Takeaways From Key Primaries in New Jersey, Iowa, Montana

Republican Curtis Bashaw and Democrat Andy Kim win in New Jersey.

A series of closely watched primaries were held on June 4 in New Jersey, Iowa, and Montana. The results signaled everything from the power of Democrats’ “uncommitted” protest vote against President Joe Biden to the strength of a conservative Republican challenger in one of Iowa’s competitive congressional districts.

In the Mountain West, a young ex-Navy Seal Republican is now poised to face a seasoned Democrat incumbent from one of the country’s reddest states.

Here are our takeaways from the most critical contests.

Kim Wins NJ Democratic Primary

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) won the Democratic Party’s primary to fill the Garden State Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), whose nearly two-decade tenure has been clouded by multiple indictments.

“We are ready to take our movement for change to the US Senate!” Mr. Kim, a veteran of the State Department and other federal agencies, wrote in a post on social media platform X after his victory was projected in the press.
The victory comes just a day after Mr. Menendez, accused of taking bribes to peddle influence on behalf of the government of Egypt, filed the nominating papers to seek election as an independent.

He dropped out of the Democrat race in March because of an associated criminal case.

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“I have committed no crime,” the lawmaker, who is still on trial, said in a statement announcing his submission of signatures to run.
“Everyone knows Bob Menendez isn’t running for New Jersey families,” Mr. Kim wrote on X. “He’s running for himself.”

Mr. Kim’s victory came months after another Democrat vying for the seat, New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, dropped out of the race.

The Democrat hopefuls he bested include Patricia Campos-Medina, a labor leader who serves as executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University, and activist Lawrence Hamm.

Bashaw Wins NJ Republican Primary

In the Republican primary, meanwhile, developer Curtis Bashaw won by a smaller margin than Mr. Kim. He ultimately beat Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, who had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and small businessman Justin Murphy.

“I’m in the hospitality business. We’re welcoming people all the time to our hotels from all over our state,” Mr. Bashaw said in an interview with The Epoch Times. “There’s a sense of that I’m somebody who can bring people together to get things done.”

In New Jersey’s Seventh District, Rep. Thomas Kean Jr. (R-N.J.) won an uncontested primary, as did Democrat Susan Altman. Mr. Kean flipped the seat from the Democrats when he won it in 2022.

President Joe Biden handily won the Democrats’ presidential primary. Yet tens of thousands of New Jersey ballots were “uncommitted,” in keeping with a trend among progressive voters who have used the option to protest the Biden administration’s Israel policy. Lawrence Hamm was among those who encouraged New Jerseyites to go that route, expressing his support for the “uncommitted” bloc on social media.

President Trump triumphed in the Republican presidential primary. He faced no challengers on the state’s GOP primary ballot.

President Trump’s victory comes after a May rally in beachside Wildwood, New Jersey. Some of his supporters seek to contest the state, long seen as a Democrat stronghold up and down the ticket.

The most recent Republican New Jersey voters sent to represent their state in the United States’ upper legislative chamber was Clifford P. Case, last reelected in 1972. Mr. Case died in 1982.

In a post on X after his victory, Mr. Bashaw pitched his message to the state’s Democratic voters, saying officials from that party had taken them for granted for five decades.

“With New Jersey being one of the most expensive states, and one the highest taxed states in the country … I think we are going to see people vote in different ways,” Ms. Serrano Glassner told The Epoch Times. “And with the votes being split between three people, the question is, how many votes does Menendez peel off Andy Kim?”

Baccam Wins Iowa’s Democratic Primary

Lanon Baccam defeated Melissa Vine in Iowa’s Third District Democratic primary, setting up a showdown with incumbent Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Iowa) in the fall.

As of 8:50 p.m., he was leading by 70 percentage points with 75.81 percent of the vote.

Mr. Nunn ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has included the Third District among the districts it hopes to flip.

Mr. Baccam and Mr. Nunn are both military veterans. Mr. Nunn served in the U.S. Air Force, and Mr. Baccam was in the Army. He later began working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving at one point under former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, another Democrat.

In her campaign, Ms. Vine touted her background as a single mother and as executive director of The Beacon, a nonprofit that describes itself as “a trauma-informed, equity-centered home and programming for women who are coming out of crisis and want to lead satisfying, productive lives.”

“I’m so honored to be your nominee. Let’s do this!” Mr. Baccam wrote in a post on X.

Miller-Meeks Defeats GOP Challenger, Prepares for Bohannan Rematch

In Iowa’s First District, another GOP-led district in the crosshairs of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, University of Iowa law professor Christina Bohannan has moved forward after winning an uncontested primary.

So has Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), an eye doctor and U.S. Army veteran who defeated Ms. Bohannan in 2022.

“My opponent and her radical leftist agenda will continue to drive costs, keep our borders open, prioritize social politics instead of quality education for our kids and continue rampant government spending, which has led to crippling high prices and interest rates while simultaneously increasing our national debt,” the representative said in a statement after her victory.

Somewhat like with 2022’s Republican primary, Ms. Miller-Meeks defeated a much less well-funded GOP challenger in this primary. In 2022, that opponent, Kyle Kuehl, withdrew from the race after his nomination petitions faced a challenge that was subsequently upheld.

This time, she beat U.S. Army veteran and religious activist David Pautsch.

However, the outcome fell short of a resounding victory, even though the incumbent had more than $2.9 million in receipts to not much more than $35,000 for Mr. Pautsch, according to campaign finance data from mid-May.

As of late on the evening of June 4, with more than 90 percent of the vote tallied, her margin of victory was only about 11 percentage points.

The day before the election, Mr. Pautsch told The Epoch Times that Ms. Miller-Meeks had “thoroughly ticked off the grassroots.”

“Having her in Congress is almost indistinguishable from having a Democrat,” he said at the time.

As of late June 4, Mr. Pautsch hadn’t returned a call and message from The Epoch Times seeking comment.

Sheehy Beats Former Montana Secretary of State to Face Incumbent Tester

Rancher, businessman, and ex-Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy notched a convincing win in the Republican Senate primary contest. He defeated Brad Johnson, a former Secretary of State, and environmental contractor Charles Walkingchild.

“America is at a crossroads and we need a new generation of leaders to save our country,” Mr. Sheehy, who is 38, wrote on X on the evening of his victory.
Mr. Johnson, who is 72 years old and is Mr. Sheehy’s strongest Republican opponent, gained strength late in the primary season as the political newcomer faced intensifying scrutiny from Democrats, the media, and other critics, including for a lawsuit alleging that he defrauded employees.

Mr. Sheehy, who was backed by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), is now on the path to facing incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in November.

Mr. Tester soundly beat a challenger in his primary, receiving more than 97 percent of the vote against U.S. Navy veteran Michael Hummert.

Although Montana is a Republican stronghold in the presidential elections, Mr. Tester has managed to win repeatedly in the state since first being elected in 2006.

“I have farm equipment that’s been in Montana longer than Tim Sheehy,” Mr. Tester wrote on X of the Republican victor, who is originally from the Twin Cities area.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Inside Elections, and the American Enterprise Institute have all labeled the Tester versus Sheehy race a “toss-up.” The Cook Political Report says it leans Democrat.

Presidents Trump and Biden won their respective primaries in the state, with a small number of “uncommitted” votes in the Democrats’ contest and a small number of votes for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the Republican race.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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