Mostly Landslides

Tuesday’s May 24 primaries produced results in five states and, for the most part, we didn’t see the same type of tight finishes that occurred last week.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74% in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the Governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22% vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Mr. Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with over 68% of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96% of the 713,000+ Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31% victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing Ms. McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Late polling missed the Secretary of State’s race. It appeared that US Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro) would force incumbent Brad Raffensperger into a runoff, but such did not happen as the latter man topped 52%, and won outright the Republican nomination. This result, too, was relatively strong as Mr. Raffensperger carried virtually every county that was outside of Rep. Hice’s congressional district.

In the two open GOP congressional districts, June 21st runoffs will occur for both. In the 6th District, physician and 7th District 2020 GOP nominee Rich McCormick (43.2%) and former state Ethics Commission chairman Jake Evans (23.0%), who both former President Trump and ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed, advance to the secondary election.

In Rep. Hice’s open 10th CD, trucking company owner and son of the late Congressman Mac Collins, Mike Collins (25.6%), and former DeKalb County Executive Vernon Jones (21.6%), who Mr. Trump supports, move onto the June 21st runoff. The eventual Republican nominee in both contests will win the respective seat in November.

Turning to the Republican battle to challenge veteran Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) in the 2nd District, Army veteran Jeremy Hunt (36.9%) and attorney Chris West (30.2%) advance to the runoff. In all situations, majority support was needed to win outright a party nomination. For the general election, this will be a competitive contest.

Looking to the hot Alabama Senate Republican contest, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who Mr. Trump rescinded his endorsement because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2%) and advance to the June 21st runoff election. The first place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7%). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3%), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54% of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ over 645,000 to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

In Arkansas, Sen. John Boozman* turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58% of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill* (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5%.

The open Governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump Press Secretary and daughter of ex-Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2% of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the Autumn election.

The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 - 32.8% margin. Mr. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9% of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar* (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94% of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50% of the counting reported. This contest could require a long period to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz*, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1st.

Moving to the open Dallas anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6% runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Ms. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0%) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake) (36.8%) with 88% reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3% of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on August 9th, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle. 

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