Voters in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Oregon and Idaho held primaries Tuesday night, deciding which candidates would represent each party in the general elections in the fall.
In Pennsylvania, it was the first time voters cast ballots under the new congressional map which is much more favorable to Democrats. In January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the state had unconstitutional boundaries and redrew the maps making seven districts more friendly to Democrats and putting multiple others within striking distance.
Here are three key takeaways:
The year of the women
Currently, Pennsylvania has an all male congressional delegation but after Tuesday’s primaries that is likely to change. A slew of Democratic women won their primaries some of them in districts that are likely to vote for Democrats come November under the state’s new map. Madeline Dean and Mary Scanlon both won contested primaries in districts that are now solidly blue. Susan Wild won in a district that is competitive, but with a slight advantage to her party and Chrissy Houlahan, who ran unopposed, could win her general. Houlahan’s district was drawn more favorably for Democrats and they got another win after the district’s incumbent Republican dropped out at the last minute depriving Republicans the chance to recruit a replacement.
There were other wins for women Tuesday night across the country. In Nebraska, Kara Eastman beat former Rep. Brad Ashford for the Democratic nomination for a House seat. Democrats are trying to take the seat from Republican hands. It is considered a “tossup” by the nonpartisan Cook Political report. And voters chose former state Rep. Paulette Jordan for the Democratic nomination for Idaho governor, easily beating A.J. Balukoff, a Boise School Board member. Idaho has not had a Democratic governor since the 1990s.
Democrats are divided
The division between the progressive and moderate wings of the party was on display Tuesday. In Nebraska, Republicans were celebrating Eastman’s victory because they said her progressive views would make it easier for them to hold the seat in a district that went for President Trump in 2016, though narrowly. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats’ campaign arm, had backed Ashford who the committee thought would be a more formidable candidate in the competitive race.
“Progressives are in control of the party and despite their continued meddling, the DCCC is coming up short,” Sarah Dolan, a spokeswoman for the GOP political action committee America Rising. By Wednesday morning, however, the DCCC had gotten behind Eastman. Spokesman Evan Lukaske sent out a memo saying that the primary results showed she was “running strong and she is well positioned to win this fall.”
Wild won Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, beating out both the progressive pick Greg Edwards and John Morganellli, an immigration hardliner and anti-abortion Democrat who had offered to work for Trump after he won the 2016 election.
Voters are still draining the swamp
Another House Republican lost a bid for higher office Tuesday. Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative member of the House Freedom Caucus, lost the GOP primary for Idaho governor to the state’s Lt. Governor. Labrador’s loss follows other House colleagues who also fell short last week. In North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger became the first sitting congressman of the cycle to lose his primary. And In West Virginia, Rep. Evan Jenkins lost his bid for his party’s nomination for the Senate. And in Indiana, Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita both lost by double-digits to a businessman.
But there was a bright spot for GOP House member Rep.Lou Barletta, a Trump ally, who secured his party’s nomination to take on sitting Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in November.