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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Primaries in Kansas, Michigan, and Missouri

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race

The Democrats' Akin ploy failed in Kansas.  James Arkin and Ally Mutnick report at Politico:
Rep. Roger Marshall won the GOP primary for an open Senate seat in Kansas on Tuesday, turning aside the controversial Kris Kobach — to the relief of Republicans concerned that Kobach could put not just the state but the party's Senate majority at risk this fall.
With nearly all the votes tallied, Marshall had 40 percent of the vote, to only 26 percent for Kobach. The result was a more decisive victory for Marshall than expected by many Republicans, who had predicted with deep concern that the race was a tossup going into Tuesday.
...
 Republicans got another piece of good news in Kansas on Tuesday, when Rep. Steve Watkins was ousted in his primary by state Treasurer Jake LaTurner, who has seized on Watkins’ litany of ethical and legal transgressions, including felony charges of voter fraud in the closing weeks of the primary. Some Republicans feared Watkins' renomination could have jeopardized the party's hold on an otherwise GOP-leaning House seat.
Clare Foran at CNN:
Freshman Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan has prevailed against a Democratic primary challenge from Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, CNN projected Wednesday morning.
In Michigan's 13th Congressional District, Tlaib faced a rematch in Tuesday night's Democratic primary against Jones, who beat her once before to serve out the remainder of former Rep. John Conyers' term, but lost to Tlaib in the full-term election for the seat in the heavily Democratic district.
As a member of the so-called progressive "Squad," Tlaib, who made history in 2018 along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar as the first two Muslim women ever to serve in Congress, has a number of built-in advantages as she runs for reelection, including high name recognition, the ability to raise significant amounts of money and a devoted national following. At the same time, however, Tlaib has faced controversy over some outside-the-mainstream political positions and at times she has faced criticism, including from Democrats, over statements related to Israel.
Nicholas Fando at NYT:
Cori Bush, a progressive activist and a leader of the swelling protest movement for racial justice, toppled Representative William Lacy Clay Jr. of Missouri in a Democratic primary on Tuesday, notching the latest in a stunning string of upsets against the party establishment.
Ms. Bush, 44, had captured nearly 49 percent of the vote by late Tuesday evening compared with 45.5 percent for Mr. Clay, according to The Associated Press. She had tried and failed to unseat Mr. Clay in 2018, but this year rode a surge in support for more liberal, confrontational politics within the Democratic Party amid the coronavirus pandemic and the national outcry over festering racial inequities.
James Hohmann at WP:
The vibe inside the House Democratic Caucus has changed dramatically since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez toppled Joe Crowley, then the No. 4 in party leadership, two summers ago in a primary. AOC, as everyone calls her, is a member of the self-described “Squad” of four far-left liberals who won their seats in 2018. Another member of that quartet, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, easily fended off a primary challenge on Tuesday in Michigan from the president of the Detroit city council, who is more aligned with the Democratic establishment and only lost by 900 votes last time.

Clay is the third Democratic incumbent to lose a primary this year. Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, lost to former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman last month in New York. Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.), who chairs a railroads and pipelines subcommittee, lost in March to activist Marie Newman in Chicago largely because of his opposition to abortion rights.

Speaking to supporters in a purple mask, Bush thanked a list of far-left groups for supporting her bid, including the Democratic Socialists of America. “I will never take for granted the movement that got me here,” she said. “An incremental approach isn’t going to work any longer. We’ve decided that we’re not going to wait any longer for change.”
 Rachel Roubein at Politico:
Missouri voters on Tuesday approved Medicaid expansion to many of the state’s poorest adults, making their conservative state the second to join the Obamacare program through the ballot during the pandemic.
The Missouri ballot measure expands Medicaid to about 230,000 low-income residents at a time when the state’s safety net health care program is already experiencing an enrollment surge tied to the pandemic’s economic upheaval. The measure was supported by 53 percent of voters.
A winning streak: Missouri becomes the sixth Republican-led state where voters have defied GOP leaders to expand Medicaid, just weeks after Oklahoma voters narrowly backed the program. No state has ever voted down such a ballot initiative in recent years, underscoring the popularity of Medicaid expansion even in parts of the country hostile to Obamacare.