With most of the special Congressional elections behind us, we enter a quieter season, but there are still races worth watching.
Over the coming weeks we will explore two very different special elections coming in the dog days of Summer: the special Senatorial election in Alabama to complete AG Jeff Sessions term (and which already features an incumbent), and the special Congressional election in Utah to fill the seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz. We’ll also keep our eye on the Mayoral primary in Seattle: twenty-one candidates are racing in the open primary August 1st as incumbent Mayor Ed Murray, facing a sex abuse lawsuit, announced he would not run for another term back in May. His accuser has withdrawn his lawsuit and the Mayor has not ruled out a write-in campaign.
First up, the special election in Utah. The state’s 3rd Congressional District is one of the most Republican in the nation: even as it saw the Republican Presidential candidate’s share plunge from 2012, Trump easily bested Clinton, and Chaffetz won one of the largest margins in the nation. With Chaffetz out, three Republicans do battle on August 15th for the right to keep the seat red: Provo Mayor and favorite John Curtis, former State Representative Chris Herrod (who was nominated at convention), and political newcomer Tanner Ainge. No Democratic candidate produced enough signatures to automatically appear on a primary ballot, but no matter: the Party picked physician Kathie Allen at their convention. Allen had already raised considerable money when she announced against Chaffetz earlier in the year. Republicans are overwhelmingly favored to retain this seat.
Second, the Senatorial special in Alabama. Former Governor Bentley picked state Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Jeff Sessions upon his confirmation as the United States Attorney General. Bentley wished away any special election before next November…and then he resigned. Governor Kay Ivey called for a special election this year, with the initial primary on August 15th. Nine Republicans jumped in to challenge incumbent Senator Strange, including Judge Roy Moore, Congressman Mo Brooks, and State Senator Trip Pittman. Eight Democrats also face off on a primary on the 15th.
The Utah Congressional race general election will be held in November, coinciding with gubernatorial contests in New Jersey and Virginia, and numerous municipal ones across the country. But Alabama’s Senatorial contest wont reach it’s final round, the general election, until December 12th, nearly four months after August’s primaries.