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“Race to the Primary Finish Line” - Sunday Political Brunch September 16, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

 

Mark Curtis

This marks the final week of primaries before the November election, with New York, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire holding contests this past week. Is anything a predictor of what will happen on November 6th? Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“New York, New York” – It was a fascinating Hollywood sideshow, but in the end Governor Andrew Cuomo won a decisive primary win against, “Sex in the City” actress Cynthia Nixon by a margin of 66 to 34 percent. It’s no surprise that the Cuomo “steamroller” of political influence won out, but the fact that one-third of the party faithful wanted someone else after two terms may be a warning call for this fall. In this volatile political climate, all bets are off. It’s open season.

“Rhode Island Red?” – My former home of the Ocean State has a Rhode Island Red as the official state bird, but that hardly extends to politics. This is a solidly “blue state” in the legislature and in Congress, but “Lil’ Rhody” has had a reputation of sending Republicans to the Governor’s office, such as Governors Lincoln Almond and Don Carcieri from 1995 through 2011. This year we have a rematch between Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-RI) and Mayor Allen Fung (R-Cranston) who lost a close race in 2014. As with then, a third-party challenge could sink the GOP. In 2014 it was the now late Bob Healey, (M-RI); and in 2018 it’s former State Rep. Joe Trillo (I-RI), who could be the spoiler.

“New Hampshire, First in the Nation” – My favorite state in the nation to vacation, and yes cover politically, is New Hampshire. I just love it here. The First District Congressional seat will now feature a fascinating race between Chris Pappas (D-NH) the first openly gay nominee in state history, going against the Republican, a former police chief Eddie Edwards, an African-American. As always, New Hampshire politics is fascinating and could be a national bellwether about changing tides..

“Massachusetts Last Week” – Like Rhode Island, the Bay State is another reliable Democratic stronghold politically. But – just like Rhode Island – Massachusetts has no shyness for electing Republican governors, such as current Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA), and former Govs. Mitt Romney and William Weld (R-MA). Yes, these are more moderate Republicans, but the state is not always a lock for Democrats.

“A Party Divided” – I make the point that few state parties have a lock on any office or constituency. There are intra-party fights. Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) lost his primary race last week to Ayanna Pressley, a more progressive-liberal candidate, compared to the more moderate Capuano. There is no Republican nominee, so Pressley will be the new member of Congress. There are other districts like this across the United States.

“Intra-Party Fights” – The big political trend to watch this year is not Republican v. Democrat. It’s the intraparty fight in both parties. For Democrat it’s the battle between more moderate-centrists and the more liberal-progressive wings of the party. For Republicans it’s the battle between the Donald Trump faction which now runs the party versus the “Never Trampers” who are more centrist, traditional members of the GOP more inclined to accommodation and compromise with Democrats. The collective will – and direction - of each party is at stake.

“The Politics of Nuance” – I’ve been covering politics for over 40 years, so I hope I have some degree of credibility. I get frustrated with my fellow reporters in the news business who declare certain states as “red states” or “blue states” as if it is cast in concrete, and the results are inevitable. The great lesson of the 2016 campaign is that things move, evolve, and change. The notion that the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin were simply a slam dunk for Democrats, was debunked when candidate Donald Trump won all three on the way to the White House. The lesson: Don’t assume anything!

What are your predictions for Campaign 2018? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Dr. Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, its five surrounding states, and the District of Columbia.

 

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