By Bonnie K. Goodman
Three embattled incumbent members of Congress have won their respective primaries. On Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, primaries were held across the country for Congressional seats in the House of Representatives and Senate. In Florida, Republican Senator Marco Rubio won his primary as did Republican Arizona Senator John McCain as did Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
In the Florida Senate race, Rubio won against his challenger Carlos Beruff, 72 percent to 19 percent. Most of Rubio’s GOP opponents dropped out after he decided to join the race at the wire three months after his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Rubio will be vying for his second term against Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, who beat out his only opponent Rep. Alan Grayson. Major points of attacks are that Rubio missed so much of his Senate term campaigning for president and has not committed to serving the next six-year term, suggesting he might consider another presidential run in 2020. Rubio’s seat is critical for the GOP to maintain control of the Senate.
In the Arizona Senate race, McCain is going for his sixth Senate term and easily defeated his opponent state Senator Kelli Ward. McCain who just turned 80 faced attacks about his age from his much younger, opponent. Ward, who is 47, and a doctor called McCain “old” and “weak” and made his age the main campaign issue implying he could die before his term ends. Republican voters, however, did not agree and chose McCain again, he will face Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in November.
One of the most vulnerable Democrats, Florida Rep. Wasserman Shultz was able to win her primary against Tim Canova. Canova had the backing of Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who rightly found Wasserman Shultz working against his primary campaign. The former Democratic National Committee chairman, Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign the evening before the start of the Democratic National Convention after emails showed her bias against Sanders. The public embarrassment put her primary bid in jeopardy.
This year has not been a good one for Congressional incumbents with five, three Republicans and two Democrats already losing their reelection bids. Those that lost their primaries are “Republican Reps. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Randy Forbes of Virginia and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.” Among the Democrats are Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah, who was convicted on 23 charges of corruption in June and Florida Rep. Corrine Brown, who was indicted in July on 24 counts of fraud.