First Polls Close in Slate of Key Battleground Primaries

Nevada, Maine, South Carolina, and North Dakota hold primaries, while Ohioans will see a special Congressional election.

Voters in five states cast ballots on June 11 in primary elections for one governorship, two U.S. Senate seats, 15 U.S. House races, hundreds of state legislature slots, and thousands of local government positions.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. in South Carolina, where seven Congressional seats are on the ballots. Among the most prominent is the state’s Congressional District 1 (CD 1), where Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) is favored to win, although some analysts think the race could be closer than expected.

Ms. Mace—one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in October 2023—is being aggressively challenged by Catherine Templeton, the former South Carolina director of labor, licensing, and regulation.

Mr. McCarthy supports Ms. Templeton, even though former President Donald Trump has endorsed Ms. Mace.

Two May polls indicate most voters still back Ms. Mace. According to the most recent, Ms. Mace was 25 percentage points ahead of Ms. Templeton, although 24 percent were undecided. The earlier poll found a slightly closer race, with Ms. Mace ahead by 22 percentage points and 33 percent undecided.

Regardless of who wins the GOP CD 1 primary, the candidate will be heavily favored to win the general election in November.

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The roster in other battlegrounds across the nation includes a special election in Ohio where state Sen. Michael Rulli, a Republican, and Michael Kripchak, a Democrat, square off in a contest to complete Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-Ohio) term. Both won the March 19 primaries. Mr. Johnson resigned in January to become Youngstown State University’s president.

In North Dakota, Gov. Doug Burgum—a Republican and 2024 GOP presidential candidate being eyed by the Trump campaign as a possible vice-presidential candidate—isn’t seeking re-election.

Three-term Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) and Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller are vying in the Republican primary to take on Merrill Piepkorn, a Democrat, in November. Whoever wins the GOP primary will be heavily favored in a state where voters haven’t elected a Democrat as governor since 1988.

Five Republicans are running for Mr. Armstrong’s seat as North Dakota’s only House representative: Air Force, Army, and Navy veteran and former senior foreign service officer Alex Balazs; plastic surgeon and former state lawmaker Rick Becker; National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners president and longtime North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak; attorney and Miss America 2018 Cara Mund; and Sharlet Mohr.

Battleground Nevada

The situation is the opposite in three of Nevada’s four House races, where Republicans are once again confident they can take at least one, if not all three, Democrat-held seats.

The three—Nevada’s CDs 1, 3, and 4—are in south Nevada. Northern Nevada’s sprawling CD 2 is a Republican stronghold where Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nevada) is expected to easily win his primary to secure an eighth term without a Democrat challenger in the fall.

The three Las Vegas-area districts have been dominated by Democrats primarily with support from hospitality industry labor unions. During post-2020 Census redistricting, Nevada’s Democrat-run legislature plugged voters from CD 1 into CDs 3 and 4 to help party candidates in those districts.

All three are projected to be competitive. The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate them as “Lean” or “Likely Democratic.”

There has been little polling on Nevada’s House races, despite numerous surveys in the battleground state on the presidential election. Former President Trump consistently leads President Joe Biden by 3 to 5 percentage points.

Five party rivals are seeking the CD 1 nod to take on six-term incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nevada), including Mark Robertson, a retired U.S. Army colonel and certified financial planner who won the 2022 primary before losing to Ms. Titus by 6 percent.

Also on CD 1’s primary ballot is restauranteur Flemming Larsen, appliance repair company owner and radio/stand-up comedian Michael Boris, Save Education-Save America founder/CEO Jim Blockey, and former adult performer Evan Stone.

Mr. Robertson and Mr. Larsen are regarded as frontrunners despite Mr. Larsen accruing a massive fundraising advantage. As of his campaign’s May 22 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filing, Mr. Larsen had raised $1.8 million and had $1.37 million in cash. Much is self-funded. Mr. Robertson’s FEC campaign filing showed $70,300 in the bank.

Seven Republicans are vying in CD 3’s GOP primary to take on three-term Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nevada), who edged April Becker, a Republican, by 3 percentage points in 2022.

Ms. Lee’s primary challenger is RockAthena Brittain, a transgender DJ, musician, and LGBT activist. Ms. Lee has raised more than $3.475 million, spent $1 million, and had $2.455 million in the bank, according to her May 22 FEC filing.

Conservative think-tank founder Drew Johnson, former Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, “Halo” composer Marty O’Donnell, entrepreneur and poker player Brian Nadell, former U.S. Agency for International Development official Steve Schiffman, former state lawmaker Elizabeth Helgelien, and cryptocurrency advocate Steve London are all vying to run against Ms. Lee in the general election.

There is no clear frontrunner, but if fundraising is an indicator of electoral success, Mr. Schwartz has raised the most: $921,903, according to his campaign’s May 22 FEC filing. His campaign has spent $548,000 and has $373,877 in the bank, three times more than any rival.

Mr. O’Donnell’s May 22 FEC filing reported raising $540,633 with $31,729 cash on hand. Mr. Johnson’s filing showed $428,538 raised, $330,000 spent, and $98,533 in the bank.

Three GOP hopefuls are running in CD 4’s GOP primary to battle three-term incumbent Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nevada) in November.

Mr. Horsford, the first African American elected to Congress from Nevada, faces a primary challenge from avionics technician and Navy veteran Levi Shultz. The incumbent’s campaign has raised $3.34 million, spent $1.545 million, and had $1.857 million in cash as of its May 22 FEC filing.

The three Republicans vying in CD 4’s GOP primary are Iraq war veteran and small business owner David Flippo; former North Las Vegas Mayor and plumbing company owner John Lee, who has been endorsed by former President Trump; and lawyer-accountant Bruce Frazey.

As of his May 22 FEC filing, Mr. Flippo’s campaign reported raising $922,333, spending $873,667, and holding $48,666 in cash on hand. Mr. Lee’s filing showed $850,472 raised and $100,392 in the bank. Mr. Frazey did not raise enough to meet FEC reporting requirements.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) talks with reporters as he walks through the Senate subway on his way to a vote at the Capitol, on June 21, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) talks with reporters as he walks through the Senate subway on his way to a vote at the Capitol, on June 21, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Maine Senate Race Set

Top-of-the-ballot races in Nevada, as well as in Maine, will feature U.S. Senate contests where incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) faces two nominal primary challengers, while Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) is already on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Twelve Nevada Republicans are on the GOP U.S. Senate ballot. The frontrunners appear to be former U.S. Army officer and combat veteran Sam Brown—who gave heavy favorite Paul Laxalt a tight race in their 2022 GOP senatorial primary—former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Jeffrey Ross Gunter, and former Nevada state lawmaker and 2022 Nevada secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant.

Maine’s Nov. 5 U.S. Senate ballot is already set, with Mr. King seeking a third term against Demi Kouzounas, a Republican, and David Costello, a Democrat.

In Maine’s CD 2, former NASCAR driver Austin Theriault faces fellow state Rep. Michael Soboleski in the GOP primary. This swing district could determine who controls the House next year.

Former President Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) have endorsed Mr. Theriault. The winner will take on three-term Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), a moderate who has a tendency to go against his own party. He was one of the few Democrats to vote against one of the articles of impeachment against President Trump in 2019.

Mr. Theriault has a major financial advantage over Mr. Soboleski. As of his May 22 FEC filing, Mr. Theriault had raised $1.2 million while Mr. Soboleski had raised $117,000.

Mr. Golden is running unopposed in the Democrat primary, as is incumbent Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) in Maine’s CD 1, where Republicans Andrew Piantidosi and Ronald C. Russell are squaring off.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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