There wasn’t much hype, but yesterday was an election day. So we thought we’d put together a list of five things you need to know about what happened. If you know of any others — especially where you’re from — add it to the comments.
(1) Tea Party-backed Navy Pilot Jim Bridenstine ousted incumbent Rep. John Sullivan in the primary for Okalahoma’s 1st Congressional District. From the Washington Post:
Bridenstine, who had tea party backing, is a political newcomer who ran a campaign that attempted to paint Sullivan as a career politician who had grown out of touch with working-class Oklahomans. He also criticized Sullivan for missing votes; the incumbent missed votes in 2009 while being treated for alcoholism.Both men squabbled over Sullivan’s voting record, who held the more important job in the private sector and which one would be the most conservative candidate for the job.
Bridenstine will now face small business owner John Olson, a Democrat, and Independent Craig Allen, an airline pilot. They’ll both be on the 1st District ballot in November.
KRMG-TV notes that Bridenstine has now become the favorite to win the seat in the heavily-Republican district.
(2) Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch may be unpopular among Republicans nationwide, but in Utah he’s apparently quite a hit. He breezed through his primary, beating upstart Dan Liljenquist:
Hatch, 78, had been bracing for a tough re-election battle, but he breezed to victory. Former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who survived a 2008 plane crash in Guatemala that killed 11 of 14 on board, won just enough support at the state GOP’s nominating convention to advance to the primary.
But Liljenquist faced an overwhelming financial and organizational disadvantage in the primary. Hatch, learning from the defeat two years ago of his Senate colleague Robert Bennett, spent about $10 million blanketing the airwaves and building a campaign operation unlike anything Utah had seen before.
Hatch told the Associated Press in an interview Tuesday night that he was ready to tackle the nation’s debt problems and focus on Social Security and Medicare.
“This is my last term,” Hatch said. “I’m ready to bite the bullet.”
(3) Charlie Rangel is the congressman who just keeps on ticking. The 82-year-old Rep. who has come under fire recently survived his primary despite running in a redistricted area:
Rangel declared victory over his opponent Tuesday night. With 84 percent of the vote counted, Rangel was up 45-40 in the race for the newly-formed 13th Congressional District.
“I am so grateful for the support,” Rangel said Tuesday night.
“I was pleased to see that a lot of people knew me, there was a connection,” he said, adding that his incumbency helped. “When you’re there for four decades, it’s kind of hard for you to not be known by most people.”
Boasting about being in Washington for four decades? I guess it’s a winning messge.
(5) The presidential primary season has officially come to an end. The last one was held in Utah, and Mitt Romney won:
Romney already had more than enough delegates to claim the GOP nomination. On Tuesday night he won all 40 delegates in Utah.
Nebraska will hold its GOP state convention in July, but Utah held the last presidential primary on Tuesday, almost six months after Romney narrowly lost the Iowa caucuses to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Since then, Romney has dispatched Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul is still trying to win delegates at state conventions but stopped campaigning in primaries.
So what did we learn? Aside from Sullivan’s upset, The Atlantic notes that long-time incumbents are generally hard to unseat:
After a lot of hand-wringing over inter-party squabbles and “endangered” incumbents, Congressional lifers Orrin Hatch and Charles Rangel easily passed their primary challenges on Tuesday, signaling almost certain re-election in the fall. Hatch, who has been a Senator for Utah since 1976, crushed his Tea Party-opponent with nearly double the number of votes. Meanwhile, Rangel (who represents New York’s 15th District centered in Harlem) won 45 percent of the vote in a crowded Democratic field.
The fact that these two races were considered to be among the toughest of either politician’s career shows just how hard it is to unseat a incumbent once they set down roots in Washington. In 2010, Rangel became the first member of the House of Representatives to be censured on the floor of the chamber in more than three decades and lost his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee due to ethics violations, but has already been re-elected once and will likely cruise to victory in November. Hatch’s win was never really in doubt, but simply being challenged by a fellow Republican was enough to make some supporters nervous and make national headlines. [Emphasis added]
At least for now and for these races. We’ll see come November.