NEWS & Insights

Today’s Primaries

Today brings us another series of important primaries. Voters in Colorado, New York, Utah, and South Carolina will decide nominations in either primary elections or a congressional runoff and special election.

It is likely that Utah Republican voters will effectively elect a new US Senator tonight. Three House incumbents in the various primary states are in highly competitive races, the most vulnerable of whom is two-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Reps. Celeste Maloy (R-UT) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) also face intra-party challenges. A South Carolina runoff will effectively elect a new House member, and eastern Colorado voters will fill resigned Rep. Ken Buck’s (R) vacancy for the remainder of the current term.

Colorado

The race attracting the most attention is the open 4th District where Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) is moving from the western slope 3rd District across the state into eastern Colorado’s 4th CD. With her two top opponents falling by the political wayside, it appears Rep. Boebert will win nomination from her new CD. The Democratic primary is worth watching even in this district where the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+26. Early polling suggests that Rep. Boebert will be in a competitive general election even in the state’s strongest Republican district.

Rep. Boebert’s current district features a competitive Republican primary to replace her as the party nominee. Democrats are spending money to elevate former state Representative and 2022 US Senate candidate Ron Hanks, who they believe would be a weaker general election nominee than attorney Jeff Hurd. The winner faces former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D), who held Rep. Boebert to a 546-vote win in 2022, making it the closest finish of any congressional race in the previous election cycle.

In District 4, we will also see the special election to fill the balance of resigned Rep. Buck’s term. Republicans should be favored, but nominated a caretaker candidate in Greg Lopez who has previously lost several races and raised only $40,000 through the June 5th pre-primary reporting period.

The Democratic special election nominee is speechwriter Trisha Calvarese who is more active on the special election campaign trail than Lopez. The latter apparently is hoping that the Republican label will carry him to victory in what should be a safe R seat.

The regular Democratic primary will be much different than the special election. In the race for the full term, retired Marine Corps officer Ike McCorkle, the two-time congressional nominee who did not contest the special election, has raised over $1.4 million for his current campaign and spent most of his largesse working to again obtain the party nomination.

In District 5, two conservative Republicans, radio talk show host and former congressional candidate Jeff Crank and ex-Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams are vying to replace retiring Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs). Mr. Crank twice ran against Lamborn, but the Congressman is endorsing him against Mr. Williams who is further right than his opponent. Tonight’s winner is a lock to hold the seat in November.

In the swing 8th District, Republicans appear set to nominate state Rep. Gabe Evans (R-Westminster). He faces former Colorado Springs state Rep. Janak Joshi, who has support from the party’s conservative flank, represented a region nowhere near this new CD that lies north of Denver. A general election for Mr. Evans challenging freshman Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton) in a tight district will become one of the nation’s top national congressional campaigns.

New York

The Empire State nomination elections feature one major battle, that in the 16th Congressional District Democratic primary as Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) is in severe danger of losing renomination to Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

The challenger has outraised the incumbent by well over $1 million, and the outside money, mostly coming from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s United Democracy PAC, has dropped over $17 million either to support Mr. Latimer or oppose Rep. Bowman. This contrasts to the $2 million in outside support for Bowman.

The latest poll released of the race, from Emerson College (6/6-8; 425 NY-16 likely Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) posted Mr. Latimer to a 48-31% advantage over Rep. Bowman. While it appears that Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) lost his close renomination battle last week, Rep. Bowman may become the second incumbent to fall to a primary challenger in this election cycle.

Most of the delegation, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), face little or no competition tonight. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-Canandaigua) should easily dispatch her 24th District primary challenger, attorney Mario Fratto. Reps. Dan Goldman (D-New York City) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-East Elmhurst) also face minor primary opposition.

In Long Island’s 1st District, Democrats are choosing between former CNN News reporter John Avlon and 2020 nominee Nancy Goroff. The winner then challenges freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County) in the general election.

Turning to the Syracuse anchored 22nd CD, it is arguable that freshman GOP Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) received the most unfavorable redraw in the new redistricting map. Vying for the Democratic nomination are state Sen. John Mannion (D-Syracuse) and DeWitt Town Councilwoman Sarah Klee Hood. Senator Mannion is favored for the nomination, and the general election promises to end in close fashion.

Utah

The Beehive State features several key races today. At the top of the list is the open Senate Republican primary that will effectively elect a new US Senator to replace retiring incumbent Mitt Romney (R).

Tonight’s GOP victor becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election. Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) is favored to defeat Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, who won the state Republican Party’s nominating convention. Ex-state House Speaker Brad Wilson and businessman Jason Walton are also in the race, but the contest is clearly between Messrs. Curtis and Staggs.

Gov. Spencer Cox is also on the Republican ballot for renomination after badly losing the nominating convention to state Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding) in late April. Polling suggests the Governor will easily rebound in the primary to capture the party nomination and will be a heavy favorite for re-election in November.

Another incumbent who came in second at the state convention is freshman Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-Cedar City) who won a special election in late 2023 when Rep. Chris Stewart (R) resigned for family reasons. Rep. Maloy only qualified for the ballot by three percentage points from the delegate vote. Businessman Colby Jenkins, who Sen. Mike Lee (R) supports, is Rep. Maloy’s challenger. She is favored to win, but the finishing totals may be close.

In Rep. Curtis’ open 3rd District, five Republicans are vying to replace the Congressman. State Sen. Mike Kennedy (R-Lindon) won the party nominating convention and may be the leading candidate heading into today’s primary. Roosevelt Mayor J.R. Bird, businessman Case Lawrence, State Auditor John “Frugal” Dougall, and former Utah County Republican Party chairman Stewart Peay are Sen. Kennedy’s competitors. Tonight’s winner will be the overwhelming favorite to claim the seat in November.

South Carolina

The Palmetto State primary was two weeks ago, and one congressional race advanced into a runoff election. South Carolina is the only state to employ a two week runoff system. Therefore, tonight will decide if first place finisher Mark Burns, a pastor who has former President Trump’s endorsement, or Air National Guard Lt. Col. Sheri Biggs, who has Gov. Henry McMaster’s support, will claim the nomination. The victor will effectively win the seat and replace retiring Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens) in the next Congress.

We offer this political insights report for your information and not as a predictor or representative of opinions of HBS or its employees.