Winners and losers from Tuesday's primaries

The 2018 political sea...

Posted: May 9, 2018 3:43 PM
Updated: May 9, 2018 3:43 PM

The 2018 political season kicked off in earnest on Tuesday with voters in four states -- Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina and West Virginia -- going to the polls to pick candidates for Senate, governor and House.

I sifted through the primary results and came out with some of the best -- and the worst -- of the night that was. My picks are below.

WINNERS

* Mitch McConnell: The Senate majority leader became an issue in the West Virginia Senate primary when coal mine owner/ex-con Don Blankenship referred to the Kentucky Republican as "Cocaine Mitch" in an ad. Blankenship also suggested that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, McConnell's wife, was part of a family of "wealthy Chinaperson[s]" that somehow made McConnell biased against him. (Yes, I know that makes zero sense.) In the wake of Blankenship's third place (out of three) finish, McConnell's campaign team trolled the West Virginia Republican, with a little help from the Netflix show "Narcos."

McConnell's personal victory over Blankenship drew the most attention. But, in all three Senate races on the ballot Tuesday night -- Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia -- McConnell (and Senate Republicans) got solid candidates who will run real campaigns against Democratic incumbents. After the primary season disaster of years past, that's a major win.

* Establishment Democrats: Whereas McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have, at times struggled to get their preferred candidates through primaries against more base-friendly candidate, the Democratic Party has experienced no such trouble. Tuesday night's vote was no exception. In Ohio, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray easily defeated liberal insurgent Dennis Kucinich to claim the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Cordray's win shows that Democratic voters aren't in open rebellion against their party establishment. That's good news for the presidential prospects of one Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

* The Democratic House playing field: It was a relatively quiet day for House races but Democrats got some unexpected good news when conservative pastor Mark Harris knocked off Rep. Robert Pittenger in North Carolina's 6th district. Democrats already believed the seat was a potential pickup opportunity but believe that even more strongly due to Harris' strong conservative positioning in a district President Donald Trump won with only 54% in 2016.

* My beauty rest: By 7:30 pm on the east coast, all the polls were closed in the four states that voted on Tuesday. That's a huge win for campaign reporters everywhere -- especially me. I require at least eight hours of sleep in my hyperbaric chamber to fight the ravages of aging.

LOSERS

* Members of Congress: There was a time when being a sitting member of Congress was a major advantage when running statewide. You had a political base and a fundraising base. Those days are done -- at least for now. In Indiana, Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer lost their Senate bids to former state Rep. Mike Braun who ran as a Washington outsider. In West Virginia, Rep. Evan Jenkins lost his Senate bid to state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey who ran as -- you guessed it! -- a Washington outsider. Yes, Rep. Jim Renacci won the Republican Senate nomination in Ohio but a) he had the vocal endorsement of the ultimate outsider Donald Trump and b) the field he faced was decidedly weak.

* Don Blankenship: Fresh out of prison for his role in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that left 29 people dead, Blankenship ran a campaign that felt more grounded in the 1950s than in 2018. His slurs against Secretary Chao, his casual use of the word "negro," his embrace of a variety of conspiracy theories -- it was an appeal to the worst in us. But, it didn't work. Despite rumors that Blankenship was surging in the final days of the race, his negatives were sky high and he was never a serious threat to Morrisey once the votes were counted. Which, no matter what your political leaning, is a good thing. Nominating someone with views like Blankenship's is a bad thing for our democracy.

* "Internal" polls: In the final five days of the West Virginia primary, the buzz coming out of the state was that Blankenship was surging. That buzz was driven by alleged internal GOP polls that showed Blankenship picking up steam. The data was not released publicly but rather simply whispered about in political circles. Turns out, Blankenship didn't have any particular momentum in the race's final days and, in fact, appeared to lose altitude over those closing days. My friend Harry Enten has much more on the perils of swallowing "internal polls" whole but suffice to say: Buyer beware.

* Lovers of chaos: This was not a night of fireworks. There were no major upsets. Things went largely as expected. Both parties, largely, got what they wanted. Of course, there are lots and lots of primaries to come....

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 728811

Reported Deaths: 13405
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion996911740
Lake53548966
Allen40529675
St. Joseph35596550
Hamilton35536408
Elkhart28470441
Tippecanoe22375218
Vanderburgh22293396
Porter18701307
Johnson17923378
Hendricks17199315
Clark12943191
Madison12612339
Vigo12437246
Monroe11873170
LaPorte11856210
Delaware10667186
Howard9895216
Kosciusko9390117
Hancock8260140
Bartholomew8058155
Warrick7777155
Floyd7653178
Wayne7035199
Grant7032174
Boone6687101
Morgan6557139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6016111
Dearborn580077
Cass5794105
Henry5699103
Noble559883
Jackson501172
Shelby490696
Lawrence4522120
Harrison435072
Gibson434792
DeKalb427185
Clinton427053
Montgomery423688
Whitley395239
Huntington390080
Steuben385557
Miami381166
Knox371890
Jasper364747
Putnam359660
Wabash353479
Adams341054
Ripley339170
Jefferson329281
White313554
Daviess296299
Wells291381
Decatur284792
Fayette279562
Greene277885
Posey271333
Scott265653
LaGrange265570
Clay259447
Washington240332
Randolph239781
Spencer232131
Jennings229849
Starke215953
Fountain212046
Sullivan211442
Owen198756
Fulton194840
Jay193630
Carroll188520
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush173025
Vermillion168843
Franklin167835
Tipton162845
Parke146116
Blackford134632
Pike133734
Pulaski116645
Newton107734
Brown101941
Crawford99514
Benton98514
Martin88615
Warren81815
Switzerland7858
Union71010
Ohio56511
Unassigned0414

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1082815

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1258081400
Cuyahoga1119722115
Hamilton799721205
Montgomery514061014
Summit47145945
Lucas42119788
Butler38338584
Stark32273906
Lorain24997481
Warren24274298
Mahoning21546588
Lake20653369
Clermont19761238
Delaware18512133
Licking16418212
Fairfield16176199
Trumbull16032468
Medina15268264
Greene15063244
Clark13983299
Wood13080189
Portage12839203
Allen11639232
Richland11349199
Miami10670217
Muskingum8803133
Wayne8793211
Columbiana8778229
Pickaway8564121
Marion8523135
Tuscarawas8473244
Erie7888154
Hancock6914127
Ross6846155
Ashtabula6805170
Geauga6686148
Scioto6406101
Belmont5881167
Union570848
Lawrence5549102
Jefferson5525151
Huron5430119
Darke5355123
Sandusky5347120
Seneca5282121
Athens519158
Washington5155109
Auglaize490784
Mercer480385
Shelby469293
Knox4486110
Madison435661
Putnam4278100
Fulton422469
Ashland421789
Defiance419697
Crawford3975107
Brown394157
Logan381676
Preble379598
Clinton372163
Ottawa366679
Highland355062
Williams339275
Champaign331658
Guernsey315653
Jackson312551
Perry294950
Morrow284939
Fayette281950
Hardin270864
Henry268666
Coshocton265257
Holmes2603101
Van Wert243463
Adams237852
Pike237634
Gallia235349
Wyandot231055
Hocking215362
Carroll191547
Paulding172640
Meigs144840
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108423
Harrison108137
Vinton83115
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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36° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 28°
Huntington
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 34°
Decatur
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 31°
Van Wert
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 35°
Rain moves in overnight into Sunday morning and looks to hang around much of the day, likely forcing Mother's Day plans indoors
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