What to Watch in Kentucky Election Results and Colorado Senate Race

  • The Democratic presidential primary may be effectively decided, but there are still elections left on the calendar. And Tuesday brings a handful of new contests, as well as some long-awaited results. There are competitive Democratic Senate primary races in Kentucky (which voted last Tuesday) and Colorado. A governor’s race in Utah. And House Republican primaries in Utah and Colorado as the party chooses candidates to run in highly competitive congressional contests in November. Results may be delayed, with many voters casting absentee ballots because of the coronavirus crisis.

  • Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky should learn which Democratic opponent — Amy McGrath or Charles Booker — will embark on what is expected to be a well-financed, if somewhat long-shot, bid to unseat him this fall. (Yes, we’re getting results one week after Primary Day. These things take time.)

  • Colorado is the top priority for Democrats trying to pick up states to take back the Senate. Will the party’s favored candidate, John Hickenlooper, the former governor, emerge unscathed from his primary race after a rough month that rattled Democrats and heartened Republicans?

  • Can you go home again? After stints as ambassador to Russia and China, Jon Huntsman Jr. wants to be governor of Utah again. The Republican primary election on Tuesday should tell whether voters agree.

After a week of waiting, the full results of the Democratic primary for Senate in Kentucky are coming in. Most ballots cast by voters who went to the polls in person last Tuesday have already been counted, but counties have until 6 p.m. local time this Tuesday to report official results, which will include many thousands of absentee ballots.

The Democratic Party (and Mr. McConnell) will learn whether Ms. McGrath, who at one point seemed to be floating to the nomination, has faced a spirited challenge from Mr. Booker, a state representative.

Ms. McGrath is a former fighter pilot who assembled a war chest exceeding $41 million, in no small part because she had the backing of Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. Mr. Booker drew a burst of support for his campaign from the left — including from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

How much does it matter who wins this race? Mr. McConnell is a top target for Democrats, not so much because polls suggest he is particularly vulnerable, but because he is Mitch McConnell. History and polling suggest that he is likely to win re-election in November, but Ms. McGrath’s extraordinary fund-raising and Mr. Booker’s rapid rise during a period of heightened political activism are testimony to these very unusual and unpredictable times.

Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado is probably the most endangered Republican in the Senate: Any path to Democrats’ taking control of the chamber starts in Colorado. Things were certainly looking up for the party when it coaxed Mr. Hickenlooper to jump into the Senate race after he abandoned a long-shot campaign for president.

But it hasn’t turned out to be that easy. For one thing, Mr. Hickenlooper is facing a primary challenge from Andrew Romanoff, a former state House speaker who has drawn heavy financial support from liberal groups across the country who find Mr. Hickenlooper too much of a centrist.

For another, Mr. Hickenlooper has had a difficult month. His campaign has been marked by missteps and gaffes. He was held in contempt by the state ethics commission for defying a subpoena to appear at a hearing over a complaint against him, and was found guilty of two ethics violations while he was the state’s governor, for accepting rides on a private jet and in a limousine.

Republicans are picking challengers in two House seats that they lost to Democrats in 2018 and are intent on clawing back. They are prime pickup opportunities for Republicans: Mr. Trump won both districts in 2016.

The first is in Oklahoma, where there is a nine-way Republican primary for the opportunity to take on Representative Kendra Horn, a Democrat. She unseated Steve Russell, a Republican, with just over 50 percent of the vote in 2018.

In Utah, there is a four-way Republican primary for the chance to challenge Representative Ben McAdams, a Democrat, who defeated Mia Love, the Republican incumbent, by an even narrower margin in 2018.

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