A relatively quiet night, but one deserving of a roundup nonetheless.
- NC-Sen (D): It’s been a long six weeks since the first round, where Elaine Marshall narrowly missed the threshold for a runoff by 4% with 36%. She picked up the endorsement of third-place finisher Ken Lewis (who scored 17%) in the meantime, countering the almost $200,000 put in on Cal Cunningham’s behalf by the DSCC. The DSCC’s efforts were again futile, with Marshall scoring a 60-40 victory. Given that Marshall won 57% of the head-to-head vote against Cuninngham in Round 1, this represents a 3% swing in her direction. DSCC Chair Bob Menendez put out a short statement in support of Marshall, who now goes on to face Richard Burr for the “cursed” seat that switches party every 6 years. (JMD)
- NC-08 (R): It looks like D’Annunziana Jones can spend more time busting the Ark of the Covenant out of Area 51. Ex-broadcaster Harold Johnson beat the enriched plutonium-level crazy Tim D’Annunzio by a 61-39 margin despite being badly out-spent. This one will probably end up being a real race this fall, despite D’Annunzio’s refusal to congratulate or endorse Johnson. (JL)
- SC-Gov (R): Nikki Haley narrowly missed avoiding a runoff two weeks ago with 49%, but she sealed the deal with a convincing 65-35 victory over Gresham Barrett, who received 22%. Barrett’s dog-whistling attempts – referring to himself as a Christian family man who “won’t embarrass us” – didn’t seem to work, only carrying three counties within his district. The result falls surprisingly along the fault lines from the first round – AG Henry McMaster, who received 17% threw his support to Haley, while LG Andre Bauer threw his 12% to Barrett. Haley will now face Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen. (JMD)
- SC-01 (R): State Rep. Tim Scott is set to become the GOP’s first African-American congressman since J.C. Watts, much to the relief of John Boehner and Scott’s backers at the Club for Growth. Scott crushed attorney Paul Thurmond (the son of Strom) by a monstrous 68-32 margin, and faces a sub-par Democratic opponent in November. (JL)
- SC-03 (R): The Club for Growth had a much closer shave in this district, where their preferred candidate, state Rep. Jeff Duncan, only beat the underfunded Richard Cash, an owner/operator of a fleet of ice cream trucks, by a 51-49 margin. Duncan will be the heavy favorite to win this 64% McCain in the general election. (JL)
- SC-04 (R): Wow, what a pathetic loss. Incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis barely moved the needle from his 28% primary performance, finishing the night with just 29% of the vote to Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy’s whopping 71%. I wonder if we’ll ever see what Bob Inglis 3.0 looks like. (JL)
- UT-Sen (R): Tim Bridgewater had a 57-43 advantage in the third round of balloting at Utah’s state GOP convention, but that didn’t hold over into the primary. Tim Bridgewater was viewed as the favorite and was up in the one public poll of the race (Mike Lee was up in his internals), but Lee (the son of Reagan’s solicitor general Rex) pulled out a narrow 51-49 victory over Bridgewater. Bridgewater had a narrow advantage along the heavily-populated Wasatch Front, but Lee more than offset this with his strength in Washington County (St. George) and the sparsely populated areas in between. (JMD)
- UT-02 (D): Democrats had worried about some GOP involvement to bounce the moderate (and more electable) Jim Matheson by pushing for liberal activist and school teacher Claudia Wright but Matheson cruised to a 68-32 victory. Wright had denied Matheson the outright nod at the Democratic convention – presumably due to his ‘no’ vote on HCR – netting 45% of delegates, but among the wider primary electorate, she didn’t fare as well. Matheson goes on to face former Southern SLCo State Rep. Morgan Philpot in his bid for a sixth term. (JMD)
Bonus Race: California!
- CA SD-15 (special): California’s 15th Senate district may get my vote for the nation’s most beautiful legislative district, but the results here weren’t too pretty. In a district that’s D+5 at the presidential level, Republican state Assembly minority leader Sam Blakeslee finished ahead of Democratic ex-Assemblyman John Laird, 50-41. However, California special election law requires one to break 50% to avoid a runoff, and Blakeslee’s 49.7% wasn’t enough. So, all four candidates (including a Libertarian and an indie) will do the exact same thing again on Aug. 17, although tonight’s results don’t bode well for Laird turning things around during the replay. (C)