by Steve Benen
Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country
* It’s Primary Day in five states today: Nevada, Virginia, Maine, South Carolina, and North Dakota. One of the things to watch is Maine’s experiment in ranked-choice ranked-choice voting (or as some call it, instant-runoff voting).
* Also keep an eye on Rep. Mark Sanford’s Republican primary in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district. The incumbent’s media blitz suggests he’s concerned, and Sanford has plenty of intra-party critics who aren’t pleased with his occasional criticisms of Donald Trump.
* The next congressional special election is slated for Aug. 7 in Ohio’s 12th congressional district, and Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to the area this week to raise money for state Sen. Troy Balderson’s (R) bid. This is a district Donald Trump won by 11 points, and since World War II, the district has been represented by a Democrat for exactly one term, in the early ’80s.
* On a related note, a Monmouth University poll released yesterday showed Balderson with a roughly 10-point lead over his Democratic rival, Danny O’Connor, a former prosecutor and local official.
* How worried is Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) about her far-right primary rivals in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race? The congresswoman last week deleted an online video in which she defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). Her primary isn’t until Aug. 28.
* And in Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is seeking a second term in a reliably “blue” state, the latest Baltimore Sun poll suggests he’s pretty well positioned for the fall: “Sixty percent of Democrats who say they’re likely to vote in their party’s primary this month approve of the job Hogan is doing…. Nearly a fourth of likely voters in the Democratic primary plan to vote for Hogan in the November general election, the poll found.”