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Snyder wins in Michigan, Moran in Kansas; Rep. Kilpatrick loses primary

Updated at 1:46 a.m.

By Aaron Blake

Self-funding businessman Rick Snyder (R) will face Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Michigan governor's race, and Rep. Jerry Moran (R) is very likely to become the next senator from Kansas after defeating fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt in their primary.

Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) became the fourth House incumbent to lose a primary this year.

Snyder, a former Gateway president who ran on the campaign slogan "one tough nerd," came out of nowhere to beat two seasoned politicians. He starts the general election as the favorite.

Bernero, who was backed by labor, won the Democratic nomination over state House Speaker Andy Dillon, while the upstart Snyder beat Rep. Peter Hoekstra and state Attorney General Mike Cox for his party's nod in the open seat being left by outgoing Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).

Moran defeated Tiahrt in a surprisingly tight battle for the GOP nomination to succeed Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Moran led 49 percent to 45 percent for Tiahrt, who had the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

(Interactive: Track Sarah Palin's endorsements)

Brownback, who won his primary for governor Tuesday, is also a heavy favorite in November. Moran faces college administrator Lisa Johnston (D), while Brownback faces state Sen. Tom Holland (D).

Kilpatrick, who nearly lost her primary in 2008, fell to state Sen. Hansen Clarke this time. Kilpatrick has struggled while dealing with the legal problems of her son, convicted former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D). She trailed Clarke 48 percent to 41 percent with more than half of precincts reporting.

She joins three other House incumbents to lose their parties' nomination in a notably anti-establishment year -- Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), Parker Griffith (R-Ala.) and Bob Inglis (R-S.C.). Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah) also lost their party's nods.

In the third state holding a primary Tuesday, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) and Rep. Roy Blunt (R) will meet in the state's open Senate race as expected after both easily won their primaries.

Blunt dispatched tea party-aligned state Sen. Chuck Purgason (R), taking more than two-thirds of the vote. Carnahan faced no major opponents in her primary and also won easily.

The seat is widely considered a toss-up, with Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) retiring at the end of this Congress.

Also in Missouri, former state Rep. Vicky Hartzler won the Republican nomination to face longtime Rep. Ike Skelton (D), while businessman Billy Long won a crowded GOP race and is likely to succeed Blunt.

In Michigan, former Rep. Tim Walberg (R) earned a rematch with freshman Rep. Mark Schauer (D) in a top House race after Walberg defeated Rep. Tom Rooney's (R-Fla.) brother, Brian, in a primary.

State Rep. Justin Amash won the GOP primary in retiring Rep. Vernon Ehlers's (R-Mich.) district and will face Democratic attorney Pat Miles, while former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski had a wide lead in the GOP primary to face freshman Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

GOP primaries in Hoekstra's and retiring Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) districts were too close to call.

In Kansas, retiring Rep. Dennis Moore's (D) wife, Stephene, will face state Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) in a key pickup opportunity for Republicans.

State Rep. Tim Huelskamp and Republican National Committeeman Mike Pompeo will likely replace Moran and Tiahrt, respectively, after winning their Republican primaries in dark red districts.

Also, a ballot measure in Missouri seeking to nullify part of the recently passed congressional healthcare bill was passing by a wide margin, with nearly three-fourths of the vote. Proposition C would allow Missouri residents to opt out of the individual coverage mandate and mirrors laws passed by legislatures in other states.

By Aaron Blake  |  August 3, 2010; 9:25 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , House , Senate  
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