Results from the June 14 Primaries

Written By: Allison Rivera, Special Projects Associate and Meghan Holihan, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs

Nevada

The Nevada Republican gubernatorial primary had more than a dozen candidates competing to face incumbent Governor Steve Sisolak (D) in the general election. Trump-endorsed candidate, Joe Lombardo, secured the party nomination. He had been the projected primary winner since taking the lead in a mid-May poll, showing a 20-point lead over his nearest opponent. Lombardo enjoyed wide name recognition for his work as the Sheriff of Clark County, and his handling of the investigation into the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. With the expectation of winning the primary, Lombardo shifted his campaign focus to the general election and his match-up with Sisolak, criticizing the Governor’s COVID-19 mitigation measures, including the businesses closures, occupancy caps, and mask mandates that grinded the state’s economic engine – the Las Vegas Strip – to a complete halt. Additionally, Lombardo is running on a staunchly conservative platform that puts the spotlight on second amendment issues. He is pledging to eliminate gun registration and repeal Nevada’s so-called red flag laws. He supports the right to build ghost guns and opposes any attempts to restrict manufacturer limits on magazines. According to the most recent poll vetting Lombardo against Sisolak for the general election conducted in early April, Lombardo has a 2-point lead on the incumbent Governor.

Incumbent Governor Steve Sisolak easily won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday. He faced one challenger, former Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, who filed late and did not mount a significant opposition effort. Sisolak is drawing attention to his record of keeping low taxes, investing in small businesses, and prioritizing economic diversification in his bid for re-election. He has recently reversed his COVID-19 mitigation measures, including signing a formal proclamation ending the state of emergency in the state caused by the pandemic. Some within the state suspect that his recent about-face in relation to these mitigation measures is in response to criticism from the right, and an attempt to appear more moderate for his re-election campaign. Sisolak is currently the best funded candidate in any statewide contest, and has more than three times the total bankroll of Republican challenger Lombardo. The incumbent Governor will likely need all of those funds too, as the gubernatorial race will be one of the most closely watched races in the nation and presents an opportunity to be flipped by Republicans. Political gurus have rated the general election a toss-up.

The Republican Attorney General race was another closely watched primary, as Sigal Chattah and Tisha Black competed for the party nomination. Ultimately, Chattah (R) won and will face Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) in the November general election. Sigal Chattah is running on a platform aimed to bolster second amendment laws, defend freedom of religion, and protect Nevadans from prescription price gouging.

Incumbent Attorney General Aaron Ford easily won the Democratic nomination for a second term in office on Tuesday. Ford is running on a platform to build off of his first term, which included limiting the scope of no-knock warrants, protecting consumers from fraud and scams, and fighting human trafficking.

 

Maine

In Maine, neither Governor Janet Mills (D) nor former Governor Paul LePage (R) were primaried; both formally secured the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively, joining a late-entry third-party candidate on the November general election ballot. Mills has begun traveling around the state announcing new initiatives and investments and meeting with local stakeholders and Mainers. She has been focused on highlighting her first-term achievements, including expanding Medicaid – something her predecessor and current challenger refused to implement after Mainers approved it at the ballot box in 2017 – and funding new equipment for Maine Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers. Mills has pledged to strengthen supply chains for the state’s farming, fishing, and forestry industries and to work towards expanding childcare options, increasing access to broadband, and providing free community college.

The former Governor announced his candidacy for an unprecedented third term last summer. Known for controversial statements and actions, LePage is attempting to, as he stated at a fundraiser, “clean up his act.” He is advocating for the elimination of the state’s income tax and the current taxes placed on trucks entering the state. LePage has been attempting to tie Governor Mills to President Biden – a tactic many other Republican hopefuls will surely employ if the President’s approval rating does not improve over the summer months.

This race is expected to heat up later in the summer and into the fall seasons. With the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and Maine Republican Party already pledging $5 million and $4 million, respectively, to the candidates, many pundits believe it will be the most expensive gubernatorial race in the state’s history. Little public polling is available at this point in the cycle: LePage has been polling within the margin of error to Governor Mills. The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball currently have the race handicapped as Leans Democratic.

 

South Carolina

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) is one step closer to becoming the longest serving Governor in the Palmetto State’s history. He handily defeated his lone primary challenger and will take on former Congressman Joe Cunningham (D) in the general. Cunningham made headlines when he was elected as Democrat to Congress from the state’s 1st Congressional District in 2018 – a district that had been in Republican control since 1978. He lost his 2020 re-election bid by 1.3 points. Cunningham is the more moderate of the two Democratic frontrunners. He supports raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour and has promised to expand Medicaid if he were to be elected. And that is a big “if.”

Governor McMaster has already raised $5 million this cycle. He is beginning to use some of that haul on campaign ads targeted towards his base that criticize national Democrats, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and (as anticipated) President Biden. The state’s electorate clearly identifies with the Republican Party: The state last elected a Democratic governor in 1998, and last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1976 (fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter). Ratings gurus and pundits alike agree that McMaster will likely have an easy path to re-election.

Meanwhile, down ballot, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) has secured a fourth term as the state’s top lawyer after defeating his only primary challenger yesterday by approximately x points.

 

North Dakota

Following the sudden passing of North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) in February 2022, Attorney General Drew Wrigley was appointed by Governor Doug Burgum (R). Wrigley had already announced his candidacy in this race, as Stenehjem had shared he would not be seeking another term in office. Wrigley brings his experience as the former Lieutenant Governor and U.S. attorney to the position. On Tuesday, he officially received the party nomination, having faced no competitors, and will run against Timothy Lamb (D) in the general election this fall. Wrigley is widely expected to win his first full term as Attorney General.

State Attorneys General (AG) have been getting more involved in a wider range of policy issues in recent years. If they aren’t touching your industry now, they may be soon. Stateside can help you navigate these developments through our Attorneys General practice. For more information or questions, contact Steve Arthur at sca@stateside.com or 719-686-7466.