In a series of House Republican primaries Tuesday night, the National Republican Congressional Committee wound up getting most of its desired candidates, but they didn't post convincing winning margins.
Against Virginia freshman Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, Republicans will field businessman Keith Fimian, who ran unsuccessfully against Connolly for the open seat last cycle even as a highly touted candidate. Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity kept the race competitive, and Fimian won with 56 percent of the vote.
And against Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello -- one of the GOP's top targets this year -- state Sen. Robert Hurt prevailed in a divisive primary, keeping the tea party from taking over the ticket. However, he was held to 48 percent of the vote. Fellow freshman Democratic Rep. Glenn Nye, another of the Republicans' targets in the commonwealth, will face auto dealer Scott Rigell, who won with just 39 percent of the vote.
Another heavily touted GOP nominee also won with a fairly slim margin -- former NFL player Jon Runyan -- defeated attorney Justin Murphy with 56 percent of the vote to earn a spot against freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler.
South Dakota Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, will have a difficult election this fall, too. But for all the excitement generated among Republican operatives were when state Rep. Kristi Noem entered the GOP primary, she was garnering 40 percent of the vote compared to 37 percent for Secretary of State Chris Nelson with 56 percent of precincts reporting at presstime.
Also in the lower chamber, the newest member from Georgia will be Republican former state Rep. Tom Graves, who defeated former state Sen. Lee Hawkins in the special election runoff with about 57 percent of the vote. Graves replaces Republican Rep. Nathan Deal, who retired to run for governor.
That theme was playing out in South Carolina, where state Rep. Tim Scott was leading by garnering just a third of the vote with 77 percent of precincts reporting at presstime. The results will trigger a runoff in the Palmetto State, with Scott facing the next nearest competitor -- either Charleston County Commissioner Paul Thurmond or businessman Carroll Campbell. The eventual nominee will compete against Democratic businessman Ben Fraser to replace retiring Republican Rep. Henry Brown.
This article appears in the June 12, 2010, edition of NJ Daily.