August 7 saw primary elections in 4 states and a very tight special election in Ohio. Voters in Michigan and Kansas chose their parties’ nominees for governor, and Missourians picked their choices for what will be one of the most closely watched Senate races this fall.
With Republican Governor Rick Snyder retiring, Michigan’s top elected office is up for grabs. Snyder has suffered mightily in approval due to the Flint water crisis, and President Trump’s approval ratings are also low in the Wolverine State. The state, which Donald Trump won in an upset victory in 2016, is still expected to be an interesting battleground site this fall.
There are a few precincts left to report, but former State Senator Gretchen Whitmer beat businessman Shri Thanedar and progressive favorite, Abdul El-Sayed. Whitmer carried 52.1% of the vote and every county, while El-Sayed took 30.3% of the vote and Thanedar, coming in last, took 17.6% of the vote. Now, Whitmer will look to break up the Republican trifecta that has lasted since Republicans won back the House and Governorship in 2010.
El-Sayed was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders and New York Congressional District candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Whitmer, meanwhile, brought in endorsements from a number of local politicians and unions, in addition to EMILY’s List, a PAC dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights.
Attorney General Bill Schuette emerged from Tuesday’s race victorious, garnering 50.8% of the vote against Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, State Senator Patrick Colbeck, and doctor Jim Hines. Calley, who was endorsed by Snyder, mustered only 25.2% of the vote and 3 counties in south-central Michigan. Colbeck received 13.1% and Hines received 11%.
Schuette received endorsements from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Calley received mainly local endorsements and Colbeck received an endorsement from Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Calley denounced Trump following the release of the Access Hollywood tapes and Schuette took advantage of that, branding himself as someone who will support the President’s agenda.
The Cook Political Report has given this race a Toss-up rating while Inside Elections gives it a Tilt Democratic rating.
After then-Governor Sam Brownback was narrowly confirmed to be the ambassador at large for international religious freedom in January, current Governor Jeff Colyer was tapped to take his place. Now, the incumbent Governor is currently losing by 191 votes to Secretary of State Kris Kobach in a contest that is too close to call. Over the next several days, mail-in ballots will be counted and there is a possibility there will be a recount. As it stands, Kobach has 126,257 votes for 40.6% of the total ballots counted, while Colyer has 126,066 for 40.5% of the total. Support for the candidates was spread out across the state, with each candidate winning similar amounts of counties.The only other candidate to win a county was 4th place finisher and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer. No candidate other than the front-runners garnered over 10% of the vote.
Kobach, who also headed President Trump’s voter fraud panel, was endorsed by the President on Monday in a last-minute show of support for the controversial candidate. This was a major blow to Colyer, as the two candidates spent much of the race trying to prove they were more in-line with Trump than the other. Kobach was also endorsed by Gun Owners of America. Colyer received endorsements from the National Rifle Association and former US Senate Majority Leader and former Presidential Candidate Bob Dole. Both were endorsed by pro-life group Kansas for Life.
The Democrats chose their nominee without much drama. State Senator Laura Kelly brought in 51.5 % of the vote and cruised to victory over former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Joshua Svaty, who took 20.1% and 17.5% of the vote, respectively. Kelly received broad support, while Brewer received most of this support from the Wichita area. Svaty won a number of counties in the north, but these were sparsely populated and a few saw less than 100 ballots cast.
Kelly ran heavily on education and ethics reform in the state, including adding a requirement that anyone in the state who lobbies the executive branch must register as a lobbyist, rather than just those who lobby the legislature or government agencies.
The Cook Political Report and Inside elections both give this race a Likely Republican rating.