UPDATED WITH ELECTION RESULTS AT TOP
FormerÃ‚Â Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is the victor in the California GOP Senate primary, the Associated Press reported. Her win over former Rep. Tom Campbell sets up an electoral battle between she and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in November.
California Republicans nominated former eBay CEO Meg Whitman to run for governor, the AP projects.
Late-breaking returns show Sharron AngleÃ‚Â leading Sue Lowden in Nevada’s GOP Senate primary by a margin of 36 percent to 31 percent.
Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln won a closely contested runoff election, according to the AP, defeating Democrat Bill Halter by a narrow margin of 52 percent to 48 percent at time of this writing. If the results show less than a one percent spread between the candidates, the runner-up is entitled to request a recount.
South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley is the projected winner of the state’s GOP primary, but early returns noted by the AP show her with 49 percent of the vote, just shy of 50.01 percent needed to avoid a runoff. She will face runner-up candidate Gresham Barrett on June 22.
Solicitor Trey Gowdy is the projected winner of the GOP primary for South Carolina’s fourth congressional district, but has also fallen short of 50.01 percent of the vote according to the AP. He now moves into a runoff with runner-up Rep. Bob Inglis.
Original report follows…
Primary election contests got underway in several US states Tuesday, providing an important barometer of the public mood ahead of November’s crucial midterm balloting.
As President Barack Obama focuses squarely on the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Tuesday’s primaries will pick candidates for congressional and gubernatorial elections in which his Democrats fear heavy losses.
Big news is expected in several of the 12 primary races where establishment candidates are fighting for their political lives against a tide of anti-incumbency sentiment that has soared to record levels.
Other contests feature the insurgent “Tea Party” conservative movement, and in California two women business pioneers are grabbing headlines with their free-spending quests for high office.
In one high-profile race, Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln will find out whether she will become the latest high-profile lawmaker to fall prey to fury at incumbents as economic blight lingers.
Lincoln has called upon the formidable campaign skills of former president Bill Clinton, one of her state’s favorite sons, in an effort to win a fiercely-contested Democratic primary run-off against rival Bill Halter.
Halter tapped into the political mood, which has already ended the careers of several prominent politicians by branding Lincoln a creature of Washington oblivious to heartland anger.
Several recent polls have put Halter ahead in his bid to win the right to challenge the Republicans for the Arkansas seat in November, when all of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate is up for grabs.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll reported Tuesday that 71 percent of Americans disapproved of lawmakers’ performance in Congress, compared to 26 percent who approved.
Another closely-watched race Tuesday is in Nevada, when Republicans are choosing a candidate to take on Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, their number one target in November.
The apparent favorite is a former member of the desert and gambling state’s assembly Sharron Angle, who backs the right-wing Tea Party insurgency that has rocked Republican politics.
The Tea Party movement has demonstrated its power in some key nominating races in which the electorates are small and made up of only the most committed grass roots activists.
But it is unclear however whether it will be as potent in elections with a wide-ranging electorate, where moderates, independents and Democrats all play important roles.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll also indicated support for the movement was waning, with 50 percent of Americans now holding an unfavorable view of the group, up from 39 percent in March.
In California, there could be a coup for hi-tech business as two powerful businesswomen seek prominent places on the Republican Party ticket.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is seeking the party nomination for what would likely be a colorful battle against Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer, who is bracing for a tough reelection fight in November.
Meg Whitman, a former eBay CEO meanwhile is tipped to win the party’s gubernatorial nod to battle Democrats to succeed California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who cannot seek reelection as he is term limited.
California’s primary campaign is already the most expensive in state history, with billionaire Whitman pumping in an astounding 68 million dollars of her personal fortune into her election bid to date.
If Whitman wins, she will be the first woman nominated for governor by the California Republican Party. California has never elected a woman governor.
South Carolina, renowned for hardball politics, is not disappointing this year, as Republicans wage a brutal bid for the party’s gubernatorial ticket.
Frontrunner Nikki Haley has denied repeated allegations of marital affairs, which she blames opponents for spreading.
South Carolina is no stranger to controversy swirling around the Governor’s mansion — the current resident, Republican Mark Sanford, mysteriously disappeared last year, then resurfaced and confessed to an affair with a secret lover in Argentina.
More routine party nominating fights will also unfold Tuesday in Iowa, Utah, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia.
With additional reporting by RAW STORY.