Demographics and Elections Commentary tagged with Nebraska

5/16/2024: Mid-May Primary Wrap-Up [RightDataUSA]

Photo credit: Mike Braun For Indiana

In the state of Indiana on May 7, the Republican primaries all went as expected although one outcome was successfully influenced by a considerable amount of out-of-state money being spent by single-issue groups in order to defeat a certain GOP candidate.

In the high-profile gubernatorial primary, moderate-conservative U.S. Senator Mike Braun easily defeated a collection of viable opponents; these included current Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, state Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers and businessman Eric Doden. In the weeks before the primary, the liberal media frequently cried about how horribly conservative all of these candidates were, leaving the impression for the good citizens of Indiana that any of them would make a fine Governor. Braun won with 39.5% of the vote in the 6-candidate field, with Crouch coming in a distant second with 21.7%. Braun won every county but three.

Braun's opponent in November is virulent Trump-hater Jennifer McCormick. McCormick was once elected -- as a Republican -- in a fluke in 2016, happily riding the coattails of the President she hates to an upset win over the incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana; the office was then abolished by the state legislature in 2019. McCormick switched parties in 2021 and has become the consummate liberal Democrat, attempting to appeal to voters on the basis of favoring unrestricted abortions, radical environmentalism, and of course more taxpayer money for left-wing teachers' unions. McCormick was unopposed in the Democrat primary. She starts the general election campaign well behind in the polls; she will finish the campaign there too.

Squishy state legislators won GOP primaries in CD-1 and CD-8. CD-1 (Gary, Hammond, Michigan City, most of LaPorte) hardly matters because the incumbent Democrat is easily going to win again in November.

Photo credit: AIPAC

In CD-8, ex-Congressman John Hostettler was trying to reclaim the seat he lost 18 years ago. Hostettler wasn't exactly a paragon of arch-conservatism during his time in Washington, but he was OK and he'd be better than state Senator Mark Messmer who at one time was a conservative but is now a total squish. Hostettler was branded as "anti-Jewish" and was opposed by the extremely wealthy Israel Lobby (groups such as the "Republican Jewish Coalition" and "United Democracy Project"). Over $2 million of their money went into this single U.S. House primary with the goal of electing the more liberal Republican. Messmer won with nearly 40% of the vote while Hostettler (who was endorsed by Rand Paul and Charlie Kirk) came up just short of 20% in the field of eight. Money talks, and in this contest it absolutely shrieked. One wonders just how much these particular special interest groups are spending to oust anti-Israel Democrats from Congress; there aren't any shortage of those, but these groups seem to be giving them a free pass.

In CD-5, incumbent moderate Victoria Spartz lately hasn't been too bad on issues aside from ones related to Ukraine. She alone in the U.S. House at least has a personal reason to keep funneling billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money to that thoroughly corrupt rathole -- she is from the Ukraine. Spartz had initially decided not to run for re-election this year, and was probably lured back out of GOPe fear that a true conservative would win her district. And one would have, too. Spartz narrowly prevailed over conservative state House member Chuck Goodrich by just 6% (39% to 33%). Max Engling came in third, taking 10% of the conservative vote away from Goodrich, more than enough to alter the outcome. There were 6 lesser candidates seeking the nomination as well.

Jim Baird in CD-4 is an elderly RINO joke but Trump bypassed conservative challenger Charles Bookwalter and endorsed the incumbent since Baird was 98% certain to win the primary based on name recognition and a mere 7:1 advantage in money. Nevermind that the actual conservative would have been 98% certain to win in November too seeing as how Democrats don't even bother with this district. Trump rarely, if ever, passes up a safe RINO incumbent, and at least Baird didn't vote for Trump's impeachment (which is probably all that mattered in this case).

The CD-3 seat is open in 2024 because incumbent Jim Banks is running for the Senate; he was unopposed in the primary and will win easily in November, giving Indiana an actual conservative there alongside his moderate-liberal GOP colleague Todd Young. Conservative ex-congressman Marlin Stutzman (last elected in 2014) attempted to reclaim his old seat, and succeeded in this hotly-contested primary. Four different candidates won at least one county in this northeastern Indiana district which includes Fort Wayne. Conservative Tim Smith was the leading challenger to Stutzman, taking 22.6% to the winner's 24.2%. Stutzman had numerous endorsements from current and former congressmen. Moderates Wendy Davis and state Senator Andy Zay came home third and fourth, combining for over 35% of the vote. Grant Bucher was fifth at 10.3% but he actually won two small counties. Stutzman is heavily favored to return to Congress in November after he defeats unknown and unfunded liberal Kiley Adolph, who predictably won the Democrat primary on the basis of being a female who was running against a male.

In Maryland on May 14, liberal women swept the Democrat primaries for open seats in the U.S. Senate and House districts 3 and 6. We've already profiled the Senate contest, and as far as House races only the primary in CD-6 was of any significant interest to Republicans; it's their one slim chance of picking up a Democrat-held House seat in Maryland, where liberals currently occupy 7 of the 8 districts thanks in at least a couple of cases to hyper-partisan Democrat gerrymandering. CD-6 is the most gerrymandered of them all.

On Tuesday in that district, 2022 gubernatorial candidate/sacrificial lamb Dan Cox ran against perennial candidate Neil Parrott in the GOP primary. Both are conservatives. Parrott was victorious by 47% to 30%, and this will be his third consecutive try to take the 6th district. He'll be facing the wife of former congressman John Delaney, an ultra-liberal who won three terms here (2012, 2014, 2016) due solely to the harsh gerrymander implemented by the veto-proof Democrat legislature in 2011.

When the district maps were redrawn that year, CD-6 was shifted a whopping 16 points to the left by adding execrable areas of Montgomery County to the nice counties in the panhandle west of Frederick. The district was moved slightly back towards the center (7 points) in 2021. Still, Trump lost the redistricted area in 2020 by almost 10 points (instead of the 23 points by which he lost in CD-6 as it stood prior to redistricting). As of 2022, Democrats still have a 6.5% edge in voter registrations here, and it appears that "independents" regularly break left too. The Cook PVI for CD-6 claims it's only D+2, which seems like a crock given recent presidential & House election results. Furthermore, Parrott's chances in the general election are hardly enhanced by the sizable financial advantage which the liberal feminist Democrat has here. Given that this open district is not totally a lost cause, the RNC may eventually decide to toss a few dollars in Parrott's direction.

Photo credit: bacon.house.gov

Nebraska: the state-level GOP organization which, according to surely unbiased media reports, "was taken over by those loyal to former President Donald Trump during a contentious state convention" -- that happened back in 2022 -- decided to oppose (or ignore) all 5 of the Republican incumbents who were running for federal office. This is quite good since pretty much all 5 incumbents are squishes, but unfortunately the tactic proved to be utterly ineffective. For one thing, actions (especially $$$) speak far louder than words, and these were only words; the conservative challengers collectively had about $1.50 to work with here. Also, making the announcement regarding endorsements just moments before the voters had to head to the polls was a great way to make sure that as few people as possible got the message.

Nebraska has two Senate elections this year, one of which was necessitated when Trump-hater Ben Sasse fled to Florida and was replaced by Pete Ricketts, who was appointed by Governor Jim Pillen in January, 2023. The other Senator, Deb Fischer, is also up this year.

There are also 3 incumbents who are running for re-election to the House: Mike Flood in CD-1, Don Bacon in CD-2 and Adrian Smith in CD-3. Here are the lifetime American Conservative Union (ACU) ratings for these guys:

  • Senator Pete Ricketts: 66% (1 year)
  • Senator Deb Fischer: 81% (11 years)
  • Rep. Mike Flood: 72% (2 years)
  • Rep. Don Bacon: 64% (7 years)
  • Rep. Adrian Smith: 85% (17 years)

The NEGOP made no endorsement in the races involving Fischer and Flood, and they endorsed challengers to Ricketts, Bacon and Smith. All 5 incumbents did face primary opposition -- such as it was.

Fischer won on Tuesday with 80% and Ricketts had 79%. Their challengers, official party support and all, didn't even rise to the "nuisance" level. Flood received 82% in his congressional primary, Smith 74% and Bacon 62%. Don Bacon enjoys his role as a rabidly anti-conservative Republican who helps the Democrats on most important issues, and he richly deserved a challenge. His challenge will come not from some destitute conservative Republican in the primary, but instead from a greasy, well-funded liberal Democrat in the general election. Far-left state Senator Tony Vargas (2023 ACU rating: 7%), who nearly defeated Bacon in 2022 is back for another crack at him and carries with him a bank account that is chock full of Democrat dollars.

The district which Bacon represents contains the city of Omaha and some of its suburbs. Omaha may not rank down there with the likes of East St. Louis, Newark, the Bronx, Detroit and similar hell-holes, but it is far from being a good area. The suburban territory is the only thing keeping Republicans afloat here -- barely. Bacon, even as far to the left as he is, is not nearly liberal enough to suit about half of the voters in CD-2. His winning margins have been 1.2% against incumbent Brad Ashford in 2016; 2.0% and 4.6% against radical leftist Democrat Kara Eastman in 2018 and 2020 (a comparatively sane liberal Democrat would have likely won in 2018, but Ashford lost the primary); and 2.6% against Vargas in 2022.

Donald Trump narrowly carried this district in 2016, by just 2.2%, and he lost it in 2020 by 6.5% (!). That loss was significant because Nebraska awards electoral votes by congressional district, and Biden was able to get an unlikely vote from Nebraska (Trump got the other 4).

CD-2 was nearly unchanged in the most recent redistricting (2021), despite the ease with which that task could have been accomplished. But the Stupid Party, which controls the legislature and the redistricting process, deliberately opted not to harm the Democrats in any way. If Trump loses in 2024 by this one electoral vote, be sure to thank cowardly Nebraska Republican legislators.

So for no good reason at all the district remains marginal; Charlie Cook rates it as dead even.

In a totally marginal district such as this, a chump like Don Bacon may be the best we can do since a 60% liberal (R) is better than a 100% liberal (D). These are districts where we must usually accept a compromise; however in other places we can certainly do better -- especially in a state like Nebraska. Politicians like Ricketts, Flood and Fischer are clearly not the best we can do.

Keep in mind that what we conservatives think is "better" is terrifying and loathsome to the GOP establishment. Not because they might lose, but because they might win. Which brings us to:

Photo credit: National Review

West Virginia, where energetic conservative Senate candidate Alex Mooney was swamped by doddering moderate Governor Jim Justice in Tuesday's Senate primary as was expected. "Terrifying and loathsome" is pretty much how the GOPe would describe Mooney. We'd describe him as "conservative". The GOPe would agree, and that's their main problem with the 5-term congressman.

Mooney was the first prominent Republican to enter the race against vulnerable Democrat incumbent Joe Manchin, who later tucked his tail between his legs, chose not to run for re-election and went on to briefly pretend that he could become President (or at least stop Donald Trump from being President, which is the most important thing to liberals and fake centrists).

The GOPe, namely Mitch McConnell and Steve Daines (his little toady who runs the NRSC) flew into a panic and dragged Governor Justice into the race by appealing to his ego, thus creating a potentially divisive primary, which is the kind of thing they claim to abhor -- when it suits them.

The latest results show Justice with 61.8% of the vote, while Mooney received 26.5%. Five others collected approximately 12%. With nothing to vote for on the Democrat side, since electable Democrats are all but extinct in the Mountain State (some, like Jim Justice, now label themselves as Republicans), numerous Democrats undoubtedly crossed over and voted in the Republican primary.

Mooney had the support and the endorsements of prominent conservatives like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and ex-Senator Jim DeMint; Justice had some semi-conservative endorsements (Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton), some moderate-liberal endorsements (Mitch McConnell, Shelley Capito [whose politician-son endorsed Mooney], Lindsey Graham) and some misguided endorsements from alleged conservatives (Donald Trump).

In the end, Justice also had the votes. West Virginia is now a very solidly Republican state; like many others which fit that description, it is in no way a solidly conservative state.

It's fashionable for liberal elitists to refer to West Virginians using words like "hillbilly" and "inbred" because, to them, hatred of White people is always acceptable. Though we reject their racism, it must be conceded that West Virginia politics does sometimes have a certain inbred-type quality to it:

In the CD-1 Republican primary, it was incumbent Carol Miller vs. former J6 political prisoner ("rioter", in biased liberal media parlance) Derrick Evans, age 39, who was briefly a state legislator before being forced to vacate the premises after his politically-motivated conviction in 2021. Miller, who won this primary with 63% of the vote, is a geriatric 73-year-old moderate currently in her third term in the House. She is the daughter of former conservative Ohio congressman Samuel Devine who was in Congress from 1959-1982. Miller's son, a car dealer by trade, was looking to extend the family's political dynasty by becoming Governor. However Chris Miller finished in third place in the 2024 GOP primary with about 20% of the vote and his political career is likely stillborn.

Arch Moore, a moderate Republican like Jim Justice and Carol Miller, many moons ago had a long and legendary political career including 6 terms in the U.S. House and two distinct stints as Governor (he ran 5 times and won 3). Moore was first elected to office in 1952 and last ran in 1988 when he lost his bid for a fourth term as Governor.

His daughter, Shelley Moore Capito, is a moderate-liberal Senate Republican and has been in Congress for nearly a quarter-century since being first elected to the House in 2000 in an upset victory over a megabucks Democrat trial lawyer who outspent her by a 6:1 margin. Justice's imminent elevation to the Senate in November will ensure that this solidly Republican state has two Republicans -- but no conservatives -- in that body for the first time since 1958. The last time West Virginia had two elected (as opposed to appointed) Republicans in the U.S. Senate was 93 years ago.

Capito's son, former state legislator Moore Capito, ran for Governor this year and came in second to state Attorney General and former Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey in the GOP primary. The younger Capito compiled a somewhat conservative record as a member of the state House of Delegates from 2016-2023.

Shelley Capito's nephew, state Treasurer Riley Moore (the true conservative politician in the family), won the 5-way primary to replace Alex Mooney in the U.S. House. After he wins the general election easily in November, it remains to be seen whether his voting record will be as conservative as expected. There's a good chance that he will at least start out that way, as many freshmen GOP legislators do.


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