The Washington Senate primary was the main event last night, even though it the results were entirely predictable (as seen by PPP’s pre-primary poll, which got it almost exactly right). Patty Murray is currently at 46, with Dino Rossi at 34; Clint Didier doesn’t advance, at 12. Both sides, naturally, are foreseeing doom for their opposition based on the results. It’s a little premature to foresee anything, though, since, as if often the case in Washington, only about half of all precincts have reported, and the ones that haven’t reported are disproportionately in Seattle. (50% of King County is in, while 67% of precincts outside of King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties are in.) For what it’s worth, right now there are a few thousand more total GOP votes than there are total Dem votes in the Senate race (taking into account all 15 participants), though that will change once Seattle reports more. And there’s also the problem of getting teabagger votes to switch over from Didier to Rossi; Didier is currently withholding his endorsement, wanting to see “more conviction” and patronizingly insisting on giving Rossi “some coaching” first on how to reach his supporters.
One place where the results don’t bode well for Dems is WA-03, where Denny Heck is currently in first but with only 32%, against a fractured GOP field. He’ll face state Rep. Jaime Herrera, who hit 27%, followed by teabaggers David Hedrick and David Castillo at 13 and 12 (repeating the oft-seen pattern where the Tea Party could have been relevant if only they’d galvanized behind one candidate), and by Dem activist Cheryl Crist, who pulled in a surprisingly large 12, all of it seeming to come from Heck’s left flank. The total GOP vote topped 50%, and as Greg Giroux demonstrates with a terrific spreadsheet comparing the ’08 primaries and generals, there’s not much variation from the Dem and GOP totals in the primary to the November numbers. Americans for Prosperity isn’t wasting any time; they’re already jumping into the district with a $180K ad buy with a negative ad against Heck.
Real Clear Politics sees trouble ahead for Rick Larsen in WA-02, who’s currently ahead of GOPer John Koster 43-41; however, if you do the Giroux-style math, you’ll notice that two other random Dems vacuumed up 10% of the vote, which would project out to a 53-47 advantage for Larsen in a head-to-head. (The good part of the RCP article is about how Washington’s top 2 primary has taken the bellwether position once occupied by Maine’s weird early general election, from which we get the saying “As goes Maine, so goes the nation.”) They also took notice of Rep. Adam Smith finishing in the mid-50s in WA-09; he’ll probably face Pierce Co. Commissioner Dick Muri, although that primary hasn’t been called yet. And in the one seat where Dems are on offense, in WA-08, it’s Dave Reichert vs. Suzan DelBene, who got 48 and 26 respectively (with totals of 59 GOP-41 Dems).
Wyoming’s gubernatorial race came down to the wire on the Republican side. Former US Attorney Matt Mead is the victor, beating state Auditor Rita Meyer 29-28, with Ron Micheli at 26 and Colin Simpson at 16. Mead’s 714 vote lead was within the margin for a recount, but Meyer conceded and won’t seek a recount. Mead will face Democratic former state party chair Leslie Petersen, who won her own primary over Pete Gosar 48-37.
Finally, in California’s 15th Senate district, Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee defeated Dem John Laird in a near-identical replay of their first (but inconclusive) special election. Blakeslee won by a 49-44 margin, only slightly different from the original 49-42 result. As a pointless aside, there were more votes cast in this election (with the district’s more than 800K residents) than there were in the Wyoming gubernatorial race.