Primary election results: establishment candidates battered
Primary elections results from Tuesday saw establishment candidates – incumbents and those favored by party leaders in Washington – face stiff opposition from challengers.
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All of the establishment favorites of both parties survived, but in some cases, they won unconvincingly or are still alive only because they qualified for a runoff. In Indiana, former Sen. Dan Coats (R) won his party’s nomination to regain his old seat with just 39 percent of the vote. He faced four other candidates, some of them backed by "tea party" activists. Mr. Coats will face Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) in the general election to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D).
North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall came in ahead of former state Sen. Cal Cunningham – who is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – in the Democratic primary for Senate. But since neither of them reached the required 40 percent threshold, they face a June 22 runoff. Ms. Marshall won 36 percent to Mr. Cunningham’s 27 percent. Four other candidates split the rest. The winner of the runoff will face incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R), who is favored to win.
In Ohio’s marquee race, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) – the favorite of Democrats in Washington – defeated the underfunded Secretary of State Jennifer Brunning (D) in a bruising Senate primary battle, 55 percent to 45 percent. Though Lieutenant Governor Fisher won, the margin of victory was closer than expected, and has left Fisher short of funds, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Fisher will face former Rep. Rob Portman (R) in the race for retiring GOP Sen. George Voinovich’s seat.
In Indiana, Rep. Dan Burton (R), a 28-year incumbent, survived his primary battle with just 30 percent of the vote. He faced six challengers in the primary, who divided the anti-Burton/anti-Washington-establishment sentiment.