2018 Pennsylvania primary election day not only sees the Keystone State pick candidates for governor, but in 18 redrawn US House districts, there are some wide-open fields.
This particular primary headlines the May 15, 2018 United States voting slate, which also includes elections in Idaho, Oregon, and Nebraska, as well as a handful of state legislative special elections.
2018 Pennsylvania Primary
In regards to the top job, the 2018 Pennsylvania primary for governor doesn’t feature many Republican candidates, but that doesn’t mean it’s not nasty. While Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf seeks re-election unopposed on his own side, three GOP candidates run to replace him. The perceived frontrunner is Scott Wagner, a state senator from York County. His opponents are Paul Mango, a veteran and businessman, and attorney Laura Ellsworth. Wagner has led all public polling by varying margins, with Mango in second.
As for the congressional races, Lou Barletta is the odds-on favorite to win the GOP primary for US Senate. If he wins the 2018 Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday, he faces incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D), the latter of whom is seeking a third term.
Then come the US House races in 18 completely redrawn districts. These are the first elections under the new lines since court-ordered redistricting earlier in 2018. (No, the recent Pennsylvania-18 race was the last under the old drawing.) For example, in PA-05, there is a huge Democratic primary to replace newly-resigned Rep. Pat Meehan (R). His erstwhile district did a political 180 with the new lines, going from a faintly Republican district to solidly Democratic.
2018 Oregon Primary
A large field has gathered in the 2018 Oregon primary for governor, particularly on the Republican side, as contenders look to defeat Kate Brown (D).
The governor herself faces two Democratic challengers, while 10 Republicans are running for the Beaver State’s highest office. Of course, those GOP candidates are fighting some serious history: the state’s last Republican governor left office in January 1987. The last time the GOP won the office was in 1982 with Vic Atiyeh.
Knute Buehler and Sam Carpenter are the perceived frontrunners in the race; the former is a state representative and the latter is a businessman running on the slogan “Make Oregon Great Again.” Stop me if you’ve heard something similar before today.
2018 Idaho Primary
A tough Republican primary fight is playing out in Idaho, as longtime governor Butch Otter is hanging them up after three terms. Idaho is one of the reddest states in America, and one in which the GOP primary might as well be the general election. Win that nomination, and chances are, you will take the whole bag of marbles in November. In much the same way as Republicans are on an Oregon losing streak, it’s just as bad for Democrats in Idaho next door.
Two top-tier candidates hope to be the next governor. Congressman Raul Labrador and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little have the highest of profiles, and therefore stand a good chance, but they are not the only ones. Tommy Ahlquist, a businessman and medical doctor, is running neck and neck with these two elected officials.
With Labrador vacating the ID-01 seat, a crowd has gathered to try to replace him. Among the seven Republican and three Democratic candidates are Dave Leroy (R), former lieutenant governor, and Michael Smith (D), a Marine veteran.
2018 Nebraska Primary
Nebraska is a state that has had nothing more than flirtations with Democrats in recent years. The most they typically hope for is one presidential electoral vote and the occasional moderate Democrat to get elected statewide. This, of course, is regardless of the fact that Omaha’s Congressional district has gotten bluer. That race in NE-02 sees Rep. Don Bacon (R) unopposed in the GOP primary, while likely challenger Brad Ashford (D) has only one opponent.
This is not the main event in Nebraska’s primary. Not even the governor’s race holds much interest, with the Democratic nominee likely to have an uphill battle in November, anyway. (Nebraska has not elected a Democratic governor since 1994.) A crowd has gathered, however, to take on Sen. Deb Fischer (R). Of the Democrats running, assuming Fischer beats her four GOP opponents on Tuesday, Jane Raybould is the apparent frontrunner. The Lincoln city councilwoman may struggle in the Fall campaign given that Democrats are shut out from all statewide-elected positions, but she has to get there first. Notably, Raybould ran for lieutenant governor in 2014.
Other May 15, 2018 US Elections
2018 Pennsylvania Primary Day will also be General Election day for three state legislative seats in the Keystone State. Those House districts are the 48th, 68th, and 178th. The 48th District is in southwestern Pennsylvania in the same area as the PA-18 special election; Democrat Brandon Neuman held it until his resignation. As for the 68th, this seat borders New York’s Southern Tier in the heavily Republican “T” of the state. Clint Owlett (R) is the favorite in this race. Finally, in the 178th, this seat northeast of Philadelphia has been in Republican hands.
What’s more is that Alabama is having two legislative special elections as well. House District 4 and Senate District 26 will vote; HD-4 was a Republican seat near Huntsville while SD-26 is a majority-minority district which was held by the Democrats.
None of these elections will change the balance of power in Harrisburg and Montgomery, respectively. Republicans have large majorities in all chambers.