Updated: Mar 28, 2021
April 6 will be election day in parts of California, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. It's primary day in California's 79th Assembly District in anticipation of a June 8th runoff. Voters will be replacing Shirley Weber who was appointed Secretary of State when Alex Padilla was appointed to Kamala Harris' U.S. Senate seat. There are 4 Democrats and one Republican running-- Aeiramique Glass-Blake (D), Leticia Munguia (D), Shane Suzanne Parmely (D), Akilah Weber (D) and Marco Contreras (R). Akilah Weber, a La Mesa City Councilwoman, is Shirley Weber's daughter and has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party and by state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins.
An overwhelmingly blue San Diego district, it includes southeastern San Diego, La Mesa and Lemon Grove and parts of Chula Vista, Bonita and National City. 33.8% of the district's population is Latino, 33.5 is white, 18.9% is Asian and 10.9% is Black but the identity politics conscious Democratic Party has decreed that the district should go to a Black woman. This was the party registration as of last year's election:
Democrat- 134,890 (44.86%)
No Party Preference- 80,364 (26.73%)
Republican- 66,630 (22.16%)
Other- 18,789 (6.24%)
VoiceOfSanDiego.com dug deeper into the racial politics of the election, as well as the tension between public schools and charter schools. Simplified version is that Leticia Munguia is the teachers' union, public school advocate and Akilah Weber seems more like the liberal establishment candidate who has no problem with charter schools.
Missouri's 45th district (north-central Columbia) is also deep blue. Rep. Kip Kendrick resigned to become chief of staff for state Senator Greg Razer, creating the opening, which will be filled on April 6. The Republicans don't bother running candidates in the district so the race is between Democrat David Smith and Libertarian Glenn Nielsen, each chosen by their party's central committee. Smith is expected to win in a landslide.
When Republican state Senator Stephanie Bice defeated worthless Blue Dog Kendra Horn for the Oklahoma City area congressional seat, a vacancy was left in the state Senate (SD-22, a red-leaning district northwest of the city-- with parts of Edmond, Piedmont, Bethany and Yukon). The primaries were February 9th, the Democrats nominating the more progressive of two candidates-- Molly Ooten with 72.5% of the vote, and the Republicans picking Jake Merrick over Keri Shipley 2,328 (58.4%) to 1,657 (41.6%). Merrick, a personal trainer, is an anti-Choice fanatic, a right-wing goon and an outspoken opponent of masks and pandemic safety measures. a Trump extremist, he is also widely considered insane so... perfect for Oklahoma. This race would probably be a sure GOP bet... except that Merrick is so extreme that independents will likely lean towards Ooten. She has a chance and the more he talks about his laissez faire and conspiratorial approach to COVID, the better the chance. Oklahoma has 110,431 cases per million Sooners, the 8th worst-hit state in America.
And that leaves the two Wisconsin races, one for the state Senate and one for the state House, although both are happening as Wisconsin goes to the polls to elect a new state Superintendent of Public Instruction, in which Democrat Jill Underly is polling slightly better than Republican Deborah Kerr. The state Senate race (SD-13) was created when Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald was elected to Congress to replace Republican Jim Sensenbrenner. The district, which has been in Republican hands since 1981, consists of most of Dodge County, the northern half of Jefferson County, parts of eastern and northeastern Dane County and a tiny bit of Washingtonton and Waukesha counties. The candidates are Assemblyman John Jagler (R) and Melissa Winkler (D).
I stay in touch with state Senator Chris Larson for several reasons, one of which is that he named his son Atticus but another because I'm trying to persuade him to run against crackpot Ron Johnson for the Wisconsin U.S. Senate seat open next year. This morning he told me he's going to SD-13 tomorrow to campaign for Winkler. "There's a reason," he said, "why voters are moving further and further away from Wisconsin Republican politicians. Over the last few years, they've proven themselves to be among the most extreme in the country. Folks are already too familiar with Ron Johnson's antics, betrayals, and worse. But right up there with him are Wisconsin congressional Republicans who have been skipping along to the same beat. Scott Fitzgerald, who was sworn into Congress days earlier, voted to overturn election results, even after the terrorist insurrection at the Capitol by Trump supporters. Fitzgerald's old state senate seat is now up for grabs and it's the first partisan special election in Wisconsin since November. Enter Melissa Winker. Melissa is a mother of 5, a fourth-generation Wisconsinite, a firefighter's wife, and a small business owner. Melissa is pledging to put her neighbor's safety, economic welfare, and community first in everything she does as their state Senator. She's a radical departure from the last guy who held the seat in that she believes in common decency and the ability of a community look after one another This is desperately needed to push against the endless divide and conquer tactics of Trump and his allies. As for her opponent, he's counting on the old momentum of the gerrymandering and partisan tricks to get him over the line. He's skipping debates, pretending he has a newspaper's endorsement, and leaning on the Republican party to do his campaigning for him. Legislative Republicans have been spending their time recognizing Rush Limbaugh over Black History Month, refusing to meet for a national record 265 days in the middle of a pandemic, and blocking efforts to make elections safer. We're about to find out just how closely voters have been paying attention."
The other Wisconsin race is for the 89th Assembly District, which includes parts of Oconto, Brown and Marinette counties. Voters had just reelected John Nygren (R) who retired a month later to work in the private sector. Nygren beat Karl Jaeger 17,091 (68.73%) to 10,374 (31.24%). Jaeger, a Marinette County Board supervisor, is running again, this time against Republican Elijah Behnke. The 95.1% white district has been in Republican hands since 1992. A gun nut, Behnke didn't go to college but to a Buy-Bull college in Georgia instead. He's an anti-mask Republican.
Behnke said he's running "because I see our God-given freedoms being attacked. Our freedom of speech and freedom of religion are under attack by big government and big tech companies. We need to preserve the Constitution, not attack it. We need a candidate for the people, not special interests." Jaeger said he's running to "be a voice for our future so that every child who is raised in Wisconsin has every possible opportunity they can get-- starting with ready access to quality maternal and prenatal care and a lifetime of affordable health care; a world-class public education; a clean, protected environment; and equitable, sustainable, economic opportunities right here at home. I want to live in a place where my children will want to stay and raise their own families.