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Image: Kai Kahele
Kai Kahele walks down the House steps on May 20, 2021, in Washington.Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP file

Midterm elections roundup: Aloha to more primaries

The Hawaii primaries feature competitive Democratic contests for governor and an open House seat.

By and

Tuesday wasn’t the end of primaries this week — Hawaii is hosting primaries on Saturday. The state conducts elections almost entirely by mail, and ballots must be returned by Election Day. There are two open primaries to watch, where the Democratic contests will determine the expected winner in November in the deep blue state.

Nine Democrats are competing in the primary to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. David Ige. The leading candidates in the race include Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Rep. Kai Kahele, and businesswoman Vicky Cayetano. 

Cayetano and Green have spent the most on ads in the race, per AdImpact, with Green getting help on the airwaves from an outside group known as Be Change Now. The three candidates clashed in a recent debate, questioning each other’s character.

Kahele’s decision to run for governor opened up the 2nd District, sparking a competitive Democratic primary that has attracted more than $1 million in outside spending.

Most of it has been to support state Rep. Patrick Branco, who has support from BOLD PAC, the Hispanic Caucus’ political arm, VoteVets and Web3Forward, a PAC funded by cryptocurrency executives. Former state Sen. Jill Tokuda has been backed by the Progressice Caucus PAC, which has spent largely on mail and digital ads, per the Honolulu Civil Beat. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail…

Alaska Senate: A new ad from Republican Kelly Tshibaka attacks Sen. Lisa Murkowski for voting for Interior Sec. Deb Haaland, criticizing the secretary on gas prices. 

Florida Senate: Democratic Rep. Val Demings raised a whopping $4.8 million in the month of July, according to pre-primary reports filed with the FEC. She more than doubled GOP Sen. Marco Rubio’s $2 million haul over that same period. 

North Carolina Senate: The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a joint TV ad buy with GOP Rep. Ted Budd’s campaign, reserving $748,00 in airtime, per AdImpact. This would be Budd’s first TV ad since the May primary, while his opponent, Democrat Cheri Beasley, has dropped nearly $4.7 million on the airwaves since then.

Pennsylvania Senate: Republican Mehmet Oz is challenging Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman to five debates. And in his first television interview since before his stroke, Fetterman briefly addressed his stroke, telling the network he feels up to getting back on the campaign trail. Fetterman is also holding his first campaign rally since the stroke tonight, where he’s expected to discuss his health struggles, the Associated Press reports.

Wisconsin Senate As attack ads are set to blanket the airwaves in Wisconsin, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is up with a positive spot touting his “humble beginnings.” 

New York's 2nd District: Defending Main Street, a Republican Super PAC, launched a six-figure ad campaign supporting Rep. Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y. The campaign, ahead of Garbarino’s primary this month, will include both mail and television advertising. 

Wyoming At-large District: Republican Rep. Liz Cheney trails Republican Harriet Hageman by 29 points among likely GOP primary voters in a new University of Wyoming poll