Nineteen states still have to hold first-round primaries, beginning in early August.
The month of July amounts to a lull in a congressional primary season that began in March and intensified this month. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated for re-election in Virginia on June 10, and Sen. Thad Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel in a runoff on June 24 after lagging in a first-round vote on June 3.
The next first-round primaries are on Aug. 5 in four states including Michigan, where Republican Reps. Justin Amash of the 3rd District and Kerry Bentivolio of the 11th District each face well-funded opponents.
Also notable that day: a Republican primary in Kansas’s 4th District, where former Rep. Todd Tiahrt is seeking to unseat his successor, Rep. Mike Pompeo. Tiahrt and an allied super-political action committee, Kansans for Responsible Government, are attacking Pompeo for his support of the National Security Agency’s telephone-data surveillance program.
Two days after that, Tennessee’s Thursday primary features a re-election bid by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, whose six opponents include Joe Carr, a state representative critical of Alexander’s vote one year ago today for a rewrite of immigration laws. Of the 14 Republicans who joined Democrats in supporting that bill, Alexander is among three up for re-election this year and the only one of the three from a state that hasn’t yet held its primary this election year. Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais, weakened by personal scandal in 2012, faces a strong primary challenge in the 4th District from state Sen. Jim Tracy, who is well-funded.
The 19-state total doesn’t include Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina, which will host second-round runoffs next month. The top race in Georgia is the July 22 Republican runoff for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss. Either Rep. Jack Kingston or businessman David Perdue will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the November election.
The 19-state tally includes Louisiana, where the primary will coincide with the national Election Day on Nov. 4. All candidates of all parties will appear on one ballot, with the top two vote-getters advancing to a Dec. 6 runoff in the event no one wins a majority of the total vote in the first round. Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking re-election against a Republican field that includes Rep. Bill Cassidy.