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Live Updates: ‘Super Tuesday 2014′

Voters are casting ballots in several states holding high-stakes primaries Tuesday in the busiest and most consequential primary day of the year so far. Kentucky, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Arkansas and Idaho are holding primaries Tuesday, with the main spotlight on Republican primaries for three potentially competitive Senate contests in Kentucky, Georgia and Oregon. Check here for live updates.

Click here for live election results.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) wins primary

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has won his primary, defeating retired Coast Guard official Art Halvorson and U.S. Army veteran Travis Schooley, who ran to his right.

The Associated Press has called the race for Shuster, who is carrying 53 percent of the vote with most precincts reporting.

Shuster has been in Congress since 2001.

Perdue advances to runoff in GA GOP primary

David Perdue has advanced to a runoff in the Georgia Republican Senate primary, and he’ll have to get back to campaigning soon.

Perdue will likely face Rep. Jack Kingston or former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel in a runoff July 22. Kingston is currently in second place, six points ahead of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. The second place finisher has not yet been declared.

Georgia election law requires that a candidate get at least 50 percent plus one vote in order to be elected. No one in the crowded GOP field did that Tuesday night.

So that brings us to July, when two candidates will square off to decide which of them will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in November.

Perdue captured 30 percent of the vote with 64 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press, which called the race. Kingston had 27.2 percent and Handel 21 percent.

They were followed by Reps. Phil Gingrey (10.1 percent), Paul Broun ( 9.8 percent), transit engineer Derrick Grayson (1 percent) and patent attorney Arthur Gardner (0.9 percent). 

Tonight’s runoff may be the only expected development in a race that has taken twists and turns, including a shift toward nastiness in the waning weeks.

Perdue, the former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, is a political neophyte with a big war chest. He has name recognition in the state thanks to his cousin, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. Kingston has been in Washington for 22 years and is not afraid to tout his Beltway credentials. He has the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Handel cast herself as a more conservative choice. She was a vice president at the Susan G. Komen Foundation and resigned after acknowledging that she supported the organization’s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood.

Should Kingston win second place, the runoff between him and Perdue is bound to be a lively one, said Kerwin Swint, a professor of political science at Kennesaw State University.

“If it’s Perdue and Kingston that is going to be an expensive, mean runoff,” Swint said.

The GA GOP Senate race looks like it will end in a July runoff

It looks as though there will be a runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia.

The race has not yet been called. It’s a tight one – businessman David Perdue is out front with 29.9 percent of the vote, and Rep. Jack Kingston has 28.3 percent, with 60 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel is in third with 19.9 percent of the vote.

Georgia law requires a candidate to receive 50 percent of the vote (plus one extra vote for good measure) in order to get elected. Since that isn’t going to happen tonight, the top two candidates will face off in a runoff election July 22. The winner of that race will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in November.

One quirk about Georgia’s primaries – only people who chose a Republican ballot tonight can vote in the Republican runoff.

The Republican field was a crowded one this year, with seven people vying for the GOP Senate nomination.

Michelle Nunn wins Georgia Democratic Senate primary

Michelle Nunn has won the Democratic Senate primary in Georgia.

With 23 percent of precincts reporting, Nunn has 75.4 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press, which called the race.

Five lessons Mitch McConnell (re)taught us

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell cruised to a convincing primary victory of tea party backed challenger Matt Bevin Tuesday night, a result that surprised no one — the GOP leader had been ahead steadily for months — but served as a reminder of a handful of important political rules.

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza has five. Read the full post here.

Clinton-backed candidate Margolies loses to Boyle in Pa.

Former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies will not be making a return to Congress next year after a 20-year absence.

Margolies, the mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton, was defeated in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House in Pennsylvania’s 13th district Tuesday by state Rep. Brendan Boyle, who was carrying 58 percent of the vote when the Associated Press called the race for him with most precincts reporting. Margolies was second with 22 percent.

Boyle had strong backing from organized labor, which allowed him to overcome Margolies’s high-profile support from Bill and Hillary Clinton, who helped her raise money. Bill Clinton even cut an ad for Margolies.

Boyle will be widely favored to win the general election. In 2012, President Obama won 66 percent of the vote in the 13th district, which encompasses Philadelphia and some of its suburbs.

The district is currently represented by Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D), who vacated the seat to run for governor.

Physician Val Arkoosh was on pace to finish third while state Sen. Daylin Leach was headed for a fourth-place finish.

Margolies lost her seat in Congress in the 1994 midterms mainly because of her vote for then-President Clinton’s economic plan.

Georgia candidates say the darnedest things

We mentioned some earlier, but let’s take a look at more of the controversial statements made by candidates in Georgia races.

Rep. Phil Gingrey, an obstetrician, said that some of the comments former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) made on “legitimate rape” were partially correct.

Rep. Jack Kingston suggested that poor children in the federal school lunch program sweep cafeteria floors because there’s “no such thing as a free lunch.”

Rep. Paul Broun voiced his support for impeaching President Obama. Broun has also said he doesn’t know if Obama is a U.S. citizen.

Gingrey has also called for children to take classes on traditional gender roles.

Senate candidate Matt Bevin, when asked by the Washington Post what he has in common with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

“We’re both men. We’re both Republicans.”

Tom Wolf wins Dem nod for Pa. gov.

Tom Wolf, right, candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Pennsylvania, walks down the main street in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon, Pa. during a campaign visit on Thursday, May 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Tom Wolf, right, candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Pennsylvania, walks down the main street in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon, Pa. during a campaign visit on Thursday, May 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Businessman Tom Wolf won the Democratic nomination for governor in Pennsylvania Tuesday, easily besting three other candidates including Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

Wolf will now advance to a November showdown against Gov. Tom Corbett (R), regarded by many observers as the most vulnerable governor up for reelection. Corbett is struggling in the polls.

The Associated Press called the race for Wolf with just 14 percent of precincts reporting. Wolf had 55 percent, leading Schwartz (23 percent), state Treasurer Rob McCord (15 percent) and former state environmental secretary Katie McGinty (7 percent).

Wolf is running as a technocrat and an outsider. He poured $10 million of his own money into his bid.

If Wolf defeats Corbett this fall, Corbett will be the first governor to lose reelection in Pennsylvania’s history.

McConnell formulaic, Bevin passionate to the end

In the last minutes of an energetic, contentious campaign, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the man who tried to unseat him, Matt Bevin, offered closing speeches that largely matched the preceding six months.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell  (R-KY) and his wife Elaine Chao wave to a crowd of campaign supporters after defeating Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin in the states Republican primary elections in Louisville, Kentucky, May 20, 2014.  Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell easily dispatched a Tea Party challenger in Kentucky on Tuesday to win nomination to a sixth term, setting up one of November's most expensive and hard-fought Senate races against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.     REUTERS/John Sommers II  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao wave to a crowd of campaign supporters. (REUTERS/John Sommers II)

Bevin, as tradition dictates, went first. He’d already called McConnell to concede, but that appeared to be as far as he was willing to go in embracing his former opponent. During the speech, Bevin said only that he had “no intention of supporting the Democrat platform.” When asked by WHAS-TV reporter Joe Arnold after the speech if he would vote for McConnell, Bevin said he’d have to see who was on the ballot. (Besides Grimes, that is.)

With his family around him (him, choked up; his wife crying) Bevin told his supporters to take the high road despite the false attacks from his opponent. Politico’s James Hohmann quoted Bevin: “If we return fire for fire, then we will burn our great nation to the ground. And we deserve better than that.” At the end of the speech, Hohmann notes, Bevin encouraged the crowd to introduce themselves to someone nearby they didn’t know.

The content and tone of McConnell’s speech were obviously different, but so was the presentation. His wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, welcomed the audience, then introduced the man who would introduce McConnell: Sen. Rand Paul, piped in by video. As Paul spoke, stepping over the audience’s applause as happens in recorded presentations, he made a case that the candidate would echo. Elect Mitch McConnell in November, and bring Kentucky the leadership of the Senate.

McConnell arrived at the podium to Toby Keith’s somewhat incongruous “Made in America.” Never a fiery speaker, McConnell walked through the case for his candidacy, repeatedly referring to Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes as President Obama’s pick for the position, and critiquing the administration’s positions on jobs, and coal, and everything else. He asked the audience to applaud Bevin, saying that his challenger had made him a better candidate.

There was only one slight hiccup in an otherwise polished presentation. Ten minutes into the general election campaign, McConnell twice referred to Grimes as “he.” Old habits die hard and all of that, but it wouldn’t have been McConnell without some however-tiny thing going a little bit off script.

Gov. Nathan Deal wins GOP primary in Georgia

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has won the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary.

With 17 percent of precincts reporting, Deal has 72 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press, which called the race. Deal trounced opponents David Pennington (16.3 percent) and John Barge (11.6 percent).

No surprises in Arkansas

Polls have closed in Arkansas, and, surprising no one, Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor has won the Senate primary in which he faced no challengers. In other unforeseen developments, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton has won the Senate primary in which he faced no opposition.

The more important thing to think about with Pryor and Cotton tonight is how the complete absence of primary competition will affect the rest of the race’s trajectory. I asked their campaigns, outside organizations and a local expert how they thought all this extra time has helped or hindered the campaigns– and frustrated voters.

You can read it here. 

How Tom Corbett might make history as a loser

As we wait on results to be tallied in the Democratic primary for governor of Pennsylvania, it’s worth bearing in mind that vulnerable Gov. Tom Corbett (R) would make history if he loses in November. No governor who has run for reelection in the Keystone State has lost. Ever.

Polls show Corbett faces an uphill climb in November. Self-funding businessman Tom Wolf was the Democratic frontrunner headed into the day. Very, very early returns show him leading right now.

A February Quinnipiac University poll showed Wolf leading Corbett by 19 points.

In Georgia, an early primary may not get the voters

If you’re reading this you know it’s primary night in Georgia – but apparently many in the state aren’t as clued in.

This it the earliest primary ever for federal offices in Georgia – the date was ordered by a federal judge.

Some believe this will dilute turnout, since people aren’t used to voting in May and the date comes amid a flurry of graduations, proms and other end-of-school year events.

However, early voting totals are up this year. But according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kevin Wingfield, “there’s some indication it’ll be higher among Democrats and lower among Republicans. Given that the most high-profile contested races are among the Republicans, the dynamic could be interesting.”

Welcome to Opposite Day: SCF endorses McConnell

In a brief but gracious statement, the upstart Senate Conservatives Fund — one of the most aggressive organizations opposing the Republican Senate establishment — thanked Matt Bevin for his efforts and endorsed Mitch McConnell for the November general election. It’s perhaps a bigger win for the establishment than the actual election results.

“We congratulate Senator McConnell on his victory and urge Republicans in Kentucky to come together to defeat Alison Lundergan Grimes,” the statement from executive director Matt Hoskins reads. It concludes: “[I]t’s time for Republicans to unite for victory in November.”

The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by the Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint when he was a senator, began riling up opposition to McConnell and other Republican leaders last summer, making the idea the SCF would eventually come around to support McConnell seem rather unlikely. (DeMint and McConnell have a longstanding beef.) It partnered with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to raise money with the explicit goal of supporting candidates like Bevin. After the government shutdown ended and Republicans were reeling from plunging poll numbers, Cruz pledged to stop working with the group.

We don’t know for sure, but we imagine that when McConnell heard news of the endorsement, he smiled, tightly.

The senator who looks 'like teen heartthrob Donny Osmond'

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor faced no challenger in the Democratic Senate primary today. The rest of his road to re-election won’t be quite so breezy.

AP Photo/Danny Johnston

AP Photo/Danny Johnston

Here’s a teaser:

Pryor, 51, is the son of former senator David Pryor (D-Ark.). He grew up in Little Rock, then moved to the Washington area after his father was elected in 1978. Mark Pryor graduated from Walt Whitman High School in suburban Maryland, where football teammates called him “Donny” because he looked a little like teen heartthrob Donny Osmond.

And that might be the single most colorful fact in the entire Mark Pryor biography.

GMOs and tigers and elephants, oh my!

In Oregon, the buzziest race on the national level is the Republican Senate primary. However, as the Oregonian newspaper points out, that race isn’t that exciting for most state residents — only 30 percent of Oregon voters are registered Republicans.

Two ballot measures in Jackson County and Josephine County have also gotten national attention despite their extreme localness. The two counties are considering measures that would ban most genetically engineered crops. In Jackson County, the two campaigns battling over the measure raised more than $1 million, much of it from out of state.

Reuters and the Oregonian have good primers on the measures, which are worth remembering. Activists are trying to get a statewide ballot initiative ready for November, which would require the labeling of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in the state. Activists in Colorado and Arizona are waging similar signature-getting campaigns. Vermont passed the first GMO labeling law earlier in May, which will go into effect in 2016.

In Clatsop County, voters will decide whether “bullhooks, electric prods and whips” should be banned from use on performing elephants, big cats and primates. It’s not the first time a circus-themed measure has been on the ballot in Clatsop either.

McConnell, Grimes win easily in Kentucky

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell handily defeated Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary Tuesday night. With 7 percent of the state’s precincts in, McConnell leads Bevin by nearly 30 percent of the vote.

The Associated Press called the race shortly after polls closed in the state, a result that probably would have seemed unlikely when Bevin first declared his intention to run. McConnell was a major target for conservative groups unhappy with the Republican establishment, but, for reasons we articulated earlier today, Bevin never found much traction.

FRANKFORT, KY - MAY 19:  U.S. Senate candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) greets supporters while campaigning in advance of the state's Democratic primary May 19, 2014 at Lakeview Park in Frankfort, Kentucky. A recent

FRANKFORT, KY – MAY 19: Grimes greets supporters while campaigning in advance of the state’s Democratic primary. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On the Democratic side, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes won an essentially uncontested primary for the state’s Senate seat, earning over three-quarters of the votes at this point in the tally. Grimes was the only candidate to raise any substantial money for a campaign, as the Louisville Courier-Journal noted today.

It’s worth remembering, though, that tonight’s Democratic primary could have been much more interesting to observers from outside the state. In March of last year, it seemed very possible that the front-running Democratic candidate would be actress Ashley Judd. Instead, Judd spent the past year finishing shooting on Dolphin Tale 2, among other projects.

McConnell, who is seeking his sixth term, will apparently face much more difficult challenges in his next two elections. First, he needs to defeat Grimes in the November general election, a race that continues to be fairly tight. Then he needs to be reelected as Republican leader in the Senate. Based on the energy that Bevin once enjoyed, that likely won’t be easy either.

The candidate the Clintons are watching tonight

If there’s one candidate the the Clintons are watching tonight, it’s Marjorie Margolies (D) in Pennsylvania’s 13th district.

The former congresswoman is the mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton. She’s gotten fundraising help from Bill and Hillary Clinton. The former president even cut this ad for her:

Margolies was ousted in the 1994 midterms in large part because she supported Bill Clinton’s economic plan.

She faces three competitors tonight in an open race.

A primer on the Georgia GOP Senate race

In tonight’s Georgia GOP Senate primary, who comes in second is just as important – if not more so – as the person who wins.

As our colleague Sean Sullivan wrote this morning, the only thing that is certain in tonight’s race is that there will be a runoff on July 22, when the two candidates who garner the highest number of votes from tonight’s slate of five will face off.

The race has been unpredictable and – perhaps predictably – nasty. The latest polls show businessman David Perdue in the lead. Perdue, who was CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, is a political novice, but has name recognition – his cousin, Sonny Perdue, is a former Georgia governor. Perdue has gotten into trouble after signaling in an interview that he may be open to raising taxes.

The race for second place is bound to be very close. Rep. Jack Kingston, who is endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has not shied away from touting his time in Washington, is polling in second place, followed closely by Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state who has cast herself as a more conservative choice. Handel was a vice president at the Susan G. Komen Foundation and resigned after acknowledging that she supported the organization’s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Conservative U.S. Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey are polling behind.

The race has been filled with an abundance of inflammatory statements – from Perdue’s quip on taxes to Kingston suggesting that poor children sweep cafeteria floors because there is “no such thing as a free lunch,” to Gingrey saying comments by former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) about “legitimate rape” were partially correct, to Broun claiming that evolution and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

The winner of the July primary will face off against a Democratic challenger; currently non-profit CEO Michelle Nunn is the frontrunner.

The runoff is necessary because Georgia law requires a victor to have 50 percent of the vote, said Kerwin Swint, a professor of political science at Kennesaw State University. Swint said the race for No. 2 will be the one to watch tonight.

“Everybody expects Perdue to come in first. He’s been very strong in polling,” Swint said. “The real contest is between Kingston and Handel to see who gets in the runoff.”

An excuse to watch that Idaho gubernatorial debate again

Many assume that incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson will have no problems winning his Republican primary tonight, despite initial fears of a strong tea party opponent. Club for Growth abandoned his challenger, Bryan Smith, weeks ago. The Republican primary for the gubernatorial nomination is a bit more interesting, if only for the debate the candidates held last week.

The race pits Gov. Butch Otter against state representative Russ Fulcher … plus the two bearded guys who are unlikely to win anything but the Internet. 

There is little polling data on the race, so who knows how Otter might fare versus his numerous competitors from the right.

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