Primary Recap

By Peter Brath and Danny Restivo

Republicans and Democrats in four states—Oklahoma, Colorado, South Carolina and Maryland—solidified their party’s respective nominees for governor after Tuesday night’s primary.
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Maryland
Former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous clinched the Democratic nomination after defeating a large field of candidates. With 39 percent of the vote, Jealous’ closest competitor was Prince George County Official Rushern Baker, who captured 29 percent of the vote. Eight other candidates followed with single-digit tallies.

Jealous, a former Rhodes Scholar and top lieutenant to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, had received endorsements from Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Corey Booker (D-NJ). Jealous has selected Susan Turnbull, a Democratic stalwart who held local, state and national positions in the party.

Jealous will now face incumbent Republican Governor Terry Hogan, one of America’s most popular governor’s with a 71-percent approval rating. The Cook Political Report has labeled the race as “Likely Republican,” while Inside Elections has categorized the race as “Lean Republican.”

Colorado
Five-term Congressman Jared Polis and two-term state Treasurer Walker Stapleton will face-off in November’s gubernatorial election. Polis, an openly-gay representative from the Boulder area, won nearly 44 percent of the Democratic vote. Meanwhile, former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy captured 26 percent and State Senator Mike Johnson had 24 percent. In the GOP primary, Stapleton had 48 percent, while his closest competitor, former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, took more than 30 percent.

Stapleton broke state fundraising records and counts Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush as relatives. With a strong background in economics, Stapleton has received funding and endorsements from many members of the Colorado business community. Both candidates raised nearly $40 million combined, while Polis spent $11 million of his own money. Polis started an internet access provider company while a student at Princeton University before he sold it in 1999 for $430 million. If elected, he would become the first openly gay governor in the United States.

The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections both labeled this race “Lean Democratic.”

South Carolina
Republican Governor Henry McMaster defeated John Warren by 11 points to clinch the GOP nomination for Governor. McMaster took more than 53 percent of the vote, while Warren captured slightly more than 42 percent. Both candidates entered Tuesday’s contest after they secured the top two spots in the June 12 primary.

McMaster will now face Democratic State Representative James Smith in the general election. Smith captured almost 62 percent of the Democratic vote when he clinched the nomination on June 12.

McMaster is seeking his first full-term as governor. After South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was reelected in 2014, President Donald Trump tapped her to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 2017. As a result, McMaster moved from Lt. Governor to Governor and received a strong endorsement from Trump shortly before the primary.

The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections have categorized the race as “Safely Republican.”

Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa business executive Kevin Stitt took the two top spots in the Oklahoma GOP primary and will face each other in a runoff on August 28. While Cornett took 29 percent of the vote, Stitt grabbed 24 percent, edging out Lt. Governor Todd Lamb who earned 23 percent.

In the Democratic Primary, former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson defeated State Senator Connie Johnson, 61-38 percent. Edmondson’s family has a long line of public service in Oklahoma; his father was former congressman Ed Edmondson, his uncle J. Howard Edmondson was Governor, while his brother James sits on the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections have categorized the race as “Safely Republican” and “Likely Republican,” respectively.

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