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Period Ending June 3, 2016

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This weekly roundup of election news and notes is compiled for Thompson Coburn by the The Ellis Insight.

President

Super Tuesday: The busiest voting day of the 2016 nomination process occurred this past week with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton racking up large numbers of delegates after placing first in the most number of states. Trump claimed the top position in seven of the 11 Republican-voting states, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) three, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) topped the field only in the Minnesota Caucus. For the Democrats, former Secretary of State Clinton won seven states while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) took four.

After congressional seat delegates are added to the candidates’ totals, now that the individual district results are known, Trump leads the pack with 338 pledged delegates, Sen. Cruz follows with 236, Sen. Rubio is next at 112, and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) now has 27 pledged convention votes. Dr. Ben Carson, who is suspending his presidential campaign after saying he sees “no path to the nomination,” leaves the contest with eight delegates.

With more Super Delegates announcing their support of Ms. Clinton after the Super Tuesday results, the former Secretary of State has increased her overall lead against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) to 1,063 to 431. The hard count, based only on the popular vote, favors Clinton by a 566 to 376 count.

This weekend, Republicans and Democrats will both vote in the Louisiana primary and the Kansas and Maine caucuses. Republicans also have the Kentucky Caucus and the Puerto Rico primary. Democrats will vote in the Nebraska Caucus. The weekend’s aggregate delegate allotment is 178 for Republicans and 156 for Democrats. The Republican formula is a bit different in this weekend’s voting meaning the first-place total is likely to be less definitive in delegate apportionment terms.

Senate

Alabama: Sen. Richard Shelby was re-nominated in Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary for a sixth term, capturing 65% against four opponents. He now faces marijuana legalization activist Ron Crumpton (D) in the general election, which means Sen. Shelby has been effectively re-elected.

Arkansas: First-term Sen. John Boozman (R) won re-nomination with a 76-24% victory margin over his minor Republican opponent. The general election features Sen. Boozman and Democrat Conner Eldridge, a former US Attorney. Mr. Eldridge was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Sen. Boozman begins the general election as a heavy favorite, but Eldridge will mount a credible challenge effort.

Florida: President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden this week endorsed Rep. Patrick Murphy (R-FL-18) in the open Democratic Senate primary, prompting a highly negative response from Senate candidate and US Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL-9). Grayson released a statement saying “the Anti-Democratic Party Establishment is anxious to drag Grayson’s opponent (Rep. Murphy), their do-nothing errand boy for Wall Street, over the finish line.”

Iowa: Former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D) announced that she will challenge six-term Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) for the seat he has held since being elected the same night when Ronald Reagan first won the Presidency. The US Supreme Court vacancy will be a major issue in this campaign because of Sen. Grassley’s position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the body that would conduct hearings, or not, of any nominee who President Obama brings forward. Sen. Grassley is favored for re-election, but Ms. Judge will be the most formidable opponent he has faced in decades.

Louisiana: The open jungle primary field became more defined late this week as Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, who placed third in the 2015 gubernatorial race with a respectable showing, announced that he will not enter the Senate race as expected, but will seek Rep. Charles Boustany’s open 3rd Congressional District instead. Rep. Boustany is a Senate candidate. The move should boost Boustany’s Senate bid since he and Angelle were dividing the same political base, and likely makes Angelle the leading candidate to win the open Cajun County congressional district.

Ohio: The next major Senate primary occurs in the Buckeye State on March 15. Here, President Obama and Vice President Biden also endorsed former Gov. Ted Strickland in his Democratic nomination battle against Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld. Mr. Strickland is expected to easily prevail, but Sittenfeld has put forth a spirited challenge. The winner faces Sen. Rob Portman (R) in November.

House

Alabama Results: Four of the seven Alabama House incumbents were facing primary challenges, and all easily survived. The closest margin was Rep. Bradley Byrne’s (R-AL-1) 60-40% victory over businessman, conservative political activist, and former congressional candidate Dean Young.

AR-2: Only freshman Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) drew a primary challenge in this state, but the Congressman easily dispensed with his opponent in a 85-15% landslide vote. Rep. Hill will face former Little Rock School Board President Dianne Curry (D) in the general election. Mr. Hill is rated as a strong favorite to capture a second term.

Texas Results: Nineteen incumbents faced primary opposition this past week, and all incumbents were re-nominated without being forced into run-off elections. Fourteen of the challenges were on the Republican side. All broke 60% except for Reps. John Culberson (R-Houston) who claimed 57%; House Ways & Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) had the closest contest, winning with 53%; Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) captured 56%, and Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston) attracted 57% in the closest Democratic campaign. A candidate was nominated if he or she exceeded 50% of the vote.

GA-9: Former Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10) has scheduled a March 10 announcement in the 9th Congressional District. While Broun is not saying what he will make public, speculation is rampant that he will declare a challenge to two-term Republican Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville). Mr. Broun left the House to unsuccessfully run for Senate in 2014, losing to now-Sen. David Perdue (R).

NY-22: Democrats successfully recruited their top choice to fight for the marginal open 22nd District, now that Rep. Richard Hanna (R) has announced his retirement. Broome County legislator Kim Myers (D), daughter of Dick’s Sporting Goods founder Dick Stack, officially announced her congressional candidacy. Ms. Myers will easily claim the official Democratic Party county endorsements, which should deliver her the nomination with little trouble. Republicans have four candidates including Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney and former Broome County legislator George Phillips.

NC-12: As expected, former state Sen. Malcolm Graham (D), who lost to freshman Rep. Alma Adams in the 2014 Democratic nomination battle, announced he will enter the newly configured 12th District race. Rep. Adams has announced her intention to run in the new 12th, but the now-Charlotte-based district is a long way from her Greensboro political base. The latter region is not included in the new court-ordered draw. Also in the Democratic primary is state Rep. Rodney Moore. This nomination contest will be highly competitive.

TX-15: With Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-McAllen) retiring, the border-anchored 15th District is now open. Attorney Vicente Gonzalez placed first in the all-important Democratic primary with 42% of the vote. Edinburg School Board member Sonny Palacios was a distant second with just 19%. The two will go head-to-head in a May 24 run-off. The winner will almost assuredly defeat the GOP nominee in November.

TX-19: A very close primary contest ended in Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson (R) and former Bush Administration official and ex-Texas Tech University Vice Chancellor Jodey Arrington advancing to the May 24th run-off. Robertson captured 27% of the Republican vote, with Arrington right on his heels at 26%. The third place finisher was retired Air Force Colonel Michael Bob Starr, the only major candidate hailing from the San Angelo portion of the district. Starr attracted 21% of the vote. The run-off winner takes the seat because the Democrats did not file a candidate for this heavily Republican West Texas seat. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock) is retiring.

VA-7: Rep. David Brat (R) is now a lock for re-nomination. After the local party decided to nominate by convention instead of primary, Rep. Brat’s one major Republican opponent, Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade (R) withdrew from the 7th District race and hopped into the new 4th District campaign. The new 4th is a heavily Democratic seat that was court-ordered when Rep. Bobby Scott’s (D-Newport News) 3rd District was declared unconstitutional. The move is a curious one in that Wade’s victory chances as a Republican in the new 4th are poor.

Governor

North Dakota: North Dakota United, the state’s largest public sector union, commissioned a DFM Research poll to test the open Governor’s race. The survey of 369 Republican primary voters finds Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem leading Fargo businessman Doug Burgum, 59-10% if the two were to face each other in a primary election. A third candidate, state Rep. Rick Becker, says he will abide by the North Dakota Republican state convention endorsement vote. Burgum, knowing that Stenehjem will win the convention, says he will take the race to the primary ballot. Mr. Stenehjem is favored in the Republican primary and general election. Gov. Jack Dalrymple is retiring.

Oregon: Businessman Allen Alley (R), a former gubernatorial candidate and state Treasurer nominee, announced he will challenge Gov. Kate Brown this year. Ms. Brown ascended to the Governor’s post from her elected position as Secretary of State when incumbent John Kitzhaber (D) resigned from office under scandal pressure. The 2016 special election winner serves the final two years of the current gubernatorial term, and then can stand for a full four-year stint in 2018.