There are 19 states which have yet to hold their 2018 primary elections;
six of them are of special interest because of their implications in the
national mid-term voting that will determine which party will control
the two houses of Congress and some key governorships during the
With most of the state primaries occurring earlier, a number of states
wait until August and September to give political party voters the
final opportunity to pick their nominees for the November election.
None take place in July, but many, including the six of special interest,
are scheduled for August.
On August 7, Michigan and Missouri will hold their primaries. In
Michigan, incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow is
expected to be re-elected, but this state which voted for Donald
Trump in 2016 is enough of a battleground that the GOP senate
nominee might be important. The race for governor could be close.
Republican state Attorney General Bill Schuette and Democratic
State Senator Gretchen Whitmer are the frontrunners.
Also on August 7, Missouri will hold its primaries. Incumbent
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and state Attorney General
Josh Hawley will be the nominees in a bitter race that is considered a
prime possibility for a GOP senate pick-up.
One week later, on August 14, neighboring Wisconsin and Minnesota
hold their primaries. Wisconsin is nominating gubernatorial and
senatorial candidates. Incumbent GOP Governor Scott Walker is now
favored to win re-election, but incumbent Democratic Senator Tammy
Baldwin’s favorability poll numbers are quite low. A heated and close
race to be her GOP opponent is taking place between state legislator
Leah Vukmer and former Democrat Kevin Williamson. Depending on
who the Republicans nominate, this race could be competitive in
On the same day, Minnesota holds some of the most interesting
primaries of the year in both parties for governor, two U.S. senate
seats, and in five of the state’s eight congressional districts. I have
written about these already, and will again just before primary day.
Two weeks later, on August 28, Florida and Arizona hold key
primaries involving governor, a U.S. senate seat and some of its
congressional seats. Incumbent GOP Governor Doug Ducey is
favored to win his primary and the general election, but the U.S.
senate seated being vacated by retiring GOP Senator Jeff Flake is
considered a toss-up. Democratic Congresswoman Krysten Sinema
and Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally are expected to
win their primaries, and face each other in a very competitive race
in which the liberal party hopes to pick up a conservative party seat.
The same day, Florida will also hold key primaries for governor,
U.S. senator, and several competitive U.S. house seats. Incumbent
Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is facing a very serious challenge
from retiring Republican Governor Rick Scott in one of the most-
watched 2018 senate races. The race to succeed Scott has turned
into a fascinating contest, especially in the GOP primary where the
endorsed candidate now trails his major challenger.
At issue in most of these primaries in August are the basic divisions
now existing in both major parties. On the Democratic side, the
emerging major shift to the left, led nationally by U.S Senator Bernie
Sanders and his allies are attempting to oust may traditional liberal
office holders and candidates. This was begun in earlier primaries
and now continues. On the Republican side, the impact of President
Trump is being felt in may primary races, as it has already been in
Only in September, two months from election day, will a full picture
of the mid-term season be visible. With control of Congress in the
final two years of the first term of President Donald Trump and the
make-up of the 2020 redistricting environment at stake, that picture
of possible waves, surges, stand-offs or surprises should be rather
curious to see.
Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.