There were important primaries in eight states yesterday, but as it turns out, one of the more surprising results of the night came in Missouri – which didn’t hold any primaries at all.
Because in the Show Me State yesterday, a Democrat won a state Senate special election in ways that were hard to predict in advance. The Kansas City Star reported:
Democratic Rep. Lauren Arthur prevailed by a double-digit margin over Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew in a special election for a state Senate seat Tuesday night.
Republicans won’t risk losing control of the Missouri Senate on Tuesday, but Arthur’s victory in a Northland special election could signal the GOP’s grasp on Jefferson City has weakened after months of drama surrounding former Gov. Eric Greitens.
Arthur, a former teacher from Kansas City, beat Corlew with 59.6 percent to 40.3 percent of the vote to win the special election for Missouri’s 17th Senate district. She’s the first Democrat to hold the seat in more than a decade.
This is an area that Donald Trump won by five points in his election, but where the Republican candidate yesterday lost by nearly 20 points.
For those keeping score, this was the 42nd state legislative seat Democrats have flipped from “red” to “blue” in the Trump era. The party has been on a hot streak in these special elections, and that streak clearly continued yesterday.
The Kansas City Star quoted a Missouri Republican consultant, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly, who said last night that “Every suburban Republican should be petrified tonight. This devastating loss signals they could lose this fall.”
Missouri, of course, is home to an important U.S. Senate race in November. It’s also home to former Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who was forced to resign in disgrace just last week.
* It’s not yet 100% certain, but at this point, it doesn’t appear that California’s odd “top-two” primary system led to Democratic lock-outs in competitive U.S. House races.
* In California’s statewide races, Republicans have again been locked out of a U.S. Senate race – incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) will face a Democratic rival in November – but there will be a GOP candidate in the state’s gubernatorial race, with John Cox finishing second yesterday. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) remains the frontrunner for the job.
* In Iowa, Fred Hubbell won the Democrats’ gubernatorial nod by a large enough margin that he won’t need a state convention to get the party’s nomination.
* And speaking of the Hawkeye State, Iowa has never sent a woman to the U.S. House, but Democrats nominated women in the 1st and 3rd districts yesterday, and both parties consider those races competitive.
* While several U.S. House members have struggled in their bids for higher office this year, Rep. Kristi Noem (R) won her primary in South Dakota yesterday and will be her party’s gubernatorial candidate.
* In Alabama, Rep. Martha Roby (R), facing accusations from the far-right that she’s been insufficiently loyal to Donald Trump, was pushed into a primary runoff yesterday.
* And in New Jersey, incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D) won his primary, but he finished with 62% support against a largely unknown opponent, which raises new concerns about whether his recent legal difficulties have made him vulnerable in a general election.