Several states held primaries tonight. None will produce major national headlines, but there were some interesting results and trends.
In Indiana, former Senator Dan Coats won the Repubican Senate primary with 40 percent of the vote. Marlin Stutzman, a strong conservative, finished second with 29 percent. Either man would, I think, be favored to defeat Democrat Brad Ellsworth, but Coats is probably the stronger candidate.
In Ohio, the Republicans nominated Rob Portman to run for the Senate. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher defeated Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Fisher had the overwhelming support of the party establishment and an overwhelming advantage in funding. Yet, his victory was underwhelming (55-45), and Brunner has said she will do nothing to help him in the general election. The Repubicans seem like a good bet to hold this seat.
In North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall now faces a run-off against former State Sen. Cal Cunnigham in the Democratic Senate primary. The winner is unlikely to unseat Republican Senator Richard Burr, who won his primary handily.
According to Politico, one theme from the evening — both in the Senate and House races — is that incumbents and candidates backed by the party apparatus, though mostly successful, often struggled to obtain the kind of margins they would normally be expected to command. Considering this year’s landscape, that’s not surprising.
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