Polls opened around the country this morning for the last major round of primaries before the midterm general elections in November. Today, voters are going to the polls in Delaware, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Wisconsin.
In almost all cases, the central question is whether voters will choose a candidate from the GOP establishment or the Tea Party. The majority of these races are still competitive.
Maryland Republican Senatorial Primary
[UPDATED: 12:23 a.m.]
While the race is still pretty close, it looks like Wargotz just might be able to hang on to his lead and claim victory tonight. With 75 percent of the precincts in, Wargotz is at 38.4 percent – seven points ahead of Rutledge.
Roughly 21 percent of the votes are now in. Wargotz now holds the lead- but barely. He’s up with 34.6percent to Rutledge’s 32.6 percent. In the election world, that is still a virtual tie.
Votes are coming in slow and steady in Maryland, with two percent counted in the Senate primary race. So far, Jim Rutledge us up 35.5 percent. In second place is Eric Wargotz at 31.6 percent.
In other Maryland news, Robert Ehrlich has won the GOP gubernatorial primary against Brian Murphy. It was a solid win – 82 percent for Ehrlich against Murphy’s 17.7 percent.
In Maryland, a handful of Republicans are vying to face incumbent senator Barbara Mikulski. Polls suggest that it will be a tough race, however, which has convinced state Republicans to focus their time and money on the governor’s race.
New Hampshire Republican Senatorial Primary
[UPDATED: 12:19 p.m.]
As close elections go, the New Hampshire primary clearly takes the cake tonight. With 45 percent of the votes in, Lomantagne and Ayotte are literally tied at 38 percent. Only time will tell if New Hampshire follows with the anti-establishment trend or not.
Roughly 20 percent of the votes are in so far in New Hampshire. Lamontagne still holds the lead with 44.1 percent to Ayotte’s 36.2 percent. Still too far out to call.
Roughly 9 percent of votes have been counted in New Hampshire. And once again, the momentum is on the side of the anti-establishment candidate. Ovide Lamontagne is ahead of Kelly Ayotte – 49.1 to 33.6 percent. The early lead is surprising, considering the last poll had Ayotte ahead. Now it seems another Tea Party win just might be possible.
In New Hampshire, there is a multi-candidate field of Republicans running to replace returning Sen. Judd Gregg. The two frontrunners are Palin-backed Kelly Ayotte, and an attorney and Tea Party Express favorite named Ovide Lamontagne.
In what has become a familiar scenario in primaries this season, Ayotte is regarded as the establishment candidate, while Lamontagne has positioned himself as the Washington outsider. Though Ayotte has been leading in polls (September 1 had her at 34 percent, and her closest challenger – Lamontagne at 21 percent), a September 12 poll had her at 37 percent and Lamontagne at 30 percent.
What national recognition Ayotte does have at this point, comes from a 2006 Supreme Court case that occurred while she was state Attorney General – Ayotte v Planned Parenthood. Her defense of New Hampshire’s parental notification law earned her another nickname from Palin: “pro-life warrior.”
The New Hampshire race is noteworthy because it is one of five states in which a Republican senator a retiring. A GOP loss in any of those states would likely derail the GOP’s chances of regaining a majority in November.
Rhode Island Republican Gubernatorial Primary
[UPDATED: 12:14 a.m.]
The gubernatorial primary in Rhode Island is settled. With 100 percent of the votes in, Robitaille closed the night with a 30-point lead over Moffitt.
In Rhode Island, 59.5 percent of votes are in and John Robitaille seems to be the clear winner. He is currently at 69.1 percent. Moffit has received 30.9 percent of the votes.
Republicans in Rhode Island will decide today whom to nominate for governor, former state rep Victor Moffit, or John Robitaille – a former Army officer and a small businessman.
New York Republican Senatorial Primary
[UPDATED: 12:10 a.m.]
Looks like Joe Dioguardi will most likely be the Republican nominee to face off against Senator Kristen Gillibrand in New York this November. With 80 percent of precincts reporting, Diguardi is up with 42 percent. Malpass is only behind by four points, though, so a late surge is not completely out of the question.
Twenty-three percent of votes are in and Dioguardi is still in the lead with 41.1 percent. It is close, however, as David Malpass is at 39.7 percent. Again, it is way too early and close to call this one.
Early results in the New York senate race have Dioguardi up with 41.9 percent of the vote. Only 6.3 percent of the votes are in so this race is still up in the air.
New York’s Republican Senate primary is also today, in which voters will decide who to put up against incumbent Kristen Gillibrand. Polls show former Rep. Joe Dioguardi in the lead, but give him little chance of beating Gillibrand in November. Dioguardi also happens to be the father of former American Idol judge, Kara Dioguardi.
New York Republican Gubernatorial Primary
[UPDATED: 11:38 p.m.]
Carl Palladino is now the projected victor in the gubernatorial race. Other than O’Donnell in Delaware, this could be the biggest upset of the night. Lazio was assumed a shoe-in from the very beginning. But with 67 percent of the precincts in, Palladino is the clear winner with 64.3 percent. Clearly, “mad as hell” resonated with voters.
In other New York news, Charles Rangel, in the 15th district, is only at 46.8 percent with 14 percent of votes reported.
Thirty percent of the votes are in and Palladino still has a huge lead over Lazio. Chances that Lazio can still pull out ahead are slim to none. Again, this is a major upset for the GOP establishment.
Well, 9.6 percent of votes are in and Palladino still holds the lead with 68 percent. New York’s gubernatorial primary is turning out to be one of the night’s biggest upsets.
Palladino, the “mad as hell” Republican candidate for Governor, is ahead in the primary tonight, with 5.6 percent reporting. And he is winning big with 73.4 percent to Lazio’s 26.6 percent. Though slightly unconventional, Palladino could very well become yet another victory tonight for the Tea Party.
In New York, Republicans will choose between former Rep. Rick Lazio, and developer and Tea Party-backed candidate Carl Paladino to run against Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in November’s gubernatorial election. The most recent poll has the candidates virtually tied.
The closeness of the race stunned many, since a poll last month showed Lazio leading 43 to 30 percent. If Paladino wins tonight, it will make for one colorful general election race. Paladino, whose campaign slogan is “mad as hell,” has admitted to fathering a child with a former employee, sending videos of bestiality porn to associates and has been known to call the state’s Assembly speaker “Hitler” and the “Antichrist.”
In other words, Palladino isn’t any party’s typical candidate.
Wisconsin Republican Gubernatorial Primary
[UPDATED: 11:33 p.m.]
The race in Wisconsin has been called, with Walker the clear winner. With 59 percent of the precincts reporting, Walker wins with an almost 20-point lead over Neumann. Another anti-establishment win in the bag!
Twenty percent of votes have now been counted in Wisconsin. Walker has managed to hang on to a semi-comfortable lead at 52.1 percent. Neumann stands at 45 percent.
Roughly 2 percent of votes have been counted so far in Wisconsin. As of right now, Scott “Brown Bag Guy” Walker is in the lead with 52.5 percent. There seems to be a trend as results are coming in. If Walker wins tonight, he’ll be another anti-establishment candidate to claim victory.
In Wisconsin, Scott Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, and Mark Neumann, and former congressman, are vying for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Walker has consistently polled in the lead.
Walker has successfully defined himself as a down-to-earth man of the people, bringing brown bag lunches to work and cutting his own government salary. Since 2002, Walker has voluntarily forgone more than $370,000. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Tom Barrett.
Delaware: Republican Senatorial Primary
[UPDATED: 9:12 p.m.]
CNN is now projecting O’Donnell as the winner in Delaware over Mike Castle (of course with the small caveat that she won’t win in November). But all signs look good for the 41-year old O’Donnell. Seventy-seven percent in, with O’Donnell at 53.9 percent. Seems the Tea Party Express has another victory to put under their belt.
The votes keep getting counted, and O’Donnell remains in the lead. Roughly 37 percent of votes are in and O’Donnell is still up – 55.4 percent to Castle’s 44.6 percent.
Polls have been closed in Delaware for approximately 30 minutes. Early projections show O’Donnell in the lead – 52.3 percent to Castle’s 47.7 percent. Things are looking up for the Tea Party. Of course only eight percent of votes have been reported, but an early lead puts the momentum on the side of O’Donnell and the Tea Party Express.
The most interesting (and entertaining) race by far is the battle in Delaware for the GOP nomination for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat. The race pits liberal Republican Rep. Mike Castle against Christine O’Donnell, who has been endorsed by the Tea Party Express, as well as by Sen. Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin.
Yet while the polls have been close, the candidates definitely have not.
On Monday, the Tea Party Express released an ad calling on Delaware state GOP Chairman and Castle supporter Tom Ross to resign his position and run for “dog catcher.”
In a press release last week, Ross had this to say about O’Donnell: “Is Christine O’Donnell actually this unhinged from reality? Or is she simply a liar, whose total lack of respect for Delaware voters leads her to deliberately and repeatedly deny the clear facts surrounding her many personal and professional failures?”
The release came on the heels of a disastrous interview O’Donnell gave with Neil Cavuto on in which she denied allegations about her financial status – that she owes back taxes, she’s had to foreclose on her home and that she didn’t pay her college tuition.
O’Donnell also publicly accused Castle’s staffers of vandalizing her home and following her. “They’ve been sabotaging my candidacy since 2008,” said O’Donnell in an interview with the Weekly Standard.
Questions also arose over O’Donnell’s lawsuit against her former employer, the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute, for wrongful termination. O’Donnell claimed she suffered “mental anguish” and “emotional pain” because of gender discrimination, and sued for nearly $7 million.
At the polls today, Delaware Republicans will have to decide between a Tea Party candidate whom even many conservative observers believe cannot get elected to the senate, and a product of the liberal GOP establishment who likely can. It has been one of most bitter primaries in memory.
Massachusestts Republican Gubernatorial Primary
A Republican gubernatorial primary is taking place in Massachusetts as well. All signs say businessman Charles Baker has the nomination in the bag. In November, he’ll be facing current and notably unpopular governor Deval Patrick.