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What to look for in tonight's primary results

No "last call" today, because the news isn't really stopping tonight. My colleagues have the info on what to look for state by state, and our reporters are embedded to cover the results in Pennsylvania's 12th District as well as the primaries in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. Here's what I'm looking at.

7 p.m. -- Polls close in Kentucky, where Rand Paul's campaign is confident that it will secure the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate over Secretary of State Trey Grayson, giving a self-identified "tea party" activist his first victory over the GOP establishment in a primary. Look at Pulaski, Monroe, Russell and Jefferson counties to see how the vote is trending.

8 p.m. -- Polls close across Pennsylvania, where Democrats are deciding whether to nominate party switcher Sen. Arlen Specter. In the southwestern part of the state, all voters are participating in the special election to replace Rep. John Murtha (D) -- if Republican businessman Tim Burns wins, expect to hear, accurately, that his candidacy "started at a tea party."

There will be much more to pore over in the Keystone State. In the 4th District, which covers some of Pittsburgh's suburbs, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan is facing a stiff challenge from lawyer Keith Rothfus for the right to run against Rep. Jason Altmire (D); Buchanan may become the rare U.S. attorney who loses a primary. In the 8th District, in the Philadelphia suburbs, former congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is running for the GOP nomination to take on the Democrat who beat him in 2006, Rep. Patrick Murphy. Remember, back in Indiana, former congressman Mike Sodrel lost the right to challenge the man who beat him, Rep. Baron Hill (D). In the 11th District, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) is fending off Corey O'Brien, a Lackawanna County commissioner running to his left, as well as Brian Kelly, a tea party activist running to his right. And in the governor's race, the Republican front-runner, Attorney General Tom Corbett, is expected to beat the tea party favorite, state Rep. Sam Rohrer. But watch the margins.

8:30 p.m. -- Polls close in Arkansas, where the attention is on Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D) primary, but pay attention to Rep. John Boozman's (R) Senate bid. Credible candidates were running for the GOP Senate nod before Boozman decided to take advantage of a weakened Lincoln and jump in -- there is an outside chance that one forces him into a runoff.

Three of Arkansas' four congressional districts are open, and Republicans hope to win both of those open seats currently held by Democrats. (The fourth is held by Rep. Mike Ross, seen as a harder target.) In the 1st District, which Democrats are reasonably confident they can hold, Republicans are choosing between broadcaster Rick Craword and Capitol Hill staffer Princella Smith, who is African American. In the 2nd District they're choosing between scandalized former U.S. attorney Tim Griffin and restaurant owner Scott Wallace. And there's an eight-way race for the 3rd District seat, the ultra-conservative one Boozman is vacating.

Another thing to keep an eye on: former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's endorsements. He's backed candidates not necessarily supported by the rest of the GOP or by tea party activists.

11 p.m. -- Polls close, technically, in Oregon -- which is to say that the state starts counting the mail ballots that have been trickling in for weeks. The front-runner in the eight-way GOP primary for governor is former basketball player Chris Dudley, who's seen as an underdog to popular former governor John Kitzhaber (D), running once more for his old job. The best Republican hope for a gain in the House delegation here is in the 5th District, held now by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D); voters will almost certainly choose state Rep. Scott Bruun. Funny story: Bruun last ran for the seat in 1996 to take it from a scandalized Class of '94 member, but he came up short.

By David Weigel  |  May 18, 2010; 6:45 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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