Published On: Sun, Jun 29th, 2014

Primary Night – June 24 2014

In a Florida special election to fill the seat of Rep Trey Radel (R-FL19), who resigned after a drug conviction, Curt Clawson, the Republican candidate bested four opponents gathering in nearly 70% of the vote. It would appear that Rep Radel’s cocaine conviction did not harm his party’s chances. Republican Clawson will fill out the remaining months of Radel’s term. He will face another election on November 4th, 2014 to vie for a full term in the next Congress.

Rep-elect Clawson was the Tea Party candidate who won a hotly contested GOP primary on Tuesday April 22, 2014. Mr Clawson won with 38% of the vote in a field of several candidates. Clawson was aided in his primary contest with endorsements from former Representative Connie Mack, Sen Rand Paul and the Tea Party Express.

The Oklahoma GOP Senate primary was called at approximately 9:30 P.M. EST for Rep James Lankford who defeated T W Shannon and and five other candidates. Rep Lankford appears to have avoided a run-off election by getting more than 50% of the total vote.

The race in Oklahoma can be seen as a push for the Tea Party as both Mr Lankford and Mr Shannon had supporters from those organizations. Sen Ted Cruz, Sen Mike Lee and Sarah Palin all endorsed T W Shannon but the endorsements could not overcome Rep Lankford’s local support.

The AP is calling the GOP primary contest for governor in Colorado for Bob Beauprez.  Beauprez has good name recognition in Colorado and he had establishment support. Beauprez was able to best Tom Tancredo, who is the darling of the anti-immigration crowd. It is just a guess, but it is not unlikely that Republican voters just got tired of losing with candidates who were perceived as bomb throwers.

The race of the night was in the State of Mississippi. Incumbent Thad Cochran, GOP establishment favorite, faced insurgent conservative challenger Chris McDaniel. McDaniel had eked out a victory in Mississippi’s primary but he did not get enough votes to avoid a run-off, so the two opponents went mano a mano in Tuesday’s contest.  The race went down to the wire and Sen Cochran managed to best his opponent by 6373 votes out of 375,193 votes cast.

Contrary to many predictions this was not Sen Cochran’s Last Hurrah. He lives to fight another day in the general election where he is virtually certain to win another six years in office. Mississippi can count on six more years of their senior Senator bringing home the pork. One irony of the Mississippi run-off is that the winning margin may have been provided by Democrats, particularly black voters, seeking to interfere in a Republican election. Sen Cochran had openly sought the votes of black Democrats and it seems to have put him over the top.

The most interesting Democrat party primary contest of June 24 was the showdown between Rep Charlie Rangel and Adriano Espaillat. As of  Wednesday 11:49 A.M. EST June 25, the race has not been called. With 100% of precincts in, the vote totals are Rangel 22,674 – Espaillat 20,846. The race cannot be called until all absentee ballots come in and are counted. 2834 absentee ballots were given out, according to the New York City Board of Elections, 903 were returned and any ballots received before next Tuesday July 1 may be counted.

The closeness of this election demonstrates the demographic changes in NY 13. The once mostly black district, which returned the ethically challenged Charlie Rangel to office for 22 previous elections, has now become more Hispanic. Rep Rangel faced this same opponent in 2012 and barely squeaked by.

Unless there is a big surprise in the absentee ballots, it appears that the 84 year old Rangel will be going to Washington DC for his 23rd term. The lesson of this latest election appears to be that it is difficult to overcome 44 years of favors, back scratching and bringing home the pork. Charlie will be back and snoozing for two more years.

In NY 22, incumbent Republican Richard Hanna  overcame the challenge of conservative Claudia Tenney.  Rep Hanna who is one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress, used money and establishment support  to overcome his challenger.

The CO 4 Republican primary winner on Tuesday was Ken Buck who lost the Colorado race for the US Senate to Michael Bennet in 201o. Ken Buck will be seeking the seat of Republican Rep Cory Gardner who will be taking on Sen Mark Udall in the 2014 US Senate race.

Two websites were particularly useful in preparing this article – Real Clear Politics and The Daily Kos



All in all, it was an interesting night. The GOP establishment will be delighted with both the Cochran and Beauprez wins and the Democrat establishment will be glad that Charlie Rangel will be back. Now it’s on to the next round of primary contests.

About the Author

- Paul Bianco, retired from a career in sales, now spends his spare time as a gadfly on the many political blogs. Paul says he is just going through a phase, but that phase seems to have lasted two decades. Paul's conservative political philosophy was formed well before conservative talk radio and Fox News came along. Paul remembers the days when conservatives like William F Buckley Jr were voices in the wilderness "standing athwart history, yelling stop!" From time to time Paul contributes some of the insights he has gained from observing politics for so many years, and hopes that readers will be entertained and perhaps even enlightened.