June 26 Primary Recap

An apparent computer glitch forced thousands of voters to cast provisional ballots yesterday in Maryland. Residents that used a new tool to update their address and/or political party affiliation online through the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) were affected. The move that was billed as a customer enhancement measure – and implemented by MVA last year – has become a major voter headache. Governor Larry Hogan (R) did not have a challenger in yesterday’s Republican primary but he will likely feel its effects for weeks as his administration is coming under fire for the programming error from Democrats and activists, with legislators promising to hold hearings next month. Though, thanks to his moderate policies and distance from the Trump Administration, Hogan (R) is remarkably popular in the deep blue state. Governor Hogan (R) is already expected to beat Democratic nominee Ben Jealous in November. A former NAACP President and first-time candidate, Jealous (D) represents the progressive wing of the party, promising Medicare-for-all, free college tuition, and free full-day Pre-K made possible by legalizing marijuana. As with previous Democratic primaries this cycle, his main challenger was the establishment’s pick to take on the Governor in November. The unabashedly liberal wing of the party notched another win as Jealous received 39.8% of the vote on Tuesday.

Influential incumbent legislators weren’t immune to progressive challengers either. Senate Pro Tem Nathaniel McFadden (D) was defeated by Delegate Cory McCray (D). Senator Joan Carter Conway (D), Chair of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, lost to Delegate Mary Washington (D). Senator Mac Middleton (D), Chair of the Finance Committee, went down thanks to Arthur Ellis (D). Delegate Joseph Vallario Jr. (D), Chair of the Judiciary Committee, will also need to clean out his Annapolis office. Democrats are expected to maintain control of the State house in November.

Attorney General Brain Frosh (D) ran unopposed,as well did his challenger, Republican nominee Craig Wolf (R). Attorney General Frosh (D) is expected to win re-election.

Thanks to the passage of a 2016 ballot measure, for the very first time Colorado’s unaffiliated voters were allowed to vote in yesterday’s primary contests and they took advantage of it. Turnout increased significantly from 2014’s contest: 17.8% to nearly 32%. Self-funding Congressman Jared Polis won the Democratic gubernatorial primary with 44.66% of the vote. Polis (D) campaigned on liberal issues including free, full-day preschool and kindergarten, universal healthcare, and a big promise to get Colorado running on 100% renewable energy by 2040. Though he was still targeted from the left for his past support of charter schools and school choice. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton won the Republican gubernatorial primary with 47.9% of the vote. Stapleton (R) is considered the establishment choice and led in most public polls. He also did not shy away from President Trump during the primary – he touted being the only State Treasurer to support the tax cut and used footage of President Trump in a campaign ad – which may hurt his chances in the general election in a purple state that has trended blue of late.

With the help of a last-minute endorsement from outgoing Governor John Hickenlooper (D), former Obama staffer Phil Weiser seems to have secured the Democratic nomination for Attorney General. Weiser (D) was the only major candidate who received the Governor’s support. The race has not yet been officially called, but with 94% reporting, he has a 8,622 vote lead on State Representative Joe Salazar (D). County District Attorney George Brauchler was not challenged in the Republican primary for Attorney General. Depending on your pundit, Colorado is considered a toss-up or currently leans Democratic in both races.

Ten Republicans went toe to toe to become head of state in Oklahoma. Current term-limited Governor Mary Fallin (R) has seen her approval ratings fall over the years, mainly due to budgeting woes. As no Republican gubernatorial candidate garnered more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote getters will face one another in a runoff scheduled for August 28. All three of the frontrunners ran similar campaigns with conservative themes – and promises to implement better budgeting. In the end, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R) and Kevin Stitt (R) moved on to August’s final intra-party match. Cornett (R) touted his experience at the helm of the state’s largest city throughout the primary. He campaigned on reforming budgetary processes and job creation. Stitt (R) ran as a political outsider promising to shake things up a bit in OKC. He wants to see changes made to the budget process, including publishing every dollar spent online. Whether Cornett (R) or Stitt (R) prevail in August, the Democratic nominee – former Attorney General Drew Edmundson – has an almost impossible hill to climb. Oklahoma’s Governor’s Mansion is expected to remain in Republican control.

Arguably the most heated race in the Sooner State was the Republican primary for the office of Attorney General. Incumbent Mike Hunter (R) and Gentner Drummond (R) took one another to task in ads and during televised debates. A third challenger, public defender Angela Bonilla (R), stayed out of the fray, citing the mud-slinging as disheartening. Bonilla and all Okies should prepare themselves for more of it. Neither Attorney General Hunter (R) nor Drummond (R) crossed the 50% threshold and will now face off in the August runoff. Democratic nominee Mark Myles will now be equipped with even more free oppo. Not that it will matter – the office of the Attorney General is expected to remain in Republican control.

After the April teacher strikes, almost 100 administrators and teachers declared to run for seats in the Oklahoma legislature. Both moves have highlighted education issues relevance in this primary and in this state. Over 40 have moved on to either the August runoff or the November general.

After being forced into a runoff election, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) won the Republican gubernatorial primary last night with 53.6% of the vote. While the Governor was always considered the frontrunner, it is hard to deny that President Trump’s full-throated support combined with a last-minute Monday night political rally helped the establishment candidate defeat his outsider challenger, businessman John Warren. Governor McMaster (R) is expected to be victorious in November against Democratic challenger and State Representative James Smith.

The same is true for Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) who more easily defeated his runoff opponent with 65% of the vote. He will face Constance Anastopoulo (D) in November.

Want to know more about any of these primaries? Contact Meghan Holihan at msh@stateside.com

Check out or elections coverage at: http://www.stateside.com/elections/