The Democratic presidential primary can be effectively decided, but elections are still on the calendar. And Tuesday brings a handful of new contests, as well as some long-awaited results. There are competitive primary races in the Democratic Senate in Kentucky (which voted last Tuesday) and in Colorado. A governor's race in Utah. And the House of Representatives Republican primaries in Utah and Colorado, while the party chooses candidates to compete in highly competitive congresses in November. The results may take time, with many voters voting absent because of the coronavirus crisis.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky must know which Democratic opponent – Amy McGrath or Charles Booker – will embark on what is expected to be a well-funded, though long-term, attempt to overthrow him this fall. (Yes, we are getting results a week after the main day. These things take time.)Advertisement
Colorado is the top priority for Democrats trying to get states to retake the Senate. Will the party's favorite candidate, John Hickenlooper, the former governor, get out of his main race unscathed after a difficult month that rocked Democrats and encouraged Republicans?
Can you go home again? After being ambassador to Russia and China, Jon Huntsman Jr. wants to be governor of Utah again. Republican primary elections on Tuesday should say whether voters agree.
Finally, the results must come from Kentucky.
After a week of waiting, the complete results of the Democratic primary for the Senate in Kentucky are coming. Most of the votes of voters who attended the polls in person last Tuesday have already been counted, but municipalities have until 6 pm. local time on Tuesday to report official results, which will include many thousands of absent votes.
The Democratic Party (and McConnell) will find out whether McGrath, who at one point seemed to be floating for the nomination, faced an excited challenge from Booker, the state representative.
McGrath is a former fighter pilot who set up a war chest in excess of $ 41 million, largely because he was supported by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democratic leader. Booker drew a wave of support to his left, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
How much does it matter who wins this race? McConnell is the Democrats' main target, not so much because polls suggest he is particularly vulnerable, but because he is Mitch McConnell. History and polls suggest that he is likely to be re-elected in November, but McGrath's extraordinary fundraising and Booker's rapid rise during a period of increased political activism are testimonies to these very unusual and unpredictable times.
Democrats were hopeful about the Senate race in Colorado. It's been a little rocky.
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado is probably the most threatened Republican in the Senate: any way for Democrats to take control of the chamber begins in Colorado. Things were certainly looking up when the party persuaded Hickenlooper to enter the Senate race after he abandoned a long-term campaign for president.
But it was not that easy. On the one hand, Hickenlooper is facing a primary challenge from Andrew Romanoff, a former President of the Chamber of State who has attracted heavy financial support from liberal groups across the country who consider Hickenlooper too centrist.
On the other hand, Hickenlooper had a difficult month. His campaign was marked by mistakes and gaffes. He was scorned by the state ethics commission for challenging a subpoena to appear at a hearing because of a complaint against him and was found guilty of two ethics violations while he was governor of the state, for accepting a ride on a private jet and in a limo.
Research suggests that Hickenlooper is in a strong position to win on Tuesday – and that if he wins, he would be a formidable challenger for Gardner in the fall. But a closer-than-expected result could raise questions about Hickenlooper's courage in the general campaign and encourage Republicans who were inclined to turn their attention to other races.
For Huntsman, it's Beijing, Moscow and now … Salt Lake City?
In 2009, Huntsman, a Republican, stepped down as Utah governor to become ambassador to China – to President Barack Obama. In 2017, he became ambassador to Russia – for President Trump. In 2020, he wants to become governor again, now that Gary Herbert, a former vice governor who became governor when Huntsman went to China, is stepping down.
Utah is not exactly setting up the welcome mat. Huntsman is in a tough fight with Spencer Cox, the vice governor – who has the support of Herbert, who was prevented from running again for term limits. Huntsman may be more popular outside his party than inside him; he encouraged independents and Democrats to register as Republicans so they could vote for him on Tuesday.
And at home …
Republicans are choosing challengers from two seats in the House that they lost to Democrats in 2018 and intend to recover. These are privileged funding opportunities for Republicans: Trump conquered both districts in 2016.
The first is in Oklahoma, where there is a nine-way Republican primary for the opportunity to face Democratic representative Kendra Horn. She toppled Republican Steve Russell with just over 50% of the vote in 2018.
In Utah, there is a four-way Republican primary for the chance to challenge Rep. Ben McAdams, a Democrat, who defeated Mia Love, the Republican, by an even narrower margin in 2018.
New York results will have to wait another day.
Three closely watched races Last Tuesday's primary elections in New York will not be decided until tens of thousands of absent votes are counted, and that process will not begin until Wednesday, at the earliest, according to election officials.
In the 15th Congressional District of the Bronx, Ritchie Torres, a member of the City Council, leads a pack of seven Democrats and he could become the first openly gay black man to serve in Congress. The same applies to Mondaire Jones, a Harvard-trained lawyer who holds formidable leadership in the 17th district, located north of New York City, although some ballots absent in that district are not counted until July 7.
The bridge between the two is the 16th District, in which political newcomer Jamaal Bowman, director of Yonkers High School, is leading Representative Eliot L. Engel, a longtime holder, in a four-way Democratic primary. Bowman has already claimed victory, although Engel – who serves as chairman of the Chamber's Foreign Affairs Committee – says he wants all votes to be counted.
Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.