Data for Progress (@DataProgress) uses data to illuminate the most important stories in the country. To that end, we’re working with Robert Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2018 election cycle in our series, "data for politics." - Sean
Florida and Arizona head to the polls today, but the marquee primaries are mostly up-ballot, with contested gubernatorial and Senate races for each party. However, there are a number of House race primaries to keep an eye on:
In Arizona’s 2nd District Ann Kirkpatrick and Matt Heinz have faced off in the nastiest Democratic House primary this year outside of California. Heinz is better on the issues than Kirkpatrick, a former congresswoman from a neighboring district who moved to the 2nd after losing the Senate race to John McCain. But his three failed runs for Congress are less than inspiring and recently doubled down on calling Kirkpatrick a meth addict. With Kirkpatrick to the right of the Democratic Party on immigration and health care I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to vote for her. But with Heinz looking a dud Mary Matiella, who’s got left wing backing but little money, is your best option. Kirkpatrick will likely win anyway but at least you can vote your conscience. And with this being an open GOP seat that Clinton won, there’s no reason to think Republicans will put up much of a fight here when they’d rather use incumbents to play defense.
Donna Shalala appears likely to be the nominee in Florida’s 27th District - one of Democrats’ likeliest pickups as it’s a GOP-held open seat that went to Clinton by 20 percent and the party has done well in South Florida special elections over the past year and a half. Polling shows her consistently ahead of David Richardson and Matt Haggman, and as the only female candidate in the primary if anything the polls underestimate her strength. For those who were hoping the 2016 disaster meant a break with Clintonism, the prospect of Donna Shalala as a freshman congressman might be dispiriting. But the fact that hers is the only primary the Clintons’ Super PAC waded into shows just how little impact they’ll have on the party’s future.
A pair of Democratic incumbents face primary challenges from less-than-inspiring corners. Darren Soto had a centrist reputation before being elected to Congress but has been a reliable liberal vote since then. That leaves little opening for abusive grifter, Real Time panelist and former congressman Alan Grayson, who hasn’t gained much traction in the 9th. Meanwhile in the 5th Rep. Al Lawson is more conservative than the Democratic congressman from a safe seat should be, but his opponent Alvin Brown isn’t much better. Polling has both incumbents in the lead but a low turnout August primary can always surprise.
The Democratic establishment has lined up behind a number of heavy favorites in their primaries for seats that would be bigger reaches. So party funding could dry up if any of the following lose:
- Kristen Carlson in FL-15
- Lauren Baer in FL-18
- Heather Ross in AZ-06
- Nancy Soderberg in FL-06