And The Winner Is... Big Money
Overall, challengers from both parties failed to persuade voters to dump incumbents, even though dissatisfaction with Congress is sky-high. There were, however, a few surprises in the congressional primaries yesterday... but mostly not. Even though votes are still being counted this morning, I'll go through each state where there was a political pulse. One note before we do though. David Siders reported today that "Another round of Republicans on Donald Trump’s hit list survived on Tuesday... [F]ive of the 35 House Republicans who voted to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol appeared on ballots on Tuesday. And all of them appear to have survived to fight another day... For the most part, Republicans who crossed Trump were not suffering for their infidelity."
In South Dakota, Trump wanted Senator John Thune, who he has labelled a RINO, to lose but after failing to recruit anyone to run, he didn't endorse the other candidate who did run, Bruce Whalen, who wound up with 20% of the vote. There was no real race there and Thune is now free to battle it out with John Cornyn to see who will succeed McConnell, eventually, as GOP Senate leader. There was a more classic conservative vs fascist race for the South Dakota at-large House district, where freshman Dusty Johnson fended off a challenge from far right nut case, state Rep Taffy Howard who failed to persuade voters Johnson is a RINO or a "communist" and lost with 40% of the vote. She won a few sparsely populated rural counties but he won all the counties with significant numbers of people.
In New Jersey, all incumbents were easily reelected in very low turnout races. Yesterday we previewed the Republican primary in the 7th district where Thomas Kean beat the far right candidates and will now face Tom Malinowski... and probably beat him. The two New Jersey movement progressives Imani Oakley and David Ocampo, who went up against machine candidates Donald Payne and Robert Menendez Jr., were crushed with about 10% of the vote each. New Jersey elections are set up to preserve the status quo... and that's what happened across the state. Neo-fascist Trump candidate Mike Crispi was handily defeated by mainstream conservative incumbent Chris Smith, 57.6% to 37.0%, in New Jersey's reddest district.
There is some real excitement in Mississippi, where neo-fascist Michael Cassidy may have succeeded in sufficiently labelling freshman conservative Michael Guest a RINO. It was another see-saw battle most of the night and with 85% reported this morning Cassidy is ahead 21,312 (47.8%) to 20,784 (46.6%). That would mean a runoff. June 28. Guest, who has an otherwise impeccable right-wing record, had voted in favor of setting up the sedition commission after the insurrection and attempted coup. In Mississippi Republican politics, that looks like a death sentence. In fact, tiny-bit-not-fascist-enough (+ ethics-challenged) Steven Palazzo won renomination because the anti-Palazzo vote was split. He will face one of them-- probably Mike Ezell-- in the June 28 runoff.
In the Iowa Democratic Senate primary, the voters rejected one-term Republican-lite congresswoman Abby Finkenauer and gave the nomination to Admiral Mike Franken, 55.2% to 40.0%. As of the May 18 FEC reporting deadline, Franken had raised $2,852,668. to Finkenauer's $3,718,807. None of the Democratic congressional races were contested... so the Democrats will go into the general election with lousy New Dem shills who will lose badly.
Montana's new congressional district, saw the progressive candidate, Tom Winter, beaten by an establishment nothing candidate who has no chance to win in November, Monica Tranel. On the GOP side, Ryan Zinke is slightly ahead of Al Olszewski with 78% of the votes counted. It's a see-saw race and it could go either way.
This morning, California is still tabulating ballots in an incredibly low-turnout election. Before we get to the congressional races-- many of which won't be determined for a few days-- let me mention that big money was successful, winning a recall of San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin, 60-40 and first pace spots in L.A. for Republican billionaire Rick Caruso (who is pretending to be a Democrat) and for fascist sheriff Alex Villanueva. Karen Bass will face Caruso in the general and Robert Luna-- just as bad as Villaneuva-- will be his opponent in November. Also, in congressional races where Hakeen Jeffries directed AIPAC, crypto and DMFI money, conservative Democrats beat progressives.
Contested races already fully called include the new Republican-leaning (R+8) open 3rd district along the state's eastern border, where garden variety Democrat Kermit Jones will face Republican Kevin Kiley in November. Also fully-called is blue-leaning (D+8) CA-27, where Republican incumbent Mike Garcia will face GOP-lite serial loser Christy Smith in November, the only Democrat who ran who is likely to lose the district again. Also fully called is the 45th CD down in Orange County, a blue-leaning (D+5) district where Jay Chen, who previously ran as a progressive but is now running as a centrist Democrat, will face Republican incumbent Michelle Steel. The rest of the contested seats don't have enough votes counted to be called yet. It appears though, that progressive challengers who will make it into the general include Derek Marshall (vs Republican Jay Obernolte), Angelica Duenas (vs corporate Democrat Tony Cardenas) and Jay Kim (vs corporate Democrat Jimmy Gomez). We'll come back to the California congressional races in a few days as more ballots are counted and more races are decided.