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Some Cliffhangers, Some Surprises: Primary Night Update

In the four states holding primaries today (one of them, Georgia, is actually a runoff), the results are still rolling in, but some judgments can be made. Winners include Dan Malloy, Tom Foley, and Linda McMahon in CT and Michael Bennett in CO. The other big statewide races are still up in the air.

In CT, Malloy came from behind and soundly defeated Ned Lamont in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. With over 80% of precincts reporting, Malloy is leading 58-42.
In the Republican gubernatorial primary in the Nutmeg State, the self-funding front-runner, Tom Foley, seems to have won a narrow victory over Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, leading 42-39 with nearly 90% of precincts in.

Unsurprisingly, Linda McMahon won the CT GOP Senate primary, but didn’t set any popularity records; at this point she’s got 49% of the vote, to 28% for Rob Simmons, and a surprising 23% for underfunded Tea Party/Paulist candidate Peter Schiff.

Down in Georgia, as polls suggested might happen, Nathan Deal and Karen Handel fought to a draw in the GOP gubernatorial runoff. With all precincts reporting, Deal leads by 2581 votes out of about 580,000 cast, with some absentee ballots in urban counties still to be tallied, which will probably cut Deal’s lead even more. There will also almost certainly be a recount. Deal did surprisingly well in metro Atlanta outside Handel’s home county of Fulton, and Handel did surprisingly well in non-metro cities and in southeast Georgia, but it all came out in the wash. As expected, Tom Graves won the GOP nomination for a full term in the 9th congressional district; Rob Woodall dispatched Jody Hice in the 7th District; and in a less predictable race, Ray McKinney won the right to take on Blue Dog John Barrow in the 12th.

In Colorado, Michael Bennet rode big majorities in the Denver suburbs, and in Northern Colorado, to defeat Andrew Romanoff by a robust 54-46 margin (at least that’s the margin with more than two-thirds of the vote in). In the GOP Senate primary, Ken Buck is holding a 52-48 lead over Jane Norton, mainly because of a huge margin he ran up in his Weld County base and in adjoining Larimer County. But the race hasn’t been called yet.

In the Colorado GOP gubernatorial primary, just over one thousand votes separate Dan Maes and Scott McInnis, amidst speculation that the winner will ultimately withdraw and let the state party choose a less damagned candidate. In highly competitive GOP congressional primaries in marginal districts, Scott Tipton has a solid 56-44 lead over Sarah Palin endorsee Bob McConnell in the 3d, while Ryan Frazier (a rare African-American GOP congressional candidate) easily defeated John McCain staffer Lang Sias in the 7th.

Up in Minnesota, Mark Dayton’s expected gubernatorial primary win is in doubt. With about 70% of the precincts in, DFL state convention endorsee Margaret Anderson Kelliher is holding a 41-40 lead over Dayton, fueled by big wins in her Twin Cities base. Dayton has, however, been cutting into her lead as other parts of the state check in, and he could still win.

UPDATE, 12:11 AM: AP has called the CO GOP Senate race for Ken Buck, which is a bit surprising since he only has a 13,000 vote lead with 23% of the precincts still out, including quite a few in counties where Norton’s leading. But let’s assume AP knows what it’s doing.

In MN, Kelliher’s lead over Dayton is now only 2528 votes with 85% of the precincts reporting. But as the folks over at Swing State Project are noting, a big chunk of precincts are out in St. Louis County (Duluth), where Dayton has a sizable lead.

UPDATE II, 12:57 AM: Mark Dayton has just taken the lead in the MN Democratic gubernatorial primary, with most of pro-Dayton St. Louis County still not reporting. In fact, with the exception of one precinct in Ramsey County, Dayton’s leading in every single county with precincts still out. Looks like the CW and the polls were right after all.