Entries in Primaries (82)


Will Orrin Hatch, Charlie Rangel Survive Tuesday's Contests?

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Utah holds its state and presidential GOP primary on Tuesday, while New York, Colorado and Oklahoma hold state and congressional contests.

Of these primaries, there are two big contests to keep an eye on: the Utah Republican Senate primary between six-term incumbent Orrin Hatch and Tea Party-challenger Dan Liljenquist, and the Democratic primary in New York’s 13th Congressional District, where longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel faces a tough primary challenge.

In Utah, senior Sen. Orrin Hatch looks to be well-positioned to win his party’s nomination and, given the strong Republican leaning of the state, reclaim his seat in the fall.  Nevertheless, Hatch, 78, has faced something he hasn’t had to endure in more than 30 years: a primary challenge.

Hatch is being challenged by former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who, at age 37, was just 1 year old when the longtime Congress member was first elected to represent the people of Utah in the Senate.  Polling shows Hatch with a strong lead going into Tuesday.

In New York, Charlie Rangel, the third longest-serving member of Congress, faces an in-party challenge as well, from state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, along with several others.  Rangel has had his share of problems in recent years; the congressman who has served in the House for 42 years was found guilty on 11 out of 12 ethics violations in 2010 and was censured by the House of Representatives.  He was forced to step down from a leadership position on the Ways and Means committee, where he had previously served as chairman.

Rangel, 82, was also slowed down recently after undergoing back surgery in the spring.

But the ethics issues surrounding the congressman were known during his last re-election campaign in 2010 as well (though he had not yet been found guilty and censured) and ultimately, most political observers agree, they won’t be his downfall.  

Rangel faces a new constituency as a result of redistricting in this election and his new district expands to several Hispanic areas of the Bronx, which boosts the Dominican-American Espaillat, who is viewed as Rangel’s strongest challenger.

Rangel has a large cash advantage over Espaillat, raising $1 million to Espaillat’s $300,000.  There are several other challengers in the field as well, including Clyde Williams, a former Democratic National Committee staffer.

Rangel is expected to survive, but the outcome is far from certain.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What to Watch in Tuesday’s Voting Contests

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Voters take to the polls to cast their ballots in Arizona, Maine, Virginia, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina on Tuesday.  Residents of these respective states will decide on a series of contests including a special election, a crowded Republican Senate primary and a decision on whether to change a university nickname.

Here are the top four things to watch in Tuesday’s voting contests:

1.) Special Election in Arizona

The race to fill the seat left open by the retirement of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who stepped down from Congress in January, takes place Tuesday in Arizona’s 8th congressional district.  Ron Barber, Giffords’ former district director, and Jesse Kelly, a former marine who also ran against Giffords in 2010, will face off in the Republican-leaning district.  Polling shows Barber in the lead but the race is far from certain.

2.) Senate Primaries in Maine

When Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe announced her decision to retire in February, the Senate map for Democrats briefly looked very exciting.  Maine is considered to be a relatively blue state, and the state boasted a deep bench of potential Democratic contenders.  But both parties were thrown for a loop when former Independent Gov. Angus King announced he would be jumping in the race.  With many assuming King would ultimately end up caucusing with the Democrats (King has so far refused to commit to either party), the more-well known Dems in the state opted not to enter the race, while Republicans continued to enter in droves.  Six Republicans and four Democrats are on the ballot Tuesday, with an interesting three-way race soon to follow.

3.) North Dakota’s Nickname Referendum

In North Dakota, turnout is expected to be driven by two ballot measures -- a referendum to ban property taxes in the state, and a referendum on whether to discontinue the University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname.  The referendum -- known as Senate Bill 2370 -- asks voters to decide whether they would prefer to allow the university to discontinue the nickname or logo, or require the university to use said nickname and logo.  The school’s mascot has been under fire for some time, and the debate over retirement has been on-going.  Supporters of the measure argue that the nickname negatively affects the school’s athletics program (in addition, of course, to the argument that the nickname is offensive).  Polling indicates a majority of support for the measure.

If it passed, the nickname would not be changed until January, 2015 at the earliest, and it is not know what the new nickname and logo might be.  UND would join a relatively large group of universities who have retired Native American nicknames and mascots over the past several decades including Miami University, Seattle University and the College of William and Mary.

4.) Official Start of Close Key Senate Races in Virginia, Nevada and North Dakota

What do Virginia, Nevada and North Dakota have in common?  They’re all states with closely-watched, tightly contested Senate races this fall.  With Democrats holding onto the narrow majority in the Senate, Republicans are hoping to potentially pick-up seats in Virginia and North Dakota, while Democrats are hoping to pick one up in Nevada.

The candidates in these races are already virtually known (barring any surprise upsets).  In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine is running unopposed, and Republican George Allen is the clear front-runner in the GOP field.  In Nevada, Rep. Shelley Berkley is expected to officially claim the Democratic nomination, while Sen. Dean Heller will, in all likelihood, officially win the Republican nod.  And in North Dakota, former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination and Rep. Rick Berg is considered the likely GOP nominee.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Five Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Voting Contests

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Voters will head to the polls in six states on Tuesday, but one state -- Wisconsin -- reigns supreme in garnering national attention.  The Badger State holds its highly anticipated recall election in which embattled Republican Gov. Scott Walker faces off against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

In addition to the recall election, five states -- California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota -- hold state and presidential primaries.

Here are the five things to watch when the polls close Tuesday evening.

1. Wisconsin Recall

Arguably the biggest event on the political calendar between now and November, Wisconsin’s election to recall Gov. Scott Walker has been a hard-fought and expensive race. More than $60 million has been spent before Tuesday’s recall vote, which many view as a barometer of what might happen in the general election.

The election has been more than a year in the making, with the groundwork laid in the winter of 2011, when Walker, 44, proposed and passed legislation limiting collective bargaining rights for many public sector employees, infuriating labor unions across Wisconsin and the country.

Turnout is expected to be high.  The state’s Government Accountability Board, which oversees statewide elections, predicts a 60 to 65 percent turnout among the voting-age population -- an increase from the 2010 election when Walker and Barrett faced off the first time for governor.  Roughly 50 percent of the voting-age population turned out for that race.

Polls show Walker in the lead over Barrett, but it’s close. Both parties maintain that it all comes down to turnout.

2. Wisconsin State Senate

In addition to the governorship, Democrats are hoping to flip control of Wisconsin’s state Senate on Tuesday.

Walker is not the only incumbent on the ballot.  Four Republican state senators also face recall, plus Walker’s Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.  Wisconsin’s 33-member Senate is evenly split, with 16 representatives from both parties and one vacancy.  The results of Tuesday’s election will likely flip control to one party. Several Wisconsin state senators have already faced recall elections, and two Republicans have lost their seats.

3. California’s Big Congressional Change

A redistricted congressional map is expected to yield a sizable change in California’s 53-member congressional delegation.  For the first time in the state’s history, the Bear Republic’s map was drawn not by the legislature but by a nonpartisan, redistricting commission.  The result is a map that looks very different from the one preceding it.  Six members are retiring -- four Republicans and two Democrats.

The congressional primaries are “top two” primaries. The top two finishers on the ballot will face off in the general election, regardless of their party affiliation, which means that heavily Democratic districts will likely see Democrat vs. Democrat in November, and vice-versa for traditionally Republican districts.

4. Obama vs. Clinton in New Jersey House Race

Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman are fighting for their political lives in New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District, where redistricting has redrawn the map for both Democrats.

Rothman endorsed Obama in 2008, and while Obama has not publicly endorsed Rothman, he did meet with him privately at the White House last week.

Pascrell endorsed Hillary Clinton, and this cycle Bill Clinton has returned the favor, endorsing Pascrell and campaigning on his behalf.

5.  Cigarette Tax Proposal

California is associated in the cultural zeitgeist as a land of healthy living, but the state hasn’t raised its cigarette tax in more than a decade.  That could change on Tuesday as voters cast ballots on Proposition 29, a statewide initiative to add a $1 a pack tax to cigarettes, the proceeds of which would go to fund cancer research.

The referendum has drawn a great deal of attention in the state -- $47 million has been spent in advertisements.  Some of the major criticism of the referendum has been aimed at the ultimate source for the proceeds.  California faces a multi-billion dollar deficit, and opponents of the law have questioned the logic behind adding a new tax that would ultimately go to funding research as opposed to closing some of that deficit.

Polling shows a narrow majority of support for the measure, but the outcome is anyone’s guess.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Wins Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries, Outperforms Obama in Both States

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney’s victories Tuesday night in Arkansas and Kentucky may have been foregone conclusions, but besides two more batches of delegates on his way to the 1,144 he needs to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, they also gave him something else -- bragging rights over President Obama.

In Kentucky, Romney, who is expected to clinch the nomination after the Texas primary on May 29, received a higher percentage of the vote in the Republican presidential primary than Obama received in the Democratic presidential primary. With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 67 percent of the vote, while Obama had 58 percent.  

Obama did receive more votes than Romney in Kentucky -- 119,284 to 117,599.

In Arkansas, results are still in the early stages of being counted, but with 33 percent of precincts reporting, Obama has 61.5 percent of the vote, and his Democratic challenger, John Wolfe, a lawyer from Tennessee, has 38.5 percent. Romney, comparatively, has received 69.5 percent of the vote.

Arkansas and Kentucky are not considered competitive states in the general election; ABC News rates both states as solid Republican. Nevertheless, the strong showing by “uncommitted” and a relatively unknown candidate in his own party’s primary could be viewed as an embarrassment for Obama, particularly coming on the heels of the strong performance of federal inmate Keith Judd in West Virginia’s primary earlier this month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries: What to Watch For

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Arkansas and Kentucky hold their state and presidential primaries on Tuesday.

A total of 81 delegates are at stake in the GOP presidential primaries, which will undoubtedly bring Mitt Romney much closer to, although still slightly short of, the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination.  Romney currently has 992 delegates, ABC News projects.

Mathematically speaking, Romney will not be able to hit the 1,144 mark on Tuesday.  That is expected to happen next week, when Texas holds its primary on May 29. 

The races to watch on Tuesday will be the Democratic presidential primaries in Arkansas and Kentucky.

In Arkansas, John Wolfe, an attorney from Tennessee, is on the ballot against President Obama.  Obama’s approval ratings are low in Arkansas, and Wolfe could easily get a sizable percentage of the vote, potentially even pulling off a victory.  Recent polling showed Wolfe close to Obama in the state.

Arkansas is not a state that anyone expects Obama to carry in November.  ABC News rates the state as solidly Republican.  Nevertheless, losing to or just narrowly defeating a largely unknown candidate in his party’s primary would be embarrassing for the Obama campaign, particularly after federal inmate Keith Judd received 40 percent of the vote in West Virginia’s primary earlier this month.

There is no named opponent on the Democratic primary ballot in Kentucky other than Obama, but voters will have the option of checking off “uncommitted.” 

Kentucky is another state in which Obama has low approval ratings, and where no one expects him to win in the general election.  Still, a poor showing to an “uncommitted” box in an intra-party contest will hardly be uplifting for Obama.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What to Watch for in Oregon, Nebraska and Idaho Voting Contests

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Voters will go to the polls in Idaho, Nebraska and Oregon on Tuesday.

Oregon and Nebraska both host their presidential primary contests, though those races have ceased to get any significant levels of attention now that the GOP race is all but decided. 

Idaho holds its state and congressional primary, the first closed primary in the state’s history.

Here’s a list of four things to watch for Tuesday night:

Nebraska Senate Primary

The Nebraska Senate race will be a key race for Republicans and Democrats in the fall.  Republicans view the state as one of their best chances to pick up a seat from Democrats, particularly since the retirement announcement of Nebraska’s Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

Republican and Democratic voters in Nebraska will both select their nominees for the race on Tuesday.  On the Democratic side, Bob Kerrey, the former governor and senator for the state, is considered the likely nominee.  The Republican race is more fluid.

There are three candidates in the Republican race: Jon Bruning, the state’s attorney general, Deb Fischer, a state senator, and state treasurer Don Stenberg.  Bruning, 43, has long been considered the favorite, but heading into the primary he faces a late in the game surge from Fischer, 61.


Strong turnout is sometimes interpreted as a sign of enthusiasm, as was the case in Wisconsin’s primary for their recall election last week.  Republicans were heartened by the strong turnout for Gov. Scott Walker, despite the fact that he was already the presumed candidate (after all, he is the one being recalled).

In Nebraska, turnout will be driven at least to some degree by the senate primary.  Nevertheless, strong turnout for either side in Nebraska and Oregon will likely be interpreted as a sign of enthusiasm about the general election in those states.


At stake in Tuesday’s contest are 63 delegates, though the 35 delegates in Nebraska will not actually be awarded until July, as Tuesday’s primary is a beauty contest.  Mitt Romney has 973 delegates, according to ABC News calculations, a little less than 200 delegates shy of the 1,144 he needs to win his party’s nomination.

It is mathematically impossible for Romney to hit 1,144 on Tuesday night.  The earliest that can happen is May 29, when Texas holds its primary.

The Surprise Factor

Last week, the primary development that had everyone talking was the surprisingly strong performance of federal inmate Keith Judd in the Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia.  Though it was well known that President Obama is not exactly popular in the Mountain State, the 40 percent of the vote Judd received still took observers by surprise.

There are no prison inmates on the ballot in Oregon or Nebraska’s Democratic primaries, but a surprise factor like a strong performance by “uncommitted” against Obama in Nebraska, or a big turnout in either party’s primaries in Oregon, could still emerge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney’s 3-State Win Edges Toward Delegate Clinch

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It was a sweep for Mitt Romney in the presidential primaries in Indiana, West Virginia and North Carolina Tuesday. With three more victories under his belt, Romney moves closer to reaching the 1,144 delegates he needs to officially clinch the Republican Party’s nomination for president.

The presidential primaries received little to no attention, from the media and from Romney himself on Tuesday. At this point in the cycle, barring an upset from Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the only other GOP candidate who is still in the race, the contests are mostly an accumulation of delegates.

Going into Tuesday, Romney had 856 delegates, by ABC News calculations. The delegate tallies for each state are still being determined, but with a total of 132 delegates at stake, Romney will not reach the 1,144 on Tuesday. The earliest that can happen is by Texas’s primary, which will take place on May 29.

The 132 delegates -- 31 in West Virginia, 46 in Indiana and 55 in North Carolina -- will be doled out on a proportional basis, meaning it is mathematically possible for Paul, or even Santorum or Gingrich -- who are still on the ballot -- to pick up a delegate here or there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Five Takeaways for Tuesday’s Primary Battles

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The GOP may have their presumptive nominee, but Tuesday’s voting contests will still hold important clues to the overall outlook for the GOP -- and in Wisconsin for both parties -- in the months ahead.

Presidential primary contests will take place Tuesday in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.  Primaries in North Carolina and West Virginia could indicate Mitt Romney’s support level in a geographic region he has previously failed to carry.

There are also a slew of important races further down the ticket on Tuesday, with Indiana holding a closely watched Senate primary, Wisconsin holding their Democratic primary for their recall election, and North Carolina’s ballot including a same-sex marriage referendum.

Here’s a look at the top five things to watch out for:

1. Indiana Senate

It’s likely that the presidential primary will be the secondary motivation for many Indiana voters on Tuesday.  The primary battle between six-term incumbent Richard Lugar and Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock is sure to be a driving force for Hoosier voters.  The latest polling showed Lugar trailing Mourdock by double digits, though Mourdock’s lead decreased slightly when “leaners” -- voters who said they might change their mind before Tuesday -- were factored out.

2. Wisconsin’s Democratic Primary

Wisconsin’s presidential primary may have come and gone, but there’s another race in Wisconsin that’s garnering most of the public’s attention: the recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  On Tuesday, voters will take to the polls to select the Democratic nominee to face off against Walker in the June 5 recall.   Recent polls showed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with a strong lead over former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.  Polls also showed Barrett, who ran against Walker for governor in 2010, in a dead heat with Walker.  Falk trails Walker in the polls.

3. North Carolina’s Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

A proposed constitutional amendment is up for a vote in North Carolina.  The proposed legislation decrees that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”  If passed, this amendment -- Amendment One -- would not only outlaw same-sex marriage in the state (same-sex marriage is not currently legal in N.C.), it would ban any other legal union besides marriage for all couples -- gay and straight.  Polling shows the legislation is likely to pass.

4. Romney’s performance in North Carolina, West Virginia

The one region of the country that has alluded Romney during the primary cycle is the South.  The presumptive GOP nominee has claimed victories in the Northeast, the West and the Midwest, but he has yet to claim victory in a southern state besides Virginia, where several of his competitors failed to qualify for the ballot.  With Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both gone from the race, Romney will carry North Carolina and West Virginia on Tuesday, but the question remains as to how much of the vote he’ll actually receive.

5. Those delegate numbers

Romney has 856 delegates so far, ABC News projects, a little less than 300 shy of the magic 1,144 a candidate needs to officially win the GOP’s nomination.  In Tuesday’s contests, 132 total delegates are at stake, each of which will be doled out proportionally, meaning it is mathematically possible for Romney to fall short of claiming each and every delegate.

Even if Romney does manage to pick up every delegate in Tuesday’s contest, he will still end the night with only 988 delegates.  Depending on Tuesday’s performance -- and his performance in upcoming states like Arkansas, Kentucky and Oregon -- the earliest Romney could hit 1,144 is by the Texas primary, on May 29.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Takes Hold of GOP, Seeks to Reintroduce Himself to Electorate

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Mitt Romney took the reins of the Republican Party in New Hampshire Tuesday night, vowing to put an “end to the disappointments” of the Obama administration while making the pivot to the general election official, acknowledging the need to reintroduce himself to the coveted electorate.

“Tonight is the beginning of the end of the disappointments of the Obama years, and it’s the start of a new and better chapter that we will write together,” said Romney, who spoke just 30 miles from where he launched his bid for the White House last spring.

“After 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and more than a few long nights, I can say with confidence -- and gratitude -- that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility,” said Romney on an evening when he won primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.  “And, together, we are going to win on Nov. 6.”

Describing the primary race as an “extraordinary journey,” Romney noted that many voters may be ”just now beginning to focus on the choice before the country.”

“In the days ahead, I’ll look forward to spending time with many of you personally,” he said.  “I want to hear what’s on your mind, hear about your concerns and learn about your families.  I want to know what you think we can do to make this country better and what you expect from your next president.”

“And I’ll tell you a little bit about myself.  I’ll start out talking about my wonderful wife, Ann, of course,” said Romney, whose wife had introduced him.

“I’ll probably bore you with stories about my sons and my grandkids,” said Romney, later joined by his eldest son, Tagg, and two of his grandsons.

Romney’s speech, titled, “A Better America Starts Tonight,” was the sign post of the campaign’s shift to the general election, a senior adviser to the candidate’s campaign told reporters earlier on Tuesday.  The next phase of the campaign, the advisor said, “will be marked by more direct engagement with President Obama and his campaign.”

On Tuesday night, Romney did just that, characterizing the Obama years as a time during which “we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney Sweeps Northeastern Primaries

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney won the primaries in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania Tuesday night, padding his already seemingly insurmountable delegate lead in the Republican presidential nomination race, but rival Newt Gingrich vowed that “conservatism” will go “all the way to Tampa.”

Romney was expected to sweep all five states, where a total of 231 delegates are at stake. Turnout was low in all five states, according to local media reports.

In his speech after the first results were announced, Romney focused his attacks on President Obama, speaking as though the nomination were already decided.

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Gingrich criticized Romney earlier Tuesday for preparing a speech that sounded like he was already the GOP nominee, but in his remarks Tuesday evening he said he was going to re-consider his continuing in the fight.

“We are committed to making sure that conservatism goes all the way to Tampa,” Gingrich said. “I want you all to understand that Gov. Romney is going to have a very good night. If he does end up as the nominee, every conservative in this country has to be committed to defeating Obama."

“Callista and I got into this for our grandchildren,” he said. “I want you to know over the next few days we’re going to look realistically at where we are at. We’re going to be in North Carolina all week. I also want to do that as somebody who is a unifier and somebody who is realistic.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio