By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas
It must be August: Congress is no longer in session and the congressional primary season is again heating up. According to our calendar, there are primary elections every week from now until mid-September. Candidates in three states – Kansas, Michigan and Missouri - are on the ballot tomorrow.
As part of our Wiki the Vote project, our citizen-editors have been tallying all the races and building profiles of many of the candidates. We’ll have more on the winners Wednesday, but for now here are some of the more interesting races to watch:
The “Show Me” state is going through some political upheaval in the wake of Gov. Matt Blunt’s announcement that he would not seek a second term. Among the Republicans seeking the governorship are state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and Rep. Kenny Hulshof, while Democrat Jay Nixon, the state’s attorney general, has also thrown his hat into the ring. The result is a bevy of open seats at the top of the ticket.
Hulshof’s is one of those open seats, and voters in the 9th congressional district won’t suffer from a lack of candidates: five Republicans and four Democrats have entered the race. On the GOP side are Dan Bishir, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Danie Moore, Brock Olivo and Bob Onder. Democrats vying for the seat include Judy Baker, Lyndon Bode, Steve Gaw, and Ken Jacob.
Kansas will feature a couple of races with former U.S. House members trying to return to Congress. In the 2nd CD, former Rep. Jim Ryun (R) is trying to challenge Rep. Nancy Boyda, a freshman Democrat who defeated Ryun in 2006. Lynn Jenkins, Kansas’ state treasurer, is also seeking the Republican nomination.
In the other race, former Rep. Jim Slattery (D) is trying to unseat Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Slattery represented residents in Kansas’ 2nd district for six terms, between 1983 and 1995; he unsuccessfully sought the governorship in 1994. Roberts was unopposed in 2002, but Democrats have been making ground in unlikely places this year, and Slattery brings experience to the race.
Also in Kansas, Rep. Dennis Moore (D) is awaiting tomorrow’s results so he’ll know his November opponent. Nick Jordan, a state senator, and Air Force veteran Paul Showen are competing for the Republican nomination.
The biggest race in Michigan is the primary battle among Democrats in Detroit, where incumbent Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick faces stiff competition from Martha Scott and Mary Waters. Kilpatrick’s son, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is embroiled in scandal, and has been charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice. While many voters in her district have drawn a distinction between Kilpatrick and her son, her opponents have either criticized the incumbent for her support of the mayor or called the situation a distraction that hurts the district.
The winner of the primary is expected to carry the district in November – voters went for John Kerry 80 percent in 2004.
The remainder of Michigan’s congressional delegation is unopposed tomorrow.
Of course, if you know something about any of the races listed above, or any race in the country, we want to hear from you. Log in to our Wiki the Vote project, find your state, and upload some information about a candidate or incumbent there. It’s easy, and you can always ask one of our staff editors for help.
Stay tuned Wednesday for results from tomorrow’s primary elections.