Maryland, Nebraska, West Virginia Unveil Key Primary Results

by Nathan L. Gonzales May 15, 2024 · 12:30 PM EDT

Three small-ish states hosted more than a handful of consequential primaries. Results in Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia either clarified key general election contests or offered nominations to candidates who will likely be coming to Congress next year because they are running in solid states and districts.

Senate. Open; Ben Cardin (D) not seeking re-election. Biden 65%.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks defeated Rep. David Trone 54-42 percent in the Democratic primary, with 66 percent of the estimated vote counted. Alsobrooks margin of victory is stunning considering Trone spent more than $61 million of his own money on his bid. But Alsobrooks had a bevy of endorsements and a profile that matches what Democratic primary voters have been looking for in recent cycles. Now Alsobrooks and Democrats have work to do against popular former Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election. Alsobrooks doesn’t have the personal wealth that Trone would have brought to the table, but she should be able to cultivate a national fundraising network. If elected, she and Delaware’s Lisa Blunt Rochester would be the first two Black women to serve in the Senate at the same time. Likely Democratic.  

2nd District (Northern Baltimore suburbs) Open; Dutch Ruppersberger, D, not seeking re-election. Biden 59%. Former state delegate/Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski easily won the Democratic primary and will be a member of Congress next year from a district Biden won by 20 points in 2020. Solid Democratic.

3rd District (Baltimore suburbs in Howard and Anne Arundel counties) Open; John Sarbanes, D, not seeking re-election. Biden 62%. State Sen. Sarah Elfreth finished ahead of former Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn in a very competitive and expensive Democratic primary. Dunn, who was at the capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, used his national profile to raise millions of dollars, but Elfreth prevailed with help from pro-Israel group UDP. She’ll likely be a member of Congress next year. Solid Democratic. 

6th District (Western Maryland and northwestern D.C. exurbs) Open; David Trone, D, running for Senate. Biden 54%. April McClain-Delaney, a former Biden administration official and the wife of former 6th District Rep. John Delaney, won the Democratic primary and is the heavy favorite in November. She’ll face former state Delegate Neil Parrott, who is the GOP nominee for the third consecutive cycle. He received 45 percent (2022) and 39 percent (2020) against Trone the last two times. Likely Democratic. 

Senate. Deb Fischer (R) elected 2012 (58%), 2018 (58%).
Fischer won the GOP primary easily with 80 percent and faces a potentially interesting general election. Democrats are not fielding a candidate, and are instead lining up behind an independent contender, Dan Osborn. Now a steamfitter, Osborn rose to national prominence as the leader of a strike at a Kellogg’s factory in 2021 and was encouraged by labor unions in the state to challenge Fischer. Osborn is hoping to run an anti-establishment campaign that will peel off close to 20 percent of Trump supporters from the Republican. But he’ll have to contend with attacks that he’s a secret Democrat (he’s a former Democrat who voted for Biden and whose campaign team is largely Democratic operatives). Democrats are yet to successfully execute the strategy of running an independent in a red state — Greg Orman in Kansas, Al Gross in Alaska, and Evan McMullin in Utah have all fallen short over the last decade. Solid Republican.

Nebraska Special. Pete Ricketts (R) appointed 2023. Ricketts won the GOP primary, 79-15 percent, against John Glen Weaver, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who won 7 percent in the GOP primary for Nebraska’s 1st District in 2022. Weaver has an endorsement from the Nebraska state GOP but didn’t raise much money. Ricketts is a wealthy, former two-term governor who will defeat Democrat Preston Love, Jr., a professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, in the general election. Solid Republican.

2nd District (Greater Omaha area) Don Bacon, R, re-elected 52%. Biden 52%. Bacon won the GOP primary, 62-38 percent, over financial salesman Dan Frei, who nearly knocked off then-Rep. Lee Terry in the 2014 GOP primary. Unlike the last three cycles, Democrats did not have a competitive primary and state Sen. Tony Vargas will be the nominee once again. He lost to Bacon by 2.6 points in 2022. The suburban district should get plenty of attention for the next five months with a competitive House race and a single Electoral College vote on the line. Tilt Republican.

West Virginia.
Governor. Open; Jim Justice (R) term-limited.
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey  won a crowded and competitive GOP primary with 33 percent and is the heavy favorite in November against Democrat Steve Williams, the mayor of Huntington. Morrisey topped former state Delegate Moore Capito, son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, at 28 percent, car dealership owner  Chris Miller (Rep. Carol Miller’s son) at 20 percent, and West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner at 16 percent. Morrisey lost to Manchin by 3 points in the 2018 Senate race and lost a primary for Congress in New Jersey to Mike Ferguson in 2000. Solid Republican. 

Senate. Open; Joe Manchin (D) not seeking re-election. Gov. Jim Justice won the GOP primary 62-27 percent over Rep. Alex Mooney and will likely be coming to Capitol Hill next year with Babydog. Justice will face Democrat Glenn Elliott, the mayor of Wheeling, in the general election, but this should be regarded as a pickup for Republicans, and enough to control the Senate if former President Donald Trump wins the White House once again. Solid Republican.

1st District (Central and southern West Virginia) Carol Miller, R, re-elected 67% in 2022. Trump 70%. Despite a challenger with a higher-than-usual profile and concerns that attacks on her son in the gubernatorial race were hurting her, Miller prevailed 62-38 percent in the GOP primary. She defeated former state Delegate Derrick Evans, who served time in prison for his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Miller shouldn’t have any trouble in November. Solid Republican. 

2nd District (Eastern and northern West Virginia) Open; Alex Mooney, R, ran for Senate. Trump 68%. State treasurer Riley Moore won the GOP primary by more than 20 points and will be a member of Congress next year. He’s the nephew of GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. Solid Republican.