Several States Pick General Election Nominees

By John Celock

While national attention was focused on the U.S. Senate battle in Mississippi and the congressional race in Upper Manhattan, several states finalized November ballots for statewide offices.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) easily won the won the Democratic nomination for governor, defeating Attorney General Doug Gansler and state Del. Heather Mizeur. Brown, who is aiming to be Maryland’s first African-American governor, was backed by term-limited Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in his bid for the Democratic nomination.

Brown held a lead over Gansler and Mizeur the entire general election, fending off attacks by Gansler over his handling the state’s health care exchange implementation. Brown will face off against Republican businessman Larry Hogan, the state cabinet secretary for former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R), in the November election. Maryland has trended Democratic in gubernatorial election with the exception of Ehrlich’s 2002 win.

Brown is joined on the general election ticket by Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Hogan is joined by his lieutenant governor running mate Boyd Rutherford, a former assistant agriculture secretary for President George W. Bush.

In Colorado, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez captured the Republican nomination to face Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in November. Beauprez defeated former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and Secretary of State Scott Gessler in the race.

Maryland voters also defeated a bid for a Cardin political dynasty in the state. State Sen. Brian Frosh defeated state Del. Jon Cardin, the nephew of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin in the Democratic primary for state attorney general. Cardin, who heads the elections subcommittee in the state House, had started the primary with an early lead. Frosh will face Republican Jeffrey Pritzker in the general election.

South Carolina voters handed a defeat to the widow of a former chairman of the Republican National Committee in her bid for the GOP nomination for superintendent of education. Former state Rep. Molly Speaerman defeated Sally Atwater in the GOP superintendent primary runoff in a race dominated by allegations that Atwater shoved a student.

Atwater’s husband, Lee, chaired the RNC under former President George H.W. Bush, until his death in 1991. A special education teacher, Atwater served under President George W. Bush as the executive director of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

South Carolina Republican also finalized the race for lieutenant governor while dealing a blow to a prominent political family. Former state Attorney General Henry McMaster easily defeated Mike Campbell, the son of former Gov. Carroll Campbell, in the Republican primary for the number two slot. McMaster, will face off against Democratic state Rep. Bakari Sellers in the November election.

McMaster, a former two-term attorney general who lost the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, is seeking a comeback in state politics in the lieutenant governor race. Sellers, a 29-year-old four term state legislator, has long been touted as a rising star in South Carolina politics. This year’s race is the last time voters will independently elect the state’s lieutenant governor, with the post slated to be elected on a ticket with the governor starting in 2018.

Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill (D), appointed to the post by the state Senate last week, is not seeking a full term in office. McGill is South Carolina’s third lieutenant governor since the 2010 election following the resignations of Republicans Ken Ard and Glenn McConnell. The last time Democrats won an election for the lieutenant governorship was in 1990.