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Winners and losers in Tuesday's primaries

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The quartet of states that produced a slew of winners and losers beyond the candidates themselves:

Winners

Democratic Governors Association: In Georgia, former congressman Nathan Deal's victory on the GOP side gives Democratic former governor Roy Barnes a real chance to win back the office he lost in 2002. Ditto the nomination of little-regarded Republican businessman Dan Maes in Colorado, where the gubernatorial race is now Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's to lose. And, in Connecticut and Minnesota, Democrats appear to have their strongest nominees.

White House: The Obama administration put itself way out there in support of Sen. Michael Bennet. The simple fact is that the White House badly needed a win to change the narrative surrounding its political operation and it got it.

Jim DeMint: The South Carolina senator picked another winner in Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck. For the number of long shots DeMint has endorsed this cycle, his track record is remarkably good -- a winning percentage likely to further cement his role as conservative kingmaker.

Bennet campaign: Bennet's victory is in large part because of him, but his campaign deserves considerable credit. From the ads, which framed Bennet as an outsider from the start, to the field organization built from scratch, it all paid off for the incumbent as he won his first race as an elected official.

Mike Huckabee: Huckabee's record as an endorser this cycle has been mixed, but his decision to back Deal paid off.

Losers

Sarah Palin: While it's a vast overstatement to blame Palin for Karen Handel's loss (to Deal), it's clear that a Handel victory would have further affirmed Palin's power within the GOP and added another "mama grizzly" to her pack.

Ned Lamont: Lamont's political career peaked four years ago, but he realized it only on Tuesday. His drubbing at the hands of former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy in Connecticut's Democratic gubernatorial race will almost certainly end his political career.

Female candidates: In a great year for women, Tuesday wasn't so good. Handel; Colorado GOP Senate hopeful Jane Norton and Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher lost. Connecticut was something of a saving grace for female candidates, with victories by McMahon, Democrat Nancy Wyman in the lieutenant governor's race and Republican Janet Peckinpaugh in the 2nd Congressional District.

Joe Trippi: The Democratic media consultant has staked his reputation on working with insurgent candidates and guiding them to victory. But he was unable to help Andrew Romanoff.

-- With Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez


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