NRL News

2018 Primary Election Overview: Two Tuesdays in June

by | Jun 22, 2018

By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director

June 5 was a huge night for elections – 2018’s version of “Super Tuesday.” Primaries were held in eight states: Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota.

Voters were deciding nominees for five gubernatorial races, 85 U.S. House races, five U.S. Senate races, and hundreds of state and local races to be contested in the November 6 general election.

Add to that the June 12 primaries in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia, and we have surpassed the halfway mark.

Twenty-six states have held their primaries and, except where runoffs are necessary, nominees for the political parties have been determined.

There are an unusually high number of pro-life vs. pro-abortion races.

Following is an overview of the primary results by state that took place in June.


The outcomes of Alabama’s gubernatorial primaries are in and pro-life Republican Governor Kay Ivey will face a challenge by Democrat Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. The gubernatorial race is considered solid Republican.

Since no candidate received 50% of the vote in the Republican primary, pro-life Congresswoman Martha Roby will square off against former Rep. Bobby Bright in a July 17 runoff. The winner will face pro-abortion Democrat Tabitha Isner. The seat is considered safe Republican.


In California pro-abortion Gov. Jerry Brown is term limited. Pro-life Republican John Cox and pro-abortion Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom are running for the open seat.

California has 53 congressional districts. Ten of those 53 congressional districts are considered competitive pro-life versus pro-abortion races. Four of those ten contests are considered tossups. Those four are:

Pro-life Congressman Jeff Denham (R) is being challenged by pro-abortion Democrat Josh Harder in the 10th congressional district.

Pro-life Congressman Steve Knight (R) is facing a pro-abortion EMILY’s List candidate Katie Hill (D) in the 25th.

The 39th is open due to pro-life Congressman Ed Royce’s retirement. Pro-life Republican and former Assemblywoman Young Kim and pro-abortion Democrat Gil Cisneros are vying to be his replacement.

In the 48th, pro-life Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher will compete against Democrat Harley Rouda or Democrat Hans Keirstead. Rouda is slightly ahead. In California the top two vote getters compete in the general election, regardless of party.


The race in Iowa’s 1st congressional district is considered a tossup. Pro-abortion Democrat Abby Finkenauer, an EMILY’s List candidate, is challenging pro-life Congressman Rod Blum (R).

In Iowa’s 3rd congressional district, another pro-abortion EMILY’s List candidate – Cindy Axne – is challenging pro-life Congressman David Young (R) in a district considered lean Republican.

Both districts went 49% for President Trump in 2016.

Pro-life Republican Governor Kim Reynolds will face pro-abortion Democrat businessman Fred Hubbell. The gubernatorial race is considered a tossup.


Pro-abortion Sen. Angus King (I) will face challenges by pro-life Republican Eric Brakey and pro-abortion Democrat Zak Ringelstein.

Because of term limits, pro-life Gov. Paul LePage’s seat is open and considered a tossup. Pro-life Republican Shawn Moody and pro-abortion state Attorney General Janet Mills, an EMILY’s List candidate, will meet in November. The gubernatorial race is considered a tossup.

Pro-life Republican Mark Holbrook is challenging 1st congressional district pro-abortion Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D).

In the 2nd district, pro-life Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s challenger is not known. Maine employs what it calls ranked-choice voting and the Democratic winner is not yet known. However both candidates are pro-abortion. This race is considered lean Republican.


A runoff will be held in Mississippi’s 3rd congressional district, which is open due to pro-life Republican Congressman Gregg Harper’s retirement. District Attorney Michael Guest and businessman Whit Hughes, both pro-life, are the contestants for the Republican nomination. The winner will face state Rep. Michael Evans (D).

The district went 61% for Trump in 2016 and is considered safe Republican.


The GOP nomination for U.S. Senate to challenge pro-abortion Senator Jon Tester (D) went to state Auditor Matt Rosendale, who is pro-life. The seat is considered lean Democrat.

Former pro-abortion state Rep. Kathleen Williams (D) won the Democratic nomination to challenge pro-life Congressman Greg Gianforte (R), who has a 100% pro-life voting record. Williams is supported by NARAL and Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. The seat is considered likely Republican.

57% of voters in Montana voted for Trump.


Pro-life Sen. Dean Heller faces a stiff challenge by pro-abortion Rep. Jacky Rosen (D), who is an EMILY’s List candidate. The race is considered a tossup.

Pro-abortion Gov. Brian Sandoval is term-limited. His replacement will be either pro-life Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) or pro-abortion Steve Sisolak (D). The outcome is considered a tossup.

Pro-life Republican Danny Tarkanian and pro-abortion EMILY’s List Democrat Susie Lee won their respective party’s nominations to fill the open 3rd congressional district seat. The election is considered lean Democrat.

Two former Congressmen – pro-life Republican Cresent Hardy and pro-abortion Democrat Steven Horsford – will face off in the 4th congressional district. The seat is open because of Ruben Kihuen’s retirement. The Las Vegas-based seat is considered likely Democrat.


There are many pro-life vs. pro-abortion races in New Jersey. Two seats are open due to retirements: the second and the eleventh districts.

In the 2nd congressional district, Republican Seth Grossman and Democrat Jeff Van Drew are running to replace Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo who retired. The 2nd is considered lean Democrat.

In the 11th congressional district pro-life Assemblyman Jay Webber is facing pro-abortion EMILY’s List Democrat Mikie Sherrill. It is considered a tossup.

Three pro-life Republican Congressmen face pro-abortion challengers: Thomas MacArthur is facing NARAL-supported Andy Kim (D) in the third, which is considered lean Republican; Chris Smith is facing pro-abortion Democrat Josh Welle in the fourth in a race considered safe Republican; and Leonard Lance is facing NARAL-supported pro-abortion Democrat Tom Malinowski in the seventh. The seventh district is considered a tossup.


Pro-life Gov. Susana Martinez is term-limited. Pro-life Congressman Steve Pearce (R) will compete against pro-abortion Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), whose position on life is so extreme she even voted against protecting babies 20 weeks and older who can experience extreme pain during abortion. It is considered lean Democrat.

All three congressional districts are pro-life vs. pro-abortion races.

The 1st (open due to Rep. Grisham’s run for governor) pits pro-life Janice Arnold-Jones (R) against pro-abortion Deb Haaland (D). That district went 35% for Trump.

The 2nd district is open due to Rep. Pearce’s run for governor and is considered lean Republican, having gone 50% for Trump. Pro-life state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) and pro-abortion EMILY’s List Zochiti Torres Small (D) are competing for that seat. The race is considered lean Republican.


Pro-life Congressman Kevin Cramer (R) is challenging pro-abortion Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in a race considered a tossup. While Heitkamp is often referred to as a “moderate,” she is so extreme on abortion she voted against protecting unborn babies 20 weeks and older who can feel pain during late abortions.

Pro-life state Senator Kelly Armstrong (R) and pro-abortion state Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider (D) are battling for the open at-large seat, which is considered safe Republican.

Trump won North Dakota with 64 percent of the vote.


Because he didn’t receive 50 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, pro-life Governor Henry McMaster is in a June 26 runoff with Lt. Gov. John Warren. The winner will face pro-abortion Democratic state Rep. James Smith, who was endorsed by Planned Parenthood.

Pro-life state Rep. Katie Arrington (R) defeated Rep. Mark Sanford for the GOP nomination in the 1st congressional district. She will run against Joe Cunningham (D) in the race considered likely Republican.

Runoffs will be held in both parties for pro-life Rep. Trey Gowdy’s open 4th district seat on June 26.


Pro-life Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) is term-limited. Pro-life Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R) and Democrat Billie Sutton will face off in the general. The gubernatorial election is considered safe Republican.

Pro-life Republican Dusty Johnson, former Public Works Utility Commissioner, and Democrat Tim Byorkman are running for Kristi Noem’s open at-large congressional seat, which is considered safe Republican.

South Dakota voters went 62 percent for Trump.


Pro-life Republican Corey Stewart won the GOP nomination to oppose pro-abortion Sen. Tim Kaine in November. Kaine is so extreme on abortion that he supports abortion on demand and supports using tax dollars to pay for abortion. The race is considered likely Democratic.

Virginia’s 2nd district Congressman Scott Taylor (R) is facing pro-abortion EMILY’s List candidate Elaine Luria in a district considered lean Republican.

The state’s open 5th congressional district matches pro-life Republican Denver Riggleman against pro-abortion EMILY’s List candidate Leslie Cockburn (D).

In the 6th district, also open due to retirement, pro-life state Del. Ben Cline (R) and pro-abortion Jennifer Lewis (D) are battling for the seat.

Pro-life Congressman Dave Brat (R) is up against pro-abortion EMILY’s List Democrat Abigail Spanberger. The 7th congressional district seat is considered lean Republican.

In a back and forth series of polls, pro-life Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s 10th congressional district seat has been changed to lean Democrat. She is facing pro-abortion state Sen. Jennifer Weston (D), an EMILY’s List candidate, in the northern Virginia district.

Finally, local Virginians in the eleventh district are excited about pro-life Republican Jeff Dove’s prospects against pro-abortion Congressman Gerald Connolly (D), despite its safe Democrat rating.

Next up, on June 26, voters will go to the polls in Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah. Be sure to look for election updates in future editions of

Categories: Politics