Here’s what our own Brannon Miller surmised from the August 7 election results. (Brannon is our Director of Voter Targeting and our unofficial election contest handicapper.)
- Republicans are sweating on Wednesday morning.
- All eyes were on Ohio’s 12th Congressional District special election last night, where Republican Troy Balderson narrowly defeated Democrat Danny O’Connor, 50.1%-49.3%, in a district Donald Trump won by 11 points in 2016. Trump and Pence both visited OH 12 to drag Balderson across the finish line. This race will have a rematch November.
- In Washington’s 3rd CD, Democratic candidates combined for more than half the in this district’s jungle primary. While Trump won the 3rd by 7 points in 2016, the incumbent Republican, Jaime Herrera Beutler, lead her main Democratic opponent, Carolyn Long, 41%-37%.
- In Washington’s 5th CD, where Clinton received just 39% of the vote in 2016, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers—the fourth ranking Republican in the House—ended the night in a virtual tie, 47.5%-47%, against her opponent, former state Senate majority leader Lisa Brown. The 5th CD has been held by a Republican since George Nethercutt unseated Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley in the 1994 Republican Revolution.
- The left wing of the Democratic Party is not nearly as strong as regular headlines suggest. They continue to lose—often badly—in the most high-profile primary races. The two candidates most prominently backed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez lost their respective primaries.
- In Kansas’ 3rd CD, progressive favorite Brent Welder lost to the more left-of-center Sharice Davids, while in Michigan, Abdul El-Sayed lost resoundingly to former state Senator Gretchen Whitmer. Two trends can be seen in these races. First, while the Sanders-AOC wing claims that it is the “base” of the Democratic Party, Democratic voters continue to back more establishment candidates; second, women are still dominating Democratic primaries. These races do, however, demonstrate that the party has moved significantly to the left in recent years. Davids, for example, is an openly gay, Native American woman who supports DACA, Obamacare, and expanding background checks for gun buyers, yet, she was the moderate in the race.
- Last night’s election included a big win for labor in Missouri. After failing for years to pass a right-to-work bill through the legislature, conservatives in Missouri put the issue on the ballot. They even moved the election to coincide August primary, assuming the electorate would be more favorable than in November. It seems they miscalculated, as right-to-work failed, 67.5%-32.5%. In a state with deep urban-rural divisions, the vote was fairly consistent statewide, with voters in 100 of the states 115 counties rejecting the measure. This win is huge for labor unions, many of which are still reeling from the Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision.