Tonight was a big night in primary-land with some expected, some unexpected, some disappointing, and some cliffhanging results.
Arkansas: Blanche Lincoln squeaks by Bill Halter
Despite Bill Halter's slight lead in the polls, Blanche Lincoln took the lead in votes from the first returns and never gave it back, squeaking through the runoff by a 9,500 vote margin as of this writing, winning the Democratic nomination to run against Republican John Boozman in November.
It appears that voter turnout was down slightly from the May 18th primary. In that race, a total of 324,216 votes were cast. In this one, with 83% reporting, 213,818 votes had been cast. Extrapolation of that result gives me an estimated voter turnout of 257,600 or so. This might not be such a big deal, but there are lingering questions about the integrity of this runoff, given that one county only had two polling places for this runoff instead of the 40 open for the primary. A lawsuit has been filed; voter disenfranchisement alleged.
California message: Rich corporate washout women win
Yep, that's right. Carly Fiorina will run against Barbara Boxer for the US Senate, and Meg Whitman will face Jerry Brown for Governor. Tom Campbell, Chuck Devore, and Steve Poizner were left in the dust. Sarah Palin can finally put a winner (Fiorina) in her column, and we're off to the races. Whitman spent $81 million ($71 million of her own money) on the primary. And they say Republicans are conservative.
On the ballot initiatives, Californians bear-hugged open primaries but sent fair elections packing. Despite a harrowing first few hours of returns, it appears that enough Californians rejected the idea of P,G&E and Mercury Insurance buying custom-built laws to build up their business at taxpayers' expense, but it is not a shoe-in. It is 1:00 AM as I write this, and Prop 17 just flipped to NO 15 minutes ago. Prop 16 flipped at midnight or so. Prop 13 sailed to victory as did Prop 14.
In other news, Rep. Jane Harman overwhelmed challenger Marcy Winograd 59.3%-40.7%.
Seems that anti-incumbent sentiment didn't quite ooze all the way out to California.
Birther takes a bath
Orly Taitz lost big, but it still amazes me that nearly 300,000 California Republicans think she's worthy to run for or hold public office.
Nevada - Harry Reid has a very strange challenger: Sharron Angle
A lot of money went to Angle from the tea party groups in the last few months of the campaign, and with Sue Lowden doing the funky chicken, Angle pulled out the win, more or less guaranteeing Harry Reid his next term in the Senate. Angle isn't your ordinary conservative. She wants to repeal Social Security, Medicare, health care reform, and all regulations hindering offshore drilling. I think there may be some issues with that these days. There's more, but that link goes to a cached version of her website which may change since the live site is offline but for a donation page.
Senator Ensign's good buddy Gov. Gibbons lost his primary bid by 30 points (ouch!) to Judge Brian Sandoval, who will run against Democrat Rory Reid in November.
More on yesterday's primaries here.