It’s primary night in Indiana too but all the action is in NC and OH. Actually, scratch that: All the action is in NC. Boehner’s seat is on the line in OH-8 but no one thinks he’s in any sort of danger, the viral success of J.D. Winteregg’s “electile dysfunction” ad notwithstanding. If you’re watching the returns on that race, it’s really only to see whether conservative disgruntlement with Boehner will produce a narrower-than-expected win in his home district. Prediction: Nope. Here’s Politico’s page for OH-8 to follow the vote totals.
There’s genuine suspense in North Carolina, though. First up: Is Renee Ellmers, who upset Bob Etheridge in NC-2 four years ago as part of the big tea-party wave, about to be bounced in a primary herself? She’s turned into a loud-and-proud amnesty fan, backing Boehner on reform. If she’s upset tonight by Frank Roche, Republican fencesitters on immigration in the House will be terrified. Boehner himself might conclude that the issue is simply too hot to handle before the midterms and abandon it until next year. On the flip side, if she wins easily, closet amnesty boosters in Congress might decide that the issue doesn’t have the power at the polls that it once did and choose to press ahead with it this summer. Lots on the line here potentially. Here’s the returns page.
The other big one in NC is the Senate primary between “establishment” favorite Thom Tillis, conservative Greg Brannon, and several others. If you read Erika’s post this afternoon, you already know the score: Kay Hagan and the Democrats have decided that Tillis is their toughest prospective opponent so they’re running ads to RINOize him before the primary, replete with mangling a quote of his to make it sound like he supports ObamaCare. (Fun fact: Kay Hagan was the 60th and decisive vote for ObamaCare in the Senate four years ago.) If they can hold Tillis under 40 percent, he’ll have to contend with a run-off, which will consume time and money. In their best-case scenario, Tillis ends up being upset in the run-off by Brannon, who’ll then be quickly Akin-ized in the general election. Essentially, Hagan’s following the Claire McCaskill strategy of how to hold your Senate seat in an unfavorable political landscape. An interesting subplot here is that Rand Paul, who’s desperate to make nice with the establishment before he runs in 2016, actually endorsed Brannon a few days ago. Why he did that, I’m not sure; maybe he’s taken enough heat for backing Mitch McConnell that he felt he needed to support the most right-wing candidate he could find in another race. If Brannon ends up holding Tillis below 40 percent, though, or beating him outright in a run-off, the Paul/establishment flirtation will be all over.