Cornyn wins primary against 7 challengers

The Senate’s second-ranking Republican defeated a slate of primary challengers Tuesday, winning his party’s nomination outright and taking a big step toward securing a third term in the upper chamber.

Sen. John Cornyn defeated Rep. Steve Stockman and six other gadfly Republican candidates, carrying 63 percent of the vote according to early returns.

Stockman, a congressman with a knack for stoking controversy, entered the race at the 11th hour. But his campaign gained no traction, and he failed to unite tea party groups behind his cause. Conservative activists grumbled about Cornyn’s record throughout 2013. But they came to terms late last year with the fact that a serious challenger was not going to step up to take him on.

Meanwhile, George P. Bush (R), nephew of former president George W. Bush and son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, took a step closer to becoming land commissioner, a powerful statewide position.

He was leading his only Republican opponent by a wide margin. Bush is expected to coast to victory in the general election this fall.

— Sean Sullivan

Outside attorneys to appeal marriage case

Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday that the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal a decision granting legal recognition to same-sex couples married in other states and countries after Attorney General Jack Conway announced that he would not pursue the case further.

The split legal decisions from two Democrats come four days after a federal judge in Louisville gave the state 21 days to implement a ruling overturning a ­voter-imposed ban on recognizing same-sex unions.

— Associated Press

Lawmakers approve
health-care program

A first-in-the-nation plan that uses Medicaid funds to buy private insurance for the poor survived an effort to defund it Tuesday, as lawmakers gave final approval to continue the program.

The House voted 76 to 24 to reauthorize funding for the “private option” program that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

The measure heads to Gov. Mike Beebe (D), who plans to sign it into law. The program’s future had been in doubt after failing to win enough support four days in a row in the state House last month.

— Associated Press

Wis. Republicans remove majority leader: Republicans who control the Wisconsin State Assembly unanimously voted to remove Majority Leader Bill Kramer from his post Tuesday amid allegations that he groped one woman and verbally abused another during a trip to Washington last week. Kramer, who checked into a treatment facility Saturday, hasn’t commented on the allegations.

One killed as gas-line damage causes N.J. blast: One resident was killed and seven workers were injured Tuesday in an explosion in Ewing, N.J., a suburb of Trenton. The blast, which occurred after a gas line was damaged by contractors digging in the area, also destroyed a town home and damaged 55 others.

— From news services