National

With both parties’ primary fields cleared of all opponents, and with both frontrunners having clinched enough delegates to be their parties’ nominees, Tuesday’s primary results were mostly inconsequential as Donald Trump (R-FL) and Joe Biden (D-DE) appear more likely to initiate the first presidential rematch since 1956.

Democrats and Republicans voted in their primaries in Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio, while only the GOP held a primary in Florida. The Florida Democratic Primary was canceled and all delegates are expected to be bound to Biden at the party’s convention in Chicago this summer.

The GOP also held caucuses in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands last weekend before the five states’ Tuesday primaries.

In Guam, Trump took 90% of the vote and all nine of the territory’s delegates. In the Northern Mariana Islands, Trump took 100% of the vote and won all nine delegates available.

Arizona is one of the nation’s most critical swing states, home to eleven electoral votes, a marquee Senate race, and several key House races. Extrapolating general election strength based on primary results is a highly imperfect science, but it’s important to track the parties’ total turnout statewide and in critical counties. As of press time, Trump won 77.9% of the vote now-suspended Nikki Haley’s (R-SC) 18.7%. He won all forty-three delegates and swept all fifteen counties. Trump fell below 80% of the vote in Pima County (Tucson), Coconino County (Flagstaff), and Maricopa County (Phoenix). Trump received more than 261,000 votes in Maricopa County, the county that could very well decide Arizona’s general election fate, while almost 600,000 voted statewide.

Biden won Arizona with 89.5% of the vote, swept all counties, and took all seventy-two delegates. He fell below 80% of the vote in the northeastern Apache (St. John’s) and Navajo (Holbrook) counties. Democratic turnout was considerably less than that of the GOP, with about 400,000 voting in the primary. Maricopa turnout was about 100,000 less for the Democrats than the GOP, with Biden taking 226,000 votes there.

In Illinois, Trump won the primary with 80.7% of the vote to Haley’s 14.4%. He gained all sixty-four delegates available. Some of Trump’s lowest margins – none below 75% – were in Peoria (Peoria), Sangamon (Springfield), and Winnebago (Rockford) counties, indicating a still-possible struggle among suburban and urban voters. In Chicago’s Cook County, Trump took 81% of the vote with 54,000 votes. As of press time, about 600,000 Republicans voted in the primary.

Biden won the Illinois primary with 91.3% of the vote and took all 147 delegates. Biden took 92% of the vote in Cook County with 172,000 votes. Statewide, the primary attracted about 750,000 Democrats to the polls.

Both candidates swept 101 counties, with results from southeastern Hardin County not yet reported. It is assumed both candidates will win Hardin.

In Kansas, Trump won the primary with 75.5% of the vote and took all thirty-nine delegates. Haley registered with 16.1%. The “None of These Candidates” option took 5.2% of the vote. Trump’s weakest counties were Douglas (Lawrence), Johnson (Olathe), Shawnee (Topeka), and Riley (Manhattan), further showing weakness for Trump in college towns. All were counties that slipped from him in 2020, most notably in the form of Riley County, where Biden became the first Democrat in history to win this county. Trump fell below 70% in the aforementioned counties. In Sedgwick County (Wichita), Trump fell just below 75%.

Trump swept all 105 counties in Kansas and won all thirty-nine delegates.

Biden won the Kansas Primary with 83.8% of the vote, with the “None of These Candidate” option taking 10.2%. The option, along with similar options in other states, is part of a nationwide rebuke against Biden among Democratic voters, mostly concerning calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. The option won three western counties: Ness, Rawlins, and Sheridan, collectively representing just 51 votes. Biden won all thirty-three delegates at stake.

GOP turnout about doubled that of the Democrats’ in Kansas, about 95,000 to 42,000.

In Ohio, Trump won the primary with 79.2% to Haley’s 14.4%, sweeping all eighty-eight counties and winning all seventy-nine delegates. He posted strong margins in the northeastern corner of the state, a formerly working-class Democratic stronghold that has raced to the right in the Trump Era. Trump’s thinnest margins came from Franklin (Columbus), Hamilton (Cincinnati), and Cuyahoga (Cleveland) counties.


Biden took all counties and 115 delegates, winning the primary with 87.1% of the vote. Only now-suspended Congressman Dean Phillips (D, MN-03) was on the ballot here, garnering 12.9%.


Shockingly, GOP turnout more than doubled Democratic turnout, about 1.1 million to 520,000, possibly an indicator of once the nation’s most significant swing state shifting further into the Republican column.


In Florida, only the GOP held a primary. Trump won with 81% of the vote, to Haley’s 13.8%, and now-suspended Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) 3.7%. While Trump fell below 75% in Leon (Tallahassee), Pinellas (St. Petersburg), and Alachua (Gainesville), he cruised with 86.7% in Miami-Dade County, an emerging battleground county. Trump won all sixty-seven counties and 125 delegates at stake. The primary attracted 1.1 million Republican voters.


Unique to the Democratic Party, the Democrats Abroad Primary went for Biden with 80.1% of the vote, with the “Uncommitted” option taking 13.2%. The primary allows those temporarily living outside the U.S. to participate in a primary. Biden won all thirteen delegates.


Another crucial primary result came in the form of Ohio’s GOP Senate primary. Trump-backed businessman Bernie Moreno (R) won the three-way primary handily with 50.5% of the vote. The Colombian-born car dealership magnate has earned the right to take on three-term Senator Sherrod Brown (D). Brown underperformed the national environment in 2018, defeating a weak candidate in a mostly uncompetitive race by just seven points. Ohio’s sharp turn to the right has given the GOP hope that Brown might not be able to capture the crossover support he needs in a state that will likely go to Trump by more than ten points. However, Moreno’s nomination comes as possible relief to Democrats, as he has polled the poorest against Brown thus far, and his backing from Trump has caused worry that the GOP could yet again sacrifice another winnable race in Ohio.


The Ohio Senate race is one the GOP’s best pickup opportunities to flip control of the Senate in a year where Democrats face a formidable map, defending some of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country with no realistic pickup opportunities for themselves.

State

Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has ordered a review of the State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) in light of the recent rollout “disaster.” The OCM is blamed for botching the rollout of retail sales licenses, passively allowing the spread of illegal marijuana stores, and even retaliating against a shop owner who complained about licensing delays.


Fostered under then-Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), the rollout of the fledgling industry resulted in many equity mandates that lampooned the process with lawsuits. Such mandates saw preferential treatment of certain clientele, such as Veterans and even former criminals.
The OCM has received more than 7,000 applications and has only issued about 500 retail licenses. However, according to that latest statistics, only eighty legal marijuana dispensaries have opened, well short of the hundreds that the state had hoped to approve at this point.


“I’m very fed up with how long it has taken to get these approvals,” said Hochul. “My team got involved and said, ‘No, go back to the drawing board, work harder, get this done.’ And no, I’m not satisfied with the pace.”


Illegal shops have also been a cause of concern during the licensing process. It’s estimated that New York City has about 1,500 illegal shops, with just thirty-eight legitimate ones. The problem of illegal stores has residents concerned for already-high violence and theft rates. Illegal products also disrupt the legitimate market, damaging the health of legal businesses.


A big development that prompted the state to review the process and hand leadership of the OCM to a different commissioner was the report of the OCM retaliating against a frustrated store owner, Jenny Argie. Argie recorded a phone call with Damian Fagon, the OCM’s Chief Equity Officer, who said that while the state was aware of the illegal activity, the state had no interest in starting a crackdown as it would “further cripple the market.”


Argie sent the recording to NY Cannabis Insider, which resulted in an OCM press release about the first cannabis recalls to date. The products were Argie’s and her business was temporarily shut down. Fagon was put on administrative leave on Monday.

Local

Congressman Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) recently secured $97.9 million in federal funding for Brookhaven National Laboratory. The funding will go towards the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) project. The project is critical to expanding U.S. leadership in nuclear physics and accelerator science—fields of science that are crucial to our technological, economic, and national security. It will also stimulate strong international collaboration, attracting the “best and brightest” to the U.S. and New York to work on this frontier project and its associated technologies.”

“I am delighted to announce the successful procurement of nearly $100 million in federal funding for Brookhaven National Lab. During my recent visit, I had the privilege of touring BNL and engaging with its remarkable staff, witnessing firsthand the pioneering research being conducted in Suffolk County,” said LaLota. “BNL plays a vital role in providing high-quality employment opportunities for countless Long Islanders, and I am optimistic that this infusion of funding will further enhance these prospects. Rest assured, I remain committed to maximizing the value of taxpayer dollars for the benefit of Suffolk County residents.”

The funding comes from the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which was recently signed into law.

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Matt Meduri serves as the Editor in Chief of the Messenger Papers and writer of America the Beautiful and This Week Today columns. As a graduate of St. Joseph's University, Matt has been working in the political journalism field for over 5 years. He is a multi-instrumentalist, enjoys cooking and writing his own recipes, and traveling throughout the United States including Guam.