John Hickenlooper won his primary but not without taking a few hits, something the top Democrats who recruited the former Colorado governor hoped to avoid. Hickenlooper’s mistakes, while largely self-inflicted, could end up helping Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican who, given Colorado’s voting record, seems particularly vulnerable.
In another closely watched race, Republicans in Oklahoma City were unable to rally around a candidate Tuesday, meaning businesswoman Terry Neese will head for a runoff in late August for the opportunity to confront the representative Democrat Kendra Horn, one of the biggest surprises for Democrats. at the 2018 midterms in November.
Results are still coming in a number of other state and congressional races in Oklahoma, Colorado and Utah, including whether Oklahoma voters want to expand Medicaid and who Utah Republicans want to represent the party in the governor’s open race.
Hickenlooper emerges from a primary bruise
Hickenlooper defeated his main Democratic opponent, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Andrew Romanoff on Tuesday.
But it was not a clean victory.
Hickenlooper, the establishment’s choice to pit vulnerable Republican Senator Cory Gardner and a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, repeatedly stumbled ahead of Tuesday’s primary election, including activists angry at a clumsy response about Black Lives Matter and the Commission on Colorado Independent Ethics Finding The former governor twice violated ethics laws in 2018.
“It will unite us all to beat Cory Gardner and bring about the change this country desperately needs,” Hickenlooper said in a recorded video. “I have never lost an election in this state, and I do not intend to lose this one. There is too much at stake.”
Hickenlooper’s fight to get out of the primaries has clearly frustrated national Democrats, especially considering how critical it is to defeat Gardner in November for Democratic hopes of retaking the Senate. Without a Hickenlooper victory, those chances are significantly more difficult.
And by fighting to get out of the primaries, Hickenlooper has given Republicans more material against him in the next four months.
“If seeing him crumble under pressure in recent weeks is any indication, the Hickenlooper” disaster “is on a bumpy ride,” Joanna Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the Republican National Senate Committee, said of the former governor’s victory.
Republican House hopefuls for Oklahoma head to runoff
No Republican vying for the chance to face Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn in November could avoid a runoff on Tuesday, meaning Neese will face a runoff on August 25 against a fellow Republican still to be determined.
The winner of the Republican primaries will face Horn, whose ability to narrowly win in 2018 in the Oklahoma City district, President Donald Trump, with 13 points, was possibly the biggest surprise for the Democrats in the midterm.
The district has been changing as Oklahoma City and the nearby suburbs become younger and better educated, two factors that help Democrats. But Horn benefited from Trump not being on the ballot in 2018, and Republicans hope Trump can push the Republican in the district.
Neese was among the two most competitive primaries running for Tuesday’s vote along with state senator Stephanie Bice. Bice is better financed, raising more than $ 1 million by the end of the pre-reporting period on June 10. But Neese was able to partially self-finance his core offering, lending his campaign $ 450,000 and raising around $ 532,000.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
CNN’s Adam Levy contributed to this report.