On Tuesday, a former New York Republican Congress member who spent eight months in jail for dodging his taxes is trying to make a comeback, a massive field of Democrats looks toward unseating a very popular Republican governor in Maryland, and legalizing medical marijuana is up for a vote in Oklahoma.
Primary voters in New York, Maryland, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Utah will be going to the polls Tuesday night to pick their candidates for the 2018 midterms. There’s a slew of races to pick the Democratic and Republican nominees for the House, Senate and governors’ seats.
Vox has live results below, powered by Decision Desk.
Polls close at 9 pm Eastern. Live results are below.
New York First Congressional District Democratic primary: somebody needs to make Lee Zeldin feel the heat
Incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin was first elected in 2014. He was a state legislator before that. He voted in favor of Obamacare repeal but against the tax bill, which, in its rollback of deduction for state and local taxes, particularly hurt high-tax states like New York.
On the Democratic side, it’s a crowded field, with five candidates, but there appear to be two who stand out from the rest. Kate Browning, who fled Ireland during the Troubles and used to be a school bus driver, is one of the top two fundraisers on the Democratic side. But far and away, the money leader is business executive Perry Gershon, who has put at least $600,000 of his own money into the race. Scientist Elaine DiMasi, Bernie Sanders acolyte David Pechefsky and former county official Vivian Viloria-Fisher make up the rest of the field.
This district is rated Likely Republican and R+5, meaning all else being equal, it’s about 5 points more Republican than the country, by Cook Political Report. So this is on the edge of competitiveness. But the district, taking up the eastern half of Long Island, did narrowly vote for Barack Obama twice before backing Donald Trump by 12 points in 2016. It’s going to be an expensive race for Democrats, but they hope there might be enough independent and moderate voters that in an anti-Trump year, they can pull off an upset.
New York Second Congressional District Democratic primary: Democrats want to flip Peter King’s district
Suffolk County official DuWayne Gregory is back after losing to 13-term Rep. Peter King pretty badly in the 2016 election. He’s touted his legislative experience while his competitor, consultant Liuba Shirley, has emphasized her grassroots activism.
Shirley made headlines in May when she gained FEC approval to use campaign funds for child care. She’s posted an impressive fundraising haul and gained the endorsements of Emily’s List, which helps elect Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights, and Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution.
The district, rated R+3 by Cook Political Report, has been named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) list of targets, amid strong Democratic performances in recent elections for local office.
Thus far, the Democratic candidates have slammed King’s ties with the president, as well as his role in advancing a tax bill that did not include local and state tax deductions. Despite the district’s conservative lean, active registered Democratic voters actually outnumber Republican ones.
New York 11th Congressional District Republican primary: Dan Donovan versus Michael Grimm
Incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan is trying to fend off former Congress member and convicted tax evader Michael “I’ll break you in half, like a boy” Grimm, the man Donovan replaced in 2015.
Grimm is attacking Donovan as a soft Republican, for voting against the tax bill and Obamacare repeal. He got the backing of Steve Bannon and Anthony Scaramucci, for whatever it’s worth. He also bizarrely claimed Donovan had told him that he would seek a pardon for Grimm from Trump if Grimm didn’t challenge him in the primary.
There is a lot going on here, and we do have one public poll that showed Grimm leading Donovan by 10 points, But Trump has sided with Donovan in the intraparty fight. This will be one of Tuesday’s most closely watched elections.
New York 11th Congressional District Democratic primary: Max Rose (probably) awaits in the general election
Max Rose — a post-9/11 combat veteran in this Staten Island district — has earned the DCCC’s Red to Blue imprimatur, which means they’re pretty excited about him. He has also raised by far the most money, though at least one other candidate — union-backed, Medicare-for-all-endorsing Omar Vaid — has cracked six figures.
Cook thinks this R+3 district leans toward the Republicans, though that could certainly change if Grimm and his baggage earn the GOP nomination. The district narrowly supported John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008, backed Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012, and then went 10 points for Trump in 2016.
New York 14th Congressional District Democratic primary: Joe Crowley faces an unexpectedly spirited progressive challenge
Longtime Rep. Joe Crowley, a member of House Democratic leadership, appears to face a somewhat serious progressive primary challenge from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
She is portraying Crowley as corporate-funded, while talking up her progressive bona fides through her support of Medicare-for-all, a jobs guarantee and other economic justice issues. Crowley was tsked by the New York Times editorial board recently for skipping a primary debate with his challenger.
Listen, Crowley is a 10-term incumbent and might be more worried about whether he can move up in Democratic leadership if his party retakes the House than about his primary. But it’s worth monitoring, given the enthusiasm for Ocasio-Cortez among some lefty groups and publications.
Because this is a D+29 district, according to Cook, it’s not going to be competitive in November.
New York 19th Congressional District Democratic primary: a crowded field to challenge vulnerable incumbent John Faso
There are a bunch of viable candidates challenging incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso. Antonio Delgado is an attorney and Rhodes scholar raising a lot of money. Pat Ryan is running on a gun control message. Businessman Brian Flynn is putting a lot of his own money in the race. Gareth Rhodes is a former Andrew Cuomo staffer with the Times’s endorsement. Minister Dave Clegg is a longtime community leader. Former diplomat and CIA officer Jeff Beals and Erin Collier, a former economist in the Obama administration and the only woman in this race, are also running. It’s really wide open.
Cook rates this race as R+2 and a straight-up toss-up, so it should be competitive no matter who emerges on the Democratic side. Obama carried it twice, then Trump won by 7 points in 2016. Expect Democrats to hammer Faso over health care, where they will portray him as one of the decisive votes after he helped move the House repeal bill out of the budget committee.
New York 21st Congressional District Democratic primary: a scuffle over progressive endorsements precedes a packed primary
A crowded field is vying to take on incumbent Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to the House and pursuing a third term. Former St. Lawrence County official Tedra Cobb boasts a fundraising edge. Cobb and former Bernie Sanders delegate Patrick Nelson were among the candidates scrapping over the support of progressive groups. At one point, it was unclear whether Nelson, who has been endorsed by Our Revolution’s local affiliate, or Cobb, who’s garnered the support of Indivisible, had secured the backing of the New York Progressive Action Network.
Former NBC television host Dylan Ratigan, former professor Emily Martz, and small-business owner Katie Wilson are also on the docket.
Cook Political Report rates the district, which voted heavily for Trump, as R+4. Nevertheless, Democrats see it as a potential opportunity to snag a win as they seek a “blue wave.” Ahead of the election, Stefanik has endeavored to frame herself as an independent voice who’s focused on the economy.
New York 23rd Congressional District Democratic primary: another historically Republican district Democrats are eyeing
Five candidates are jockeying for an opportunity to face Rep. Tom Reed, who has served in the House since 2010 and has a voting record pretty consistently in line with Trump’s policy priorities, in November. They are former cardiologist Linda Andrei, retired Air Force Gen. Max Della Pia, small-business owner Ian Golden, former university administrator Tracy Mitrano, and attorney Eddie Sundquist.
The R+6 Southern New York district is among the DCCC’s numerous New York targets. Reed has accrued a sizable war chest as he strives to stave off a challenger this fall. “There is a wave out there that I do see coming, and I think to deny that is an unwise position to take,” Reed told the Washington Post in April.
New York 24th Congressional District Democratic primary: John Katko awaits the winner of Juanita Perez Williams versus Dana Balter
Another divisive Democratic race, with incumbent Rep. John Katko waiting in November. Juanita Perez Williams has the support of the DCCC. She ran for mayor of Syracuse in 2017 but lost pretty handily to an independent candidate. Still, she’s a former Navy officer who grew up in a migrant community, and the national Democrats like her profile. She is facing Dana Balter, who has the support of a few notable progressive groups and is running on Medicare-for-all.
This has classically been one of the nation’s top swing districts. Cook actually rates it as D+3 but Likely Republican — that may reflect Williams’s late entry into the race and Cook’s belief, apparently shared by national Democrats, that Balter would be a weak general election candidate. This is a district that voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and still supported Hillary Clinton over Trump by 3 points in 2016.
The state’s polls close at 8 pm Eastern time. Live results are below.
Maryland governor’s race: a huge field of Democrats seeks to unseat popular incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan
A wide range of Democratic candidates including a former Michelle Obama staffer, a former Hillary Clinton adviser, and a Maryland state senator are going head to head for the chance to topple Gov. Larry Hogan.
Former NAACP President Ben Jealous and Prince George’s County official Rushern Baker are the two frontrunners. Jealous, who is perceived as more progressive, and Baker, who is considered closer to the Democratic establishment, are seen as representing two very different approaches to the role.
Regardless of the candidate who comes out on top, Democrats are in for a tough fight this fall: Hogan’s high approval ratings will make him hard to beat.
Maryland First Congressional District: Democrats try to flip the state’s only red district in their quest for a “blue wave”
Four-term incumbent Andy Harris has comfortably sailed to reelection in previous cycles, but Democrats see his votes against the Affordable Care Act as potential ammunition that could be used against him.
A half-dozen Democrats are competing to go up against Harris. They include former Army intelligence officer Jesse Colvin, who has raised a sizeable war chest, small-business owner Allison Galbraith, and longtime Talbot County attorney Michael Pullen.
Despite the district’s firmly Republican leanings (Cook Political Report rates it as R+14), the DCCC named Harris’s seat as one of its targets earlier this year, hoping to promote another potential Democratic upset.
If Democrats are able to score a victory it would mark a major shift. The district, which contains all of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, voted for Trump by 29 percentage points in 2016. A Democratic win would also mean knocking off the state’s only Republican Congress member.
The state’s polls close at 7 pm Central time. Live results are below.
Oklahoma governor’s race: Republicans run in the shadow of an unpopular term-limited incumbent
Current incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin is term-limited out and a crowded field of 10 Republicans is seeking to fill her open seat. Frontrunners include Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, and Tulsa business executive Kevin Stitt. Lamb and Cornett have leaned into their government experience, while Stitt has sought to frame himself as an outsider who can bring a fresh perspective to the governor’s mansion.
The field is a bit less crowded on the Democratic side, with former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and former state Sen. Connie Johnson duking it out for the nomination. Edmondson, the scion of an Oklahoma political family, unsuccessfully ran for the job in 2010, but has held a steady lead this time around.
Given the state’s historically conservative leanings (Cook Political Report rates the governor’s race as solid Republican), the position is ultimately expected to stay red. Because there are so many candidates in the running, there’s a high chance the race will head to a runoff.
State Question 788: Oklahoma voters weigh the legalization of medical marijuana — prompting questions of faith
Oklahomans will consider a ballot measure that centers on the legalization of medical marijuana, a topic that’s spurred quite a bit of debate.
Oklahomans for Health, a nonprofit that pushed for this ballot measure, argues that it gives patients, including those who suffer from chronic pain, more choice about their medical care. Additionally, advocates for the policy suggest that the legalization of medical marijuana will enable the state to develop more concrete regulations around its use.
Critics of the measure including Americans for Equal Liberty claim it does not put enough limitations on the kinds of qualifying conditions individuals need to have to obtain medical marijuana licenses. Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford (R), an ordained pastor, has been among the religious leaders who have been very outspoken on the subject and questioned the measure’s morality, slamming it as a “recreational marijuana vote disguised as medical marijuana.”
“To have our communities more drug-addicted and distracted, that doesn’t help our families. It doesn’t make us more prosperous. It doesn’t make our schools more successful,” Lankford said. His argument is one that’s been used by many religious leaders, who say that the measure would simply be a slippery slope to the proliferation of recreational marijuana.
If voters decide in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, Oklahoma would become the 30th state to do so.
Polls close at 7 pm Mountain time.
Colorado governor’s race: a bunch of candidates are vying to succeed Gov. John Hickenlooper
With incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper term-limited out, there are competitive Republican and Democratic races to succeed him. This is also the first year that Colorado’s independent voters will be allowed to cast ballots in the Democratic and Republican primaries, which could make the contests more competitive than they’ve been in the past.
As for the Republicans, Colorado state treasurer Walker Stapleton, former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, former Mayor of Parker Greg Lopez, and business executive Doug Robinson. Stapleton seems to be the frontrunner in the Republican primary, where the issues have mostly been focused on keeping taxes low and trying to prevent Democrats from enacting single-payer health care in the state. (There have been past attempts, but they’ve failed.)
But the Democratic field is the one to watch, as Colorado tends to elect Democratic governors. Rep. Jared Polis, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former state Sen. Michael Johnston, and former state treasurer Cary Kennedy are all in the running. Polis, a five-term Congress member, might be the most well-known nationally, but he’s facing a competitive field of well-known candidates in Colorado. Kennedy, for example, has a lot of grassroots support.
Polis is proposing free pre-K and full-day public kindergarten for Colorado students; meanwhile, Kennedy has the backing of the Colorado Education Association teachers union.
Colorado Sixth Congressional District: Democrats face off to take on vulnerable House Republican Mike Coffman
Democrats see an opportunity to flip this district blue this year because Hillary Clinton won it in 2016. Rep. Mike Coffman has been around since 2009, but the state and district are both diversifying and turning more blue, so he’s vulnerable. Expect Democrats to go after Coffman’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his donations from the NRA leading up to November. (CO-6 and the area around it have seen numerous mass shootings over the years.)
Attorney and Army veteran Jason Crow and former Obama administration official Levi Tillemann are in the race. Crow has the backing of national Democrats; he’s been on the DCCC’s Red to Blue list for months. Tillemann made news a few months back by leaking a secretly recorded conversation he had with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in which Hoyer encouraged him to drop out of the race. A few months later, Tillemann released a campaign ad in which he literally pepper-sprayed himself in the face to make a point about gun control measures.
The state’s polls close at 8 pm Mountain time. Live results are below.
Utah Senate race: Mitt Romney is expected to make a triumphant return
Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch all but appointed Mitt Romney to be his successor last year, saying he’d only retire if Romney said he’d run. Now, Romney looks set to easily take the Republican primary Tuesday, with polling showing him more than 40 points above his competitor, state Rep. Mike Kennedy.
It’s notable, however, that Romney didn’t win the Republican Senate nomination outright. Utah has a weird system where candidates are first voted on in a state party convention; Kennedy, who has tried to paint Romney as a Massachusetts “carpet-bagger,” actually beat Romney in two rounds of voting among delegates at the Utah Republican Party’s state convention. Even so, Romney, a Mormon political leader, has deep ties to the state, and is “royalty” for many, Utah’s Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox told Vox.
Utah is a uniquely red state. It has both an anti-establishment streak that elected Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and strong establishment ties, which Hatch, and Romney, largely represent. The voters have no patience for Trump’s Twitter antics or “locker room talk” — there was even a slight decline in Mormons affiliating with the Republican Party during Trump’s nomination.
That said, it remains solidly red.