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Winners and losers from the Aug. 10 primaries



Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was a big winner in yesterday's Colorado primary.

The quartet of states voting in primaries and runoffs last night produced a slew of winners and losers -- not to mention a very late night for the Fix posse. (Thanks Minnesota!)

We spent the morning sifting through the results to pick a handful of the best and worst of the day that was. As always, we aimed to go beyond the obvious winners and losers to bring you some of the inside dope that we -- and we hope you -- love so much.

Our winners and losers are below. Have thoughts of your own? Who did we miss? The new and improved comments section awaits.

WINNERS

Democratic Governors Association: It's been a tough cycle for the DGA with a national playing field tilted against them and Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour (Miss.) raking in record amounts of money. But yesterday's results were a clear win for the DGA in each of the four states. In Georgia, former congressman Nathan Deal's (R) victory gives former governor Roy Barnes (D) a real chance to win back the office he lost in 2002. Ditto the nomination of little-regarded businessman Dan Maes (R) in Colorado, where the gubernatorial race is now Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's (D) to lose. And, in Connecticut and Minnesota, Democrats look to have gotten their strongest nominees. Perhaps the best night of 2010 for the DGA.

White House: The Obama Administration -- and the president himself -- put themselves way out there in support of Sen. Michael Bennet. President Obama was everywhere in the race in its final days -- calling into a tele-town hall with undecided voters, appearing in TV ads and lending his voice to robo-calls for Bennet's Senate bid. The simple fact is that the White House badly needed a win to change the narrative surrounding their political operation and they got it.

Jim DeMint: Say what you will about his approach but the South Carolina Senator picked another winner in Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck on Tuesday. When DeMint endorsed Buck way back in April when the conventional wisdom was that former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton was the odds-on Republican Senate nominee. For the number of long-shots DeMint has endorsed this cycle, his track record is remarkably good -- a winning percentage likely to further cement his role as conservative kingmaker.

Bennet campaign team: Bennet's victory is due in large part to the candidate -- he got it done when it mattered most -- but the campaign that his team ran deserves considerable credit. From the ads, which framed Bennet as an outsider from the start, to the field organization built from scratch it all paid off for the incumbent as he won his first race as an elected official. Kudos to campaign manager Craig Hughes, chief of staff Guy Cecil, deputy campaign manager Adrianne Marsh and media consultants Shorr Johnson Magnus.

Mike Huckabee: Huckabee's record as an endorser this cycle has been mixed, but his decision to back former Georgia Rep. Nathan Deal -- and line up opposite former governors Sarah Palin (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Mass.), who endorsed former Secretary of State Karen Handel -- paid off. Huckabee's volunteer corps -- the strength of his political operation -- made 3,000 phone calls on Deal's behalf including 1,000 into Gwinnett County, which went narrowly for the former congressman.

Roy Occhiogrosso: Occhiogrosso, the Connecticut-based pollster and partner at the Global Strategy Group, argued with us for the better part of the last year that former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy (D) would beat 2006 Senate nominee Ned Lamont (D) in the Nutmeg State gubernatorial primary. He was right. (Worth noting: Global Strategy Group also handled survey research for former Sen. Mark Dayton's successful governor's race in Minnesota.)

The Killer B's: Ok, it's not exactly (Craig) Biggio, (Jeff) Bagwell and (Lance) Berkman but the "B's" had a good night with (Ken) Buck, (Michael) Bennet and Connecticut State Attorney General (Dick) Blumenthal all winning. Extra points for Bennet for rocking the single "t" in his last name.

The Fix's Wrestling Passion: With former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon emerging as the Republican Senate nominee in Connecticut, a veritable Pandora's box of bad wrestling metaphors is now at our fingertips. It's just so hard to pin down which one to use first.

LOSERS

Sarah Palin: Palin, to her credit, is willing to take political chances. That's what she did in endorsing Handel and then stumping for her the weekend before yesterday's runoff. While it's a vast overstatement to blame Palin for Handel's defeat -- as some on the left are rushing to do -- it's clear that a Handel victory would have further affirmed the power of Palin within the GOP and added another "mama grizzly" to her pack. (Bad metaphor alert!) Handel lost, and so did Palin.

Ned Lamont: Lamont's political career peaked four years ago but he only realized it last night. His drubbing at the hands of Malloy in the Connecticut governor's race almost certainly ends his political career, which began with a burst of success when he ousted Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) in a Democratic primary in 2006. That's good news for Rep. Chris Murphy (D) and Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) -- both of whom are looking at a 2012 challenge to Lieberman.

Female candidates: In a great year for women, last night wasn't so good. Handel, Norton and Minnesota state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher all lost statewide races. Connecticut was something of a saving grace for female candidates with victories by McMahon, state Comptroller Nancy Wyman (D) in the lieutenant governor's race and former television news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh (R) in the 2nd congressional district.

Colorado Political Establishment: First, Norton> lost to Buck in the Senate race. Then Maes eked out a win over former congressman Scott McInnis (R) in the governor's contest, all-but-eliminating the candidate swap that establishment Colorado Republicans had envisioned if McInnis, badly damaged by plagiarism charges, had pulled out a victory. It's hard to imagine Maes, who was roundly ignored by the entire Colorado Republican party, now stepping aside because those same people don't think he can win a race against Hickenlooper.

Joe Trippi: Trippi, a Democratic media consultant, has staked his reputation on working with insurgent candidates and guiding them to victory. But, days after leaving the Senate campaign of Jeff Greene in Florida, Trippi was unable to guide Romanoff to a win. He has another shot at redemption this fall though as he serves as a consultant for state Attorney General Jerry Brown's gubernatorial race in California.

With Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 11, 2010; 2:21 PM ET
Categories:  Winners and Losers  
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