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Late Night Returns From the West

Returns from today’s primaries in Wyoming and Washington have been rolling in for a while, with some interesting results but no big upsets.

In Wyoming, as expected, Leslie Peterson won the Democratic gubernatorial primary over Pete Gosar, by a 48-38 margin. But it doesn’t appear there will be an all-female general election: in the GOP primary, with just nine precincts still out, Matt Mead seems to have edged out Rita Meyer by just over 1300 votes; hard-core conservative Ron Micheli finished a strong third, just 840 votes behind Meyer at present. (Colin Simpson finished well back in fourth). Those who consider Mead a RINO will undoubtedly lament the split in the “true conservative” vote.

In Washington, as expected, Patty Murray and Dino Rossi finished first and second in the U.S. Senate primary and will advance to a clawhammer duel in November. With about 55% of precincts reporting (and nearly half of King County–Seattle–still out), Murray leads Rossi 46-34; Tea Party favorite Clint Didier’s way back at 12%. Sarah Palin had another bad night with Didier’s and Meyer’s losses.

In the most competitive House race in WA, in the 3d district, the conventional wisdom won out again, with Democrat Denny Heck and Republican Jaime Herrera moving on to the general election. Would-be conservative spoiler David Castillo is currently running fourth.

Finally, out in California, the special election runoff to fill Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado’s state senate seat looks like a probable win for Republican Sam Blakeslee over Democrat John Laird. I mention this not only because I happen to live in Senate District 15, but because more votes were cast in this special state legislative election than in today’s entire Wyoming primary. This central coast district, which runs from Santa Clara all the way to Santa Barbara, is represented by one state senator. Wyoming, as you may know, is represented by two United States Senators. Such is our system.

UPDATE, Wednesday AM: Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics has an analysis of the Washington vote based on the relationship of primary and general election votes in prior “blanket primary” elections, suggesting that Murray’s in trouble, the 3d district is almost certain to go Republican, and a couple of Democratic congressmen should be nervous. I haven’t had the time or inclination to second-guess Sean’s research, but I do wonder if he’s noting that Washington has changed back-and-forth from August to September primary dates in the past. You’d figure September primaries would produce higher turnout and a closer relationship to November public opinion, while August primaries would have somewhat less predictive value.