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March 4, 2015

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June 10, 2014

Maine Primary Results: Cain, Poliquin to Face Off in November

Maine Primary Results: Cain, Poliquin to Face Off in November

In the Maine Primary, Cain ran for the Democratic nod. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Sen. Emily Cain, the new Democratic nominee, will face former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, in the targeted race for Maine’s 2nd District in November.

Cain defeated fellow Democratic state Sen. Troy Jackson, 72 percent to 28 percent, with 61 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. She raised more money than Jackson, making her large margin of victory unsurprising.

Poliquin defeated Raye, 55 percent to 45 percent, with 61 percent of precincts reporting, according to the AP. This was Raye’s third attempt to win this seat — he lost in both 2002 and 2012 to Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud. Michaud is vacating the seat to run for governor.

Full story

South Carolina Results: Lindsey Graham Wins GOP Primary (Video)

South Carolina Results: Lindsey Graham Wins GOP Primary (Video)

In the South Carolina primary, Graham faced a challenge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the same night that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary bid to an opponent who singularly focused on opposing the immigration overhaul, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — one of the authors of that legislation — won his primary with more than 50 percent of the vote.

Graham had 59 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race, all but ensuring his re-election to a third term. He also avoided a runoff, easily clearing the 50 percent threshold. He defeated state Sen. Lee Bright, businessman Richard Cash, businesswoman Nancy Mace, pastor Det Bowers, and attorney Bill Connor.

Conservatives initially targeted Graham this cycle, citing his support for a comprehensive immigration rewrite in the Senate. But no viable challenger emerged to take on Graham and his considerable war chest.

The senator did not take the race for granted: He has been on the air since February with ads touting his conservative bona fides.

There is no serious Democratic challenger, and Graham is expected to coast to re-election in the fall.

South Carolina’s junior senator, Republican Tim Scott, is also up for election this year. Scott was appointed to the Senate last year by Gov. Nikki R. Haley, after former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to become president of the Heritage Foundation.

Scott did not have a challenger in Tuesday’s primary.

Both races are rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Virginia Primary Results: Don Beyer Wins Democratic Nod

Virginia Primary Results: Don Beyer Wins Democratic Nod

In Virginia's primary, Beyer ran for the Democratic nod. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer handily defeated a crowded Democratic primary field Tuesday night in a win that will almost certainly send him to Congress next year in this Arlington-based district.

In a crowded field, Beyer defeated his next closest primary opponent, state Del. Patrick Hope, 45 percent to 20 percent, with 67 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

He is now the favorite to succeed retiring Rep. James P. Moran in this district, which voted for President Barack Obama with 68 percent in 2012.

But Beyer’s win was largely overshadowed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat in Virginia’s 7th District. Cantor lost to a underfunded tea party opponent David Brat by a large margin.

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Eric Cantor Loses Primary in Massive Upset (Video)

Eric Cantor Loses Primary in Massive Upset (Video)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor became the first person in American history to lose his primary while holding that position. He lost Tuesday night to a poorly-funded GOP opponent in the biggest electoral stunner in several cycles.

College professor David Brat defeated Cantor, 56 percent to 44 percent, with 80 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

“I know there’s a lot of long faces here tonight,” Cantor told assembled supporters Tuesday night, with his wife standing by his side. “It’s disappointing sure, but I believe in this country, I believe there’s opportunity around the next corner for all of us.

“So, I look forward to continuing to fight with all of you for the things that we believe in for the conservative cause, because those solutions of ours are the answer to the problems that so many people are facing today.”

It is extremely rare for a member of House leadership to lose — especially in a primary. The most recent majority leader or speaker to lose re-election was the late Democratic Speaker Tom Foley of Washington. But he lost in a general election in the 1994 Republican wave.

Cantor’s defeat will likely send shockwaves through Capitol Hill. He was widely viewed as a potential successor to Speaker John A. Boehner for the top leadership spot in the House.

“I’m shocked. I’m just shocked,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., on Tuesday evening. “Obviously, it throws leadership into turmoil, it obviously shakes up the party in Virginia.”

Live Coverage: June 10 Primaries

The 2014 primary season rolls on Tuesday with races in Arkansas (runoff), Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia, and the Roll Call Politics Team has you covered on results and analysis.

Starting at 6:30 p.m., follow the action below the jump with Emily Cahn, Alexis Levinson, Stu Rothenberg and Nathan L. Gonzales (see poll closing times here). Full story

Internal Poll: Kingston Leads Perdue in Georgia Senate Runoff

Internal Poll: Kingston Leads Perdue in Georgia Senate Runoff

Kingston faces Perdue in a Senate runoff in Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

An internal poll of the Georgia Senate Republican primary runoff conducted for Rep. Jack Kingston found him with a double-digit lead over his opponent, businessman David Perdue.

Perdue got more votes than Kingston in the crowded Republican primary last month, but Kingston appears to have the momentum now that voters have to choose between just the two of them. They will face off on July 22.

According to the poll, Kingston led Perdue, 49 percent to 35 percent, with 16 percent of voters undecided. Full story

Relieved Senate Republicans Look Forward to November

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Tillis avoided a GOP runoff earlier this year — a big boost for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate primaries of note are nearly done, and Republicans are close to their best-possible scenario of GOP nominees to make a run at the majority in 2014.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was expected Tuesday to become the latest Republican success story of the midterm primaries. His nomination won’t have any bearing on the fight for Senate control, but it’s thematic — along with Ed Gillespie’s long-expected nomination at the Virginia GOP convention over the weekend — of the kind of year Republicans are having at the halfway point.

Outside of Sen. Thad Cochran’s runoff in Mississippi, Republicans continue to emerge from these nomination fights with the candidates they believe are best equipped to compete in an expanded Senate landscape. Now, with fall airtime reservations starting to pick up, the party can mostly look forward to what is still a challenging fight for Senate control in the fall.

“So far so good for Senate Republicans in 2014,” said GOP pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies. “It appears that Republican voters are tired of throwing away Senate seats by nominating unelectable candidates in swing states. Full story

Cochran Challenger Airs First TV Ad of Runoff

Cochran Challenger Airs First TV Ad of Runoff

McDaniel released a TV ad for the runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel launched his first TV ad of the Republican Senate primary runoff on Tuesday.

The challenger to six-term Sen. Thad Cochran finished some 1,400 votes ahead in the June 3 primary, but he did not win the majority of votes necessary to avoid the June 24 runoff.

In his first ad of the extended race, McDaniel is called “a proven conservative leader with an agenda for Mississippi,” which includes repealing the Affordable Care Act, reducing the federal debt, cutting taxes and implementing term limits “for all our politicians.” Full story

June 9, 2014

Tuesday Primaries: Eric Cantor, Lindsey Graham Face Tepid Opposition

Tuesday Primaries: Eric Cantor, Lindsey Graham Face Tepid Opposition

Cantor, the House Majority Leader, is on the primary ballot Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Sen. Lindsey Graham — two of  the most recognizable names in Congress — face primary challenges Tuesday from their right flank.

“I feel good,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in a brief interview Thursday at the Capitol. “[We’re] running like we’re behind and got a lot of energy. Just got to run through the tape.”

Both Cantor and Graham are poised to defeat their party foes, but their margins will reveal insight into their political positions in their respective states.

Full story

June 6, 2014

In California’s 31st District, Democrats Hold on to Second Place

In California’s 31st District, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar maintained a 181-vote lead over Republican Lesli Gooch Friday, after the San Bernardino County Elections Office released an updated vote tally.

Aguilar currently leads Gooch, 17.36 percent to 17.01 percent. Gooch knocked into Aguilar’s lead by two votes on Friday.

It is unclear how many ballots have yet to be counted in the 31st District race. But Gooch’s campaign manager said the candidate is not conceding, offering a stinging criticism of the National Republican Congressional Committee for not helping their campaign.

“The NRCC did nothing,” said campaign manager Jeff Stinson. “The NRCC has failed this campaign. Not only that, they failed the party because they did not step in when they could have. A dollar would have won this seat. That’s an embarrassment to the party.”

In California, the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. GOP businessman Paul Chabot is in a secure first-place position, so Democrats need Aguilar to maintain his second-place spot or else get shut out of the general election.

Full story

Alaska Republican Sees Advantage as First-Time Candidate (Video)

Alaska Republican Sees Advantage as First Time Candidate (Video)

Sullivan visited Roll Call in Washington, D.C., June 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The candidate: Dan Sullivan, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve; formerly commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, state attorney general and George W. Bush appointee.
The member: Sullivan is running in the Republican primary to challenge first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.
The state: Begich, just the seventh senator in Alaska history, in 2008 became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alaska since 1974. In 2012, President Barack Obama improved his performance from 2008, but still took just 41 percent. The race is rated Tossup/Tilts Democrat by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
The candidate’s team: Hans Kaiser of Moore Information (polling); FP1 Strategies (media); Arena Communications (direct mail); Michael Dubke of the Black Rock Group (general consultant); Ben Sparks (campaign manager).

Full story

June 5, 2014

Democrats Claim Victory in California’s 31st District Primary

Democrats Claim Victory in Californias 31st District Primary

In California's 31st District, Miller is retiring, leaving a competitive race for his seat. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8:18 p.m. | Democrats have claimed victory in California’s 31st District primary, with the party’s candidate holding on to a 183-vote lead ahead of the third-place Republican, and more ballots yet to be counted.

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, maintained his second-place standing in the top-two primary Thursday, after state election officials tallied more than 30,000 outstanding mail-in ballots.

“I am honored that Inland Empire families have given me the chance to move on to the November election and ultimately represent them in Congress,” Aguilar said in a statement shortly after results were released.

He currently leads former Capitol Hill aide Lesli Gooch, a Republican, 17.35 percent to 17 percent.  But there are about 5,200 provisional and other “emergency” ballots yet to be tallied in San Bernardino County. Officials have not set a date to count those ballots.

Jeff Stinson, Gooch’s campaign manager, said Gooch will “absolutely not” concede the race until all of the remaining ballots are counted.

Full story

Lindsey Graham Releases Last Ads Before GOP Primary

Lindsey Graham Releases Last Ads Before GOP Primary

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South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham released the final ads of his primary campaign for re-election Thursday.

Both ads — a 30-second TV spot and 60-second radio spot — feature Graham ticking off his efforts for conservative priorities, including fighting unions and the Affordable Care Act, supporting the military and the Keystone XL pipeline, and continuing to look into the 2012 deaths in Benghazi, Libya.

The ads are part of a “significant six-figure statewide” buy and come one day after a Clemson poll found Graham taking 49 percent of the vote, just shy of the majority he needs to escape a runoff against a handful of lesser-known challengers. He still had $3.7 million on hand as of May 21, the close of the pre-primary fundraising period. Full story

Thad Cochran Allies Revamp Message for Runoff (Video)

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Cochran, above, heads to a runoff with McDaniel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign and supporters have held separate strategy sessions in the state capital and on Capitol Hill to decipher a plan B for the longtime GOP senator, who heads to a runoff against his primary rival, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, in three weeks.

Fundraising will be a key component for both Mississippi campaigns, whose war chests were depleted in the contentious fight that concluded with a near tie on Tuesday. Neither candidate reached the 50 percent threshold to avoid a June 24 runoff.

Beyond that, according to a source with knowledge of the campaign’s deliberations, the Cochran campaign intends to improve the retail side of its strategy in about 25 targeted counties, where — with Tuesday’s election results — it now has a starting point for voter contact.

Full story

Iowa Republicans Face Unpredictable Convention for Coveted House Seat

Iowa Republicans Face Unpredictable Convention for Coveted House Seat

In Iowa, a rare and unpredictable convention will pick the Republican nominee in one of the country’s most competitive House districts — and the results could determine whether Republicans hold the seat in 2014.

None of the six Republican candidates received the 35 percent necessary to win the nomination outright in the 3rd District. Instead, the nomination fight continues at a June 21 convention, in which hundreds of party activists select the nominee.

It’s a process that has only happened twice in 50 years. The last time was in 2002, when now-Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, won the nomination.

“Any one of them could win legitimately,” said Doug Gross, a former chief of staff to Gov. Terry E. Branstad and a 3rd District convention delegate. “Anybody who tells you they can handicap that race is smarter than anyone around or is lying — one of the two. No one knows what is actually going to happen.”

Although the convention is unpredictable, some GOP operatives in the Hawkeye State said the process gives them a second chance to avoid state Sen. Brad Zaun as their nominee. Zaun finished first with 25 percent in Tuesday’s primary, among a field of six candidates.

Full story

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