Tuesday's Primary Night is a Nail-Biter
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
The four gubernatorial primaries held Tuesday (Aug. 10) showed, if nothing else, how rocky the 2010 election cycle has become. While a sweeping, nationwide narrative may be hard to come by, the individual races did not lack for dramatic twists and turns.
In Colorado, Republican Don Maes took the party's nomination for governor, defeating former congressman Scott McInnis, whose once-formidable candidacy unraveled amid accusations of plagiarism. But, the Denver Post points out, Maes' narrow margin of victory may not be enough to avoid a recount. Initial returns showed Maes winning by more than 1 percentage point; anything less than half a percentage point would trigger an automatic recount.
The Republican victor will take on Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in the general election. Meanwhile, former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo has also threatened to run as a third-party candidate, a move Maes tried to preempt during a speech to supporters Tuesday night. "Tonight is a celebration, but there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room we must address," he said, according to the Post . "Mr. Tancredo, stop your campaign tonight!"
In Connecticut, it was the Democratic contest that drew the most attention. There, former Stamford mayor Dannel Malloy beat businessman and former U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont. Malloy will face Republican Tom Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland. Lamont earned nationwide attention when he defeated U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman in a Democratic primary four years ago, only to lose to him in the general election.
Lamont's fame and personal fortune — he is the great-grandson of a former partner of J.P. Morgan — weren't enough, the Hartford Courant writes. "Despite being outspent by nearly 4 to 1, Malloy had enough money to launch a series of negative commercials that were highly effective in their criticism of Lamont's actions at his cable television company, Lamont Digital," the paper noted.
In Minnesota, former U.S. senator Mark Dayton eked out a win against Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher to run as governor under the banner of the DFL party, Minnesota's version of the Democratic Party. Importantly for a state that recently went through a months-long recount for a U.S. Senate seat, it appears Dayton beat Kelliher by enough to avoid a recount. Still, Kelliher did not concede early Wednesday morning, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. "We're not making any decisions," Kelliher told supporters, according to the paper. "Hang in there."
The Associated Press noted that the general election will present Minnesota voters with two very different options for governor. "Minnesota voters will have a clear choice in November between Dayton, who vowed to raise taxes on high earners, and Republican Tom Emmer, a state representative who says he'll cut taxes and shrink government. Emmer rolled over three challengers," the AP wrote.
Finally, Republicans in Georgia may have to wait even longer to find out which candidate will take on the Democratic nominee, former governor Roy Barnes, in November. Former congressman Nathan Deal is clinging to a narrow lead of just 0.2 percentage points over Karen Handel early Wednesday in a run-off election. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Deal went on television Wednesday morning and said it's "nice to be in the lead."