Two-term Sen. Sam Brownback sailed to the GOP nomination in Kansas‘ gubernatorial race Tuesday against Joan Heffington. Heffington, a former Boeing employee and home builder from Derby, had promised to subject every piece of legislation to a Biblical test and public poll before signing it. She also accused the CIA of conducting biological experiments on Kansans going back decades. Senator Brownback is considered a heavy favorite in the November election against State Senator Sam Holland.
Democrat Lisa Johnston will face Republican Jerry Moran for the Senate seat Brownback is vacating. Moran fought a bitter primary race where both candidates actively courted GOP conservatives. He overcame a strong challenge from fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt (TEE’-hart). The key issue for many voters was which longtime politician would be more aggressive in fighting President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats.
Moran promoted endorsements from conservative senators such as tea party favorite Jim DeMint of South Carolina, while Tiahrt had the backing of former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
As in Utah, this was the race. Kansas has not elected a Democrat as a Senator since 1932.
In Missouri, Democrat Robin Carnahan and seven-term GOP Rep. Roy Blunt secured spots on the November ballot in the state’s Senate race. Carnahan comes from a well-known political family. She is the daughter of a former governor and a former senator and easily defeated two challengers. Her Senate bid comes 10 years after the death of her father and one of her brothers. They died in an October 2000 plane crash while Mel Carnahan was campaigning for the Senate.
Robin Carnahan, the two-term secretary of state, will face Blunt, who has served in the House since 1996 and whose son is a former governor. He beat eight opponents for the GOP nomination, including tea party favorite state Sen. Chuck Purgason. The race is considered a toss-up.
In the race to replace Blunt, Politico reported that in the GOP primary:
Auctioneer Billy Long sent a resounding message to the southwest Missouri political establishment by defeating two state senators and a well-known Greene County prosecutor in the 7th District.
Long, a plainspoken political neophyte who often sported a cowboy hat, ran on an anti-establishment message, swore off earmarks and took a term limit pledge — all while trouncing his opponents in fundraising. His yard signs read “Fed Up?” and he won the backing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who has a reputation as a maverick Republican who irks party leaders. In the heavily conservative district, Long is likely to cruise to victory in November against Democratic attorney Scott Eckersley.
Missouri law also now contains a direct challenge to the federal health care law passed earlier this year. Primary voters approved Proposition C by a wide margin Tuesday, giving Missourians the power under state law to ignore government requirements to buy health insurance and nullifying penalties for failing to do so. The law goes into effect immediately.
In Michigan, self-funding businessman and political newcomer Rick Snyder (R) will face Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Michigan governor’s race.
Bernero, who was backed by labor, won the Democratic nomination over state House Speaker Andy Dillon, while Snyder beat Rep. Pete Hoekstra and state Attorney General Mike Cox for his party’s nod in the open seat being left by outgoing – and unpopular – Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).
Snyder, a former Gateway president, came out of nowhere to beat two seasoned politicians and starts the general election as the heavy favorite. Interesting!
In House races, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), who narrowly survived a primary in 2008 lost her bid for re-election. The aeven term Democrat was beaten in Tuesday’s primary by state Sen. Hansen Clarke also of Detroit.
The mother of imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, she overcame her son’s legal entanglements two years ago in a tight primary win. The 65-year-old tried this time around to sell voters on her standing as a House Appropriations Committee member and provider for the heavily Democratic 13th District but voters weren’t buying it.
She’s the sixth incumbent lawmaker, and the fourth from the House, to lose this year.
In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula-based 1st District (my home for 2 years – your trivia for the day), Republican Dan Benishek, a favorite of conservative grassroots activists narrowly held off state Senate Majority Whip Jason Allen by a grand total of 102 votes. Recount, anyone? If indeed the winner, Benishek will run against state Rep. Gary McDowell, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The winner will fill Bart Stupak‘s seat who decided retiring was a good idea after his notoriety in the health care debate. UPDATE: The final count from yesterday’s primary actually showed only a 1 vote difference between Benishek and Allen. Wow!