June 12 Primary Elections Preview: Maine, Nevada, Virginia, South Carolina & North Dakota – What To Watch
Five states are set to hold primary elections on Tuesday, and here is everything you need to know.
Nevada, Virginia, South Carolina, North Dakota and Maine all have primaries this week. In North Dakota, there is only one race: Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is up for re-election for her second term. She will face Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer in a state that President Donald Trump easily carried in 2016.
In Virginia, at least four incumbent GOP congressmen will face tough re-election bids this year ahead of November’s midterms.
Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of primaries:
In Virginia’s second House district, the sitting Republican is Rep. Scott Taylor, who has served in Congress since 2016. A fierce conservative, Taylor voted for a 20-week abortion ban, the GOP tax bill and for the attempted repeal of Obamacare.
The Democrats challenging him are former U.S. Navy veteran Elaine Luria, who currently manages an art studio and has received support from Emily’s List and End Citizens United, and schoolteacher Karen Mallard. Trump narrowly won this district (by 3 points) in 2016.
In Virginia’s fifth congressional district, a seat is open after GOP Rep. Tom Garrett announced his resignation late last month amid a big list of scandals including using staffers as assistants for personal business. Garrett also admitted to being an alcoholic.
Democrats in this district chose to hold a nominating convention rather than a primary election. The party chose Leslie Cockburn, a former journalist who favors Medicare-for-all.
Virginia’s seventh and tenth House districts also have incumbent GOP representatives.
In the seventh, the Republican is Rep. Dave Brat, an ultra-conservative former college professor. Abigail Spanberger is reportedly the favorite among the Democratic challengers. Spanberger is a former federal law enforcement officer and CIA operative who has garnered strong support from many local figures. The other Democrat running is retired military colonel Dan Ward. This district remains mostly Republican-leaning, although Democrats have gained strength here in the last few years.
In the tenth, incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock — who has been in Congress since 2014 — is facing not only Democrats but a fellow GOP candidate as well: Shak Hill, a former Air Force officer and former Senate candidate.
The Democratic challengers include Alison Kiehl Friedman, a former employee of Barack Obama‘s State Department, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, and former Veterans Affairs employee Lindsey Davis Stover. Veteran Dan Helmer is also in the race.
Finally, there is the Senate race in Virginia: incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine — Hillary Clinton‘s running mate in 2016 — is expected to be re-nominated. Kaine’s GOP challengers include Libertarian state lawmaker Nick Freitas and former gubernatorial contender Corey Stewart.
Former lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson, who thinks gay people are mentally ill, is also running for senate. Although he is black, he is also against the removal of Confederate statues.
Sitting Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is term-limited, so Nevada’s gubernatorial race is filled with eager contenders.
The six Democrats running include Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Christina Giunchiglian. Among the seven GOP candidates are state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, an immigration hardliner who has received donations from Sheldon Adelson, among other big names.
There’s also a Senate race in Nevada: incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller — who has served since 2011 — is a big Trump supporter who is up for re-election and who voted for the GOP tax bill.
The Democrat running is Rep. Jacky Rosen, who in 2016 narrowly won a congressional race in Nevada’s third district, where there is also a primary election this year.
Democrats have a strong opportunity to replace sitting Republican Gov. Paul LePage in this state. The left-wing candidates include state Attorney General Janet Mills, former Maine House Speaker Mark Eaves, State Sen. Mark Dion and Democratic organizer Adam Cote. The Republicans are businessman Shawn Moody, Mary Mayhew — LePage’s top health official — and Garrett Mason, Maine’s Senate majority leader. House Minority Leader Ken Fredette is also in the running.
There is also a race in Maine’s second House district: two-term Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin is looking to keep his seat. He favors the GOP repeal of Obamacare. The Democrats running include State Rep. Jared Golden, bookseller Craig Olson, and nonprofit director Lucas St. Clair.
In the state’s first house district, Republican Rep. Mark Sanford — who has been serving in congress since 2013 and who had a sex scandal as Governor of the state in 2009 — is facing a challenging re-election bid.
Sanford is up against two Democrats in this primary: local lawyer Joe Cunningham and nonprofit consultant Toby Smith, a black woman. Cunningham opposes House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.