Entries in Primary (70)


Ron Paul Strikes Deal with RNC over Delegates

Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will enter the GOP convention next week with more delegates after a deal was reached, avoiding a potentially embarrassing standoff with Mitt Romney.

The compromise settled a dispute over delegates from Louisiana.

“Paul will be awarded 17 of the state’s 46 delegates in the compromise,” Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton told ABC News in an email. “The rest of the state’s delegates are expected to support Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee.”

In addition, the RNC will seat an additional Paul delegate from Massachusetts.

Supporters of Paul and Romney clashed at the Louisiana party convention in June and ended up holding dueling conventions, with each group submitting lists of delegates.

The two sides reached the compromise Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., the site of next week’s national convention.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Todd Akin Defeats Self-Funder, Palin-Backed Rival in Missouri Primary

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ST. LOUIS) -- Sarah Palin’s chosen candidate has lost Missouri’s GOP Senate primary.  So has the race’s self-funding front-runner.

Instead, Missouri Republicans picked Rep. Todd Akin in an upset victory for the Christian conservative, who is serving his sixth House term and who trailed badly, according to polling from Missouri.

Akin’s win comes as a surprise.  To many observers, it seems out of nowhere.

A July 23-25 St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll conducted by Mason-Dixon showed Akin lagging in a distant third.  In the apparent driver’s seat was St. Louis businessman John Brunner, a self-funding candidate who poured nearly $7 million of his own money into the race and enjoyed backing from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Brunner collected 33 percent, trailed by the Tea Party candidate, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, with 27 percent.  Akin mustered only 17 percent and seemed well out of contention.

Akin, who holds a divinity degree from a Missouri seminary, had begun his campaign with a blunder when he said in June 2011 that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred of God” -- a comment made in response to NBC redacting the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in programming surrounding the U.S. Open golf tournament.  Akin offered a semi-apology a few days later.

Steelman’s loss is bad for Palin and probably good for incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Palin cut a TV ad for Steelman that has aired repeatedly in Missouri since last week.  She traveled to Kansas City to campaign with Steelman, who was also backed by the national group Tea Party Express, at a BBQ on Friday.

Steelman’s loss breaks Palin’s unbeaten streak in GOP Senate primary endorsements in 2012; she picked tea-party winners in Indiana’s Richard Mourdock, Nebraska’s Deb Fischer and Texas’s Ted Cruz.  Palin also backed incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah.  With another endorsee, Rep. Jeff Flake, leading handily in Arizona, Palin will likely go five for six in Senate-primary endorsements in 2012.

McCaskill will now run against her evident opponent of choice.  Among his GOP rivals, Akin performed worst against McCaskill in possible November matchups tested by Mason-Dixon in the late-July poll.  Akin still topped the vulnerable incumbent by five percentage points. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Charlie Rangel Has a 957-Vote Lead, But Still No Primary Win

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- After two days and roughly 2,000 hand-counted paper ballots, Rep. Charlie Rangel’s lead in the New York primary has widened to 951 votes, four times the half-a-percentage-point margin of victory necessary to trigger a recount.

But 10 days after Rangel, 82, was prematurely declared the winner in the June 26 Democratic primary, his win was still unofficial and what may be his last election to Congress was still in question.

New York State Board of Elections officials were wading through more than 2,000 ballots that were originally deemed invalid.

As Rangel’s lead grew, his opponent, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, turned to the courts to block the 21-term congressman from heading back to Washington in January.

Espaillat’s campaign filed a lawsuit with the New York State Supreme Court this week alleging that many of the ballots deemed invalid at the polling sites should not be discarded and that those invalid ballots came disproportionately from Latino districts that supported Espaillat.

“We’ve found 192 people in Manhattan whose affidavit ballots were disqualified but who show up as Democratic voters on the rolls,” Aneiry Batista, coordinator of the recount operation for the Espaillat campaign, told the New York Daily News. “And we’re not even halfway through those that were disqualified.”

Despite completing the hand count of all mail-in absentee ballots and affidavit ballots, which are from people who were not listed on the registration rolls when they went to cast their vote, the board cannot certify the election results until the court signs off on the count.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure every vote is counted,” Espaillat’s campaign spokesman, Ibrahim Khan, told ABC News.

Khan said “there is a real concern” that many of the discarded ballots are valid and should be counted.

But Rangel’s campaign manager, Moises Perez, said Rangel’s “lead, quite frankly, appears to be insurmountable,” and that he is confident any court challenges will not stop Rangel from winning the primary.

“It will more than likely not change the outcome at all,” Perez told ABC News. “The lead will be so much bigger than what they can put on the table.”

Espaillat’s court challenge alleged that there was voter suppression at the polls and has asked the court to order a recount or possibly a re-do election.

Perez said he has not seen “any evidence of voter suppression,” as Espaillat charged in his lawsuit. Instead, Perez added, the controversy over some of the invalidated ballots stems from voters being confused about where to vote in their newly re-drawn districts.

“Every election is like that, particularly when you have a brand-new district,” Perez said. “Everyone who lives in the fringe of the new district, many people around the fringes are confused.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NY Primary, Like Rep. Charlie Rangel, Won't Quit

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Nine days ago, 82-year-old Rep. Charlie Rangel was giving his 22nd primary election victory speech after preliminary results of New York's June 26 Democratic primary election showed Rangel beating challenger state Sen. Adriano Espaillat by more than 1,000 votes.

But as the full results rolled in, the representative from Harlem's lead shrank, to 802 votes, prompting a manual count of every remaining absentee and affidavit ballot.  On Thursday, New York Board of Elections officials began painstakingly tallying roughly 2,000 paper ballots to determine if Rangel will, in fact, be headed back to Congress next year.

As of Thursday evening, seven of the disputed assembly districts' ballots had been counted and Rangel's lead had grown to 945 votes, or about 2.4 percent of the 40,000 ballots cast, according to the Board of Elections.

It's highly unlikely the remaining ballots will strip Rangel of his ever-growing lead, but as long as the count drags on, his victory can't be certified.

Espaillat, Rangel's opponent, has called for a full recount and even a possible re-do election, but Rangel's margin of victory would have to shrink to one half of one percent to trigger a recount.  A re-do election would require court intervention, which Espaillat filed for on Tuesday.

Espaillat's charges allege voter suppression and claim that many of the ballots that were deemed invalid are from Latino voters who supported him.  As a Dominican-American, he was counting on support from the Hispanic community to oust long-time incumbent Rangel.

New York Judge John Carter ruled Thursday morning that after the hand count is complete, the Board of Elections could not certify a winner without the court's approval, leaving the door ever-so-slightly open that the court could mandate a recount or re-do election.

After all of the absentee and affidavit ballots are counted, election officials will re-examine the ballots that were originally discarded.  Both Espaillat and Rangel can challenge each of the ballots that the election's board deems invalid, sparking court proceedings that could further delay a final election result.

Espaillat spokesman Ibrahim Khan said it was "hard to say" whether Espaillat will be able to overturn Rangel's preliminary win.

"We want to make sure that this is a process where we count every single vote," Khan told ABC News.

In a fundraising email to supporters on Monday, Rangel sounded confident that his win would stand.

"To my surprise, my opponent's campaign pounced on me on Friday, saying that I had somehow stolen their votes! I'm completely baffled by the situation and the way my opponent has been reacting," Rangel wrote in the email.  "I don't know what will transpire in the coming days, but one thing is clear: I need your help to prepare myself for another battle -- whether it's a legal battle with the Board of Elections or with my opponent."

A Rangel campaign spokeswoman declined to comment for this story.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maine Senate Race Scrambled by Strong Independent Candidate

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two candidates emerged victorious from a crowded field in Maine’s Senate primary on Tuesday. Republicans nominated Charlie Summers, Maine's secretary of state, from a group of six potential candidates, and Democrats nominated Cynthia Dill, a state senator from the South Portland area, from a group of four potential candidates.

But the front-runner is generally considered to be Angus King, a former governor who is running as an independent.

Republicans and Democrats have strong candidates in Summers and Dill. Summers, 52, is a commander in the U.S. Navy reserve who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has served as secretary of state since 2011, and he served as the state director for Olympia Snowe, the retiring Republican senator, whose seat he is looking to fill, for almost a decade. Snowe, however, has not yet committed to supporting her party’s nominee.

Dill, 47, is a lawyer and self-described progressive Democrat. She has served in the Maine legislature since 2006, and in the state Senate since 2011.

It is King, 68, who is viewed as having the advantage in the race. The two-term governor who is independently wealthy enjoys a significantly higher name recognition in the state and stronger finances.  King’s record does not fall squarely in line with either party -- he endorsed George W. Bush in 2000, backed Obama in 2008, and supported independent candidate Eliot Cutler in Maine’s gubernatorial race in 2010. But Maine is viewed as a more Democratic state, and therefore he is generally considered to be a more favorable candidate for Democrats.

Traditional congressional protocol dictates that if King wins the election, he will have to choose a party to caucus with in the Senate, or he’d have to forgo good committee assignments. King has refused to say which party he’d align himself with, and he’s even said that he’s considering the option of giving up committee assignments to maintain his independence. That middle ground has caused head-scratching in Washington, D.C.

Republicans have tried to tie King to the Democrats and paint Summers as a real independent, while Democrats have remained largely silent on the race. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which oversees Democratic Senate races, did not issue any statement congratulating Cynthia Dill on her victory like they usually do when a nominee emerges from a primary.

Although Maine is viewed as generally leaning towards Democrats, a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won the state since part-time Kennebunkport resident George H.W. Bush in 1988.  The governor, Paul LePage, is Republican, and the state’s two senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, are Republican, although widely considered to be very moderate. And the state’s two representatives in the House are Democrats.

Political independence is a point of pride in the state, and so it is likely that King will be able to make it through the Senate race without committing to either party, if he so chooses, which is sure to make for a very unique race.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


With Texas Win, Romney Clinches the GOP Nomination

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican presidential nomination.

It has been projected that Romney has won the Texas GOP primary, and ABC News estimates he will win at least 88 of Texas’s 155 delegates, giving him the 1,144 needed to win the nomination.

“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us. I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us,” Romney said in a paper statement issued to reporters.

“But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness,” Romney said.

Romney now moves on to the general election against President Obama in November. Polls have shown a tight race between the two candidates.

Romney isn’t the nominee yet. The 2,286 Republican delegates will officially confer that mantle in August when they select the nominee in a floor vote at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

His campaign planned no victory party for this long-predicted mathematical triumph. Romney held two public campaign events Tuesday, one in Colorado and one in Nevada, and did not mention his imminent clinching of the nomination in either.

The win in Texas brings Romney one step closer to the official conclusion of a long campaign in which he held front-runner or co-frontrunner status from the outset. Romney staved off a revolving cast of Tea Party darlings who included Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and for a brief moment, Romney’s now-surrogate Donald Trump.

The last major candidate standing against Romney was Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who announced on May 14 that he would no longer campaign in new primary states, but will still organize at state conventions to accrue delegates who will bolster his presence in Tampa, even if many of them will be allocated to Mitt Romney in the presidential-nomination vote.

After Santorum dropped from the race on April 10, Romney became the presumptive winner.

Thanks to a delayed primary calendar and pressure from the Republican National Committee for states to allocate delegates proportionally, this year’s Republican primary has dragged on relatively late into the election year. John McCain also clinched the nomination with a win in Texas in 2008, but he did it on March 4.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Primary: Romney Expected to Clinch GOP Nomination

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Everything’s bigger in Texas, and Tuesday’s state and presidential primary is no exception.

Mitt Romney is expected to reach (and surpass) 1,144 delegates Tuesday night -- the magic delegate number needed to officially win the GOP nomination.  With 155 delegates at stake, Texas’s GOP primary is the largest delegate prize in the contest so far -- the second largest overall.  California will offer the most delegates on June 5.

Bigger than the delegate math however, is the Republican Senate primary, which is so far the most expensive Senate race in this election cycle.  Some $25 million has been spent on behalf of the candidates seeking to fill the seat left open by Kay Bailey Hutchison’s retirement.  Although the list of candidates on the ballot is long, the race is mostly considered to be contained to David Dewhurst, the state’s lieutenant governor, and Ted Cruz, the former solicitor general.

The Dewhurst/Cruz race has been largely framed as an establishment vs. Tea Party battle, with Dewhurst labeled as the establishment candidate, and Cruz appearing to claim the Tea Party mantle.  Cruz has received endorsements from national Tea Party figures like Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint, but Dewhurst has numerous conservative endorsements as well such as Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee.

Texas election code stipulates that a candidate must receive 50 percent of the vote to win their party’s nomination outright.  If no candidate passes that mark, the two top finishers will go into a runoff, which would take place on July 31.

Polls show Dewhurst, 66, in the lead and Cruz, 41, in second place, but Dewhurst is shy of 50 percent.  A Dewhurst/Cruz runoff seems very possible at this point.

The Democratic Senate primary looks likely to go to a runoff as well, with polls showing a close contest between former state Rep. Paul Sadler and Sean Hubbard, a 31-year-old newcomer to the Texas political stage.  But that race has received considerably less attention and funding, in large part because Texas is viewed as a solidly Republican state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Americans Elect’ Ends Online Primary After No Candidates Qualify to Run -- Americans Elect, the group that aimed to nominate a third presidential candidate through an online primary, ended its nomination process Thursday after no prospective candidates met their minimum requirements.

To run in its online primary a candidate had to get 10,000 “clicks” of support (1,000 in at least 10 states). Buddy Roemer was the closest to reaching that goal, but he got less than 6,300 “supporters.”

“As of this week, no candidate achieved the national support threshold required to enter the Americans Elect Online Convention in June,” the group said in a statement. “The primary process for the Americans Elect nomination has come to an end.”

The group has spent two years and millions of dollars collecting signatures to get a spot on the ballot in all 50 states in November’s general election and creating a secure online nominating convention. They succeeded in getting on the presidential ballot in 29 states, including California, which required a whopping 1.6 million petition signatures.

While the group failed to entice a qualified candidate, its creators maintain that it “has achieved its operational goals.”

“We are continuing the Americans Elect mission of creating more choice in our political system, giving candidates unaffiliated with the nominating process of either major party an authentic way to run for office and giving the American people a greater voice in our political process.”

Americans Elect had all the trappings of a potential game changer in presidential politics. By harnessing the power of the Internet and the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the two major political parties, the group aimed to nominate a bipartisan presidential ticket. The presidential candidate and their vice presidential running mate could not both be in the same party.

But with the Democratic and Republican parties so ingrained in the American political system, finding a candidate that would buck their party to run for Americans Elect proved nearly impossible, Darry Sragow, a Democratic strategist who worked with Americans Elect to recruit candidates, told ABC News.

“If you have invested your lifetime in politics as a Democrat or a Republican, you know very well that if you take the Americans Elect path or any similar path really there’s no turning back,” Sragow said. “You are going to face the reality that you will find yourself suddenly not welcome in your party.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prison Inmate Gives Obama a Run for His Money in West Virginia

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- Keith Judd might have a future in presidential politics, provided he gets out of prison first.

Judd, who is currently serving time in a Beaumont, Texas, federal jail, collected 40 percent of the vote Tuesday in the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary.

The outcome was probably not so much a referendum on how much West Virginian Democrats like Judd, who was convicted of making threats at the University of Mexico 20 years ago, than how much they dislike President Obama, who wound up winning the primary with 60 percent of the vote.

Obama lost the state to Republican nominee John McCain in 2008 and the campaign expects he won't win West Virginia this November when Mitt Romney becomes his opponent.

Judd got on the ballot in West Virginia by paying a $2,500 entry fee and filing a notarized certification of announcement.  However, he'll have no delegates representing him at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this September because no one filed to become one for the inmate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mourdock Defeats Lugar in GOP Indiana Senate Primary

Mourdock for Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Richard Lugar, the third-longest-serving member of the Senate, went down in a primary defeat Tuesday night to his Tea Party-backed opponent in the Republican primary.

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, backed by Tea Partiers and conservative campaign groups outside the state, ousted Lugar in Indiana’s GOP primary, according to projections.

Mourdock will face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in November.

In Lugar, the Senate would lose one of its few remaining members with a habit of bipartisanship. In Mourdock, Lugar has been unseated by a mild-mannered, twice-elected statewide official who wants to eliminate five federal departments and cut more spending than House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would.

Lugar’s loss made history. Among senators who had served at least six terms, only one had lost in a primary before Lugar: Kenneth McKeller, D-Tenn., who joined the Senate in 1917 and lost to Democratic primary challenger Al Gore, Sr. in 1952. Only 22 senators in history served as long as Lugar has of 1,931 total, according to the Senate historian.

Lugar currently ties Utah’s Orrin Hatch as the Senate’s longest-tenured Republican. Hatch is also facing a conservative primary challenge in 2012.

Mourdock’s win was expected by political operatives in D.C. and Indiana after an expensive campaign in which outside groups flocked to the Hoosier State. A total of 12 groups spent $4.6 million, only one of them based in Indiana. If raw spending had decided the race, Lugar would have won. As of mid-April, Lugar had spent $6.7 million defending himself, to Mourdock’s $2 million. Outside groups spent more heavily in favor of Mourdock.

Mourdock’s win certainly signifies that the Republican Party has continued to grow more conservative. Where Lugar voted with Democrats to advance the DREAM Act and worked with the Obama administration to push the New START arms-reduction treaty through the Senate, Mourdock is as conservative and ideological as they come.

“Let’s do away with the Department of Education, Energy, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development,” Mourdock told ABC News in an April phone interview, and he has also proposed ending the IRS. Mourdock has suggested that Paul Ryan’s budget doesn’t go far enough, and he released his own rough plan last year to shrink spending by $7.6 trillion in 10 years. (Ryan’s would reduce it by $5.5 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.)

Perhaps most significantly, Mourdock outspokenly opposes bipartisan compromise. “Bipartisanship has brought us to the brink of bankruptcy,” he told ABC. “We don’t need bipartisanship, we need application of principle.”

Mourdock’s win might give Democrats a new chance to win Indiana’s Senate seat in November. Donnelly’s campaign says its internal polling has shown him performing far better against Mourdock than against Lugar. Democrats have held back their opposition research on Mourdock in the hopes that he would win. Majority PAC, the Democratic Senate-focused super PAC, spent money to help Mourdock’s primary bid. A GOP strategist acknowleged that, with Mourdock’s win, Republicans would have to keep a closer eye on the race, though, with Indiana solidly red in recent statewide elections, the party should feel good about its chances to keep Lugar’s seat within the GOP ranks.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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