Tuesday primaries: three stories to watch

As the days get shorter the political season is heating up. Primaries Tuesday will affect some of the most interesting races of the year, from Florida’s high-profile Senate contest to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s bid to survive a challenge from the right. Here's what to look for:

Will the establishment strike back?

Matt York/AP
J.D. Hayworth (pictured) picked a tough fight against Sen. John McCain in Tuesday's primary.

So far this year the success of insurgent candidates has been a big story. "Tea party" favorites Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky both knocked off GOP primary opponents who were preferred and pushed by state Republican insiders. In Colorado, conservative GOP District Attorney Ken Buck did the same thing, beating former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton.

Then there’s perhaps the biggest tree to fall in the forest this year, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who in the end could not save himself by jumping parties to the Democrats. His career was sawed off by Rep. Joe Sestak (D) in May.

Tuesday is the day the Empire – oops, the establishment – might get a measure of revenge.

If polls are any guide, Senator McCain may survive the insurgent candidacy of former Rep. J.D. Hayworth. Early on, McCain’s relative moderation on illegal immigration looked like it might doom him in a state where that has become a huge issue, but the former GOP presidential candidate has himself tacked right and remains the favorite.

In Florida, Rep. Kendrick Meek, the choice of state Democratic party leaders for the Senate, is now leading controversial billionaire investor Jeff Greene.

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