2018 Elections: Four State Primaries

Four states are holding primaries today: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Connecticut: Governor Danal Malloy (D) is retiring after two terms. The Republicans are looking for a win here due to Malloy’s unpopularity. There are five candidates for the nomination Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton; former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst; Steve Obsitnik; Bob Stefanowski; and David Stemerman. There are two Democrats vying for that nomination: former 2006 Senatorial nominee Ned Lamont; and current Bridgeport mayor and felon Joe Ganim.

Cook Political Report has this race a toss-up.

The only open House seat is CT-5 which was vacated when Rep. Elizabeth Etsy (D) retired. The Democratic contenders are Mary Glassman, a former candidate for lieutenant governor; and Jahana Hayes, the 2016 Teacher of the Year. In a rare move, the US Chamber of Commerce jumped into this race to back Glassman. Polls have Hayes with the lead.If nominated and elected Hayes would be the first black woman to represent Connecticut in the House.

Republicans will pick one of four underfunded candidates: Ruby Corby-O’Neill; Rich DuPont; and Manny Santos.

Cook Political Report has CT-5 Safe Democratic.

Senator Chris Murphy (D) will face one of these two Republicans in November: Matthew Corey or Dominic Rapini. Murphy’s seat is considered safe for the Democrats.

Polls close at 8 p.m. ET. First results are expected around 8:25 p.m. ET.

Minnesota: There are a couple of important races in this state. First, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton announced his retirement after two terms, so this is an open seat that Cook Political rates a toss-up. There are four Democrats running for the nomination: US Rep. Tim Walz; state Rep. Erin Murphy; state Attorney General Lori Swanson; Ole Savior; and Tim Holden. Polls have Swanson with the edge.

There are three candidates for the Republican nomination: Gov. former one term governor Tim Pawlenty; former state Rep. Jeff Johnson, who ran for governor unsuccessfully in 2014; and Matthew Kruse.

Both Senate seats are on the ballot because of Sen. Al Franken’s resignation. Sen. Tina Smith, Minnesota’s the former lieutenant governor whom Dayton appointed has four challengers: Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in George W. Bush’s White House; Ali Ali; Greg Iverson; Nick Leonard; and Christopher Seymore.

The winner of the special election will face one of these three Republican in November: dental technician Bob Anderson; Nikolay Bey and State Sen. Karin Hously.

Cook has this seat rated as likely Democratic.

Senator Amy Klobuchar has four challengers to here seat but has little to worry about. She will most likely be renominated. She will face on of four Republicans with little name recognition. Cook has her seat as solid Democratic.

The race for State Attorney General Lori Swanson’s seat has four Democratic candidates and three Republicans. The Democrats are; DNC vice chair Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5); former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley; state Rep. Debra Hilstrom; attorney and former state Supreme Court clerk Matt Pelikan; and former state Commissioner of Commerce Mike Rothman. On the Republican side are: former state Rep. Doug Wardlow; Sharon Anderson; and former state Sen. Robert Lessard. The Democrats are favored to hold seat which they have occupied since 1955.

There are three open House seats in the 1st, 5th and 8th. All currently held by Democrats who are running for other offices In the 1st District, three-time GOP candidate Jim Hagedorn is working to defeat state Sen. Carla Nelson; Democrat Dan Feehan has largely sewn up his party’s nomination. Cook rates this race a toss up.

In the 5th District, which covers Minneapolis, and where state legislator Ilhan Omar could become the second Muslim woman in Congress. She is being challenged by Patricia Torres Ray, the first Latina legislator elected in the state and Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a former state House speaker. The seat is solid Democrat.

In the 8th district, which went strongly for Trump and currently represented by Rick Nolan who is retiring to run with Swanson for lt. governor, Republican nominee Pete Stauber has piled up campaign funds against his sole challenger for the nomination. Democratic former state legislator Joe Radinovich, state legislator Jason Metsa and three other candidates are seeking to represent an area. The seat is rated a toss-up.

There are two other House seats which Cook has rates toss-up both held by Republicans, the 2nd and 3rd.

In the 3rd, current Rep. Jason Lewis, only in office sine 2017, is being challenged by openly LGBTQ former journalist and hospital executive Angie Craig, who has the DCCC’s backing. Neither have primary challengers so they will both be on the November ballot. This race has been on the front pages of Minnesota papers because of Lewis’ inflammatory comments made on his former right wing talk radio show.

He once complained about how it was no longer politically correct to call women “sluts,” equated LGBTQ people to “rapists” and other criminals, and said that “young single women” who vote to protect their access to birth control didn’t have brains.

This is a race to watch in November.

Over in the 2nd, member of House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Erik Paulson will face one of these two Democratic challengers distillery CEO and philanthropist Dean Phillips, who also has the backing of the DCCC or Cole Young. The problem for Paulson is the district went for Hillary Clinton and he voted for the repeal of Obamacare and the tax cuts. On the other hand, Phillips is what the Democratic base has been opposing. He is open about his wealth and promised to not self-fund or accept money from PACs. It has been reported that he is getting money from industries. The 3rd is still a race to watch in November.

Polls close at 9 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 9:15 p.m. ET.

Wisconsin: In the state that our friend Charlie Pierce has dubbed the “Koch Industries midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin”, Republican Gov. Scott Walker is seeking a third term. At one point there were 15 Democratic challengers. That has been pared down to eight with Tony Evers, the elected state superintendent of education, in the lead by double digits. While Cook has this race leaning Republican, polls show that Walker is vulnerable.

Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin is up for her first reelection. She will face one of five Republicans who are too busy fighting among themselves to be focused on Baldwin. She will most likely not have a problem securing a second term. Cook has the race as likely Democratic.

In WI House races the one that has taken center stage is WI-1 which is currently occupied by retiring Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. There are six contestants for the nomination but Ryan threw his support to attorney Bryan Steil who is favored to defeat a crowd that includes Paul Nehlen, who describes himself as “pro-white” and lost to Ryan in 2016. On the Democratic side, the lead is held by Randy “Ironstache” Bryce, a labor activist, who Ryan probably didn’t want to face, over Cathy Myers, a school board member. Cook rates the district an R-5, likely Republican but definitely in contention to flip in November.

Polls close at 9 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 9:15 p.m. ET.

Vermont: First term Republican Governor Phil Scott, the only Republican holding state-wide office, is strongly favored to be reelected. He faces a token Conservative challenger. The Democrats will decide a five-way primary where the most notable candidate is former chief executive of an energy co-op Christine Hallquist who is transgender. If nominated, Hallquist would be the first transgender nominee for governor in any state.

Up for reelection this year, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders is also on the Democratic primary ballot. Don’t expect to see him listed as a Democrat on the general election ballot. Sanders typically wins Vermont’s Democratic primaries but then renounces the nomination, ensuring he doesn’t have a Democratic opponent in the general election.

Polls close at 7 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 7:23 p.m. ET.