Rep. Bob Edgar took a big early lead in the Philadelphia area and held on last night as the vote came in from the western part of Pennsylvania to defeat Auditor General Don Bailey narrowly in the state's Democratic Senate primary.
Former auditor general Robert P. Casey swept to an easy victory over former Philadelphia district attorney Edward G. Rendell in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Rendell conceded about two hours after the polls closed.
With 94 percent of the precincts reporting, Edgar led Bailey, 47 percent to 44 percent, with 5 percent for George Elder, a supporter of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., and 4 percent for Slippery Rock State University Prof. Cyril Sagan.
Casey led Rendell, 56 to 40 percent, with 4 percent for Steven Douglas, another LaRouche backer.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R) easily defeated a conservative challenger, high school social studies teacher Richard Stokes, for renomination by a ratio of about 3 to 1. Lt. Gov. William W. Scranton III was unopposed for the state's GOP gubernatorial nomination.
In Oregon, Sen. Bob Packwood was declared the winner of the Republican Senate primary shortly after the polls closed, although his opponent, Joe Lutz, a Baptist minister, ran stronger than Packwood had hoped. With 26 percent of the precincts reporting, Packwood led, 58 percent to 42 percent.
Packwood's Democratic challenger will be populist Rep. James Weaver, who had 65 percent of the vote over three opponents.
In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Neal Goldschmidt, the former reform mayor of Portland and secretary of transporation in the Carter administration, led with 67 percent of the vote. On the GOP side, with 26 percent of the precincts counted, former secretary of state Norma Paulus had 77 percent.
With Republican Govs. Richard L. Thornburgh of Pennsylvania and Victor Atiyeh of Oregon barred by law from seeking third terms, the governorships of both states are open.
In Pennsylvania's Democratic senatorial race, Bailey, 40, a former University of Michigan football star and decorated Vietnam veteran, was given an initial edge over Edgar, 42, because of geography -- the 13-county area around Pittsburgh, Bailey's home base, generally accounts for about a third of the Democratic primary vote. Edgar and other candidates from the Philadelphia area have to overcome a traditional western antipathy toward the City of Brotherly Love, and late returns from the western part of the state made the race close.
Edgar, a Methodist minister, is a tough, shrewd politician, however. In his six terms in the House he has frustrated the GOP organization in his district, one of the most Republican and conservative in the state, with his ability to eke out victory despite a liberal voting record.
In Connecticut, former representative Toby Moffett came close to forcing Gov. William A. O'Neill into a Democratic gubernatorial primary race in September.
To get on the primary ballot, Moffett needed 20 percent, 260, of the 1,300 delegates to the state's Democratic convention this summer. Going into last night's voting he was about 100 delegates short, but in early returns he appeared to have fallen short, winning about 80. He said he was close enough that he would take his fight to get on the ballot to the convention floor, however.
Democrats in 27 Connecticut towns voted for delegates to the state convention. Democrats statewide chose delegates in April, but Moffett challenged O'Neill's slate in 19 towns (286 delegates) and O'Neill then challenged Moffett's slate in eight towns (32 delegates).
In Oregon, Packwood, 53, spent nearly $1 million of his approximately $6 million war chest in the month before the primary in an attempt to prevent a strong showing by Lutz, who opposes Packwood's stance on abortion.
Despite Packwood's 2-to-1 lead in recent polls, his supporters were worried that if Lutz could corner 30 or 40 percent of the vote, as it appeared he might, it could be seen as a sign of weakness in Packwood's fall campaign against Weaver, 58, a six-term congressman from Eugene.