Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas won the Democratic primary Tuesday, beating back a challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, whose campaign was fueled by unions and liberal activists.
Voters in 12 states held primary elections Tuesday night, but the outcomes of two contests in South Carolina will be delayed by another two weeks. A runoff will be held June 22 for the Republican gubernatorial nomination as well as for a GOP congressional seat in the northern part of the state.
California Republican voters chose two women to vie for two of the state's highest offices: Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman will face Attorney General Jerry Brown, a former governor, for the governor's office, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will take on Sen. Barbara Boxer for her seat.
And in Nevada, Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle beat the GOP establishment candidate to earn the right to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.
At the same time, embattled Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, a Republican, became the state's first incumbent governor in 100 years to lose a primary race.
The South Carolina GOP gubernatorial contest captured national attention because of accusations of extramarital affairs.
The candidates are vying to succeed scandal-plagued Gov. Mark Sanford, a fellow Republican. A year after Sanford made national news for disappearing and then admitting to an affair with a woman from Argentina, allegations of infidelity surrounded state lawmaker Nikki Haley.
Jay Newton-Small and Katy Steinmetz
Voters in 11 states will go to the polls Tuesday to pick which Republicans and Democrats they'd like to see slug it out in November. We'll find out if Blanche Lincoln will become the third Senate incumbent to lose his or her primary; which Republican will get to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; and if Jim Gibbons of Nevada might be the first sitting governor to lose a primary.
This year's Super Tuesday of primaries is filled with intrigue, ranging from sexual indiscretions in South Carolina — and, no, this doesn't involve Mark Sanford, Argentina or the Appalachian Trail — to massages for drug-addicted prisoners in Nevada. We'll also see some interesting tests of the power of the Tea Party movement: It's looking like the GOP establishment candidate in Virginia's Fifth Congressional District has nothing to fear from his six Tea Party challengers, though such groups may succeed in bringing down South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis.
CNN Senior Political Contributor
The governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, is announcing today that he will not run as a Republican for the open U.S. Senate race, but will seek that office as an independent.
After months of campaigning for the Republican nomination he has decided there is no way he can win the August 24 Republican primary and would lose big time to his more conservative challenger.
This is a big story and has ramifications beyond the sunshine state. Crist was a rising star in the Republican Party and viewed himself as a future candidate for president. He may be the first moderate casualty of the Tea Party movement but certainly not the last.
CNN Political Editor
President Barack Obama is urging political supporters to begin preparing for the 2010 midterm elections in a new video message in which he warns that failure to keep Congress in Democratic hands will be a major blow to his agenda.
In the two-minute and 42-second video released Monday, Obama emphasizes that the key to victory for Democrats in November will be convincing the people who helped fuel his 2008 White House bid – first-time voters – to head to the polls for the second time in two years even though he is not on the ballot.
CNN Senior Political Contributor
The political campaign season is off and running, whether you're ready or not. According to the latest CNN poll, registered voters share the polarization that now rules Washington.
Nearly as many voters hold unfavorable opinions about each of the three political entities tested as favorable ones. Democrats are liked by 49 percent of voters and disliked by 46 percent. My party is equally liked and disliked: Republicans have a 46 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable rating, a major improvement from where we were a year ago.
And the political rage of the moment, the Tea Party, has a 38 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable rating. But as proof that the Tea Party is an unpredictable force that may stay around for a while, the newest Rasmussen poll showed that 24 percent of U.S. voters now say they consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement. That's an 8-point increase from a month ago.
Special to CNN
Three credible independent candidates are running for governor this year in three New England states where registered independents outnumber Democrats and Republicans.
It's the latest sign that independent voters are rising from the ranks of the politically homeless to become the largest and fastest growing segment of the American electorate.
A CBS/New York Times poll released last month found that 42 percent of Americans identify themselves as independents. Registered independent (or unaffiliated) voters now outnumber registered Democrats or Republicans in 10 states, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine.
In those three states, former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, State Treasurer Tim Cahill and businessman Eliot Cutler have embarked on independent candidacies for governor.