Elections

What's at Stake in Today's 'Super Tuesday' Primaries?

Voters hit the polls today in six states.

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Six states are holding primary elections today in what pundits are calling the first "Super Tuesday" of 2014. Among the races to watch are GOP senatorial showdowns in Georgia and Kentucky and a heated battle between Pennsylvania Democrats over the opportunity to challenge that state's embattled Republican governor.

First up is Georgia, where the Republicans are scrambling to fill the void left by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. As The Washington Post notes, the GOP race is so fractured at this point that the only sure thing is that "there will be a GOP runoff on July 22." As the Post explains:

Businessman David Perdue looks like a good bet to make the runoff, as his outsider message is hitting home thanks to the heaps of cash he has spent on advertising. Chamber of Commerce-backed Rep. Jack Kingston and Sarah Palin-backed former secretary of state Karen Handel are competing for a second spot, recent polls show. (A lot of undecided votes are still up for grabs.)… The winner is likely to take on highly touted Democratic recruit Michelle Nunn, a first-time candidate.

Meanwhile in Kentucky, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears set to enjoy a decisive victory over Tea Party-backed challenger Matt Bevin. According to the latest Bluegrass Poll, McConnell leads Bevin by 20 points among GOP voters. NBC News/Marist currently has McConnell beating Bevin by 32 points.

Pennsylvania Democrats, on the other hand, are bitterly divided in their race to unseat Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. As NPR reports, "a crowded field" of Democratic hopefuls are still jockeying aggressively for the top spot:

Businessman Tom Wolf dominated the airwaves early on, spending more than $6 million of his own money. That made Wolf a target for his three rivals in the primary. State Treasurer Rob McCord accuses Wolf of turning the election into an auction.

"If it's 100 percent predictable that if you just bring more money to television you're going to be the nominee, I think the Democratic Party could be in trouble in the fall," McCord said.

With few ideological differences between the candidates, the primary debates turned personal. McCord accused Wolf of supporting a racist mayor. Wolf countered that when he learned about the mayor, he convinced him to drop a re-election bid.

Finally, here are some highlights from last week's Idaho GOP gubernatorial debate, where incumbent Gov. Butch Otter faced off not only against his main primary challenger in today's election, state Sen. Russ Fulcher, but also shared the stage with a leather-clad biker and an anti-abortion activist who declared at one point, "I honestly think half of the Republican Party is Democrats, and half of the Democratic Party is Communists."