Tuesday is primary day in seven states and the District of Columbia. This will be the last major primary before the midterm elections (only one state remains after this: Hawaii on Sept. 18). Even this late in the game there are still some fascinating races to watch. Here are five:
- Mike Castle v. Christine O’Donnell, Republicans for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat in Delaware. It’s hard to imagine Castle, who has won statewide for decades and is beloved in Delaware, losing – as Michael Scherer notes in a story in this week’s magazine. But Castle’s a moderate and these are the days of the Tea Partiers and O’Donnell is certainly of the Tea Party persuasion. She’s been gaining momentum in recent weeks with the help of the Tea Party Express and today won the endorsement of Sarah Palin.
- Kelly Ayotte vs. Ovide Lamontagne, Republicans for Judd Gregg’s old Senate seat in New Hampshire. Ayotte already has Palin’s endorsement (and that of most of the New Hampshire and national GOP establishment) but that hasn’t stopped Tea Party factions from supporting Lamontagne. And Lamontagne is also experiencing a bit of a surge: he recently won the support of Red State’s Eric Erickson and last week he received the endorsement of the conservative Union Leader.
- Adrian Fenty vs. Vince Gray, Democrats for Washington DC mayor. In DC it’s all about the primary as the city votes overwhelmingly Democratic. Fenty, the incumbent, is losing in polls to Gray, a long time city pol. Fenty has come under fire for cronyism and for three disastrous weeks after snomageddon#2 where the city essentially shut down. Roads were left unplowed. Alley trash piled up, rats proliferated. Fenty’s pros: that he’s an outsider, a reformer; Michelle Rhee, who says she’ll leave if Fenty loses; and the fact that he closed DC’s car inspection facility so residents can get it done, finally, at gas stations like most anyone else. Gray’s pros: he’s not Adrian Fenty; he’s an insider who can smooth a lot of the feathers Fenty has ruffled.
- Bob Ehrlich vs. Brian Murphy, Republicans for Maryland governor. Ehrlich wants to get his old job back and much of the GOP establishment supports him in that quest. Standing in his way is Tea Party darling Murphy, who has the endorsement of Sarah Palin, Murphy, though, doesn’t look to be much of a hurdle for Ehrlich, given his lackluster fundraising even in the wake of the Palin endorsement. But it’s been a year for underfunded upsets, so we’ll see on Tuesday.
- Scott Walker vs. Mark Neumann, Republicans for Wisconsin governor. Walker, a Milwaukee County Executive, is the establishment candidate in this race, though polls have shown some indication that Neumann, a former congressman and self-funder, has been gaining steam. A Neumann victory would be a real upset. Neither seems to be a clear Tea Party darling, so this is a straight-up old-fashioned primary.