Wednesday, June 15, 2016

5 Thoughts on Last Night's Primaries

It's a Wednesday, and you know what that means (anyone else miss Grace Helbig's intros?)-it's time for a roundup of my five thoughts out of last night's primaries...

1. Hillary Clinton Gets Her End Game

Hillary Clinton has had a remarkable last week.  Just nine days ago she won the Democratic nomination for the presidency, and since then has seen both the entire Democratic Party coalesce around her as well as her presumptive opponent repeatedly implode with heinous comments about the attacks in Orlando and moving once again to push his Muslim ban to the center of his campaign, much to the chagrin of the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.  Last night she continued that streak by winning a major victory in DC (one of her biggest this cycle), and having a two-hour long meeting with Sen. Bernie Sanders.  While Sanders didn't say whether or not he'd be dropping out, his campaign has essentially ended after last night and the messages put out by both parties seemed to indicate that the Vermont senator sees the writing on the wall.  Sanders has stated that they will work together to defeat Donald Trump, and there were no calls for superdelegates to change their minds.  It does appear that we are all but an endorsement away from this chapter being shut, and I suspect that they're just negotiating some small things (the rumor being that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's job is on the line) before that happens.  Overall, though, another really strong night for the Clinton campaign, which can't be said for Donald Trump...

2. No One Told DC the Race is Over

Despite the fact that the Republicans have named their nominee and that he has won the nomination for all-intents-and-purposes (and that he has no currently-running opponents), Donald Trump still managed to lose the DC primary.  While the district's Republican Party is famously scant (less than 3000 people voted last night compared to nearly 100,000 on the Democratic side), it still sends a strong message about the Trump campaign, namely that Washington (despite some recent endorsements) isn't backing his campaign, as Marco Rubio and John Kasich clobbered, keeping Trump below the 15% threshold that meant he would receive no delegates.  It doesn't ultimately matter (Trump secured the 1237 delegates a while ago that would be necessary to win the nomination), but it's another bad moment in a campaign that seems to be swimming in them right now.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
3. District-Hopping Doesn't Work

Rep. Randy Forbes became the third incumbent of the cycle to lose their reelection, and weirdly the second candidate to do so through district-hopping.  District-hopping (where you move districts to try and gain advantage in a seat where you're more likely to win) is generally rare outside of a census year for an incumbent, but both he and Renee Ellmers (NC) were forced to do so after they had mid-decade redistricting due to gerrymandered states.  In reality, only three incumbents losing in primaries so far is pretty low-it's kind of odd, considering the tenor of his campaign that Donald Trump hasn't tried to instigate more against incumbents who aren't backing him fully (perhaps no one's given him the idea), as Trump's only congressional endorsement was Ellmers (who, admittedly, lost badly).  You'd think he'd be trying that or perhaps he will in the future.  Either way, if you're an incumbent running this year chances are you're not going to have to worry too much about a Tea Party challenge.

4. Democrats Catch a Break in Nevada

In perhaps the best news of the night for Democrats (outside of a likely end to their primary season), the DCCC got the opponent they were hoping for in Nevada's third district.  Republicans had endorsed State Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson in the district, and had high hopes that he'd be able to hold the seat currently held by Rep. Joe Heck (who won his primary for the open Senate seat), but lost in a big upset against Danny Tarkanian, a four-time loser frequent candidate who has been involved with a number of scandals that will surely come up on the trail.  Nevada political guru Jon Ralston named Democrat Jacky Rosen now the favorite for the seat, which was Leans Republican headed into the night on Twitter last night, and this would be a huge coup for the Democrats, particularly Harry Reid, who is tasking himself with a big legacy this year in the Silver State: hold his Senate seat, pickup two House seats, and win back both state legislatures.  With last night's victory by Tarkanian, the Republicans made it a lot easier on him.
State Sen. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)

5. State Sen. Ruben Kihuen Makes it onto the The Hill 50 Most Beautiful

This may be shallow, but I'm not a professional journalist, and it does relate to a major race so whatever.  State Sen. Ruben Kihuen, endorsed by Harry Reid, won the 4th district Nevada race.  This was a shock win for the Republicans two years ago during the wave, arguably the biggest shock of the night, and Kihuen starts out the race against Republican Rep. Crescent Hardy as the favorite, particularly considering President Obama won the district by 11-points in 2012.  It's also worth noting that Kihuen is kind of really good-looking, as is evidenced by this Ice Bucket Challenge where he makes a splash.

Happy Wednesday!

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