Cochran Locked in Fierce Primary Battle in Mississippi

Primary races in New Jersey, South Dakota, and six other states being settled Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee members (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) listen to testimony during a hearing about the future of unmanned aviation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony about the Federal Aviation Administration's policy on unmanned aviation systems and about the privacy and freedom issues surrounding their use. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mike Magner
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Mike Magner
June 3, 2014, 6:18 p.m.

Early re­turns Tues­day even­ing from primary elec­tions in eight states set the stage for a couple of key House battles in New Jer­sey and a race for an open Sen­ate seat in South Dakota, while Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Thad Co­chran in Mis­sis­sippi was in the fight for his polit­ic­al life against tea-party chal­lenger Chris McDaniel.

A num­ber of oth­er con­tests in Alabama and New Jer­sey were play­ing out as ex­pec­ted, but res­ults from primar­ies in Cali­for­nia, Iowa, Montana, and New Mex­ico had not yet star­ted to trickle in by 10 p.m. East­ern time.

With less than half the vote coun­ted in Mis­sis­sippi’s Re­pub­lic­an primary, Co­chran had 50.6 per­cent while McDaniel had 47.8 per­cent. Co­chran, 76, is seek­ing his sev­enth term in the Sen­ate.

Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds eas­ily won a five-way Re­pub­lic­an primary Tues­day for the right to take on Demo­crat­ic busi­ness own­er Rick Wei­l­and and two in­de­pend­ents on Nov. 4 for the Sen­ate seat be­ing va­cated by Demo­crat Tim John­son, the Sen­ate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee chair­man who is re­tir­ing after five terms in the House and three terms in the Sen­ate.

Thun­der­storms forced Rounds to can­cel his travel plans as voters went to the polls Tues­day, but the bad weath­er didn’t af­fect the res­ults — Rounds was heav­ily favored over state Sen. Larry Rhoden, state Rep. Stace Nel­son, and two oth­er GOP can­did­ates in the primary.

In New Jer­sey, can­did­ates were se­lec­ted Tues­day for Novem­ber races to re­place re­tir­ing Reps. Jon Run­yan, a Re­pub­lic­an, and Rush Holt, a Demo­crat.

County of­fi­cial Aimee Bel­gard will be the Demo­crats’ hope for flip­ping Run­yan’s 3rd Dis­trict seat in South Jer­sey against Re­pub­lic­an Tom Ma­cAr­thur, a former may­or who crushed an­oth­er former may­or, Steve Loneg­an, in a tough primary. Bel­gard, who had the back­ing of House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, eas­ily bested two oth­er can­did­ates in her primary.

State As­semb­ly­wo­man Bon­nie Wat­son Cole­man will be the fa­vor­ite to keep Rush’s cent­ral New Jer­sey seat in Demo­crat­ic hands after best­ing state Sen. Linda Green­stein, As­sembly­man Upen­dra Chivukula, and phys­i­cist An­drew Zwick­er in Tues­day’s primary. Wat­son Cole­man will face Re­pub­lic­an Ali­eta Eck, a phys­i­cian, in Novem­ber.

Also in New Jer­sey, Sen. Cory Book­er, a Demo­crat who won a spe­cial elec­tion last year to fin­ish the term of the late Sen. Frank Lauten­berg, was wait­ing un­til late Tues­day night to find out his op­pon­ent this fall in a race for a full, six-year term. Con­ser­vat­ive Richard Pezzullo, es­tab­lish­ment Re­pub­lic­an Bri­an Gold­berg, and eco­nom­ic re­search­er Jeff Bell were in a close race in the GOP primary with about two-thirds of the vote coun­ted Tues­day. Book­er will be heav­ily favored over either Re­pub­lic­an, though.

In Alabama, state Rep. Paul De­Marco was lead­ing a sev­en-can­did­ate field in the Re­pub­lic­an primary for the seat be­ing va­cated in Janu­ary by GOP Rep. Spen­cer Bachus. State Sen. Scott Beason and think-tank cofounder Gary Palmer were both run­ning about 15 points be­hind with about a third of the vote coun­ted. The win­ner will be favored over Demo­crat­ic busi­ness­man Avery Vise in Novem­ber.

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