More two-dozen current or former county officials are bucking for promotion to higher office in the Nov. 6 elections, according to the National Association of Counties (NACo). The candidates from North Carolina to Indiana to Washington State are competing in a slew of congressional races, three U.S. Senate contests and at least one bid for governor.
In Washington State, former King County councilman Robert McKenna (R) is seeking to regain the governor’s mansion for Republicans. McKenna faces retired U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee.
Marquee Senate races include the Indiana contest between former Vanderburgh County commissioner Richard Mourdock (R) and Rep. Joe Donnelly (D). Mourdock stirred controversy with his comment during a recent debate that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
In Wisconsin, both Senate candidates have county government backgrounds. Democrat Tammy Baldwin, a former Dane County supervisor, faces Republican Tommy Thompson, a former Milwaukee County supervisor.
In Wyoming, Albany County Commissioner Tim Chestnut (D) faces an uphill battle against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R). Barrasso, chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, is seeking a second term.
At least 13 current county officials are vying for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. They include:
- Mecklenburg County, N.C., Commissioner Jennifer Roberts (D) facing Republican Robert Pittinger in the redrawn 9th District.
- In New York, Nate Shinagawa (D), Tompkins County Legislature vice chair, faces Republican Rep. Tom Reed in the redrawn 23rd District.
- Shelby County, Tenn., Commissioner George Flinn (R) is challenging Democrat incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen, himself a former county commissioner.