Today there are a handful of minor elections: 8 legislative specials, an international race, and a meaningless mayoral race in Detroit. There isn’t enough to liveblog today, but here is an open thread to discuss any of these races.
Detroit: Today is the primary for Mayor of Detroit, but it’s not exactly interesting. Detroit has a population of around 675K (which is still dropping, though not quite as precipitously as it has been) that is roughly 85% Black, with a small Mexican community on the southwest side and a few white hipsters downtown. It had a PVI of D+44 (2008). This race is a California-Rules Top Two primary, so with only two serious candidates, today is essentially a straw poll for November’s real election. Incumbent Mike Duggan (D) is the first white mayor of the city since the 70s. Duggan is a typical machine hack liberal, but he has done a decent job of slowing the city’s freefall and even reversing the decline in some neighborhoods. Clearing that low bar is enough to make him a huge favorite for re-election to a second term. Duggan’s rival, State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of Detroit’s polarizing 70s and 80s era mayor of the same name, is running to his left, accusing Duggan of not paying enough attention to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Polls generally show Duggan leading Young by around 2:1, and it looks like that will be close to today’s result as well. Six other non-serious candidates are on the ballot, including four felons.
Kenya: The east African nation of Kenya is also holding its presidential election today. Kenya is a nation of 48M with a land area slightly smaller than Texas. Like many third-world democracies, Kenya’s politics are more clan- and personality-based than ideological. The two candidates for president are incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and Ralia Odinga, his rival in the previous election. Both are wealthy and descendants of some of the nation’s founding leaders, and their families have dominated the nation for much of the time since independence. Polling shows Odinga with a slight lead; regardless of the result, observers are considering post-election violence to be likely between the nation’s various clans.
Legislative Specials: There are also 8 legislative specials at stake across 5 states: 3 generals, 4 primaries, and a primary runoff.
IA-LD-82 is probably the first legit shot for a contested R pickup in a legislative special this year. At stake is a formerly D-held R+12 (2016) seat covering much of the college town of Fairfield and rural areas to the south along the MO border. A pair of school board presidents, Phil Miller (D) and Travis Harris (R) are facing off. This is a very Trumpist area, but the seat voted for Obama in 2012. Between the new lean of the seat and the energized Dem base, I would say there is no clear favorite.
MO-SD-28 is an R+21 (2012) seat covering a broad swath of rural areas north of Springfield, from Lebanon to Sedalia. State Rep. Sandy Crawford (R) should be heavily favored over retired teacher Al Skalicky (D) for the seat.
MO-LD-50 is an R+13 (2012) seat covering the southern edge of the Columbia area and rural areas between Columbia and Jefferson City. Democrats have gone all-in on this seat on behalf of attorney and state legislative staffer Michaela Skelton (D), a cousin of ex-Rep. Ike (D). Skelton is facing lobbyist and GOP official Sara Walsh (R), who has the lean of the seat on her side but has trailed in fundraising. There is no clear favorite overall.
MI-LD-1 is a D+25 (2016) seat covering the wealthy northern half of the Grosse Pointes, the lower-middle-class suburb of Harper Woods, and the desperately poor northeast corner of Detroit. 11 Democrats are facing off; the primary winner will be the prohibitive favorite in the general. 2016 candidate and attorney Pam Sossi (D), who took over a third of the vote against the indicted prior incumbent in last year’s primary, is probably the front-runner this time with a more white-heavy electorate and fractured field. Two other 2016 candidates, congressional staffer Washington Youngson (D) and teacher Keith Hollowell (D), are also running. The other candidates in the race are Justin Johnson (D), the brother of indicted State Sen. Bert (D), school board member Tenisha Yancey (D), zoning board member Gowana Mancill Jr (D), attorneys Kirkland Garey (D) and Sandra Bucciero (D), and three Some Dudes. Sossi, Yancey, Mancil, and Johnson are considered the major candidates.
MI-LD-109 is a formerly-D-held R+3 (2016) seat covering the central Upper Peninsula from Marquette to Manistique. Four Democrats are facing off for the open seat. Marquette councilwoman and 2016 candidate Sara Cambensy (D) looks like the slight front-runner as she has name recognition from her prior run, but Marquette County commissioner Joe Derocha (D) has stronger establishment support. Two others, Sen. Debbie Stabenow staffer Jeremy Hosking (D) and Limestone Twp. councilman Tom Curry (D), also seem serious. The winner will face former school board president Richard Rossway (R).
OK-SD-45 is an R+21 (2016) seat covering some poor neighborhods south of downtown OKC and wrapping southwest around the Airport through deep-red southwestern exurbs near Mustang. Former State Highway Patrol chief Kerry Pettingill (R) looks like the slight favorite, but businessmen Duane Smith (R) and Paul Rosino (R) also seem serious. Attorney Scott Harris (R), physician Diane Means (R), businessman Brian Walters (R), and a Some Dude all look like longer shots. For Democrats, police dispatcher Steven Vincent (D) is the clear favorite over Noah Ynclan (D), who has no establishment support after revelations of a 2013 domestic violence conviction.
OK-LD-76 is an R+18 (2016) seat covering most of the western half of Broken Arrow in the Tulsa suburbs. Shelly Brumbaugh (R), widow of the prior Rep., is the clear favorite for the primary, but she faces four other Republicans. 2014 candidate Cliff Johns (R) seems like her most serious rival, but businessman Jess Guthrie (R), retired cop Ross Ford (R), and teacher Brian Elliott (R) are also in the race. Teachers Chris Vanlandingham (D) and Forest Mayer (D) are facing off for the Dem nomination; there is no clear favorite on that side.
SC-LD-31 is a D+23 (2016) seat covering central and western Spartanburg. Two Democrats are heading to a primary runoff: Spartanburg city councilor Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) and NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D). Henderson-Myers led Abusaft 39-32 two weeks ago and looks like a slight front-runner, but an upset is possible. The primary winner will be a prohibitive favorite in the general.