It’s primary day once again, as four states head to the polls to choose their party’s candidates for the upcoming 2014 midterm elections. Two of the races being decided today, one in Kansas and one in Michigan, have garnered national attention for their importance to the Tea Party and the antics of the involved candidates. Here’s what to keep your eye on tonight.
The Sunflower State’s senatorial primary pits long-time incumbent Senator Pat Roberts against Milton Wolf, a Tea Party challenger who is, incidentally, also the second cousin of President Obama.
Roberts has an 86 percent lifetime rating and an endorsement from the American Conservative Union. But he has also been in the senate for thirty-three years, which plays into the stereotype of out-of-touch career politicians. CNN reports:
Wolf's campaign for months has tried to portray Roberts as more in tune with Washington than Kansas, pointing to reports from earlier this year that the three-term senator listed his voting address at the home of two longtime political supporters who rent a room to him.
Wolf has also gone after Roberts for his failure to debate him, leading to a streetside confrontation, according to CNN:
Last week, Wolf changed his travel plans at the last minute to confront Roberts as he met with business leaders in Emporia, Kansas.
"You told Kansans you would give them your word and you would give them a debate," Wolf said to Roberts.
"You have said it multiple times in multiple places. You tell us that you are tough and you're tested and trusted. And I want you to keep your word on that, I want you to debate. I think Kansans deserve it."
"Milton, Milton, Milton, Milton," Roberts said dismissively. "This is not the time. We have a regularly-scheduled event, a listening tour event. This is not the time."
The race has been an ugly one, and Wolf backers, such as the Senate Conservatives Fund, trumpet that the incumbent’s lead has been winnowed to single digits. Other polls indicate a larger lead for the incumbent, and most expect Roberts to pull through—but it could come down to the wire.
Upstart young gun Republican Congressman Justin Amash is famous for his conservative-libertarian position, which has earned him comparisons to Ron Paul. A strong majority of his constituents view him favorably, but his independent streak has caused headaches for—and raised the ire of—establishment political groups, who are backing challenger Brian Ellis. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Mr. Amash is squaring off Tuesday against a businessman and former local school-board member who has racked up endorsements from the Chamber of Commerce, the state's leading antiabortion group and the farm lobby. His opponent has also been endorsed by some of Mr. Amash's GOP colleagues frustrated with the congressman's failure to support fully measures including numerous spending bills and the speakership of John Boehner.