As promised in my last post, selected results from yesterday’s primaries are after the jump
Arkansas: In the most closely watched match of the night, Senator Blanche Lincoln defeated Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in a run-off for the Democratic nomination. This was a surprise to many observers, who believed that after Lincoln failed to breach 50% in the 1st primary, Halter’s more energized supporters would overwhelm her in the run-off. This is an embarrassing defeat for the labor movement, which had invested $10 million to defeat Lincoln after she voted against healthcare reform. Lincoln’s excellent closing ad was likely a factor in her win. Lincoln will have to pull another upset in November if she wants to keep her job – polls uniformly show her around 17 points behind her Republican opponent, Congressman John Boozman.
Nevada: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) is breathing a sigh of relief after his most viable challenger’s campaign imploded in the final weeks of the campaign. The only thing more inexplicable than Sue Lowden’s suggestion that people should barter chickens for health care was her refusal to back away from the statement. As a result, Sharron Angle cruised to a 40-26% victory. Angle is a hard-core conservative who favors abolishing Social Security and the Department of Education. Reid still faces a tough race, but he is much safer today than he was last week.
California: Two Republican businesswomen won nomination in the Golden State, Carly Fiorina to run against Senator Barbara Boxer and Meg Whitman to run against Jerry Brown for governor. Both defeated more moderate candidates – who were presumed to be more competitive in the general elections – by spending vast amounts of their personal wealth.
South Carolina: In the head-scratcher of the day, Alvin Greene, a 32 year old unemployed Army veteran with no fundraising, yard signs or website defeated an establishment candidate in the Democratic Senate primary. Greene will go on to face Senator Jim DeMint.
Two other South Carolina primaries will go on to a run-off. State Reps. Nikki Haley and Gersham Barrett will face off for the Republican gubernatorial race. Haley had been with accusations of marital infidelity in the last few weeks. These accusations actually seemed to generate more support for Haley as voters reacted with disgust to what they perceived as dirty politics. In the 4th Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis faces the indignity of a run-off against Tea Party activist Trey Gowdy, who actually outperformed him by four points.
Virginia: In Virginia’s 5th Congressional, Republican leaders got their preferred candidate against Council endorsed Rep. Tom Perriello. State Rep. Robert Hurd defeated a crowded field of conservative candidates to advance in one of the most closely watched elections in the nation. There is a possibility one of those candidates will launch a third party candidacy.