Midterm Roundup: April Showers Bring May Primaries

West Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon will all select their nominees over the next two weeks as the 2022 primary season gets underway.

State of Play – May 7

Trump Republicans, Moderate Democrats Win Big in Ohio

Moderate Democrats and Republicans endorsed by or aggressively campaigning on their support for former president Donald Trump won big in Tuesday’s primary elections in Ohio and Indiana. Read more about Ohio and Indiana’s primaries for Senate, governor and the US House here.

Dem Corruption Pays Off For Empire State Republicans

New York: Republican prospects in New York were already looking up after state courts struck down New York’s 22-4 Democratic gerrymander for violating the state constitution. Then, New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) resigned after his arrest on bribery charges. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) tapped Hudson Valley Congressman Antonio Delgado (D) to replace him on her ticket. Delgado leaves behind a highly competitive seat expected to move in the GOP direction once New York’s maps are redrawn. Republicans have a strong candidate in Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and stand a good chance of picking up the seat in the upcoming special election this summer and holding it in November.

May Primary Preview

May 10

Nebraska Governor: University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen (NE Gov. Pete Ricketts’ pick), businessman Charles Herbster (Trump’s pick) and state senator Brett Lindstrom are locked in a three-way battle for the nomination. Allegations of sexual harassment against Herbster shook up the race in the final weeks.

West Virginia’s 2nd District: Rep. Alex Mooney (backed by Trump) and Rep. David McKinley (backed by Gov. Jim Justice and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin) are squaring off in a rare member v. member primary after West Virginia lost a House seat.

May 17


North Carolina: Rep. Ted Budd (R) has ridden Trump’s endorsement into a consistent polling lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Pennsylvania: Businessman, veteran and Bush administration official David McCormick and Trump-endorsed as-seen-on-TV Doctor Mehmet Oz are locked in an expensive battle for the GOP nomination. Lt. Gov John Fetterman appears to be running away with the Democratic nod in his race against Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

Governor’s Races

Idaho: Gov. Brad Little (R) looks likely to stave off a Trump-endorsed primary challenge from his own Lt. Governor, Janice McGeachin. Little has a sizable lead in recent polling.

Oregon: State Treasurer Tobias Read and State House Speaker Tina Kotek are dueling for the Democratic nomination. State House Minority Leader Christine Drazan appears to be the frontrunner in the wide-open GOP primary. The winners on Tuesday will face well-funded independent candidate Betsy Johnson in November.

Pennsylvania: Ex-US Attorney Bill McSwain, businessman Dave White, ex-Rep. Lou Barletta and State senator and January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally attendee Doug Mastriano appear to be the leading four candidates in the wide-open GOP primary for the right to face well-funded Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D).

Blue on Blue: Safe Seat Democratic Primaries

Kentucky’s 3rd: State Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey is competing with state Rep. Attica Scott to succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth (D). Yarmuth backed McGarvey in this Louisville-area seat.

North Carolina’s 4th: This Chapel Hill and Durham-based seat was left vacant by retiring Rep. David Price. State Sen. Valerie Foushee, Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and American Idol finalist Clay Aiken lead the pack in fundraising.

North Carolina’s 14th: This brand-new Charlotte-area seat seems likely to elect State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Jackson in November.

Pennsylvania’s 12th: State Rep. Summer Lee (D), a democratic socialist backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, appears to be the candidate to beat in the race to succeed longtime Pittsburgh Rep. Mike Doyle. Doyle has endorsed well-funded moderate lawyer Steve Irwin, Lee’s top challenger.

Ruby Red Republican Primaries

Idaho’s 2nd: This primary features a rematch between Rep. Mike Simpson and his 2014 primary challenger, attorney Bryan Smith. Smith was backed by the Club for Growth in 2014 and by a cryptocurrency PAC this time.

North Carolina’s 11th: Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s litany of scandals – cocaine and orgy claims, leaked videos, multiple citations for driving on a revoked license and bringing a gun to an airport, allegations of insider trading, to name a few – earned him a primary challenge from state Sen. Chuck Edwards that’s supported by most of North Carolina’s elected Republicans.

Swing District Match-Ups

North Carolina’s 1st: Redistricting made this seat more competitive and pushed Rep. G. K. Butterfield into retirement. Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson and hard-right activist Sandy Smith lead the GOP candidates in fundraising, while state Sens. Don Davis and Erica Smith are the leading Democratic candidates.

North Carolina’s 13th: Rep. Ted Budd’s Senate run left this competitive seat open. State Sen. Wiley Nickel (D) is the likely Democratic nominee, while a wide-open field of Republicans includes self-funder Kelly Daughtry, district-hopping 20-something Cawthorn admirer Bo Hines, and Johnson County’s DeVan Barbour.

Oregon’s 4th: State Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle is the likely Democratic nominee for this redrawn competitive seat. The GOP nominee is veteran Alek Skarlatos, who helped stop a terror attack on a Paris-bound train in 2015 later immortalized in the film The 15:17 to Paris.

Oregon’s 5th: Joe Biden endorsed moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader to help him ward off progressive primary challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Lori Chavez-DeRemer and 2020 OR-02 candidate Jimmy Crumpacker appear to be the leading Republicans running to flip the seat in the fall.

Oregon’s 6th: This race made national news after Hispanic Democrats attacked House Democratic Leadership for supporting crypto-backed newcomer Carrick Flynn over state Rep. Andrea Salinas. State Rep. Ron Noble and 2020 GOP candidate Amy Ryan Courser are some of the leading Republicans competing for this newly-drawn swing seat.

Pennsylvania’s 7th: Lehigh Valley Rep. Susan Wild appears likely to face businesswoman Lisa Scheller in a replay of their close 2020 election that Wild won 52-47.

Pennsylvania’s 8th: Trump endorsed 2020 candidate Jim Bognet to take on Rep. Matt Cartwright (D) in this northeast Pennsylvania district that Trump won in 2020.

Pennsylvania’s 17th: 2018 state senate candidate Jeremy Shaffer (R) and Democrats Chris Deluzio and Sean Meloy are the leading candidates competing to succeed Rep. Conor Lamb in this swingy Pittsburgh-area seat.

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© Dominic Moore, 2022