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: 312521

Reported Deaths: 5498
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion42641849
Lake27152455
Allen18010298
Elkhart17177221
St. Joseph16799229
Hamilton13011167
Vanderburgh9751120
Tippecanoe858727
Porter827986
Johnson6389165
Hendricks6098157
Vigo608384
Monroe536750
Clark515077
Madison5060122
Delaware4905103
LaPorte465595
Kosciusko462339
Howard344277
Warrick325672
Bartholomew316863
Floyd316277
Wayne307770
Cass299931
Marshall299144
Grant272550
Noble255046
Hancock253852
Henry247537
Boone244554
Dubois237931
Dearborn219030
Jackson215534
Morgan210843
Knox187819
Gibson186925
Shelby182155
Clinton180321
DeKalb177831
Lawrence177648
Adams168222
Miami162614
Wabash162521
Daviess156443
Fayette149234
Steuben147113
Jasper144412
Harrison142924
LaGrange142630
Montgomery142127
Whitley137114
Ripley132115
Huntington127410
Decatur126143
Putnam124627
Randolph124519
Wells124429
White123222
Clay122523
Posey122116
Jefferson118816
Scott109020
Greene102653
Jay99013
Sullivan96416
Starke92021
Jennings85314
Fulton84518
Spencer8378
Perry82521
Fountain7798
Washington7527
Franklin69927
Carroll68613
Orange67328
Vermillion6243
Owen6087
Tipton57627
Parke5706
Newton56312
Rush5438
Blackford53412
Pike50919
Pulaski39515
Martin3585
Brown3424
Benton3402
Crawford2941
Union2702
Switzerland2575
Warren2382
Ohio2317
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
Gallia76513
Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 41°
Angola
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 43°
Decatur
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 43°
Van Wert
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 43°
Mostly Cloudy Black Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events