defeated state senator Jack Goodman in a crowded field.
A couple of notes on late results: In MI-1, Bart Stupak’s seat, the Republican nomination contest is almost certainly headed to a recount, with Dr. Dan Benishek leading state senator Jason Allen by either 1 or 12 votes, depending on which elections report you follow.
And in KS, Jerry Moran did indeed hold on to defeat Todd Tiahrt by a 50-45 margin.
In the comments thread, several readers drew attention to the vote on Proposition C in Missouri, a controversial referendum on a state law that seeks to block implementation of an individual mandate to purchase health insurance, a key element of “ObamaCare.” I didn’t mention it last night because it was largely a symbolic measure (unless you think the federal courts are going to invalidate the Supremacy Clause), subordinate to separate legal efforts to challenge the constitutionality of health care mandates. As a political matter, the 71% vote for Prop C will get some national attention, but it should be noted that (using the Senate vote as a measure) Republicans dominated Missouri primary turnout by a 2-1 margin.
And in reference to another topic discussed in the comments thread, I’ll be making an effort over the next couple of days to assess the crossover vote for Rick Snyder in the MI governor’s race.