Tuesday night was the first round of the 2018 primaries with Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia voting. That evening I had the television on and was monitoring other races on an iPad with occasional trips to the iPhone to utilize Safari. A lot happened and I’d like to touch on a bit of it. Let’s explore.
Tuesday afternoon Trump pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and along with the primaries that provided more than a full boat for the news media but Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti managed to overshadow both with some very interesting financial revelations involving Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, a Russian oligarch and several major corporations. This is a still developing story which I’m certain I will comment on in the future. At this juncture it is suffice to say that Avenatti is a master at keeping his client in the news.
All four states are ones that Trump won in 2016. Three (North Carolina being the exception) featured races for Senate seats all of which are currently held by Democrats who are viewed in varying degrees to be vulnerable in November. While West Virginia received the most press leading up to Tuesday night I actually found Ohio to be the most interesting. I also think I may have discovered a disturbing trend in North Carolina. Sorry Indiana, it may be due to my ignorance of your politics but I just didn’t see a lot there.
Everyone was watching the West Virginia Republican Senate primary. Convicted felon Don Blankenship was coming on strong in the closing days and DC Republicans were concerned that if he won the primary he had almost no chance of defeating incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin in November. As it turned out Blankenship finished third setting up a Manchin – Patrick Morrisey contest in the fall.
For years I have felt that Democratic Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown would make a great vice presidential candidate. In order for that to happen in 2020 two things must occur in 2018: Brown needs to get reelected and the Democrats need to take what will be the open gubernatorial seat. In the Democratic Gubernatorial primary Richard Cordray defeated Dennis Kucinich. While not a criminal, Kucinich was the Democratic version of Blankenship in that he is widely viewed as extreme and didn’t appear to have a decent chance of winning the general. A lot will be made of the “proxy war” between an Elizabeth Warren backed candidate and a Bernie Sanders backed candidate but I think that is a case of drawing too wide of a conclusion from too little data. Two races I will be watching on Election Night are the Brown – Jim Renacci matchup for the Senate and the Cordray – Mike DeWine contest for the Governor’s mansion in Columbus.
Having lived in the Tar Heel State for the better part of a decade I know a little bit about North Carolina politics. The big news coming out of North Carolina was that incumbent Republican Representative Robert Pittenger lost his primary contest to Mark Harris in the 9th Congressional District. I don’t think this is as big a deal as the national media is making out of it; however it is always easier to win an open seat than it is to defeat an incumbent. In two Congressional District primaries the Democrats selected a candidate that I don’t think has a chance of winning in November over a more viable general election candidate. If you don’t win the general you accomplished nothing! I don’t think enough voters take that into consideration. If I am correct and that trend continues the Democrats may end up squandering a golden opportunity to take back the House.
Since Tuesday involved my current home state it was more intense for me as I followed several down ballot races involving friends. That’s one Primary Night down and several more to go.
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