Tomorrow doesn’t quite rival Super Primary Tuesday, when voters in 11 states hit the polls on the same day in June, but three states—Michigan, Kansas and Missouri—are going to chuck candidates out of the 2010 race, and there are plenty to choose from. Here are a few crowded house races that, for the sake of substance, intrigue or both, are worth keeping an eye on. The candidates that will be ousted in just these three primary contests will yield enough bodies to play a full-on soccer game (with alternates).
Michigan’s First District: The wolverine state doesn’t have a senate election going in 2010, but there are House races making up for any drama lost. The First District was home to Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who resigned following the controversy over his failed anti-abortion amendment to health care legislation. (Stupak said the pro-life debacle didn’t influence his decision to call it quits, but the GOP heralded him as one more piece of collateral Obamacare damage.) He would have been seeking a tenth term, and was still favored to win, until his retirement gave Republicans a chance to take over the Upper Peninsula reins. Democratic State Rep. Gary McDowell, also a hay farmer, is running unopposed, but a field of six GOP candidates—as varied as a surgeon, a state senator and trucker— will be narrowed tomorrow. Whether Democrats can keep a seat held by a pro-gun, pro-life politician for nearly two decades will remain to be seen.
Missouri’s Fourth District: Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton, the incumbent chairman of the armed services committee, is one of those old dogs pundits are saying might be taken out to pasture. The 78-year-old has been in the House for nigh 34 years—i.e., since “Play That Funky Music” was a top hit—and if the six Republicans in Michigan’s race sounded like a lot, try wrapping your brain around the nine Skelton is facing, in addition to candidates from the Libertarian and Constitution parties and a lesser known Democrat in his own primary. Two state legislators, state Sen. Bill Stouffer and former state Rep. Vicky Hartzler, are leading the GOP pack in a rural western Missouri district where a Dem needs some Republican love to win the seat. (The smallest margin Skelton has won by in the last 10 years is 32%, in a state that went for McCain. The GOP has historically liked military man Ike, enough at least.) Hartzler and Stouffer have been vying over who’s most conservative while pointing fingers at Skelton for all that Democrats have done during the past few years. This is a race many are looking to as a barometer of whether the anti-incumbency narrative is as detectable in the world as the media.
Kansas’ Third District: There are only four districts in red, red Kansas, and Republicans are hoping to bring this swing section back into the fold now that the six-term Democratic incumbent, Congressman Dennis Moore, is retiring. This suburban Kansas City-area district contains the artsy town of Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas, meaning that this field of nine Republicans, led by State Rep. Kevin Yoder, can only paint themselves as so conservative. In an interesting twist, Stephene Moore, Dennis Moore’s wife and a registered nurse, has entered the race and is both benefiting from name recognition and suffering from being held accountable for everything her husband did during his 11 years in office, including votes for health care reform and the stimulus. She’ll face Thomas Scherer, an activist who has previously run for congress on both party tickets, in her quest to be the first wife to succeed a living member of Congress and do a political limelight shift à la the Clintons.