Voters in five states — New York, Maryland, Utah, Colorado and Mississippi — headed to the polls Tuesday to determine party nominees ahead of November’s midterm election. Two other states — Mississippi and South Carolina — held primary runoffs.
Here are four takeaways from Tuesday night’s elections:
• Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a first-time candidate and former Bernie Sanders volunteer, defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in a stunning victory to earn the Democratic nomination in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
• Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney easily won the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah being vacated by the retiring Orrin Hatch.
• After having been convicted of tax fraud and captured on tape threatening to break an NY1 reporter “in half,” former Republican Rep. Michael Grimm lost in his attempt to reclaim his old House seat in Staten Island.
• Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana, thanks to a ballot question put to voters Tuesday night.
Here’s a brief run-down of what to watch across the country Tuesday night.
With at least five House seats expected to be competitive in November (including two Republican seats rated as “toss ups” by the Cook Political Report), this year’s primaries in New York drew the most interest from observers and voters in years.
In the 14th Congressional District Democratic primary, newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pulled off a stunning upset against 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House. Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old member of the Democratic Socialists of America who volunteered on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, is expected to easily defeat Republican economics professor Anthony Pappas in November, which would make her the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction to her shocking victory was captured live on NY1.
— Pat Kiernan (@patkiernan) June 27, 2018
In the suddenly more competitive First Congressional District, incumbent Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin is expected to face a tough re-election campaign against business executive Perry Gershon. who emerged from a crowded field of Democratic challengers to win the party’s nomination.
In the 11th Congressional District, Grimm’s attempt at a political comeback after being convicted of tax fraud failed Tuesday night. Grimm was easily defeated by incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan, who was backed by Trump. Donovan will face off against veteran Max Rose for the Staten Island seat in November.
In the 19th Congressional District, attorney and Rhodes scholar Antonio Delgado won the Democratic nomination, emerging from a crowded field that included six other Democrats. Delgado will face vulnerable Republican incumbent John Faso in November.
In Maryland, the most interesting race of the night was a landslide. Incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin easily brushed aside a group of challengers in the Democratic primary that included Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who was court-martialed after leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. Cardin is expected to easily defeat whichever Republican challenger emerges from a field of 11 candidates.
In Utah, all eyes are on Mitt Romney, who is running to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Orin Hatch. Romney easily won his Republican primary Tuesday night against state Rep. Mike Kennedy, and most observers consider him a lock to win November’s general election against Salt Lake County councilwoman Jenny Wilson.
There is also interest in the Fourth Congressional District, a relatively new district created following the 2010 census. Both incumbent Republican Rep. Mia Love and her Democratic challenger, Salt Lake City Mayor Ben McAdams, have secured party nominations ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Current polling shows the general election is too close to call.
The Sixth Congressional District, held by Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, is among the top seats Democrats hope to flip during November’s midterms. Coffman will face off in November against former Army Ranger Jason Crow, who defeated strategy consultant Levi Tillemann Tuesday night to take hom the Democratic nomination.
In the wide-open race for governor, Rep. Jared Polis (who is giving up his Second Congressional District seat) won the Democratic nomination out of a field of eight candidates that hoped to succeed centrist Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was term-limited out. Polis will face Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapelton, who defeated entrepreneur Victor Mitchell to take home the Republican nomination.
More interesting than any of the political races Tuesday was a successful ballot initiative known as State Question 788 that would make it legal to cultivate, possesses and use marijuana in the state for medical purposes. Gov. Mary Fallin has indicated she will call a special session of the state legislature to deal with the issue, according to The Oklahoman.
Speaking of Fallin, she is term-limited out of her job come November, creating a power vacuum that 10 Republicans hoped to fill. Winning the party’s nomination was former Oklahoma City Mayor Mike Cornett. He’ll go up against former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson in the general election.
The Magnolia State isn’t expected to have any competitive House races come November. State Rep. David Baria defeated venture capitalist Howard Sherman (who is married to Emmy-winning actress Sela Ward) in a run-off for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Baria will face incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who is expected to easily win in November.
South Carolina (runoff)
Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster won the Republican nomination for governor, fending off a strong challenged by businessman and first-time candidate John Warren. Among those breathing a sigh of relief is President Trump, who rallied for McMaster on Monday night., telling supporters the primary was a referendum on his own popularity.
Congratulations to Governor Henry McMaster on your BIG election win! South Carolina loves you. We are all proud of you and Peggy! @henrymcmaster
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2018