Today, voters in five states will head to the polls to test the strength of President Donald Trump’s brand in Staten Island and Utah, and of Democratic enthusiasm in liberal strongholds of Maryland and New York City.
Here are the races to watch tonight in Colorado, Maryland, Utah, Oklahoma and New York.
Gubernatorial primary: Current Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is term-limited, and competitive primaries on both sides of the ticket are reflective of the national party trends. Although Hickenlooper identifies as a pragmatic, centrist Democrat, his would-be successors are taking a more left-wing approach. Five-term congressman Jared Polis is the frontrunner on the left. A longtime advocate for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, Polis is pushing for a number of progressive policies, including a single-payer health care system and publicly-funded preschool programs. He would be the first openly-gay governor.
On the right, Colorado Republicans are hoping to prove they can win a statewide race in an increasingly blue state, during a cycle that is favoring Democrats. Much like GOP candidates in races across the country, candidates are proving their conservative chops by pledging their allegiance to Trump. Of the four candidates running, only one — Walker Stapleton (President George W. Bush’s cousin) did not support Trump in 2016. Still, local issues like a single-payer initiative, a push for lower taxes, and opposition to state sanctuary city laws are front-and-center in the primary.
CO-06: Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman is used to his seat being described as a “toss-up” and “competitive” yet he handily wins reelection come November. Democratic challenger Jason Crow, an Army veteran and attorney, leads former Levi Tillemann, an alum of the Obama administration’s Energy Department. Crow enjoys the backing of the national party, and are betting that his nomination means victory for Democrats in November.
Gubernatorial primary: Democrats are lining up for a chance to take on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Former NAACP president Ben Jealous and former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker lead the pack in the crowded field of eight candidates. Jealous has the backing of national Democratic figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has endorsed Baker. Still, Hogan’s high approval ratings in the traditionally blue state will make the race competitive next November.
MD-06: Vacated by the Democrat’s first (and so far only) 2020 candidate, Rep. John Delaney, businessman David Trone faces two-term state delegate Aruna Miller in the Democratic-leaning district, which stretches from Maryland’s panhandle to the D.C. suburbs. Although there is not much daylight between the candidates– they both support stricter gun control laws, plans to combat opioid addiction, and expanding access to health care — Miller has highlighted her work as a woman in government compared to Trone’s background as a perennial candidate and wealthy owner of a national liquor store chain. In fact, Trone has spent $10 million of his own money on the race, just $3 million less than he spent in 2016 in a primary against Rep. Jamie Raskin in Maryland’s 8th district.
Republicans see the sixth district as their best pick up opportunity because the western part of the district supported Mr. Trump in the 2016 elections. Amie Hoeber, a defense contractor, ran against Delaney in 2016, and is seen as the frontrunner in the GOP primary. She faces three opponents.
GOP Senate Primary: Sen. Orrin Hatch’s retirement made way for Mitt Romney’s third act — his campaign for U.S. Senator. He first faces a primary on Tuesday, against state House member Rep. Mike Kennedy. Romney is expected to win handily. Romney, a vocal critic of Trump since he announced his candidacy, notably bucks the trend among Republican candidates of fully embracing the President and his policies. In fact, ahead of the the primary Romney published an op-ed outlining the ways he would work with, and oppose Trump.
Gubernatorial primary: Teacher strikes have roiled the deep-red state in recent months, but it’s unclear how they might impact the race for outgoing Gov. Mary Fallin’s office. The term-limited governor is leaving with low approval ratings, and 10 Republicans are running for her seat, along with a handful of Democrats. In the front of the pack, former Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett are running on their governing experience, while Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt is hoping his outsider status will appeal to voters tired of budget mismanagement in Oklahoma City.
NY-11: In New York City’s only Republican-held district, convicted felon and former Rep. Michael Grimm faces Rep. Dan Donovan in one of this cycle’s most heated primaries. Grimm, who was found guilty of tax fraud, has refashioned himself as a Trump-style Republican. Meanwhile, Trump has endorsed Donovan. In recent months, Donovan has aligned himself closer to the White House on issues like border security and supporting a border wall. However, Donovan did not vote for the tax bill, although Trump cited his support for the legislation in his endorsement of the congressman. The race has divided White House surrogates — former communications director Anthony Scaramucci campaigned with Grimm, while the resident’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani endorsed Donovan.
Democrats are poised to nominate veteran Max Rose. Donovan-backers have warned that electing Grimm could give Rose an edge in November.
NY-14: Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley has held his Queens seat since 1999 and is on the verge of ascending to the top of House leadership, but for now he is facing a serious challenge to his left by community organizer and former congressional staffer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her unabashedly progressive platform — she supports Medicaid-for-all, tuition-free college, and is not taking PAC or lobbyist money, has pushed Crowley, the number four in Democratic House leadership, to take her candidacy seriously. It’s one of the few Democratic primaries this year where the incumbent is facing a serious challenger from the left wing of the party. Ocasio-Cortez’s success will be a measure of the progressive energy and strength in one of the country’s bluest districts.