The Associated Press calls the race for veteran and businessman John James. He will face off against incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who is currently favored to win re-election in November.
The Associated Press and the New York Times have called Michigan’s Democratic gubernatorial primary for former lawmaker and prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer.
“Congratulations to Gretchen Whitmer on winning the Democratic nomination for governor in Michigan,” said Democratic Governors Association Chair Gov. Jay Inslee. “Michigan is one of the DGA’s top targets for pickup this cycle, and Gretchen is a terrific candidate. Gretchen Whitmer knows how to get things done to make a difference in people’s lives. She worked across the aisle to help expand Medicaid coverage to more than 680,000 Michiganders, and has concrete plans to fix Michigan’s roads and improve its education system. She’s the right person to bring change to Michigan this November.”
“Gretchen Whitmer will work every day to make sure Michiganders lives improve, and that’s why she’s going to be a great governor,” said Democratic Governors Association Vice Chair Gina Raimondo.“She’s relentless when it comes to finding a solution. Whether it’s fixing Michigan’s roads and bridges, fighting for universal preschool and debt-free community college, or cleaning up Michigan’s drinking water, Gretchen will get it done. Gretchen Whitmer is one of the great Democratic female candidates who will help make 2018 the year of the woman governor.”
CNN projects the Missouri Attorney General will face off against incumbent Democratic senator Claire McCaskill in what will probably be one of the most competitive Senate races of the cycle.
All times are PST.
4:58 p.m. The last of the early vote counts from the Ohio 12th Congressional District are in, and Democrat Danny O’Connor is up by a landslide. He can’t pop the champagne yet, because Election Day ballots are still being counted.
5:00 p.m. Polls close in Kansas and Missouri. Ballot counting begins.
5:06 p.m. Absentee vote numbers from Ohio:
5:13 p.m. Update from Columbus Dispatch public affairs editor Darrel Rowland:
5:19 p.m. From Ohio governor John Kasich’s political strategist
5:35 p.m. Interesting observation on the urban/rural political divide pointed out by respected political journalist/pundit Ron Brownstein:
5:48 p.m. The Cook Political Report announces its projections for both primaries in the Michigan governor’s race. No call from the AP or any other news organizations yet.
5:56 p.m. Finished numbers are in from Marion County, Ohio:
5:58 p.m. Reaction to the Marion County numbers from Danny O’Connor’s pollster:
6:00 p.m. 32 percent of precincts reporting in Ohio’s 12th congressional district. Per MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, the question of the night in this race will be if Troy Balderson can chip away at Danny O’Connor’s lead from early voting and come out ahead on the basis of Election Day votes?
6:05 p.m. Outside group American Bridge just dropped its first general election ad against Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette
6:07 p.m. Updated take on the Ohio numbers from The Economist’s G. Elliott Morris:
6:10 p.m. Half of the votes are in in Ohio, Balderson keeps chipping away at O’Connor’s lead.
6:14 p.m. 59 percent of the Ohio 12th district vote in and Balderson has cut O’Connor’s lead down to almost 2,400 votes, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.
6:17 p.m. All of the votes from Morrow County, Ohio are in.
6:19 p.m. Balderson takes the lead for the first time with 66 percent of the vote in.
6:26 p.m. In the Kansas GOP gubernatorial primary, with 310 out of 3539 precincts reporting, Jeff Colyer has a 41-38 lead over Kris Kobach, but the night is still young.
6:29 p.m. With 75 percent of precincts reporting in Ohio, O’Connor has taken a razor-thin 593-vote lead.
6:38 p.m. Quick take from Columbus Dispatch political reporter Jim Siegel:
6:39 p.m. With 84 percent of precincts reporting, O’Connor has expanded his lead to 1,338 votes. According to the Secretary of State’s office, 90 precincts are still outstanding.
6:46 p.m. 84 percent of precincts reporting and O’Connor’s lead has shrunk to 155 votes.
7:00 p.m. 90 percent of precincts reporting and O’Connor has retaken the lead by 201 votes. 55 precincts are still outstanding.
7:17 p.m. 98 percent of precincts reporting and Balderson has taken a 1,685 vote lead. Barring any dramatic surprises in the final two precincts and provisional ballots, it looks like Balderson has it in the bag. Keep in mind, this battle is not over. Balderson and O’Connor will face off AGAIN in the November general election for a full two-year term.
7:25 p.m. Per CNN, GOP outside groups outspent their Democratic counterparts in this race by a 5:1 margin.
7:42 p.m. CNN still lists the Ohio 12th district race as too close to call. Per Danny O’Connor’s pollster, it looks like they’re going to a recount (i.e. call the lawyers):
7:46 p.m. In Missouri, Proposition A (Right to Work) is losing badly, 62-37.
8:01 p.m. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Proposition A is losing 63-37 with 50 percent of precincts reporting. Votes are still being counted, but the Missouri Democratic Party has already declared victory.
Today is the last special election of 2018 before the general election. Being an R+7 district, it should be a safely Republican seat, but as has been the case nationwide in other elections, Democrats are more enthusiastic and Democratic candidates are overperforming in districts and states where they haven’t, historically. This district, which includes many of the state capital’s suburbs, hasn’t elected a Democrat to the House of Representatives since 1980. Donald Trump came to campaign on behalf of Republican Troy Balderson, though Ohio governor John Kasich – a longtime foil and critic – raised questions as to whether the President was invited or if he invited himself.
The final poll of the race before Election Day had Democrat Danny O’Connor up by one point, with seven percent undecided. One finding from this poll to keep an eye on: independents support O’Connor 56-28, a 2-to-1 margin. O’Connor also leads among voters who are more excited and paying more attention to the election. If these poll numbers are correct, it means he is surging at just the right time as the race is winding down. However, one caveat worth noting that was first pointed out by NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald: this poll does not include Green Party candidate Joe Manchik, who got 3.6 percent of the vote in 2016.
Democrat heavy hitters are coming into the district for a last-minute push on O’Connor’s behalf. Former vice president Joe Biden recorded a robocall, while Alabama senator Doug Jones sent out an email to his supporters urging them to make last-minute donations to the O’Connor campaign.
The early vote numbers for Democratic-heavy Franklin County are in. Without making any formal conclusions yet until other ballots are counted, the numbers are looking good for O’Connor:
And as if all that isn’t enough to make Election Day interesting, Balderson made what can only be described as a last-minute gaffe that Democrats are aggressively pushing:
Why does this matter? The district, which is mostly rural, includes a geographically small part of Franklin County – home of the state capital and Ohio State University – within its boundaries, which is the suburbs north of Columbus. According to the Washington Post, “a bit less than a third of the vote” in today’s election is expected to come from Franklin County.
No political strategist in his or her right mind would tell a candidate that writing off or dismissing any part of the district the candidate is seeking to represent, let alone one that could account for as much as one third of potential voters, is a winning message.
Conventional wisdom on this race is that it is unnecessarily close for a historically safe Republican district in congressional and presidential races. If O’Connor wins tonight, it will be considered another sign of a potential blue tsunami on Election Day, in addition to cutting by one the number of seats needed to flip the House of Representatives. If Balderson manages a narrow single-digit victory, Republicans will breathe a sigh of relief while Democrats will feel pretty good for coming close, but it will be another moral victory in a string of special election losses since 2017. (For the record, Democrats have won two out of ten special elections in that period – the two victories being Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race and Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district)
Polls close at 7:30 EST/6:30 CST.
Here’s a fascinating look at how the politics of health care have shifted dramatically since the 2010 election when Republicans rode it to electoral victory.
Karl Dean, the former mayor of Nashville who is now the Democratic nominee in the Tennessee governor’s race, sent out an email urging supporters to support Medicaid expansion in the state, noting “We lost millions of dollars — federal funding paid for by our own taxes — that went to other states instead. We missed out on years of health care coverage for almost half a million uninsured Tennesseans and had several of our hospitals close.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed and recorded a robocall on behalf of Haley Stevens, who is running for the Democratic nomination in Michigan’s 11th congressional district. Stevens, the former chief of staff for President Barack Obama’s Auto Task Force in the Treasury Department and a veteran of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, is one of six Democrats vying for the party’s nomination in tomorrow’s primary. The winner will face off against the Republican nominee in November to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Dave Trott.
The transcript of the robocall:
“Hello, this is Hillary Clinton and I’m calling to encourage you to cast your vote on Tuesday for a fresh, new Michigan leader, Haley Stevens. Haley served as the chief of staff to the Auto Rescue, she helped save 200,000 Michigan jobs, and she knows how to support Michigan’s advanced manufacturing economy, especially through training opportunities. I’ve seen Haley in action. We can count on her to protect the gains we’ve made with Obamacare. So please, vote for Haley Stevens, on Tuesday. Thank you, very much.”
This is Clinton’s first primary endorsement of a candidate in the runup to the midterms, who has generally kept a low profile since the 2016 election. Larry Sabato and the Cook Political Report both rank the race as a toss-up.
Tennessee held its primary election, where much of the attention was focused on the two statewide races that will be on the ballot in the fall.
GOVERNOR: Former Nashville mayor Karl Dean won the Democratic nomination, beating House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh by a whopping 56 points. He will face businessman and political outsider Bill Lee, a dark horse candidate who beat Rep. Diane Black and businessman Randy Boyd.
The Republican race showed that money, connections and experience aren’t enough to guarantee victory. According to the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Black is the fifth House Republican in this cycle to run for statewide office and lose in the primary. She spent $10 million of her own money on the race, was endorsed by Vice President Mike Pence and finished in a lackluster third place. Boyd spent $19 million of his own money on the race and finished a distant second.
SENATE: As expected, former governor Phil Bredesen and Rep. Marsha Blackburn won their respective parties’ nominations to compete for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Bob Corker. It would normally be a safely Republican seat, but because of the political climate, the choice of candidates, and the fact that it is an open seat, Tennessee will be one of the Democrats’ top opportunities to gain a seat in the U.S. Senate in an election cycle where the map favors Republicans. According to the most recent poll of this race taken in mid-July by Emerson College, Bredesen leads Blackburn 43-37. Tennessee could potentially determine control of the United States Senate in November, so expect a lot of money and media attention on this race during the next three months.
The liberal sleeping giant has woken, according to fundraising figures for online fundraising platform ActBlue that the organization shared with USA Today. This week, ActBlue blew past the $1 billion barrier in contributions for this cycle that it collects on behalf of Democratic candidates and organizations, with three months to go before Election Day.
To put that figure into perspective, it took ActBlue almost 12 years to raise its first $1 billion. ActBlue matched that feat in 19 months since the beginning of Donald J. Trump’s presidency in January of 2017. The average donation for this cycle has been $34. The group expects donations to exceed $1.5 billion by the end of the year, which was twice the amount the organization raised during the 2016 election cycle.
“Small-dollar donors are funding the resistance,” ActBlue executive director Erin Hill told USA Today. “People initially said: ‘This can’t be sustained,’ but it very much is.”
Michigan voters will determine whether or not to create an independent redistricting commission this November, after a 4-3 state supreme court ruling allowed the measure to appear on the ballot. The majority ruling, by Democrat-nominated justices Richard Bernstein and Bridget McCormack joined by Republican-nominated justices David Viviano and Elizabeth Clement, allowed the measure under the condition that “if it proposes changes that do not significantly alter or abolish the form or structure of the government in a manner equivalent to creating a new constitution.”
According to MLive, “The court’s majority decision concurred with a unanimous decision from the state Court of Appeals, which compelled the Michigan Board of State Canvassers to place the Voters not Politicians measure on the ballot after determining the initiative passed constitutional muster.”
If approved, Proposal 2 would amend Michigan’s constitution to create a 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission made up of five independents, four Republicans and four Democrats, with conditions on who can serve on the commission in order to separate it from the political process. The commission would be in place in time for the next redistricting following the 2020 census.
The anti-gerrymandering proposal was created by Voters Not Politicians, a statewide organization that collected more than 427,000 signatures from Michigan voters. Redistricting has been controlled by Republicans since the last census in 2011. The proposal had been opposed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Republican Party, and Attorney General and likely Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette.
“The court’s decision upholds our right as citizens to petition our government for positive change,” VNP founder and executive director Katie Fahey said in a statement. “Michigan voters are ready for a transparent redistricting process, where election district lines represent the people – not special interests. It’s time voters choose their politicians, not the other way around.”
National Democratic Redistricting Committee chairman Eric Holder tweeted, “This is a big win. Citizens will choose their representatives, politicians will not pick their voters – if the ballot measure is passed.”
There may be some political fallout for Justice Clement, who is on the ballot for re-election this year and could lose funding or support from the state’s Republican Party, according to the Detroit Free Press. According to the paper, Clement – who had previously served as Gov. Rick Snyder’s chief legal counsel – had no prior judicial experience or judicial record prior to her appointment to the Michigan Supreme Court.