August 7 Special Election and Primaries Preview

OH-12 (7:30pm).  Michigan (8:00pm).  Kansas (8:00pm). Washington (11:00pm).

Let’s look into the markets.  First, the useful stuff:


OH-12 Special Election

OH-12 Special Election MoV

MI D-Gov primary

MI-D-Gov primary MoV

MI R-Sen MoV

MI-11 D primary

MI-11 R primary

MI-13 special D primary

KS R-Gov primary

KS R-Gov MoV

KS-02 R primary

KS-03 D primary

WA-08 2nd-place primary (effectively D primary)



Special Election Upset?

Democrat Danny O’Connor has drawn level with Republican Troy Balderson in recent polling as both contest for the seat vacated by Pat Tiberi.  We have at least one more poll to go (Emerson, Monday morning) but I doubt it will matter for the market’s pricing.  Trump’s rally might bring in some bullish R money (but again I doubt his rally has a real impact – is Trump really going to have an effect here only on R turnout but not D turnout?).

So if this comes down to election night we have a pretty standard setup on our hands.  The early vote should favor O’Connor.  The early election day returns, especially from the eastern counties, will favor Balderson.  Franklin county (Columbus) will favor O’Connor (and has the most votes).  Delaware county piques my interest – on nothing but eyeballing it, I think O’Connor doing well here in the E-day vote means he’s doing well overall.  (Monmouth Polling’s Patrick Murray has some excellent advice here in terms of what to look for on election night.)

UPDATE: Don’t sleep on the MoV market – this one promises to be excellent.


The headline race is the fight for the Democratic nominee for Governor.  Here Gretchen Whitmer is trying hold off the late momentum of her Bernie-endorsed opponent in Abdul El-Sayed.  [And if she wins she has a pretty reasonable shot at winning in November (affecting the female governors market, as discussed here).]  Michigan doesn’t have an early vote and no clue who’s power base will be where.  If it plays out like Hillary-Bernie, then El-Sayed takes the rurals while Whitmer takes the cities, but I don’t know if it will follow that pattern exactly.  As usual for Michigan, Wayne County will contain most of the votes and will also probably be among the slowest to report.

Elsewhere in Michigan, the Democrats are nominating their candidate to run for John Conyer’s seat in November’s special election (yes it’s weird that there is a special election and a general election happening at the same time for the same seat with the same candidates and yes technically someone could win the nomination in one and not the other but that’s not likely).  Brenda Jones has the broadest support from the constituencies involved and I suspect takes this one but if you like spending on the Berniest candidate in the race then Rashida Tlaib is your woman.

We have two markets for both parties’ primaries in the 11th district (some Republican named David Trott is vacating the seat).  On the Republican side, polling favors the somewhat Trumpy Lena Epstein, though we do have a high number of undecideds.  The undecideds lead the field in polling on the Democratic side, with Tim Greimel placing second (the market gives him essentially a 50/50 shot but on a very thin order book).  These both will depend on Wayne votes so it might go a bit late and then break suddenly I suppose.


The storyline in Kansas is all about Kobach.  If he wins the primary, what happens in the general election?  Jmart has the NYT narrative take here.  There are also a couple not-dead-quite-yet markets for congressional primaries here, with Welder the presumptive winner for the Democrats in KS-03 while Watkins leads the field of Republicans comfortably (according to the market anyway) in KS-02.  These are the kinds of races that usually go the way of what the market says but are so lightly traded initially that they can appear to be more certain than they are.  Have not looked deeply into them myself yet but I always recommend that the studious trader study these spots to see if there’s any value there.

One last note: if Kobach does take it, there will be a great market to be made on who wins the final race in November.  Read the Jmart piece though – there’s an independent candidate who, if he entered, could play spoiler to the Democrats chances (and the chances to elect a female governor).


Disclaimer: I probably have positions or intend to take positions in just about all the markets I discuss herein.  You should always do your own research prior to making any investment decision. You should consider my advice and knowledge I share to be fundamentally biased in its presentation and selection by my own financial incentives.  While I do not knowingly lie I certainly do knowingly omit information that I think gives me an edge.

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