2018 primary results and the Trump effect

On Tuesday, five states, Virginia, South Carolina, Maine, Wisconsin and Nevada, held primary elections. As with several of the Super Tuesday primaries, there could arguably be a case made for a so-called “Trump effect” on the national political scene.

Some of the more notable races are highlighted below:


  • In the Senate race, candidate Corey Stewart — known for his support of white supremacists in Charlottesville and his unflinching defense of President Trump — narrowly won the Republican nomination for Senate. Stewart’s win could pose problems for the national GOP as they try to distance themselves from firebrand candidates. Some longtime Republicans saw this as a tipping point in their support of the party:

Stewart will face former vice presidential candidate and incumbent senator, Tim Kaine, in November.

  • In the House, there are at least four vulnerable seats. The most likely to flip is in the 10th District — which stretches from the suburbs of McLean to Winchester. Democrats nominated establishment favorite Jennifer Wexton, while incumbent Barbara Comstock, who has often been critical of Trump, won her primary against a more conservative candidate. Other Virginia districts to watch: VA02, VA05, and VA07. In all three of these districts, Democrat women won the nomination and will take on conservative Republican incumbents in the fall.

See full results from Virginia here.


  • Mark Sanford lost his Republican primary in the 1st District to state Congresswoman Katie Arrington, who accused Sanford of being too critical of the president. Trump weighed in on the race with several hours remaining at the polls:

  • Sanford is the second Republican member of Congress to lose a primary so far this cycle, although it is difficult to say whether it was his criticism of Trump or his own peccadillos that led to his ouster. In the Republican primary for governor, there will be a runoff in two weeks between incumbent Henry McMaster and conservative businessman John Warren.


  • Perhaps the most interesting item on the ballot in Maine is ranked-choice voting. A referendum to keep the new form of vote-counting, passed by double digits. While it may not factor into the Republican primary for governor or Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, in which Shawn Moody and Jared Golden, respectively, appear to have captured outright majorities, it may be a factor in the Democratic primary for governor next week, when the secretary of state counts and reallocates all of the ordinal votes.



Whether the effect is in motivating Democrats, keeping incumbents in check, or inspiring unlikely candidates to run for public office, there’s no doubt that there is a Trump effect. Whether it is for good or ill remains to be seen.


[Washington Post] [The Virginian-Pilot] [FiveThirtyEight] [centralmaine.com] [CNN via News 4 Jax] [Photo courtesy MGN via WBAY.com]