3 takeaways from the Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin primaries



The primary season is beginning to wind down, as voters in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin held their nominating contests on Tuesday, while Minnesota held a special election for a vacant congressional seat.

1. Democrats outperform in another post-Roe special

The special elections are one of the best indicators we have of what lies ahead in the November election – as long as you look at them quantitatively.

And many eyes were on a congressional special election in Minnesota on Tuesday — especially in light of the handful of signs that things might not be so bad for Democrats in 2022, given the resurgence of the agenda. of President Biden and while voters seem to be somewhat motivated to show up at the polls by the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade.

A few weeks ago, Democrats significantly outperformed fundamentals in the first post-deer special election in Nebraska, but you can’t extrapolate too much from one race.

Well, now we have a second post-deer race, and the Democrats again outperformed — and by a pretty similar margin. Republican Brad Finstad edged Democrat Jeff Ettinger by less than 5 points in a district – Minnesota’s 1st – that Trump carried by 10 points in 2020.

As FiveThirtyEight notes, the congressional special elections this cycle have been very mixed — not showing quite the kind of consistent GOP outperformance you might expect in a really good Republican environment, while providing fodder for both. left to believe they might do well.

Republicans welcomed their thwarted takeover of a Democratic-leaning South Texas seat in June, but the stakes were very low in a district that effectively won’t exist in January. The two stages since show that the dynamic does not seem to continue.

2. Trump’s projection in Wisconsin

Speaking of mixed bags, the primary season continues to be one of Donald Trump’s endorsements — albeit more positive than negative.

Certainly, candidates endorsed by Trump win the vast majority of the time. But in truly competitive races, GOP primary voters have often taken a different direction.

And they went in different directions Tuesday at two high-profile races in Wisconsin. Trump-endorsed businessman Tim Michels beat top seed former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch to face Gov. Tony Evers (D) in November. But Trump’s belated efforts to unseat State House Speaker Robin Vos (R) due to Vos’ insufficient support to overturn Wisconsin’s election results failed. Vos narrowly led underfunded challenger Adam Steen and declared the win.

At the same time, the fact that a figure of Vos’s stature in the state GOP was so close to losing to such a challenger shows Trump’s influence. Trump has failed to defeat another State House speaker after doing so against Jan. 6 witness Rusty Bowers in Arizona last week, but a message has certainly been sent: don’t toe Trump’s line enough. on the cancellation of elections under false pretenses will create problems for you. (Although notably, the dividing lines in the Wisconsin governor’s primary on this issue weren’t so sharp.)

And if we focus only on the most narrowly decided 2020 states in which Trump sought to send a message in the 2022 primaries, most of their state GOPs rallied behind Trump’s candidates – notably in Arizona, in Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and now maybe more Wisconsin. Georgia now appears as an outlier.

(Side note: Former Vice President Mike Pence backed Kleefisch, meaning his endorsed nominees have now lost to Trump-backed gubernatorial candidates in consecutive weeks in Arizona and Wisconsin, after Pence picked a resounding winner in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp.)

3. Vermont Late Stage for Women

It’s been more than a century since Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress in 1916 – and nearly 250 years since our nation’s founding – but it looks like all 50 states will soon have sent at least one woman in Congress.

Vermont was the only one to resist, but its Democrats on Tuesday nominated state Senate Speaker Becca Balint for her House seat. Balint, who beat Lt. Gov. Molly Gray with ease, will still have to win the general election — against a GOP-nominated male opponent — but is expected to be heavily favored in a very blue state.

As the 19th recently summed up, Vermont is the latest to take this step after Mississippi sent Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) to the Senate in 2018. Part of that is down to Vermont’s consistent small size – it’s had only one seat in Congress since the 1930s—as well as its very low turnover.

About 400 total women have been sent to Congress since Rankin broke the gender barrier a century ago in Montana.


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