The May primary wars are about to begin
WASHINGTON — It seems like an eternity since the last 2018 midterm primaries — in Texas and Illinois — took place back in March, right?
But the intraparty contests restart beginning next week. And the ones that occur in the month of May are some of the most competitive and fascinating races we’ll see all year.
Here are the five primary fights we’ll be watching in May:
- Bloody Indiana (May 8): The Republican race to take on vulnerable Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., began with a pair of GOP congressmen – Luke Messer and Todd Rokita – whose own personal feud dates back to their days in college. And now it involves a third candidate, wealthy former state Rep. Mike Braun, who voted as a Democrat until 2012. “Drunken driving, self-dealing and false advertising,” NBC’s Jonathan Allen and Ali Vitali write. “Those are just some of the charges voters here are sifting through in a brutal three-way Republican primary that will determine who gets to take on … Donnelly.”
- The Mountaineer State Melee (May 8): The dynamics of the GOP primary in West Virginia for the right to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., are pretty similar to the Indiana race — but with one BIG difference. Republican Congressman Evan Jenkins, R-W.V., and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey have been running for a while to take on Manchin. Then Don Blankenship, who was sentenced to prison for violating mine-safety standards, jumped into the race. Unlike in Indiana, where national Republicans aren’t resistant to Braun, GOP groups have been trying to sink Blankenship. And a recent Fox News poll showed him running third.
- Ohio’s Obama-Era progressive vs. the Bush-Era progressive (May 8): The Democratic gubernatorial primary in Ohio has largely come down to a battle over who is more progressive — former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray, who was put into that role by Barack Obama, and former Congressman and 2004/2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. As the New York Times asks, “Who has the truest claim to progressivism in 2018, when both candidates can credibly grab at the label? Is it better to be liberal on guns (Mr. Kucinich) or the bane of the banks (Mr. Cordray)? To be a fire-breather or a bit of a square?” Kucinich, however, has come under Dem fire for receiving $20,000 for a speech to a pro-Assad group and for praising Trump’s inaugural address.
- The race to forget John Kasich (May 8): The winner of the Cordray-vs.-Kucinich race will take on the victor of the GOP primary to replace term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich — between state Attorney General (and former U.S. Senator) Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. The hitch here is that Taylor, Kasich’s No. 2, has criticized the outgoing governor. “Asked to evaluate Kasich's legacy as governor, Taylor said she feels Kasich started off OK, but eventually "walked away from conservative principles,” Taylor said at a quasi-debate earlier this month.
- Stacey vs. Stacey (May 22): The Democratic gubernatorial primary in Georgia between former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (who is African American) and former state Rep. Stacey Evans (who is white) has been perhaps the nastiest Democratic primary contest of 2018. The winner faces a competitive GOP field including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp.