Primary Elections Today: 4 Things to See in Colorado, Utah, and Oklahoma

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The Democratic Senate primaries in Colorado have attracted the most national attention. Democrats need to change three seats (if they win the White House) or four seats (if they don't) to control the Senate next year. Colorado, which voted for Hillary Clinton for 9 points in 2016, may be her biggest target. The national party has already decided on its candidate to face Republican Senator Cory Gardner, but on Tuesday, voters will have their say.

While Democrats are on the offensive in the Senate, they mostly play defense in the House, trying to hold on to their historic gains from the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats flipped the seats that President Donald Trump had in 2016, including one in Oklahoma and Utah, and now the Republicans want them back.

Will the National Democratic Party Election Be the Nominee in the Colorado Senate Race?

Senator Cory Gardner, Colorado's first-term Republican senator, is one of the most vulnerable incumbents facing reelection in the fall. Tuesday's primaries will decide who will face him and what that November showdown could look like in a state that turned blue.

Former two-term governor John Hickenlooper, who led a short-lived campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is the national party's choice to face Gardner, one of two Republicans facing reelection in a state that Clinton led to held in 2016.

But Hickenlooper, long seen as the Democratic favorite, faces competition from his left, and after a series of negative headlines in June, Tuesday's primaries will look like the Democratic Senate contest still in Kentucky the last week. as evidence of whether voters ignore the choice of the national party.

Andrew Romanoff is no stranger to campaigning. The former state House Speaker unsuccessfully challenged newly-appointed Senator Michael Bennet in a 2010 Democratic primary. Four years later, he lost an offer for a seat in the Denver-area House. Now he is running for Senate assent, campaigning on "Medicare for All" and the Green New Deal.

Hickenlooper has statewide name recognition, large campaign chests, and the powerful backing of outside group spending on his behalf. But the missteps on his part may have shaken, at least temporarily, his apparent advantage. In a sign that his allies were getting nervous, a new super PAC pro Hickenlooper started spending more than $ 1 million attacking Romanoff last week. That gave Romanoff fodder to call on Hickenlooper's promise to take dark money out of hypocritical politics.

Hickenlooper has recently tried to clean up previous comments. He said he "stumbled" when he said "Black Lives Matter" means "every life matters," a description activists say discounted systematic discrimination against blacks. He apologized for the resurgent comments he made in 2014 comparing politicians to slaves who were flogged to row "an old slave ship."

But it is Hickenlooper's ethical violations that Republicans have been hitting on him. The state's Independent Ethics Commission first found him in contempt for defying a subpoena to appear at a remote audience. Then, after he testified virtually, the commission fined him earlier this month for twice violating the rule against accepting gifts when he was governor, even though he dismissed most of the charges against him.

Romanoff has joined the republican attacks, publishing an announcement that says: "We cannot run this type of risk if we are going to defeat Cory Gardner" and we asked for a "fresh and progressive voice in the Senate". But national progressive icons like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and 2018 Georgia Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate Stacey Abrams, as well as New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, have recently endorsed Hickenlooper.
And Hickenlooper's allies have been attacking Romanoff for his support of the 2006 immigration laws, trying to argue that he wasn't always as progressive as he says he is now.

"Any momentum that existed for Romanoff stalled about a week ago, 10 days ago," said Democratic Democratic strategist Rick Ridder, who does not work for any of the candidates, on Monday.

Hickenlooper had spent about $ 6.7 million at the end of the pre-reporting period on June 10, more than three times what Romanoff had spent, and that's independent of the millions of dollars that national Democratic groups have spent for him. . Hickenlooper ended the period with nearly $ 6 million in the bank, compared to Romanoff's $ 792,000, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

If Hickenlooper wins the nomination, he will be the second unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2020 who said he did not want to join the Senate, but is now trying to change a red seat in the Senate. Both he and Montana Governor Steve Bullock were pressured by the national party to use their state-wide name recognition to assume Republican office. Gardner has already used that original lack of enthusiasm by the Senate against Hickenlooper in an ad saying: "To do this job, you probably need this job."
The general election is rated by the Tilt Democrat for Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, who is a CNN contributor.

It was the 2018 upset that Republicans didn't see coming. Who will try to avenge the loss this year?

The victory of the Democrat Kendra Horn over the then representative. Steve Russell, a two-term Republican, was perhaps the biggest surprise in the 2018 midterm. The race for Oklahoma's fifth district, which Trump led by more than 13 points, had not been on many people's radar two years ago. years. Horn became the first Democrat in decades to represent the Oklahoma City area, which now includes younger, well-educated suburbs that Democrats believe will benefit them this fall. Inside Elections calls the general election a shock.

Horn barely won, defeated Russell by 1 point, and nine Republicans are competing on Tuesday to try to confront her. If no one gets a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a second round on August 25.

Among the most competitive candidates are two women, which is itself remarkable in a Republican Party primary, where women have faced difficult difficulties for a long time but are seeing more success this year. State Senator Stephanie Bice had raised more than $ 1 million by the end of the pre-reporting period on June 10. Businesswoman Terry Neese lent her campaign $ 450,000 and had raised around $ 532,000.

The Growth Club has not endorsed the race, but its super PAC has been attacking Bice in television commercials in recent weeks. He tried to link her to Harvey Weinstein because he voted to expand a tax incentive for the film industry to come to Oklahoma and questioned his support for Trump because in 2016 he endorsed Carly Fiorina, who recently said he would vote for Biden in 2020 (The Club, which he now supports the President, he initially opposed Trump in the 2016 primaries.)

"There are very few Republican women in Washington right now," Bice said in a live Facebook message to supporters on Saturday. "Sexism in attacks by groups like this is one of the main reasons why."

Club for Growth Action President David McIntosh responded by attacking his support for what he called "the largest tax increase in Oklahoma state history" and "his support for the ever Trumper Carly Fiorina."

"There are other women and men in this race who do not endorse higher taxes or use taxpayer money to support Hollywood," McIntosh said in a statement.

Republicans elect candidate for another possible House withdrawal

Republicans are selecting their nominee for another seat that Democrats traded in 2018, when Ben McAdams narrowly defeated Mia Love. Unlike Oklahoma's fifth district, Utah's fourth district has a more recent history of being in the Democratic hands. Inside Elections rates the Tilt Democratic race.
Still, Trump led the district by almost 7 points, and is a prime target for the Republican Party this fall. However, the party did not have a favorite favorite candidate after state senator Dan Hemmert left the race in December.

Four candidates are running. Former NFL player Burgess Owens, a Fox News commentator, has raised the most money in the preliminary report, followed by State Rep. Kim Coleman. Both are at the bottom of the Republican National Committee's "Young Guns" list for competitive candidates.

Will Huntsman get his old job back in Utah?

Four Republicans are also vying for the nomination to succeed outgoing Governor Gary Herbert in Utah, a mail-voting red state.

Among those candidates is Jon Huntsman, who was twice elected governor before resigning in 2009 to serve as ambassador to then-President Barack Obama in China. Huntsman unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. He resigned as Trump's ambassador to Russia last August, returning to the Hive State to run for office.
But Huntsman, who, along with his wife, tested positive for coronavirus this month, is in a tight race.
A poll by the University of Suffolk / Salt Lake Tribune earlier this month showed that Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox led with 32% among potential Republican Party primary voters, followed by Huntsman with 30%, a difference that was within of the margin of error. Former Speaker of the state House of Representatives Greg Hughes and former President of the Republican Party of Utah Thomas Wright followed.

This story has been updated to include a statement from the president of the Club for Growth Action.

CNN's Fredreka Schouten contributed to this story.

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