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2018 Midterms

Primaries Nationwide From East to the Heartland Shift Towards Left and Right

Midterm primaries send shockwaves and possible historical firsts nationwide.

Duane Paul Murphy

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On June 26, voters across the country participated in their own respective primary elections for various offices at the congressional, local, and state level. From the Atlantic Northeast and Southeast to west of the Midwestern Heartland and the Mountain States, anti-establishment progressives and pro-Trump conservatives dominated in the overall results.

In the country’s largest city by population and national prominence, New York City voters in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which encompasses certain neighborhoods in the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx, overwhelmingly voted for local community activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A member of the Democratic Socialist of America and a former Bernie Sanders campaign organizer, Cortez, who also worked as a waitress and bartender after graduating from Boston University in 2011 with a degree in economics as well as international relations, defeated longtime Democratic congressman Joe Crowly by more than 57 percent of all votes cast.

With her campaign relying on small-dollar donations, grassroots volunteers going door to door, and celebrity endorsements from actresses Cynthia Nixon and Susan Sarandon, this former Ted Kennedy senate intern endorsed by Our Revolution, MoveOn.org, Brand New Congress, and Justice Democrats, ran on a progressive platform including Medicare for All single payer healthcare, tuition-free and debt-free public higher education, a $15 federal minimum wage, a public job guarantee program, and the abolishment of Immigration Customs Enforcement or ICE. In this largely Democratic district, Cortez will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and the second Puerto Rican American woman elected to the House of Representatives after current Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, in Maryland, former NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous, a pro-Sanders Democrat, won his political party’s primary and will go on to compete against Republican incumbent Larry Hogan in November. If elected, Jealous will become the state’s first African American governor in its history. Another historical victory for progressives came from Colorado where Congressman Jared Polis won his political party’s primary for Governor. If elected, he will become the country’s and the state’s first openly gay governor in history. Both gubernatorial candidates are running on a Medicare For All platform when it comes to healthcare policy.

In the South, President Trump’s golden finger of endorsements seems to pull off as his backed candidate for the South Carolina Republican gubernatorial primary, Governor Henry McMaster defeated Greenville businessman John Warren in the runoffs. Out west in Utah, former Republican presidential candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won his political party’s primary for the U.S. Senate to replace retiring senior Senator Orrin Hatch.

States like Michigan, Hawaii, and Washington will hold their primaries in August.

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Duane Paul Murphy is a D.C. college student and student journalist born and raised in Southern California. Currently studying for his bachelor’s in politics and a minor in media studies, Duane Paul is interested in covering domestic as well as international political affairs that impact the lives of everyday people, whether they are young students, professionals, or faculty in higher education.

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