Mississippiˆs McDaniel, Cochran face runoff, highlighting primary contests

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, June 4, 2014 - There are some clear winners and losers in the primary elections held in eight states yesterday, while at least one race remains up in the air.

In the closely-watched Mississippi contest between Sen. Thad Cochran, the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and his conservative GOP challenger, Chris McDaniel, neither candidate got 50 percent of the vote, so they will face each other in a runoff on June 24, according to the Associated Press. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, McDaniel leads Cochran 49.5 percent to 49 percent, the news service said.
In Iowa, the winner of the GOP Senate primary, Joni Ernst, garnered more than 56 percent of the vote and is set to race against the Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley, this fall for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin.

If Ernst, a state senator and Iraq war veteran, wins in November, she will make history as the first woman to represent Iowa in either congressional chamber.

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In other Iowa races, State Rep. Pat Murphy won the Democratic nomination to replace Braley in Iowa's First District, where the former Iowa Speaker of the House will face off against GOP nominee and Dubuque businessman Rod Blum.

The Republican nominee in Iowa's open 3rd District will be decided at a nominating convention in Creston on June 21, after none of the six candidates garnered the 35 percent necessary to win the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Tom Latham.

State Sen. Brad Zaun was the top vote recipient from the field, garnering 25 percent. Other Republicans seeking the nomination include bridge construction contractor Robert Cramer (21 percent), Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (20 percent), Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Director Monte Shaw (17 percent), former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley David Young (16 percent), and teacher Joe Grandanette (2 percent).

The winner will face former state Sen. Staci Appel, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Here are some highlights from other races around the country:

South Dakota

Former South Dakota Gov.  Mike Rounds easily won the Republican nomination for Senate in his home state, garnering 58 percent of the vote. He will face Democrat Rick Weiland, a former aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, in the general election, as well as Independents Larry Pressler, and Gordon Howie. The winner will fill the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson.

Montana

Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., who was appointed by the governor to fill out the seat formerly held by Max Baucus, defeated former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger and rancher Dirk Adams to win the Democratic nomination. He will face GOP Rep. Steve Daines, Montana's sole House member, in the fall

Former state Sen. Ryan Zinke won the GOP nomination in the race to replace Daines in the House. Former Senate aide John Lewis is the Democratic nominee.

California

In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and Republican Neel Kashkari finished first and second in the state's new “top two” primary system, respectively, and will advance to the general election in November. The system allows the top two vote getters to advance, regardless of political party.

In the Tenth District, Democrat Michael Eggman, a bee farmer, won a runoff and will challenge the Republican incumbent, Rep. Jeff Denham, in the fall.

In the 11th District, the seat held by retiring Rep. George Miller is up for grabs. Democratic State Senator Mark DeSaulnier topped the field of candidates, followed by Republican Tue Phan, a retired immigration judge.

Democratic Rep. Mike Honda came out on top in the closely-watched 17th District race, where he beat Silicon Valley favorite and fellow Democrat Ro Khanna by over 21 percentage points.

In the 21st District, freshman Republican Rep. David Valadao, who received 64 percent of the vote, will face Amanda Renteria, a former Capitol Hill aide, who garnered 25 percent of the vote.

In the 31st District, Republican political consultant Paul Chabot grabbed first-place with 27 percent of the vote. But the second place slot is too close to call.

Alabama

Incumbent Republican Gov. Robert Bentley and Democrat Rep. Parker Griffith, both physicians, easily won their party's nominations for Alabama governor and will face off in a general election.

New Mexico

Retired Marine colonel and aerospace entrepreneur Allen Weh Tuesday easily defeated political newcomer David Clements for the opportunity to challenge Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

New Jersey

Jeff Bell, narrowly defeated other challengers to win the GOP Senate primary. He will run against Sen. Cory Booker, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Facing off against other state lawmakers, State Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman won New Jersey's 12th District Democratic primary Tuesday.  She'll face physician Alieta Eck who was unopposed in the Republican primary in this heavily Democratic district where Democrat Rep. Rush Holt, decided not to seek re-election.

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