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August 06, 2014 10:22 AM Other Primary Fun

By Ed Kilgore

While the Roberts/Wolf race got most of the national attention, there were a bunch of other contests yesterday in Kansas and in three other states. In the Sunflower State itself, district attorney Chad Taylor struggled a bit to put away previous Senate candidate Patrick Weisner, but won the Democratic nomination to face Roberts, who presumably has been softened up a bit. Gov. Sam Brownback won an underwhelming 63-37 nomination win over libertarian-ish opponent Jennifer Winn, who had no money at all. He continues to look very vulnerable in the general election, despite Kansas’ strong Republican tilt.

Tea Party favorite Rep. Tim Huelskamp had a scare from a primary opponent backed by unhappy ag interests, but won. Fellow traveler Rep. Mike Pompeo trounced his predecessor, Todd Tiarht, who attempted a comeback.

In Michigan, the big (though entirely predictable) national story was a third House incumbent going down to victory in a primary: the very accidental GOP Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, who won the seat in 2012 after the incumbent was taken off the ballot at the last minute, was dispatched by heavily funded Dave Trott, who in turn might be vulnerable in November against Democratic nominee Bobby McKenzie, a former State Department official. Elsewhere Rep. Justin Amash had a primary night similar to that of his buddy Tim Huelskamp, narrowly fighting off a heavily funded opponent accusing him of libertarian heterodoxy. The ultimate barnburner of the night was the Democratic primary to succeed Senate candidate Gary Peters in MI-14; state legislator Rudy Hobbs edged long-time front-runner Brenda Lawrence by 240 votes, but there will likely be a recount.

Washington State’s top-two primary produced an all-Republican general election in an open seat being vacated by Rep. Doc Hastings, with former NFL player at Tea favorite Clint Didier running first. Democratic freshman Rep. Suzan DelBene caught a break as wealthy Republican tech executive Pedro Celis failed to make the top-two cut in WA-01. And renegade Democratic state senator Tim Sheldon, who threw control of the upper chamber to Republicans, was in some danger of not making the cut for re-election as well as votes slowly continue to come in.

Missouri had no statewide or competitive House primaries, but it’s worth noting an anti-environmental “Right To Farm” ballot initiative appears to have very narrowly succeeded.

Tomorrow Tennessee will hold its strange Thursday primary, and on Saturday, even as the state battles a hurricane and a separate tropical storm, Hawaii will hold a primary with hotly contested Democratic primaries for the Senate and for Governor.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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