Political roundup: Key House and Senate races, simplified

Welcome to the first installment of The Daily Caller’s weekly roundup of the must-watch House and Senate races that are grabbing national interest. Stay tuned as November approaches.

1) Six states held primaries Tuesday: California, New Mexico, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Two Democratic primaries on opposite sides of the country put President Barack Obama and his predecessor, former President Bill Clinton, at odds with each other as Clinton continued to come under fire for appearing critical of the Obama campaign.

In New Jersey, redistricting pitted two incumbents against each other in the 9th District. Clinton endorsed Rep. Bill Pascrell, while Obama supported his opponent, Rep. Steve Rothman, who endorsed Obama in 2008. Pascrell ultimately won by a massive 61-38 margin. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews speculated that Clinton made his endorsement to help his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Rothman has been discussed as a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.

The two presidents were again at loggerheads in California’s new 30th District, with Obama supporting Rep. Howard Berman and Clinton endorsing Rep. Brad Sherman. In this battle of incumbents, Sherman prevailed.

Tuesday’s primaries also set the stage for what is expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races this year, in New Mexico. Rep. Martin Heinrich clinched the Democratic nomination; he will face off against former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson.

2) In Texas, David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz are still battling it out for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The two are in a runoff battle since Dewhurst failed to capture 50 percent of the vote in the primary. This week in a play for the Latino vote, the native English-speaking Houstonian Lt. Gov. Dewhurst challenged Cruz, the Cuban American former Texas Solicitor General, to a debate in Spanish.

Cruz said he would rather discuss the issues publicly in English.

On Thursday, a state Republican Convention crowd booed Texas Gov. Rick Perry when he reiterated his support for his Lieutenant Governor — not a good sign for Dewhurst.