San Francisco — Another former astronaut shot into political orbit, and a veteran Democratic senator narrowly avoided being grounded by a bold, young challenger in two of five primary elections Sept. 14 in the West.
Colorado Republicans nominated Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert, who will face a strong opponent for Congress in November: Steve Hogan, former executive director of the state Democratic Party.
Nevada Democratic Sen. Howard W. Cannon overtook US Rep. James D. Santini to win nomination for a fifth consecutive term. The senator has a tough fight ahead from former state Sen. Chic Hecht, Ronald Reagan's 1980 Nevada campaign director.
Except for the opportunity to take the Cannon Senate seat, Republicans do not appear to have gained much in Tuesday's Western primaries. Democrats nominated strong contenders for two top offices held by Republicans - governor in Nevada, the US Senate in Utah - and have opportunities to pick up two or three House seats.
Republican US Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and his Democratic opponent, Mayor Ted Wilson of Salt Lake City, were unopposed in the Sept. 14 primary. Dissatisfaction with some of Senator Hatch's policies and Mr. Wilson's political skill could result in loss of a staunch member of President Reagan's GOP Senate team.
Two other Utah incumbents, Republican US Reps. James V. Hansen and Dan Marriott, are only slight favorites for reelection. Mr. Hansen will face popular Ogden Mayor Stephen Dirks, and Mr. Marriott will be challenged by Frances Farley , a veteran political activist who backed the Equal Rights Amendment and opposes the MX missile.
Nevada Republican Gov. Robert F. List is considered vulnerable in his reelection bid, facing popular state Attorney General Richard Bryan.
Seattle's Republican city attorney Doug Jewett won the unenviable right to challenge US Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D) of Washington in his bid for a sixth term. State GOP Rep. Bob Eberle faces Mercer Island Mayor Beth Bland in a congressional bid.
In Colorado, Democratic Gov. Richard D. Lamm is favored in November over Republican John D. Fuhr, a former speaker of the state House of Representatives. Neither man was challenged in the primary.
Republican Sen. Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming easily won renomination and is favored to defeat former state Sen. Rodger McDaniel. Former state House Speaker Warren Morton won the Republican nomination for governor, but will have a tough time defeating Democratic Gov. Ed Herschler, seeking an unprecedented third term.