You can follow the results at Politico. Results from Florida should begin at 8 p.m. ET and then Arizona and (much later) Alaska thereafter. The glass-half-empty take: None of the really big races should be close. McCain’s a heavy favorite over Hayworth, Lisa Murkowski’s a heavy favorite over Palin-backed tea party candidate Joe Miller, and Kendrick Meek’s a heavy favorite over Jeff Greene. If those results hold, tomorrow’s what-it-all-means media spin — Establishment Crushes Insurgents! — is set in stone. The glass-half-full take: If the early results in any of these races look close, it’ll be a thrill ride for the rest of the night. Worth tuning in!
Subplots to look for tomorrow: (1) We’ve already been over the glories of a Meek victory. Assuming he finishes off Greene, the real winner tonight is Rubio. (2) If Miller flames out, it’ll start another round of “Is Palin losing her endorsement touch?” navel-gazing even though she was careful not to invest too much energy in what was always a longshot bid. Miller’s an impressive candidate (veteran, master’s degree, Ivy League law grad), but Murkowski pushed her seniority during the campaign to reassure Alaskans that she’ll continue to deliver the pork. As NBC says, “Bottom line: Alaskans like their ‘Bridges to Nowhere.'” (3) As for McCain, presumably victory tonight will kick off a new round of caterwauling from the press about how much they miss their Maverick, which is his cue to start tacking back to the left. A choice quote from Jim Inhofe, who’s none too pleased to see McCain on the brink of victory:
Inhofe, rated as one of the most conservative members of the upper chamber, attacked McCain’s conservative credentials and said he only gets elected because of his opposition to earmarks.
The Tulsa World wrote that Inhofe “attacked” McCain as a “closet liberal,” then quoted Inhofe as saying he “gets elected because of one thing — earmarks.”
If McCain’s lead in the polls holds up, Hayworth’s legacy is this: Somehow, in Arizona, in a year characterized by tea-party enthusiasm, facing a candidate who epitomizes what it means to be both establishment and a RINO in the minds of grassroots conservatives, he … got crushed. Even getting heavily outspent, how do you manage that?
Update: A formality taken care of in Florida: Rubio is now officially the GOP nominee for Senate.
Update: Wonderful news — the AP’s already called it for Meek, who was outspent five-to-one by Greene. Rubio’s giving his own nomination victory speech as I write this; he’s likely to be giving another one in November now.
Update: Geraghty flags an amazing stat: With roughly 50 percent of precincts reporting, the hotly contested Democratic Senate primary in Florida has drawn roughly 600,000 votes. The virtually uncontested Republican Senate primary? North of 900,000. I assume that’s an artifact of the gubernatorial race between Scott and McCollum drawing people out to the polls, but even so, the Meek/Greene contest should have made the margin closer than that. This bodes very well for November.