Today is yet another Byzantine day in American politics, with various kinds of elections taking place. Much media attention is focused on a special election in Ohio for a seat in the US House of Representatives. This is a solidly conservative district that has been represented by Republicans for decades and Donald Trump won by a margin of 7 points. So why the fuss? Because according to polls, Democrat Danny O’Connor is giving Republican Troy Balderson a close run. I am not hopeful, though. Ohio is quite a reactionary state.
In Michigan there is an interesting primary in which a young physician Abdul El-Sayed, running on a strongly progressive platform and who has been backed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is competing in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor of the state. He has surged late in the race, going from being a long shot to strongly competitive. He is challenging the party establishment candidate Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who has close ties to the health care industry, and wealthy businessman Shri Thanedar who seems to be a phony, trying to act as if he is a progressive when his entire history suggests otherwise. What is interesting is that pretty much all Democratic candidates now embrace some form of single-payer health care. The only issue is whether they are genuine or just saying it because they feel they have to. It shows how much the idea has caught on.
Kansas too faces some primary interesting races for the House of Representatives. Brent Welder is running for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District while civil rights attorney James Thompson is trying to win the nomination for the 4th District. Both have been endorsed by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez who have campaigned for them
Meanwhile Aida Chavez writes that another insurgent campaign is being waged for a Missouri congressional district by Cori Bush, who is hoping to defeat nine-term Democratic incumbent William Lacy Clay in the 1st Congressional district. Bush is running on a progressive platform and hoping to replicate Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win, using grass-roots organizing to compensate for the lack of big money campaign funding sources.
This report gives more information on these and other races.
The results will start coming in late tonight and I’ll comment on them tomorrow.
Quite pleased with Washington’s results. Washington uses a top-two primary. Typically if 2 contenders from different parties (well, 2 contenders who state a different party preference, it is not a given that the parties approve of the candidates or even know who they are) make it to the general election the vote split follows the split between the sum of the votes of all candidates with those party preferences (ie the Democratic candidate tends to get votes proportional to those of all Democratic candidates in the primary). Based on that, it looks like the 6 incumbent Democratic House members should have no problem getting re-elected, whereas of the 4 incumbent Republicans 3 will face competitive Democratic challengers. Also, it looks like the state legislature will remain majority Democratic in both houses (it was a split majority until last November’s special election), so there’s a chance for some progressive policy.
The main downside to Washington’s results as far as I’m concerned is that Berniecrat Sarah Smith failed to make it to the general. She was challenging Adam Smith in the 9th congressional district from the left. She is about 2000 votes behind the Republican challenger.
Now that the final results are in, Sarah Smith did make it to the general election with 3200 votes more than the Republican candidate, so Washington’s 9th congressional district will see a battle between 2 Democratic candidates (who happen to both be named Smith, though are not related). The 2nd district will have a Libertarian challenging a Democratic incumbent, the remaining 8 districts will have a contest between A Democrat and a Republican.