My first attempt of predicting primary races are over. We'll take a quick look at how I did and how I can improve.
This was basically a guessing game as there are not very many polls out there chronicling Congressional primaries, especially in states that lean a certain political persuasion. If the Democratic party wants to switch a Congressional seat in Indiana, their best shot is the 2nd Congressional District. Joe Bock, who was the favorite going into the primary, won the Democratic nomination with a convincing percentage of votes. Now Bock can focus on Jackie Walorski in the general election. My big upset pick was that David Stockdale would upset incumbent Susan Brooks in the Republican primary. I'm not really sure why I picked this upset as I mocked Stockdale's candidacy in my first look at the primaries. It appears that Congressional Republicans are getting better at fending off primary challenges and/or the TEA Party/insurgent Republican Party members are just not as good as they were. A big reason for this is that the Republican Party has shifted to the right, thanks in part to the TEA Party challenges in 2010. Democrats who want the Democratic Party take note. Primary challenges is how you shift the party left. The other Congressional District that could be interesting to watch is the 9th where incumbent Todd Young faces off against Bill Bailey.
Again, Congressional primary races are more or less guessing games. I did a fairly poor job of guessing who would win the nominations. My two bigger predictions in Ohio were that John Boehner would do just fine in the primary and that David Joyce would win his primary. Boehner won his primary with nearly 70% of the vote. I didn't put an exact number on it, so you could say I didn't get this prediction right, but I think Boehner winning the primary at nearly 70% of the vote gives us an additional lesson that the establishment Republicans will do fine in primaries. The incumbent, Joyce, won his primary with 55% of the vote. I had heard reports that Joyce would face a stiffer challenge in the primary. The 14th Congressional District, which Joyce represents, will be the only competitive district in Ohio this year.
This is where my predictions came to pretty much die. My big predictions were that Thom Tillis would not be able to avoid a runoff, Phil Berger would not be avoid a run-off in the 6th Congressional District, Taylor Griffin would upset Walter Jones in his primary, Clay Aiken would barely beat Keith Crisco in the 2nd Congressional District primary, and that Malcolm Graham would win the Democratic primary in the 12th Congressional District. Had I seen the last poll by Public Policy Polling, I would have likely changed my prediction and predicted that Tillis would have avoided the run-off. Tillis's victory is a victory for the Republican establishment. However, it should not be seen as a victory for moderates in North Carolina. Tillis represents a strong challenge to Kay Hagan and will be one of the most watched elections in the country. Berger did not avoid a run-off only collecting 34% of the vote. The person I thought would finish in 2nd finished in a distant 4th. Mark Walker, a former pastor, finished in 2nd. Again, never discount evangelical voters in low turnout elections. The Sarah Palin endorsed Taylor Griffin failed in his bid to upset Walter Jones. Jones barely held on with 51% of the vote. Perhaps, the pro-war Griffin learned that not many people are as hawkish as he is. Aiken and Crisco are separated by about 300 votes, so it is a real coin flip at this point. Finally, the 12th Congressional District was embarrassing for me. Alma Adams won handily over Graham. That's what I get for doubting internal polling. The 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 12th Congressional districts will be the ones to watch out for in November. You will hear more about the Senate race in North Carolina than you ever cared to know.