The Presidential election isn’t the only thing that matters in 2020.
In many ways, given the structure of government in America, the presidency could be argued to be the least important election of any given cycle.
Laws, after all, are made in the legislature, and those legislative elections have far more impact en masse than the vote to elect the executive figurehead.
Outside of nominating Supreme Court justices on the rare occasions where one of these lifers steps down or snuffs it, the President’s power to shape the law of the land is fairly limited.
Sure, executive orders are a thing, but they’re typically just unconstitutional Band-Aids on some temporary trend, designed to tie up federal courts indefinitely. The real power is in the halls of Congress.
And the November generals for those congressional elections are starting to take shape where the biggest names are concerned.
Yesterday, five states – Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington – had their congressional primaries, and there are some interesting takeaways for those looking to cash in on the Vegas Presidential election odds come November.
The results for each state’s most prominent national-level elections are as follows:
AZ US Senate Republican Primary
- Martha McSally – 76.2% (465,951)
- Daniel McCarthy – 23.8% (145,591)
On the Democratic side, Mark Kelly ran uncontested and is favored to beat Martha McSally in November. McSally was installed by Gov. Doug Ducey to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Jon Kyl, who resigned in 2019.
McSally is endorsed by President Donald Trump, so her performance in the state’s polls over the next few months could well be a “mandate” on Trump’s popularity in Arizona.
AZ US House Democratic Primary – 6th Congressional District
- Hiral Tipineni – 53.6% (38,576)
- Anita Malik – 36.1% (26,010)
This race is considered nationally relevant because the DNC is looking to flip the district blue in November.
Last week, incumbent David Schweikert – who ran unopposed on the GOP side – was cited for 11 House ethics rules violations, including various nebulous “stalling tactics” and “allegations of misspending.”
Schweikert agreed to pay a $50,000 fine, demonstrating the seriousness (or lack of seriousness) of the charges levied against him.
It is unknown how voters in the AZ general will view the incumbent after this scandal, though recent polling suggests Hiral Tipineni (D) is carrying a three-point lead over Schweikert.
Arizona, as bettors know, is an important swing state for Trump, and this race could be instructive for bettors looking for an edge on AZ state electoral odds.
KS US Senate Republican Primary
- Roger Marshall – 40.3% (158,208)
- Kris Kobach – 26.3% (103,197)
- Bob Hamilton – 18.8% (73,973)
Kris Kobach, a major Trump ally but Republican establishment outsider, did not earn Trump’s endorsement in this race, as Roger Marshall and his centrist GOP policies were the order of the day in a big way.
How this affects Trump’s standing in the state, of course, is irrelevant, as Kansas is a conservative stronghold.
KS US House Republican Primary – 2nd Congressional District
- Jake LaTurner – 49.1% (46.040)
- Steve Watkins – 34.1% (31,934)
- Dennis Taylor – 16.8% (15,772)
Here, Steve Watkins, the incumbent, was bounced after being charged with three felonies for alleged voter fraud. Ironically, this is something that many politicians and operatives on the left claim doesn’t happen in the United States.
KS US House Republican Primary – 3rd Congressional District
- Amanda Adkins – 30.7% (27,047)
- Sara Hart Weir – 23.0% (20,243)
- Adrienne Vallejo Foster – 20.0% (17,601)
The winner of this race, Amanda Adkins, will try to reclaim the seat flipped by the Democrats in the 2018 midterms. While Kansas is firmly Trump country, the GOP needs a net gain of 20 House seats to take back the lower chamber, and this could be one of them.
The Vegas House betting odds should be extremely lively when November finally rolls around.
MI US House Republican Primary – 3rd Congressional District
- Peter Meijer – 50.2% (47,272)
- Lynn Afendoulis – 26.1% (24,580)
- Thomas Norton – 15.8% (14,941)
Justin Amash, the GOP “Never Trumper” who voted for Trump impeachment and switched to the Libertarian Party before retiring from office (after losing all his support in the heavily red district), has opened the door for new blood.
Peter Meijer won the MI GOP primary easily and is expected to win again in November.
Some call Meijer a Never Trumper himself, though it remains to be seen how he will embrace the President in the run-up to the general election.
Michigan is primed to be an intense battleground state for the right, and Meijer’s campaign performance could aid – or hinder – Trump bigly. Political election bettors should pay close attention to this one.
MI US House Democratic Primary – 6th Congressional District
- Jon Hoadley – 53.3% (33,762)
- Jen Richardson – 47.7% (30,809)
Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District seat is held by longtime congressman Fred Upton (GOP) who is running for his 18th term in office. Some polls put Hoadley neck and neck with Upton in the general as Democrats are vying to flip another longtime Republican seat blue in 2020.
MI US House Democratic Primary – 13th Congressional District
- Rashida Tlaib – 66.0% (61,090)
- Brenda Jones – 34.0% (31,487)
Brenda Jones put in a respectable showing considering “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib’s enormous national profile, but she still lost by a wide margin.
Tlaib should be a lock for reelection in November. In fact, the only Squad member who is in any kind of primary or general jeopardy is Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar (D).
MO US House Democratic Primary – 1st Congressional District
- Cori Bush – 48.6% (72,812)
- William Lacy Clay – 45.5% (68,201)
Clay was the incumbent and has been bounced by newcomer Cori Bush, who first made headlines when she became a social justice activist after the Ferguson PD’s killing of Michael Brown in 2014.
This case was the genesis of the infamous “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” movement, which was a narrative that exculpatory video evidence proved to be false. Despite championing the hoax, Bush scored the major upset here.
Clay has been representing the district since 2000, so that era is officially over. Meanwhile, Bush is favored to win the heavily urban seat easily in the general election and start a new era of her own.
WA Governor Primary
- Jay Inslee – 51.9% (649,074)
- Loren Culp – 16.8% (209,517)
Jay Inslee, a former Democratic candidate for President in 2020, easily won the state’s open Gubernatorial primary. Loren Culp will face Inslee again in November, but an Inslee victory there is guaranteed.
While Washington itself could see more GOP votes that ever before in the 2020 Presidential election, the Trump campaign does not consider the state to be up for grabs despite the catastrophic CHOP Zone, police defunding initiatives, and rising crime rates.
The results from Tuesday’s primaries should be informative to those looking to put money on the various 2020 races, and they should help clarify things for bettors making decisions about Trump’s reelection odds.
While presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden still leads Trump by a wide margin at all major political sportsbooks, recent polls show the incumbent closing the gap in select battleground states.
With the election just 89 days away, anything can happen, but if you want to maximize your chances of many happy returns, you’d do well to consider these races when making your picks.