Elections Today: Massachusetts state senators, plus the national primary scene

Here in Massachusetts, we'll elect two new state senators today. One will be Sal DiDomenico, to replace Anthony Galluccio; the other will be either Republican Richard Ross or Democrat Peter Smulowitz, to replace Scott Brown. Both winners can expect serious challenges in November for a full term.

On the national scene, Nebraska and West Virginia hold primaries today, and Georgia has a special-election primary to replace congressman Nathan Deal, who is running for governor. Not much drama in Nebraska, and the Georgia race is just a matter of which conservative white guy gets the seat next.

West Virginia, however, has one worth watching, for two reasons. That's the 1st district, with incumbent Democrat Alan Mollohan trying to defend his seat, in a race considered a toss-up for November.

Mollohan first has to get past a primary against Mike Oliverio. This is not one of the challenges from the left against reps who voted against health care reform -- like Mac D'Allesandro locally against Steve Lynch, and a couple of decent showings in last week's North Carolina primaries. Quite the opposite: Oliverio is actually coming at Mollohan from the right, and has criticized the incumbent for voting for health care reform. Mollohan was a switcher, after voting no the first time, so he's one of those Dems in red-leaning districts who was willing (or forced) to walk the plank on that vote when stubborn antis like Lynch wouldn't do it.

On the GOP side of that race, one of the two top contenders is Sarah Minear, a former state senator and one of the best chances among the Republican women running for Congress this year.

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