Another Day, Another Primary

Another Day, Another Primary

Another Day, Another Primary

Well, to be accurate, two state primaries and a run-off. Once again, the media is touting how history was made. Florida’s Democratic voters chose Andrew Gillum as their gubernatorial candidate. This marks the first time a major party in the state has selected an African-American to run for governor. Oklahoma Republicans chose a political newcomer in their primary to face off against the state’s former attorney general for governor. In what may have been the most watched race of the night, Sheriff Joe Arpaio placed a distant third in Arizona’s Senate primary. But there’s more, much more, to what happened last night. One question remains. Where is the much talked about Blue Wave?

In Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin (R) reached the state’s term limit. That left the governor’s mansion open. In yesterday’s run-off, former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett faced off against businessman Kevin Stitt. Stitt, a newcomer to politics, ran a self-funded campaign and can be seen as an upset winner. In the June primary, Cornett received slightly less than 5% more of the vote than Stitt. Yesterday’s vote saw Stitt winning by more than 27,000 votes or approximately 10%. Oklahoma looks to have its own version of the 2016 presidential election ahead of it. A seasoned political veteran vs the businessman. Who will win?

Other Oklahoma results saw Trump supporter Kevin Hern, also a businessman, defeating Tulsa County DA Tim Harris in the Republican run-off for District 1. Hern will face off against Democrat Tim Gilpin. This is a heavily Republican seat and Hern should have no trouble winning the election.

Next up, Arizona. Senator Jeff Flake (R) did not seek re-election, leaving that seat up for grab and a possible drop in the so-called Blue Wave. In the Republican primary, Representative Martha McSally faced off against, among others, Trump supporters Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio. McSally easily won with 52.2% of vote. Ward, a former state senator, captured 28.3% of the vote, leaving Arpaio with only 19.5%. McSally will face off against Krysten Sinema, a centrist Democrat, in the general election. Vote tallies in the two primaries are relatively close. Sinema received approximately 55,000 more votes than McSally (with 55% of the precincts reporting in so far). However, Republicans cast more than 90,000 more votes in the Senate race than Democrats did.

Governor Doug Ducey (R) easily won his primary and will face off against Democrat David Garcia. Total vote breakdown by party is very similar to that seen in the Senate race. However, Ducey received close to twice as many votes as his Democratic counterpart. Unless the Dems manage to pull a rabbit out of their hat in November, Ducey should easily win re-election.

Arizona also has nine U.S. House seats up for grabs in November. In those primaries, District 7 will go Democrat simply because there doesn’t appear to have been a Republican candidate on the ballot. As for the rest, four Republican incumbents will face off against Democratic opponents in November. Three Democratic incumbents won their primaries. Again, unless things radically change, where is the blue wave in Arizona, at least where the U. S. House is concerned?

Gillum with Son
(COLIN HACKLEY | Special to the Times)

And now we get to Florida’s primary. If you pick up a paper or turn on the news or check the internet for results, you’ll see how Florida made history with Andrew Gillum’s win in the Democratic primary for the governor’s mansion. He made history because he is the first African-American to be selected by a major party in the state to run for that office. Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, narrowly defeated Gwen Graham and will face off against Republican Ron DeSantis in November. However, what is buried is the real lede in the story.

Gillum is also a “progressive”. How progressive? Let’s say Bernie Sanders is thrilled he won the election.

Sanders did more than just tweet about Gillum’s win. He “officially endorsed” him and came to Florida to campaign for him. Hmmm, sound familiar? Sanders also said, “What has made Andrew’s campaign so powerful is that he’s not just working hard to win an election, he has laid out a vision for a new course for the state of Florida and our country. No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own. Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That’s what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum is helping to lead it.”

Then there’s this: “Mr. Gillum’s narrow defeat of the former congresswoman Gwen Graham, the front-runner, represented one of the most significant upsets of the primary season and a major victory for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

Yesterday, Marta Hernandez wrote the excellent piece, “Is the Republican Party Dead?”. The Democrats, at least those not on the far left, should be asking the same question of their own party. Not that they have anyone but themselves to blame. The DNC has allowed people like Sanders, who are not Democrats, to run on the Democratic ticket. That gives them a legitimacy they might not have otherwise. The result? Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Cynthia Nixon running for New York governor and others. Will Gillum fall into this category as well? Only time will tell—as will the November elections.

Let’s not forget the Republican nominee in all the “history making” talk surrounding Gillum.

In other primary races, Senator Bill Nelson (D) didn’t face an opponent. On the Republican side, Rick Scott won with more than 1,450,000 votes cast in his favor. That is nearly as many votes as were cast in the entire Democratic gubernatorial primary. In the various U. S. House primaries, in all but two races where both Democrats and Republicans had candidates on the ballot, Republican winners received more votes than their Democratic counterparts. One race to watch is that District 27. Donna Shalala, former Clinton Health and Human Services chief, will face Maria Salazar (R) in the general election (assuming Shalala doesn’t go to a run-off).

Once again, there was no clear Blue Wave. Some Trump supporters won and others lost. Some progressive Democrats (read Bernie Socialists) won and others lost. The only thing clear at this point is that both major parties are going to be scrambling to convince voters to pick their candidates. The only sure way to prevent the Blue Wave from being more than a ripple is for Conservatives to get out and vote on all levels, local, state and national. Don’t assume your spouse, your kids or your neighbors will do it for you.

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  • Dave says:

    My first thought on the Gillum win over Graham was a (very?) sarcastic headline of “Democrats allow another black man to beat a white woman.” Apparently, my sarcasm isn’t…

    From ScrappleFace:
    Must Democrats Back Florida Man Who Beat Woman?
    (2018-08-29) — The Democratic National Committee sequestered itself behind closed doors this morning to debate the proper reaction to Tuesday’s drubbing of a woman by a man in the Florida primary for governor.

  • Amanda, as an Arizonan, I was about to chide you for characterizing Sinema as a “centrist.” On reflection, though, I cannot. She is only slightly left of Lenin, and you can see a sliver of daylight between her and Fidel (at least right now). That is a centrist Democrat these days.

    Btw, thanks a lot for adding yet another blog to my daily list of distractions!

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