Primary season is about to get interesting

  • Article by: AARON BLAKE and SEAN SULLIVAN , Washington Post
  • Updated: July 12, 2014 - 7:18 PM

State Rep. Joe Carr, second from left, one of six Republicans challenging Sen. Lamar Alexander, at an event in Lascassas, Tenn.

Photo: Nathan Morgan • New York Times,

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– With the November midterm elections drawing closer, another round of primary elections is due.

Voters in 18 states — more than one-third of the country — are still waiting to vote.

Many of the most high-profile primaries are over, but there are still important races to play out.

The good news for Republicans is that those races include relatively few big Tea Party primaries. While that has been the biggest subplot of primary seasons for years, it’s looking more and more as though the GOP establishment has escaped the 2014 election cycle without an incumbent senator being defeated.

That could change, as the list below shows, but for now, this list includes about as much Democratic infighting as GOP infighting:


10. Alabama’s Sixth District Republican runoff (July 15)/Massachusetts Sixth District Democratic primary (Sept. 9):

It’s been a tough cycle for the anti-tax Club for Growth, which saw its crowdsourced candidate fizzle in Idaho’s Second District and spent heaps of cash in Mississippi for losing Senate candidate Chris McDaniel. The Club will look for some measure of redemption in the race for retiring Rep. Spencer Bachus’s, R-Ala., seat next week, where it is backing Gary Palmer — after its first-choice candidate failed to make the primary runoff. The conservative Palmer is pitted against state Rep. Paul DeMarco, who received the most votes in round one. Meanwhile, in the Bay State, Rep. John Tierney, D, is trying to get by Iraq war veteran Seth Moulton. Tierney is favored, but the late primary gives the underdog Moulton time to make up ground.


9. Tennessee Republican Senate primary (Aug. 7):

Sen. Lamar Alexander is in strong position to defeat his main primary challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr. Carr has been running to Alexander’s right on immigration. But he simply hasn’t raised the money or built the kind of support from national Tea Party groups that he needed to make this a really close race. Anything can happen, as Rep. Eric Cantor’s, R-Va., race taught us. But if you’re looking for the next incumbent upset, this probably isn’t it.


8. Hawaii Democratic gubernatorial primary (Aug. 9):

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, D, is a familiar name to folks in D.C., having represented the Aloha State in Congress. Now he’s an unpopular governor facing a tough re-election bid — both in the primary and the general election. A recent poll, in fact, showed state Sen. David Ige with a double-digit lead over Abercrombie in the primary, 48 percent to 37 percent. Polling in Hawaii is notoriously difficult, but it’s clear Abercrombie’s in trouble. The good news for him: He’s outraising Ige more than 10-to-1.


7. Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial primary (Sept. 9):

Rhode Island’s politics never disappoint, and this year’s governor’s race is no exception. State Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras are both considered rising stars in their party, and they’re locked in a tight race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Polls show it’s a margin-of-error race. The winner will be favored to succeed retiring Gov. Lincoln Chafee, D, with the GOP picking between Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and former Moderate Party nominee Ken Block.


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