Primary Day Primer: West Virginia, Georgia and Nebraska
By Aaron Blake, Felicia Sonmez and Chris Cillizza
Voters are voting (!) today in three states: West Virginia, Georgia and Nebraska.
Polls close in Georgia at 7 pm eastern, West Virginia at 7:30 pm eastern and in Nebraska at 9 pm eastern.
Here's a look at what you need to know about the races today:
West Virginia (Election Results)
Much of the attention tonight will be on whether Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), can survive, but the GOP primary in his 1st district is a great storyline in its own right.
The national GOP favorite, former state Del. David McKinley, is dealing with a late surge from businessman Mac Warner, who appears to be benefiting from sniping between McKinley and former state Sen. Sarah Minear.
More recently, Warner and McKinley have trained their fire on each other, with McKinley's camp hitting Warner for his tax liens and Warner accusing McKinley of dishonoring the military by questioning his fitness for office. Ah, politics!
The race is wide open, and Minear shouldn't be counted out either due, at least in part, to the fact that she has given $500,000 of her own money to the race.
National Republicans are hoping anyone except Warner wins. He hasn't raised nearly as much money as McKinley, and they view his collapsed family real estate business as a liability in the general election.
They are also keeping their fingers crossed that Mollohan holds on in his toss-up primary with state Sen. Mike Oliverio. An Oliverio vs. Warner matchup is their worst-case scenario, as far as the GOP is concerned.
The other race to watch in West Virginia is the Republican primary race to face Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).
There, former state Supreme Court Justice (and former Democrat) Spike Maynard is the favorite. But he hasn't raised much money, and he could be hampered by his close ties to Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, whose company is under fire for the recent mine tragedy.
Georgia (Election Results)
Today's nonpartisan special election for the seat of Republican ex-Rep. Nathan Deal, who is running for governor, may also provide some clues as to how motivated the conservative grassroots are.
The district is among the most conservative in the nation -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won it with 75 percent in 2008, and Deal has typically cruised to victory. As a sign of the district's rightward tilt, all of the Republican candidates in a late-April debate applauded Arizona's new immigration law.
Ex-state Rep. Tom Graves (R) has enjoyed the support of the FreedomWorks, local Tea Partiers and the Club for Growth. The Club has aired ads in the district slamming Graves' main rival, ex-state Sen. Lee Hawkins (R), as "not conservative" and "wrong for Congress."
With turnout expected to be low, activists on the right could be poised to make a significant showing. The state Secretary of State's office said it did not have projected turnout numbers for today. But turnout was only 13% in the 2007 special election to replace the late Rep. Charlie Norwood (R).
Hawkins still holds advantages over Graves, however: his home base in the district's main population center of Gainesville, while Graves comes from the tiny town of Ranger. Hawkins has also been aided by a $145,000 personal loan to his campaign.
Six Republicans, one Democrat and one independent are facing off in today's nonpartisan special, but Graves and Hawkins are expected to prevail and head to a runoff on June 8.
Nebraska (Election Results)
The Cornhusker state is nearly drama-free -- particularly at the federal level. Want an interesting race to watch? Former state Attorney General Don Stenberg, the GOP's Senate nominee in 2000, is trying to win the state Treasurer's office but faces a competitive primary fight.
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