Voters in seven states head to the polls Tuesday on one of the most consequential primary election days of 2014. Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah are holding primaries and runoffs. The most closely-watched races are the GOP contest for the U.S. Senate nomination in Mississippi, featuring Sen. Thad Cochran versus state Sen. Chris McDaniel; Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D) fight to hold on to his seat in New York; and governors’ races in Maryland and Colorado. Check here for live updates through the night.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) sounded a defiant note in a speech following his defeat at the hands of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a razor tight primary that went down to the wire in Tuesday’s runoff.
Introducing McDaniel, State Sen. Michael Watson, his close friend and surrogate, called him the Republican nominee, jarring the audience and members of the press who had heard moments earlier from calls and from their phones that he had lost.
McDaniel’s voice was quiet, quivering at times with emotion. He spoke about his father and about his political education, frequently citing Ronald Reagan as an inspiration. Then, his face darkening, he said he and others have come to feel like “strangers” in their party.
Then his voice rose, angry as he recounted Cochran’s outreach to Democrats, saying the senator and his supporters had “abandoned the conservative movement.” He pledged to fight on, not once mentioning Cochran’s name or conceding from the race.
“It’s our job to make sure the sanctity of the vote is upheld,” he said. “There were dozens of irregularities reported.” Some in the crowd, cheering him on, yelled, “Tell us! Tell us!”
“We’re not prone to surrender,” he said. “We’ll see you soon.”
McDaniel shook a few hands then ducked behind a white curtain, trailed by his wife, Jill, and their young sons, carrying the briefing binder he had laid and opened on the podium but barely glanced at during his remarks.
The crowd dissipated quickly, softly placing McDaniel signs on the tables and putting down drinks from the cash bar next to the stage.
In background conversations soon after, McDaniel’s senior advisers said legal action against Cochran is likely in the coming days.
Despite a spirited challenge, New York voters on Tuesday appeared to grant another two years to the “congressman from Harlem.”
Charles B. Rangel, a 22-term incumbent who has served as the face of Harlem politics since 1971, declared victory late Tuesday night in his Democratic primary against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat. The winner of the Democratic primary is expected to coast to re-election to his left-leaning congressional seat in November.
Rangel took the stage at his election night party and declared victory just before midnight with close to 99% of votes counted and holding a 47 percent to 44 percent lead. As of 12:30 a.m., Espaillat had not conceded the race.
The race was a rematch of a 2012 showdown between Rangel and Espaillat in which the incumbent – at the time plagued by and ethical scandal that cost him much of his power on the Hill – asked Harlem voters to allow him at least one more term.
But, when Rangel, 84, announced last year that he would again seek re-election, Espaillat announced that he would again challenge Rangel – basing much of his campaign on the notion that it was time for new leadership in the district.
During his 44 years in office, Rangel, became one of best-known political figures in American politics and a defining voice in the nation’s black politics. The longest-serving member of the influential New York delegation, he was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus and over time came to represent one of the standards of Democratic liberalism.
Yet despite his status as an institution in Harlem and Democratic politics, Rangel has spent much of the last decade entrenched in scandal.
This year’s campaign focused both on whether Rangel had stayed in office too long as well as the seismic shifts in the demographics of Harlem.
In recent years, Rangel’s district has been re-carved, turning what has for years been a majority-black district into one that is 52 percent Hispanic and adding new parts of the Bronx where Rangel is not as well-known or as well-regarded.
Political observers had speculated that, given those demographic shifts, this could be the year that Rangel was ousted. But, in recent weeks, the 22-term incumbent looked resilient.
He was 13 percentage points ahead in the race’s final poll, an NY1/Siena College survey that earlier this month measured him at 47 percent support compared with Espaillat’s 34 percent. The poll found Rangel with a commanding 76 percent among black voters vs. Espaillat’s 6 percent, while Espaillat was ahead 53 percent to 29 percent among Latino voters.
Rangel had lobbied sharp attacks at Espaillat, and called in many favors from friends in D.C. In recent weeks, he secured endorsements and campaign appearances from former President Bill Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, among others.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) won his primary runoff Tuesday against state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), overcoming a slight deficit on primary day three weeks ago to pull what many regard as a significant upset.
And there’s a reason it’s an upset.
That’s because it’s rare for an incumbent to improve his or her performance in a runoff, as Cochran did. And more often than not, the challenger surges in a big way.
Of the last seven incumbents facing primary runoffs in big-ticket races, all but two have fared significantly worse in the runoff, ceding around 75 percent (or more) of the “up for grabs” votes to the challenger.
Here’s the shift in the last eight primary runoffs, with the challenger in green:
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) survived his primary against conservative challenger Claudia Tenney (R), defeating her 53 percent to 47 percent.
Hanna was viewed as potentially vulnerable heading into the election. He has criticized the tea party in the past and Tenney’s campaign received increased attention after underdog Dave Brat defeated Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in stunning fashion earlier this month.
Had McDaniel won, you would hear a lot more about Travis Childers tomorrow. The Democratic nominee and former congressman could have had a fighting chance against McDaniel. But against Cochran, who has far more appeal to moderates, Childers is probably an afterthought.
Childers issued a statement calling for “change” in Washington and arguing the close results suggest Cochran does not have the confidence of the state. Here’s his full statement. (Note that he calls for debates against Cochran, who declined to engage McDaniel in any face-to-face set-tos.)
“One thing is clear tonight; Sen. Cochran does not have the confidence of his state, let alone his own party. The majority of Republicans voted for change in Washington. And if we are going to change Washington, we will need to change who we send to Washington.
“The same people will give us the same results of gridlock, and elected officials will continue fighting each other rather than fighting for Mississippians. It is time for a change, and I believe I can best represent the future of Mississippi in the United States Senate.
“I look forward to a spirited debate with Senator Cochran on the many issues facing Mississippi. And I am calling for Senator Cochran to join me in a series of debates beginning next month, so voters can clearly see the differences.”
Cochran won. Give these people a LOT of credit: NRSC, the Barbours, McConnell, Chamber of Commerce.
With “Life is a Highway” playing on the speakers and the state flag draped on a wall behind him, Larry Hogan took the stage at about 11 p.m. Tuesday night, declaring victory over his three challengers for the Maryland gubernatorial Republican primary. “I am truly humbled by the results tonight and I am honored to accept your nomination to become Maryland’s next governor!” he told about 100 supporters outside his campaign headquarters near Annapolis.
Hogan began his speech by paying tribute to his father, a Maryland Congressman, Larry Hogan Sr., who was the first Republican to vote for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
Then, Hogan went on the attack against Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee.
“This is a fight for Maryland’s future and it’s a fight worth fighting. Sadly, Lt. Gov. Brown and Gov. O’Malley have a failed record of lost businesses, lost jobs, wasteful spending, record tax increases, and broken promises,” Hogan said. “Lt. Gov. Brown is now asking us for a promotion, so he can continue these same failed policies for another four years. Quite frankly, this may be our last chance to turn our great state around before it’s too late.”
Hogan slammed the current leadership in Annapolis as an “arrogant monopoly” that is “expecting a coronation” in the fall. “But I’m putting them on notice tonight that what we’re going to give them instead is the toughest fight of their political lives.”
Hogan said he and his running mate Boyd Rutherford will put Maryland on a “new path” and will focus on middle class families, jobs, and bolstering the economy. He said he wants to curb spending that he views as wasteful and “roll back” some 40 tax increases.
“I’m not a professional politician. I am just a small businessman and a lifelong Marylander who loves this state,” Hogan said. “Our opponent may have all the powers of incumbency, and the millions of dollars in special interest money. But I believe a majority of Marylanders, regardless of their political affiliation, want to see new leadership in Annapolis.”
Cochran wins partly on back of Dems voting for an R incumbent, 2 weeks after Cantor loses partly because Dems voted against R incumbent. Wow
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) won a photo finish primary against tea party challenger Chris McDaniel (R) Tuesday, ending one of the nastiest and most competitive Senate races in recent memory.
The Associated Press called the race for Cochran with 98 percent of the vote tallied. He led McDaniel 51 percent to 49 percent.
Cochran, 76, was edged out by McDaniel in the June 3 primary. But neither candidate won a majority, forcing the runoff.
The longtime senator retooled and with help from his allies waged a robust effort to woo Democrats and African Americans (who are mostly Democrats) to vote for him in the second round.
McDaniel was backed by national tea party groups, which spent millions trying to defeat Cochran. They ran ads casting him as insufficiently conservative.