Tuesday primary results: Murkowski in jeopardy, McCain wins big

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Aug. 25 – Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) could become the third Senate incumbent ousted in a primary this cycle as her underfunded challenger, attorney and Gulf war veteran Joe Miller, took a stunning and unexpected lead in the race early Wednesday.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Miller – who had held a narrow lead over his rival from the moment polls closed – led Murkowski 51% to 49%, a margin of about 1,960 votes. Miller credited the support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his lead against a much better known and funded incumbent. Miller had spent less than $200,000 as of early August, compared with more than $1.4 million for Murkowski.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that “the final results of the race won't be known for over a week. The Alaska Division of Elections said over 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and as of Monday night 7,600 had been returned.” The first count of absentees will be next Tuesday. There will be two subsequent counts as the absentee votes trickle in on Sept. 3 and on Sept. 8.”

In other primaries:

After spending more than $20 million of his own money, Arizona Sen. John McCain easily swept the GOP primary, beating conservative challenger J. D. Hayworth by 56% to 32%. McCain will face Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman (D) this fall.

Another Quayle could in headed to Congress. Ben Quayle, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, won the GOP primary in Arizona’s third district. The 33-year-old North Phoenix lawyer won Tuesday's primary with just 23% of the vote, five points clear of his nearest challenger, businessman Steve Moak, who had 18%.

In Florida, voters handed health care executive and Tea Party favorite Rick Scott an upset victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Scott, who spent more than $30 million of his own money on the race, defeated state Attorney General Bill McCollum by winning 46% of the vote compared to McCollum’s 43%.

Scott will face Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, who sailed to the Democratic nomination.

Money wasn’t enough to help billionaire investor Jeff Greene avoid a crushing defeat in the Democratic Senate primary race. Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek beat billionaire investor Jeff Greene by a 57-31% margin, setting up a three-way battle in the fall with former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) and Gov. Charlie Crist (I).

In Vermont, where Gov. Jim Douglas (R) is retiring, Republicans nominated Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie to succeed him, but there is no clear winner in the crowded Democratic primary.

The Associated Press is reporting of the 232 of 260 precincts, Peter Shumlin is currently in the lead with 16,960 votes. Doug Racine is close behind, with 16,839. Deb Markowitz is reported to have 16,039 votes, with Matt Dunne and Susan Bartlett rounding out the bottom, with 14,165 and 3,507 respectively.

Sen. Patrick Leahy easily defeated Democratic rival Daniel Freilich by 89% to 11%, with two-thirds of precincts reporting. Leahy will be a strong favorite against Republican Len Britton in the November election.

In Oklahoma, James Lankford defeated state Rep. Kevin Calvey in a runoff to be the GOP nominee for the seat formerly held by Rep. Mary Fallin, who is now the Republican nominee for Oklahoma Governor. With nearly 40 percent of precincts reporting, Lankford had 62 percent of the vote and Calvey had 39 percent.

Lankford will face Democrat Billy Coyle in the general election. In this heavily conservative district, though, the Republican primary is likely to be decisive.

In the state’s other primary race, Charles Thompson defeated Daniel Edmonds by a 64-36% margin, winning the right to oppose heavily favored Rep. Dan Boren (D).

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