Eight States in Midterm Voting (June 6)

Update 276 – Eight States in Midterm Voting

Yesterday was the Super Tuesday of the 2018 primary season. The most R to D flippable U.S. House seats in the country are in California, where the “jungle” primary system forced strategic recalibration among candidates and campaigns.

Did Democrats manage to avoid being locked out of all the general elections in the flippable districts, with a first or second-place finish and a spot on the November ballot assured? See below.

Best,

Dana

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Last night’s primary marked the most recent chapter in California’s ongoing experiment with jungle primaries, in which the two candidates who receive the most votes proceed to the general election, regardless of political affiliation. Democrats’ fears of being locked out of the flippable districts did not materialize.

While votes are still being counted, it appears that Democrats have a secured a second place slot in three of California’s most pivotal districts, CA-39, CA-48, and CA-49. Strong Democratic candidates successfully consolidated enough of the vote to make it into all of the flippable US House elections.

California

CA-10: Josh Harder (D) v Rep. Jeff Denham (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 48/Trump 45
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Obama 50/Romney 47
  • 2016 House: Denham (R) 52/Eggman (D) 48
  • Cook PVI: Even

In a district that Sec. Clinton won by three points, venture capitalist Josh Harder will take on three term incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham. CA-10 was a district that Democrats were worried would be an all Republican race after the jungle primary, but Harder edged out Republican Ted Howze 16 to 14 percent to finish second. Harder’s platform is centered around health care and bringing good paying jobs to the Central Valley by investing in infrastructure, funding apprenticeship programs and making college more affordable.

CA-25: Katie Hill (D) v Rep. Steve Knight (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 50/Trump 43
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 49/Obama 47
  • 2016 House: Knight (R) 53/Caforio (D) 47
  • Cook PVI: Even

Emily’s List champion Katie Hill emerged to face off against incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Knight in this toss-up north-of-LA district. Hill, who runs a homeless services nonprofit, barely edged out lawyer Bryan Caforio, 20 to 18 percent. Under her “rebuilding the middle class” platform, Hill intends to reduce income inequality, expand local hiring, attack the affordable housing and homelessness problem, and support organized labor. A dead even toss-up, this is a district Democrats must win to regain control of the House.

CA-39: Gil Cisneros (D) v Young Kim (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 51/Trump 43 (R)
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 50/Obama 47
  • 2016 House: Royce (R) 57/Murdock (D) 43
  • Cook PVI: Even

The CA-39 primary proved highly contested after incumbent Republican Ed Royce chose not to seek re-election. Democrat Gil Cisneros gained a spot on the general election ballot with 19 percent of the vote, close behind his Republican opponent, Young Kim, a former assemblywoman. Cisneros is an education policy expert eager to invest in education, vocational training and career development. He is also devoted to raising the minimum wage, reducing middle class taxes, and ending tax breaks for special interests and corporations.

CA-45: Katie Porter (D) v Mimi Walters (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 50/Trump 44
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 55/Obama 43
  • 2016 House: Walters (R) 59/Varasteh (D) 41
  • Cook PVI: R+3

A nationally renown consumer advocate, Katie Porter emerged from the pack to face incumbent GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in the general. Supported by Elizabeth Warren for her financial policy chops, Porter is pushing to undo the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s reverse wealth transfer to the top one percent. Porter will face off against Rep. Walters, who will have a fight on her hands defending her seat against a candidate with substantial national support.

CA-48 Harley Rouda (D) / Hand Keirstead (D) v Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 48/Trump 46
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 55/Obama 43
  • 2016 House: Rorabacher (R) 58/Savary (D) 42
  • Cook PVI: R+4

The 48th district saw the closest race among democrats. Harley Rouda, lawyer and businessman, and Hans Keirstead, a stem cell researcher/entrepreneur, were neck and neck with 17.3 and 17.2 percent of the vote respectively. While a recount is likely, this district is a strong flip possibility.

Rouda has been campaigning on a clean energy platform and is devoted to closing tax loopholes that benefit outdated industries and the wealthy. Keirstead focuses his platform on creating jobs, increasing the minimum wage, and ensuring clean energy infrastructure investments boosts hiring. The second place finisher will face incumbent GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in a lean-conservative district.

CA- 49: Mike Levin (D) v Diane Harley (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Clinton 51/Trump 43
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 52/Obama 46
  • 2016 House: Issa (R) 50/ Applegate 49
  • Cook PVI: R+1

Mike Levin emerged to beat two Democrat candidates, Sarah Jacobs and Doug Applegate, with 17 percent of the vote to their respective 15.5 and 13 percent. He will face Republican Diane Harley, who had 25 percent of the primary vote. Levin is a former executive director of the Orange County Democratic Party with experience working on clean energy issues. He also champions other environmental policies and supports a $15 federal minimum wage.

Iowa

IA-01: Abby Finkenauer (D) vs. Rep. Rod Blum (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 48/Clinton 45
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Obama 56/Romney 43
  • 2016 House: Blum (R) 54/Vernon (D) 46
  • Cook PVI: D+1

In IA-01, the northeastern congressional district in Iowa, 28-year old State Rep. Abby Finkenauer will face off against incumbent Tea Party Rep. Rod Blum. Minority Leader Pelosi and other influential Democrats have labeled Finkenauer as “one to watch” this November and beyond, as she progresses in her promising political career. Finkenauer is pushing for innovative progressive ideas, with an economic policy platform that includes strong organized labor, pay equity, and raising the minimum wage.

IA-03: Cindy Axne (D) vs. Rep. Dave Young (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 48/Clinton 45
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Obama 51/Romney 47
  • 2016 House: Young (R) 53/Mowrer (D) 40
  • Cook PVI: R+1

IA-03 is another Trump-country district with a good chance to flip. Cindy Axne, a small business owner and Emily’s List champion, takes on incumbent Rep. Dave Young. Axne’s two main policy platforms are health care and insufficient retirement benefits. Should Axne and Finkenauer win in November, they will be the first two female members of Congress from Iowa and would shift the state’s delegation from 3-1 R to 3-1 D seats.

New Jersey

NJ-11: Mikie Sherrill (D) vs. Jay Webber (R)

  • 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 49/Clinton 48
  • 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 52/Obama 47
  • 2016 House: Frelinghuysen (R) 58/Wenzel (D) 39
  • Cook PVI: R+3

In NJ-11, former Navy pilot and prosecutor Mikie Sherrill rode a Joe Biden endorsement to cruise to an easy victory in a crowded primary field. She faces Jay Webber in November to replace outgoing Rep. Frelinghuysen in a district that includes the heavily Democratic Essex Country and the historically Republican Morris County. Sherrill is running with economic issues at the forefront of her policy platform: increased infrastructure and education spending, a reform or repeal of most of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the protection of Social Security and Medicare.

New Mexico

Sen. Martin Heinrich will face off against Republican Mick Rich this November. Sen. Heinrich has been a strong advocate for American workers and their families as Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee. Under his leadership, the committee has identified and promoted ways to sustainably grow our economy and has released multiple reports opposing the tax cut and S. 2155. Sen. Heinrich is not expected to have a serious challenge in this race.

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PRIMARY NUMBERS:

From the beginning of the primary season, the results have moved districts from toss-up to lean-D according to the Cook Political Report. The number of such districts can be expressed as a fraction of the total seats needed for the Democrats to secure a majority in the US House in November.

Not including yesterday’s primaries, we estimate that Democrats can confidently claim four flips, or 4 of 24 seats.

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