The start of the primary season went mostly as expected as establishment candidates largely emerged victorious over their insurgent opponents, including in the closely-watched Republican Senate primary in West Virginia where Pat Morrissey beat the controversial coal executive Don Blankenship and Rep. Evan Jenkins. That story held true in the race for Ohio’s governorship as well as former state attorney general and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray defeated Dennis Kucinich, who was seen as a far-left candidate. However, the most surprising result of the night came from North Carolina where the sitting Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) lost his primary to a right-wing challenge from former pastor Mark Harris. The next set of states to hold their primaries will be Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania on May 15.
In Congress, House lawmakers have two measures teed up for votes today. The first is a bill (H.R. 5645) that would change the way the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers mergers, aiming to better align their criteria with the Department of Justice’s antitrust reviews. The second measure (H.R. 2152) due to be considered today would require the Department of Justice to release information on their grant programs for state and local governments on pretrial release programs. The latter bill has been opposed by some civil liberties groups over privacy concerns for individuals covered by the pretrial services programs.
The Senate continues to work methodically through its judicial nominations queue. Two votes are expected today, a final up-or-down vote on the nomination of Kurt Engelhardt to join the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a cloture vote on Michael Brennan to join the 7th Circuit.