Politico is updating with returns from all four states. Two plotlines for you tonight. One: There’s a Gingrich/Huckabee vs. Palin proxy war happening in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Georgia. Newt and Huck backed Nathan Deal, who’s narrowly ahead with 15 percent of the precincts reporting as I write this, and Sarahcuda chose Karen Handel, not only anointing her a “mama grizzly” but turning up in the state to campaign for her. If Deal wins, expect much media navel-gazing tomorrow about What It All Means vis-a-vis Palin’s brand.
The other big one, and even more fun for political junkies, is the Bennet/Romanoff showdown in the Democratic senate primary in Colorado. Remember, Romanoff was the guy whom The One tried to bribe into getting out of the race; as if that’s not sweet enough, Bill Clinton turned around and endorsed him in late June, making this a glorious Obama/Clinton proxy war. Bennet, as the incumbent, is the favorite, but Romanoff’s been creeping up and it’s now too close to call. Another fun fact: Bennet was enough of an ObamaCare shill that he once told CNN he’d happily risk his job in order to pass the bill. Here’s hoping he’s finished off tonight.
Update (Ed): Minnesota only has a couple of interesting races in this primary, one in each party. The DFL (Minnesota’s Democratic Party) has to nominate a gubernatorial candidate, since as happens almost every time, the major candidates at the convention refused to abide by the state convention’s endorsement. It looks as though DFL voters will take a pass on endorsed candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher in favor of the man Time Magazine picked as the worst Senator in 2006, Mark Dayton. This may be a close race, but as Mitch Berg has covered extensively in the Green Room and at his blog Shot in the Dark, Dayton has poured well over a million dollars of his family money into the primary and will probably spend millions more in the general election if he wins the nomination as expected.
On the Republican side, Tom Emmer will cruise to victory over a handful of fringe leftovers from the convention; Emmer’s major opponents abided by the endorsement and support Emmer now. But the race for Attorney General is interesting, and potentially worrisome, for Minnesota Republicans. Chris Barden is a serious candidate and easily won the endorsement, but challenger Sharon Anderson managed to win a statewide primary years ago in similar circumstances despite being totally unqualified for the job. Barden needs a good turnout from the GOP in order to get the nomination.
Assuming everything plays out as expected tonight, expect big fireworks in the gubernatorial race here. Word is that Republicans here are very unhappy with the deceptive and nasty personal attacks over Emmer’s two ancient history convictions for careless driving from 20 and 30 years ago, and Dayton makes for a big, big target, especially with his hasty retreat from Washington DC in 2004.
Update: Oof, not even close. With 60 percent reporting and a solid eight-point lead, the race is called for Bennet. A rare win for The One in a tough race. Stand by for Deal/Handel results…