A Primary Primer for Primary Voting

The big action in Tuesday’s primary votes is in South Carolina, which features not one but two Senate face-offs for GOP voters. RINO Lindsey Graham seems to be anything but endangered as the opposition is split between six other candidates. The best known, at least judging by the amount of PR mailers hitting my inbox, is probably state Senator Lee Bright. The crowded field also include a coupe of business owners (Richard Cash and Nancy Mace), two attorneys (boo!), and pastor Det Bowers. All of Graham’s challengers are running well to the right of him, but none seems likely to beat him, even in deepest Red of the South. Graham maintains a 40-point lead over his closest competitor, and is a virtual lock to keep his seat in November. However, Graham may have to square off against Bright again in a special runoff election, should he fail to garner 50 percent of the vote.

But my favorite race of the entire primary season is that other race in South Carolina, featuring Tim Scott clinging on for dear life against The Man Who Wasn’t There. Scott was appointed to his seat by Governor Nikki Haley last year, following Jim DeMint’s surprise resignation to run the Heritage Foundation. In March, a gentleman by the name of Randall Young paid the $10,440 filing fee, then… disappeared. Cue the spooky music, because despite repeated attempts by the media and by the South Carolina GOP to contact him, nobody has heard a word from Young since March. The most I could learn about Young is a newspaper article from Saturday, helpfully describing him as a "Greenville resident." Apparently Young mis-learned one of the most important lesson in politics, which is to take the money and run.

Also Tuesday, South Carolina Democrats will choose their sacrificial lambs to run against (almost certainly) Graham and (perhaps!) Scott in November. Neither race is considered competitive by either party. The same could probably be said of Tuesday’s House primaries, where a half-dozen incumbents are expected to swat down a half-dozen challengers.

The other big state with big votes today is Virginia, where the GOP establishment seems likely to defeat yet another Tea Party challenger. Perhaps no Republican congressman has dashed conservative hopes quite so badly as Eric Cantor, first by lining up dutifully behind Speaker John Boehner, and more recently with his defiance of his party’s grassroots on amnesty. That might explain -- OK, it totally explains -- Saturday’s Daily Caller poll showing Cantor with his head barely above water at 52%. But his opponent Dave Brat polled at just 39, so barring a Tea Party turnout shock, Cantor will be sitting pretty on Tuesday night. If you’re looking for a signal of Tea Party strength, check the returns tomorrow morning. Two years ago, Cantor won his primary by a massive 79-21% margin.

Democrats are putting on a fun show in Virginia’s 8th District, with a slew of seven candidates vying to become the next Man of the People in a Washington suburb with a median income of $92,181. This seat was left open by Jim Moran’s retirement. Polling seems nonexistent, but if there’s a frontrunner it’s Democrat businessman and Obama White House creature Don Beyer. He’s the insider’s insider, and seems likely to win in a district made wealthy by taxing (and I do mean taxing) the rest of the country.

The Republican Senate candidate, Ed Gillespie, was selected by state convention goers, rather than by primary voters, to square off against Democrat Mark Warner. Warner has shown some weakness, but Gillespie has yet to show any strength, other than with the Virginia GOP establishment.

The only real action going on in Nevada Tuesday is in the 4th Congressional District, where four Republicans are battling for the right to unseat Democrat Steven Horsford. If Niger Innis wins, then NV04 would feature a conservative black Republican running against a black incumbent Democrat in the nation’s most geographically diverse district. Absent another wave in the fall, Horsford may prove tough to unseat in a district Cook rates D+4, so look at NV04 as another test of establishment vs. Tea Party strength.

We don’t get another round of primaries until June 24, with contests in Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah. Perhaps by then, and in one of those important states, we’ll learn the fate or whereabouts of Randall Young.

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