Tuesday’s Primaries: McCain’s Faustian Bargain, Hugging Ted Stevens Tight and the Gift of Ben Quayle

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The theme of this Tuesday’s primaries is: if you’re an incumbent and you love your base and you hug it close — really, really tightly — you might just win your party’s nomination. Though, some might argue that running so hard to the right (or the left) might be a Faustian bargain from which you risk never regaining your soul (ahem, John McCain).

Voters on Tuesday will go to the polls in Arizona, Alaska, Florida and Vermont. One race was already decided long ago: when Charlie Crist pulled out of the GOP Senate primary in Florida to run as an Independent punting all the drama from Tuesday to Nov. 3. Others are looking pretty predictable: as a McCain staffer put it, the Arizona senator’s GOP rival, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, “is deader than Elvis.” And in Alaska, Lisa Murkowski’s loving embrace of Alaska’s fallen uncle, Ted Stevens, looks to help her to an easy victory over Tea Party fave (and Sarah Palin Papa Grizzly) Joe Miller.

But, that’s not to say there won’t be drama. In Florida, the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate still looks close, though Rep. Kendrick Meek looks like he’ll eke out a victory over billionaire businessman Jeff Greene. And the race for the GOP gubernatorial nod in the Sunshine State seems muddled with a Mason Dixon poll showing Attorney General Bill McCollum ahead and a PPP poll showing businessman Rick Scott leading. My money’s on Mason Dixon being right. No one in these two Florida races seems to be doing themselves many favors ahead of the general, though, if this Orlando Sentinel story about voters getting turned off by all the mudslinging is right.

In Vermont, the Dem primary for governor will be closely watched as the winner, whomever he or she is, will likely become the front runner in this blue state. It’s a rare wide-open five-way primary with no one championing the outsider or establishment mantles. In fact, everyone seems to love all five, which could make choosing rather difficult.

And National Journal’s Hotline has a good primer on the top five House races to watch on Tuesday: Florida 02 where Democrat Allen Boyd is fighting for his political life; the seven way GOP primary to take on the always colorful Alan Grayson in Florida 08; the three-way Republican race to go up against freshman Democrat Suzanne Kosmas in Florida 24; the classic (for 2010) Tea Party versus establishment GOP candidate storyline to take on sophomore Democrat Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona 08; and my personal favorite, Ben Quayle’s Monthy Pythonesque run for the GOP nomination in Arizona 03 that has included porn websites and borrowed kids. I kinda hope he wins as I suspect he’d be a gift that would continue to give in the General, though that looks unlikely.