2018 Elections: Aftermath of Tuesday Primaries and Special Election

Update 23:45: The Ohio 12 special election results have changes and the gap between the two candidates has narrowed to 1564 votes. From the Cincinnati Enquirer, this is what to expect:

  • 1,564: Balderson’s margin of victory in the unofficial, final results Tuesday
  • 3,435: The number of provisional ballots to be counted. These include people who cast ballots but whose identity or eligibility to vote could not be immediately confirmed.
  • 5,048: The number of absentee ballots to be counted. These include ballots sent by mail last-minute.
  • Aug. 18: The date Ohio election officials will start counting these ballots
  • Aug. 24: The deadline to complete counting those ballots
  • 0.5 percent: That’s how close the vote would need to be to trigger an automatic recount.
  • 1 percent: That’s how close the vote would need to be for a candidate to challenge the results.
  • 0.86 percent: Balderson’s current margin of victory in the unofficial, final results.
  • Roughly 60 percent: The percentage of uncounted votes O’Connor must win to win the election. But even then, there would be a recount.

There really weren’t too many surprises coming out of Tuesday’s primaries in four states and the special election in Ohio. In the special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district the race is too close to call. This election should have been a slam dunk for republicans who have held the solid red district since 1980. The vacancy was created when the GOP representative resigned to become a lobbyist. As the results stand now the Republican candidate, Troy Balderson has a 0.09% lead (1754 votes) over Democratic candidate Dan O’Connor. According to the Ohio secretary of state there are over 8,000 provisional and absentee ballots yet to be counted, far more than Balderson’s 1754 vote lead. Should the margin of victory for either candidate be less than a 0.5% margin, a recount is automatically triggered. The state has a 10 day window to count those votes. However, regardless, of the outcome of this race, the candidates will face off again in November.

We move to the state of Missouri were there were not only primaries but a ballot referendum. Votes overwhelmingly overturnd the state’s Right to Work law passed in 2017 handing unions a huge victory in a deep red state.

The Missouri vote marked a major victory for unions in an era replete with bad signs for organized labor. Union membership levels have declined for decades, and the ascendance of anti-union politicians across the country has handed unions legislative defeat after legislative defeat.
President Donald Trump’s election solidified the trend on the national level, with Trump making his mark on the National Labor Relations Board and appointing a slew of pro-business judges to federal courts. And the Supreme Court, in one of the most watched cases from its recent term, overturned a ruling from the 1970s that required public employees who received the benefits of unions to pay dues for nonpolitical work of the unions — a potentially major blow to public sector unions.

The AFL-CIO and other major labor groups had set their hopes and considerable resources on the effort to overturn Missouri’s law by winning a “no” vote for Proposition A.

They also outed the Ferguson prosecutor who refused to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown

With the vote counted from all precincts, the county reported Wesley Bell with a 57 percent to 43 percent victory over 67-year-old Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary. No Republicans were on the ballot, making Bell all but certain to win in November.

Bell, 43, is an attorney and former municipal judge and prosecutor. He was elected councilman in 2015 as protests continued to rage over Brown’s death.

Over in Kansas, the race for the Republican governor nomination is undecided.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican endorsed by President Donald Trump, narrowly leads incumbent GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer by just 191 votes in Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary.

As of Wednesday morning, and with 100 percent of precincts counted, Kobach had 126,257 votes, or 41 percent, and Colyer had 126,066 votes, or 41 percent.

The tight results, however, do not include provisional ballots or mail-in ballots that were postmarked Tuesday.

As of Wednesday morning, there were between 8,000 and 10,000 provisional ballots left to be counted, said Bryan Caskey, Kansas’ state director of elections. Caskey said those ballots wouldn’t be counted until Monday, at the earliest, when county officials begin meeting to certify election results.

The very bizarre part of this is Kobach has refused to recuse himself from overseeing the counting of the provisional ballots and a possible recount. Kansas doesn’t have an automatic recount law

It’s up to Colyer and Kobach. Kansas doesn’t have an automatic recount, but a candidate, registered voter, or election officials can initiate a recount by asking for one. If the margin in a statewide race is less than 0.5 percent, as it is in this case, the state will pay for it.

So far, neither candidate has announced that he’ll ask for a recount.

According to Kansas law, the county board of canvassers can initiate a recount if it “shall determine that there are manifest errors appearing on the face of the poll books of any election board.” Candidates can request a recount in one or all districts that are relevant to their office, and registered voters can do the same, according to Kansas State Law.

If a losing candidate triggers the recount and the margin between them and the opponent is less than 0.5 percent, the county or state pays for the recount. The candidate also doesn’t have to pay if the recount alters the outcome of the election.

In the Wolverine State of Michigan, the governor, Rick Snyder, is retiring over his unpopularity due to the Flint water crisis. The current Lt. Gov. Brian Calley was handily defeated by the state’s Attorney General Bill Schuette 50% to 25%. There were two other contenders on the ballot. Schuette will face a Democratic woman, Gretchen Whitmer, who beat two male candidates Cook Political Report thinks the governor’s race is a toss-up.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, who had no challenger, will face black business executive and veteran John James in November. James, one of the few black Republicans in big races this year, won by 10 points over his opponent business executive/Yale and Harvard economist Sandy Pensler. Stabenow has little to worry about, Cook puts this in the Likely Democratic camp.

In the race to replace disgraced Rep. John Conyers, the Democrats voted for a Muslim woman, that had some really weird twists

Thanks to a strange state election law quirk, both a black women and a Muslim woman were elected to replace him in an oddball election split.

In the regular Democratic primary election, Rashida Tlaib narrowly edged out Brenda Jones, the Detroit City Council president, in the Michigan 13th’s special and regular Democratic primary elections to replace him on Tuesday. But in the special election, to complete the rest of Conyers’s current term, Jones won. Tlaib will therefore not take office until January, while Jones will serve for a few months after an expected win in the general later this year.

They both beat Ian Conyers, a state senator and the outgoing Conyers’s great-nephew. So by proxy, the Conyers family loses.

I’m still scratching my head over this one. Michigan is high on the DNC list of House seats that they have listed as Red to Blue. We’ll be watching these races closely.

Jumping over to Washington’s 3rd congressional district, two women, one Democrat and one Republican, incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Washington State University professor Carolyn Long, will be on the November ballot in this normally solid red district that Democrats hope to flip. While the district went for Donald Trump by 8 points in 2016, Cook Political Report downgraded the district from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. While the district went for Donald Trump by 8 points in 2016, Cook Political Report downgraded the district from Solid Republican to Likely Republican this past spring.

In WA-5, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-highest ranked Republican in the House, is facing one of the toughest reelection fights of her career. She was challenged by Democratic former state Senate majority leader Lisa Brown. The race was close with Rogers barely edging out Brown by 175 votes. This would be quite an upset if Brown wins in November. The Cook Political Report has moved the eastern Washington district from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.

I’ll be traveling again next week but we will most likely be posting the results for the Connecticut , Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin primaries next Wednesday night.