Voters in Florida, New York, and Oklahoma vote on Tuesday in key primary, runoff, and special elections in each state that could say a lot about where the nation is headed going into the midterm elections less than three months from now.
In Florida, Democrats will select a gubernatorial nominee between Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) to face off against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) seeks to make her bid for the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate official, and aims to turn her attention formally to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in November.
Down-ticket in Florida, several interesting congressional primaries from the GOP side in Florida’s seventh and thirteenth districts to the Democrat side in Florida’s tenth district are also likely to be interesting.
Up in New York, a special election for the 19th Congressional District between Republican Marc Molinaro and Democrat Pat Ryan could say something about the upcoming midterms. A Molinaro victory would be yet another flip from Democrat control to GOP control in special elections, as this seat was vacated by former Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) when Delgado took the job as Lieutenant Governor for Gov. Kathy Hochul. Molinaro winning would slice House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s majority down to just three seats, and make it very difficult for Democrats to pass any agenda items before the end of the year.
GOP voters upstate in the Buffalo suburbs will also select a nominee for the new 23rd Congressional District, a nasty primary that has pitted businessman Carl Paladino against New York GOP chairman Nick Langworthy. Republicans will also have several other interesting primaries statewide.
But the main event may be on the Democrat side in New York City, where two longtime Democrats–who are also both top lieutenants of Pelosi as committee chairs–will face off on the island of Manhattan to see who survives. Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) have spent the past several months duking it out in a gnarly Democrat-on-Democrat intra-party war, and the winner will be crowned on Tuesday. Several other Democrats, due to redistricting and New York losing population–and a congressional district–also face interesting primary battles, including Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY). Former President Donald Trump has poked fun at the Democrats by jokingly endorsing several of them in efforts to actually hurt them with Democrat voters. Whether that had any impact remains to be seen.
Down in Oklahoma, GOP voters will select the nominee in the primary runoff for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring longtime Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), with former President Trump’s endorsement, has surged to the front of the race, but a late-breaking poll suggests that challenger T.W. Shannon might be stronger than he looks–so Mullin looks to make it official and keep Trump’s U.S. Senate primary endorsement record perfect this cycle.
The polls close in most of Florida at 7 p.m. ET, and in the Central Time zone parts of Florida in the Panhandle, as well as in Oklahoma, at 8 p.m. ET. The polls close in New York at 9 p.m. ET. Follow along here for live updates as the results pour in.
UPDATE 7:19 p.m. ET:
With 83 percent in now in Florida’s 13th district GOP primary, Luna has expanded her lead over Hayslett and is now up by slightly more than two thousand votes.
UPDATE 7:13 p.m. ET:
Crist wins the Democrat nomination for governor and will face the GOP’s DeSantis in November:
I’ve seen enough: Charlie Crist (D) defeats Nikki Fried (D) in the #FLGOV Dem primary and will face Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the fall.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 23, 2022
UPDATE 7:12 p.m. ET:
With 74 percent reporting in the 13th district GOP primary, it is a barnburner between Trump-backed Anna Paulina Luna and opponent Kevin Hayslett. Luna leads by just under 200 votes. This one is very close.
Up in the 7th district with 27 percent reporting, it is a much different picture. Cory Mills is leading with 49.4 percent and Anthony Sabatini has 21.2 percent. Still time for Sabatini to make that up but that’s a lot of ground to fill in.
UPDATE 7:09 p.m. ET:
Now, with 20 percent in, Crist is at 64.1 percent and Fried is at 31.4 percent.
UPDATE 7:08 p.m. ET:
We’re up to 12 percent in and Crist has expanded his lead. He’s at 63.8 percent and Fried is down to 31.5 percent. He seems to be the odds-on favorite to face off against DeSantis in November.
UPDATE 7:05 p.m. ET:
How refreshing: Just minutes after the polls closed, the first results are in in Florida. Florida is perhaps the most efficient big state when it comes to election results–after the 2000 election battles the state cleaned up its act and continues to improve on election integrity–and now we are already getting a quick picture of who is winning in key races.
With 8 percent already reporting in the Democrat gubernatorial primary, Charlie Crist has a huge lead over Nikki Fried. He is at 59.2 percent and she is at 35 percent.
UPDATE 7:04 p.m. ET:
Turnout is apparently extremely high for Republicans in the Sunshine State:
In the 2020 Primary, 106,423 total ballots cast.
Today, we are at 102,190 ballots cast with 6+ hrs left of Election Day.
MONSTER Election Day turnout in Sarasota for Republicans so far.
Republicans @ 68% of Election Day vote.
Democrats flat – Almost even with NPAs. #flapol
— Christian Ziegler ?? (@ChrisMZiegler) August 23, 2022
Assuming this trend holds it could bode very badly for Democrats going into November, and very good for Republicans.
It’s also worth noting there are a number of school board races around Florida on Tuesday, and those are a major proxy war between the Democrats and the Republicans. The right has the opportunity to flip many school boards around the state, and Gov. DeSantis has been aggressive in endorsing and campaigning for school board candidates.
UPDATE 7:00 p.m. ET:
The polls have closed in most of Florida–except for the Panhandle–now, and results are expected imminently.