Interesting Races Abound as Five States Head to the Polls on Tuesday

June 25, 2022 by Dan McCue
Interesting Races Abound as Five States Head to the Polls on Tuesday
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks as she faces off with New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Congressman Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., during a New York governor primary debate at the studios of WNBC4-TV, Thursday, June, 16, 2022, in New York. (Craig Ruttle/Newsday via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON — This week will see yet another post-COVID “Super Tuesday” unfold as voters in five states — New York, Illinois, Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah head to the polls.

New York

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to cruise to a comfortable win against her Democratic rivals, Rep. Thomas Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Over the course of the race, Hochul has snapped up nearly every significant political endorsement, enabling her to raise millions of dollars which she’s pouring into television and digital advertising.

Though she did debate Suozzi and Williams earlier this month, Hochul’s comfortable margin in the polls has largely allowed her to eschew retail politicking, while events — like Friday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade — have given her numerous opportunities to garner free media time while using her office as a bully pulpit.

Recent polls show Hochul ahead with the support of roughly 53% of likely voters, with Suozzi second at 31%, and Williams bringing up the rear with 19%.

Far more interesting on Tuesday is the race for Lieutenant Governor, where former Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado faces two rivals; progressive Ana María Archila and Diana Reyna, who became the first Dominican American woman elected to public office in the state when she represented parts of Brooklyn and Queens on the New York City Council.

As readers of The Well News may remember, the lieutenant governor race was thrown into chaos in April after former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigned after his arrest on federal bribery charges.

Hochul successfully pushed legislation to remove Benjamin’s name from the ballot and chose Antonio Delgado, a congressman representing the Hudson Valley region of New York, as her new lieutenant governor and running mate.

It is Archila, a political activist and first-time candidate backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is causing Delgado the most sleepless nights, as she relentlessly pounds away at him from the left.

Though the office is largely ceremonial, with few statutory duties, Archila has vowed to remake the position and serve as an independent voice on a wide range of issues important to the poor and working class of New York.

But don’t count Delgado out yet. He entered the race with more than $2 million in funds transferred from his congressional campaign account, and he’s also receiving an assist from a super PAC funded by the billionaire founder of a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

Of course, this year, due to legal wrangling over the newly reconstituted district maps, the New York primary has been cut in two with the more exciting half coming on Aug. 23.

It is on that date that we’ll see longtime Reps. Caroline Maloney and Jerrold Nadler compete head to head for the first time in the primary in New York’s new 12th Congressional District.

A close second has 15 Democrats vying to represent the restructured 10th Congressional District.

Illinois

In Illinois the primary race to watch is the one between incumbent Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, and Rep. Mary Miller. Thanks to redistricting, they are now running in the same, reliably red district.

At this point, this is the most Trumpy of the races and will serve as a referendum not only on the power of his endorsements — which Miller has — but also the public’s response to the ongoing revelations by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol.

Trump was scheduled to fly to Illinois Saturday night to host a rally on Miller’s behalf at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Illinois. But Davis was unfazed, telling reporters this week that he’s the only candidate in the race that actually worked with Trump in advancing the former president’s agenda.

All the same, Davis was also one of 35 House Republicans who last year voted for a bipartisan and independent commission to investigate the deadly attack on the Capitol. 

Colorado

Colorado Republican primary voters will decide who the GOP sends out to challenge the popular Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November.

Polis was the first openly gay and Jewish person to hold that office.

Those hoping to unseat him are Heidi Ganahl, who would be Colorado’s first female governor, and Greg Lopez, who would become the state’s first Latino governor.

In fact, Ganahl was the last Republican elected to statewide office when she won a seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents in 2016, on which she still serves. A Republican has not held the governorship since 2007.

The other interesting race in the state is the Republican primary in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District where Democrats have registered as “unaffiliated” so that they can vote in the GOP primary and support State Senator Don Coram, the current incumbent, Lauren Boebert’s opponent.

The Colorado crossover voters are part of a broader trend of Democrats intervening to try to beat back the extreme right wing of the Republican party.

In Colorado, voters can cast ballots in the Republican primary if they are registered with the party or as unaffiliated. 

In Boebert’s district, Democratic Party officials have tallied about 3,700 more unaffiliated voters in this year’s Republican primary compared with two years ago. 

Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, those who survey the passing political scene are waiting to see who voters will pick to succeed Sen. Jim Inhofe, who announced earlier this year that he was retiring.

Inhofe has held one of Oklahoma’s two U.S. Senate seats since 1994 and has been a fixture in Oklahoma politics for about 50 years. 

He won his most recent reelection bid in 2020, garnering almost 63% of the vote and winning by about 30 points.

Inhofe said following the November 2020 election that his fifth term in office would be his last.

Among those vying for his seat in the Republican primary are State Sen. Nathan Dahm, a well-known conservative; Luke Holland, who has served as the retiring senator’s chief of staff for the past five years; former State Rep. T.W. Shannon, who served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015 and became its first Black speaker in 2013; and Scott Pruitt, who served as Oklahoma’s attorney general from 2011 until leaving the position in 2017 to join the Trump administration as the Environment Protection Agency administrator.

Other candidates in the race include Jessica Jean Garrison, another conservative candidate, but one who did not take campaign contributions; Randy Grellner, a physician; and Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who has served in Congress since 2013.

Utah

In Utah, incumbent U.S. Senator Mike Lee is facing two Republican challengers, Becky Edwards and Ally Isom. Edwards formerly served as a Republican in the Utah House of Representatives from 2009 to 2018, while Isom is a former city councilmember from Kaysville, Utah.

The winner of the primary will compete in November against Independent candidate Evan McMullin, who is being backed by the Utah Democratic Party. Democratic delegates at the party’s state convention in April voted to support McMullin over Democrat Kael Weston believing he has a better chance to win against Lee in the fall.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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