What To Look For In Today’s Primaries

It’s the biggest primary day of the year (so far), with six states holding contests.  Here’s what’s at stake:

ARKANSAS (polls close at 8:30 pm ET):

Senate — Neither incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor, seeking a second term, nor his Republican challenger, freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, is facing a primary challenge.  They will square off in November in a key Senate matchup.

Governor — There are primary contests to succeed term-limited Gov. Mike Beebe (D), but Democrat Mike Ross and Republican Asa Hutchinson — both former congressmen — are clear favorites to win their respective nominations.  They face minor candidates in the primaries.

Lt. Gov. — The incumbent, Republican Mark Darr, resigned in February over ethics charges.  Congressman Tim Griffin, who had already announced his retirement, jumped into the race and faces state Reps. Andy Mayberry and Debra Hobbs.  The Democratic nominee will be former highway commissioner John Burkhalter.

2nd CD — In the GOP race to succeed LG hopeful Griffin, banking executive French Hill is the favorite against state Rep. Ann Clemmer and retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds.  The Democratic nominee will be Patrick Henry Hays.

4th CD — The GOP race to succeed Senate candidate Cotton is between state House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman and energy investor Tommy Moll.  The likely Democratic candidate is former FEMA director James Lee Witt.

Waiting for November: Senate hopefuls Nunn (D-Ga.) and Cotton (R-Ark.)
Waiting for November: Senate hopefuls Nunn (D-Ga.) and Cotton (R-Ark.)

GEORGIA (polls close at 7 pm ET):

Senate — Incumbent Saxby Chambliss (R) is retiring after two terms.  The Republican primary to succeed him, which is almost certainly going to be decided in a July 22 runoff, is among three House Republicans — Reps. Jack Kingston, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey — along with former Dollar General Corp. CEO David Perdue (a cousin of ex-Gov. Sonny Perdue) and former Secretary of State Karen Handel.  The Democratic nominee is all but certainly going to be first-time candidate Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn.  Her main opponent in the primary is former state Sen. Steen Miles, who is black.

GovernorNathan Deal (R), seeking a second term, faces former Dalton Mayor David Pennington and state Schools Superintendent John Barge in the GOP primary.  The Democratic nominee will be state Sen. Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.

1st CD — In the race to succeed Senate hopeful Kingston, state Sen. Buddy Carter is the GOP favorite but may be forced into a July runoff by either physician Bob Johnson or John McCallum, a former aide to Newt Gingrich.

4th CD — In this black-majority district, incumbent Rep. Hank Johnson (D) faces former DeKalb Co. Sheriff Tom Brown.

10th CD — Among those hoping to succeed Senate candidate Broun in the GOP primary are businessman Mike Collins, the son of ex-Rep. Mac Collins; state Rep. Donna Sheldon, the only woman in the race; radio talk show host Jody Hice; and veteran Stephen Simpson.

11th CD — One thing most observers agree on in the battle to succeed Senate candidate Gingrey is that former Rep. Bob Barr is likely to make the runoff.  The real battle is over the identity of his opponent, which could be businesswoman Tricia Pridemore, ex-state Sen. Barry Loudermilk or state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey.

IDAHO (all polls close by 11 pm ET) :

Senate — Incumbent Jim Risch (R), facing a totally unknown GOP opponent, is assured of the nomination, as is likely Democratic opponent Nels Mitchell, an attorney making his first run for office.  Mitchell faces William Bryk, who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., has never been to Idaho, and is running for office in two other states as well.

Governor — Incumbent Butch Otter faces state Sen. Russ Fulcher and two others in the GOP primary.  The likely Democratic nominee is A.J. Balukoff.

2nd CD — Rep. Mike Simpson, an eight-term Republican, faces attorney Bryan Smith, who has the support of tea party groups and the Club for Growth.  Former Rep. Richard Stallings (D), who held the seat from 1985 until he left to run for the Senate in 1992, is seeking a comeback.

KENTUCKY (all polls close by 7 pm ET):

Senate:  Five term GOP incumbent Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority whip, faces businessman Matt Bevin, who is backed by many tea party and conservative groups.  Three other Republicans are on the ballot.  Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is the clear favorite on the Democratic side; she faces nominal opposition from three candidates.  

OREGON (polls close at 11 pm ET):

Senate — First-term Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) will face the winner of the GOP primary between frontrunners Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon, and state Rep. Jason Conger.

PENNSYLVANIA (polls close at 8 pm ET):

Governor — Four Democrats battle each other for the right to take on Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in the fall:  businessman Tom Wolf, 13th CD Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord and former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty.

6th CD — In the race to succeed the retiring Rep. Jim Gerlach (R), the likely nominees are Ryan Costello (R) and Manan Trivedi (D).

9th CD — Rep. Bill Shuster (R) faces Art Halvorson in the GOP primary.

13th CD — In the Democratic primary to succeed gov. candidate Schwartz, the field includes ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies, state Rep. Brendan Boyle and state Sen. Daylin Leach.

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