Primaries Tomorrow

Lots and lots of primaries tomorrow -- then things will slow down for a while, with just a few here and there until they start picking up again in late August.

There's also some primary run-offs, most notably the one in Arkansas between Blanche Lincoln and Bill Halter. If Halter wins -- which I suspect he will, although polling shows it close -- Lincoln will be the third incumbent US Senator to be denied nomination this year, along with Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Bill Bennett of Utah. There are another 11 who aren't running (6 Republicans and 5 Democrats), which means at least 14 freshman next January, and likely more to come. If you're wondering, the record in the nearly 100 years since direct election of Senators began is 20 freshmen, in the 1978 elections.

Here in New England, Maine voters will be picking their gubernatorial candidates; I suspect we'll get Democrat Libby Mitchell against Republican Les Otten, but I've learned over the years not to think that I can predict the behavior of Maine voters.

Women Republican candidates -- one of my obsessions, as I'm sure you know -- look poised to do well in several high-profile primaries. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina appear very likely to become the GOP nominees for California governor and Senator, respectively. Sharron Angle has surged to a big lead in the polls in the Nevada Senate primary (at the expense of former frontrunner Sue Lowden), and Nikki Haley has done the same for South Carolina governor.

The picture is different in US House races. The best shot is Cecile Bledsoe, in a runoff in the Arkansas 3rd district; she finished in a distant second place, but if she can consolidate votes she's got a chance, with the primary winner nearly certain of victory in November. Other than that, there are 23 women challenging in the 96 districts holding primaries tomorrow -- almost all of them in impossible territory for Republicans (ie, Nancy Pelosi's district) or in similarly hopeless scenarios. The best chance is in the California 11th, where the highly touted Elizabeth Emken is in a tough primary fight in a "lean Dem" rated race.

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