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McCain wins, Murkowski trails

  |   Aug. 25, 2010 at 4:43 AM
Voters in Arizona, Vermont, Alaska, Florida and Oklahoma Tuesday selected who they think should be on the Election Day ballot in November.

Republicans James Lankford and Charles Thompson appeared headed to victories in congressional primary runoffs in Oklahoma Tuesday. The Oklahoman reported Lankford had pulled ahead 16,546 to 9,431 over Kevin Calvey with about two-thirds of the votes counted in the 5th Congressional District. Calvey conceded.

Lankford will go against Democrat Billy Coyle, the city attorney for Oklahoma City, in November to determine who will succeed incumbent Mary Fallin, who is relinquishing the seat to run for governor.

The Tulsa World reported in the 2nd Congressional District Charles Thompson was holding a better than 2-to-1 lead over Daniel Edmonds with about a third of the precincts reporting and appeared headed for victory. Thompson would face Democratic incumbent Dan Boren in November.

Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek and Republican ex-state House Speaker Marco Rubio were winners in Florida's U.S. Senate primary election Tuesday, setting up a three-way battle for the general election, as Gov. Charlie Crist -- who dumped the GOP to run as an independent -- waited on the primary sidelines.

With 51 percent of precincts reporting, Meek had 54 percent of the Democratic votes to 33 percent for billionaire Jeff Greene, 7 percent for Glenn Burkett and 5 percent for Maurice Ferre. CNN said the spread was enough to give the win to Meek.

Rubio easily bested two Republican opponents, raking in 84 percent of the votes. William Kogut had 9 percent and William Escoffery had 7 percent.

In Florida's gubernatorial primaries, CNN projected state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink had won the Democratic primary, while Naples businessman Rick Scott defeated Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Scott had 49 percent of the vote to 43 percent for McCollum, The Miami Herald said.

Sink was breezing to victory with 77 percent to 23 percent for Brian Moore.

A recent poll commissioned by the Herald, St. Petersburg Times and two cable news channels shows Crist capturing at least 32 percent of the vote in November against Rubio and Meek.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy had no difficulty winning the Democratic primary in Vermont Tuesday as he goes after a seventh term. With 30 percent of the precincts counted, Leahy had 89 percent of the votes to 11 percent for Daniel Freilich, the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reported.

Leahy will see Freilich again in the general election, when the 47-year-old Wilmington doctor will be on the ballot as an independent. Len Britton, the Republican hopeful, was unopposed in the primary.

Also on the fall ballot will be independents Stephen Cain and Johenry Nunes, Peter Diamondstone of the Socialist or Liberty Union parties, Cris Ericson of the United States Marijuana Party and Rick Russell of the Working Families Party.

In the race for Vermont governor, where incumbent Republican James H. Douglas isn't running again and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie was unopposed on the GOP ballot, there was a tight four-way race on the Democratic side. With 29 percent of the precincts in, Doug Racine had 26 percent, Deb Markowitz 25 percent, Peter Shumlin 24 percent and Matt Dunne 19 percent. Susan Bartlett had 6 percent.

In the state's at-large congressional race, Paul Beaudry led in the Republican primary with 48 percent to 39 percent for John Mitchell and 13 percent for Keith Stern. Peter Welch is the two-term incumbent Democrat.

Sen. John McCain held off a Republican primary challenge by conservative firebrand J.D. Hayworth in Arizona Tuesday, returns indicated.

With votes still being counted late Tuesday, CNN projected McCain, the Republican nominee for president in 2008, won the GOP primary Tuesday as he seeks a fifth term in the U.S. Senate.

Gov. Jan Brewer appeared to be headed for an easy victory in the Republican primary, The Arizona Republic said. Early returns showed Brewer with a comfortable lead over political newcomer Matt Jette, the newspaper said.

Brewer came into the primary with a huge advantage among GOP voters -- having signed into law the get-tough immigration bill that requires law enforcement officials to check documentation of people being detained who are suspected of being in the state illegally, among other things. Portions of the law, which has become a flash-point issue, are stayed as its legal challenges are resolved.

Secretary of state documents indicate Terry Goddard did not face a challenger on the Democratic gubernatorial ticket.

In Arizona's 3rd Congressional District, a furor surrounding Republican candidate Ben Quayle -- son of former Vice President Dan Quayle -- has cut into his lead over other contenders, the Arizona Capitol Times said. Quayle watched his lead fade in large part because of revelations he was connected to TheDirty.com, a racy Web site that originally was DirtyScottsdale.com, a site that jabbed fun at Scottsdale nightlife. After the story broke, GOP candidate Steve Moak morphed Quayle's fall into front-runner status for himself, and former state Sen. Jim Waring wasn't far behind.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was trailing challenger Joe Miller Tuesday in Alaska's Republican primary election, returns showed.

With 66 percent of precincts reporting, Miller had 51.7 percent of the vote to 48.3 percent for Murkowski.

Miller -- who was endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express -- said he was "absolutely certain" Palin's support for his campaign was "pivotal," the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported. Murkowski said she thought Palin was "out for her own self-interest. I don't think she's out for Alaska's interest."

There will not be an official result for a week, the newspaper said. Alaska elections officials said more than 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and only about 7,600 had been returned by Monday night.

Sitka, Alaska, Mayor Scott Adams had a comfortable lead Tuesday night over the other candidates for the Democratic Senate nomination, Frank Vondersaar and Jacob Seth Kern.

Rep. Don Young was leading challenger Sheldon Fisher 70 percent to 40 percent in the Republican primary for the House of Representatives. Young will face, Democrat Harry Crawford in November.

Gov. Sean Parnell, who succeeded Palin when she resigned as governor in 2009, was headed for a victory in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Parnell had 48.9 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Bill Walker. In the Democratic primary, Ethan Berkowitz had 48 percent to 41 percent for Hollis French.

Alaskan voters approved an initiative requiring parental notification before someone 17 years old or younger can receive an abortion -- unless a teen can demonstrate to a judge or obtain a notarized statement by a physician that she is abused in the home.

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