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Tuesday Night’s Other Elections

Robin Marty

How did "other" candidates fair during elections?

Although the spotlight Tuesday night was on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to stay in office in Wisconsin, that wasn’t the only race being voted on. Just in Wisconsin alone, four other state senators were up for recall as well, with one senate seat likely flipping from Republican to Democrat. Although this move means a new Democratic majority in the senate, it’s a victory mostly in name, as the body isn’t meeting again until after the 2012 general election.

In California the most interesting race was the state’s “free for all jungle primary” where the top vote gatherers in the senate race would be paired off in the general election, regardless of what party they belonged to.  The top spot went to Democratic Senator Barbara Feinstein, as expected, with four times as much support as Republican Elizabeth Emken, who finished in second place.  Not making the cutoff was “birther” Orly Taitz, best known for her ceaseless devotion to demanding a long-form birth certificate from President Barack Obama to prove he was in fact born in the U.S.  But Taitz isn’t giving up, claiming the voting was likely mistallied and she can still be named the winner.

New Jersey’s most watched race was between Congressman Bill Pascrell and Congressman Steve Rothman went head to head in a newly drawn district. Pascrell won by nearly twice as many votes. Pascrell was backed by former President Bill Clinton, while Rothman portrayed himself as the “real” progressive, even bringing Pascrell’s vote for a later term abortion ban into the race.

South Dakota Senator Kristi Noem has a new challenger in the general — former Sen. Tim Johnson staffer Matt Varilek. Varilek beat fellow Democrat Jeff Barth for the nomination. Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Daugaard saw three of the five candidates he endorsed for office lose to primary rivals, a sign of the still rising power of anti-choice activists in the state who claimed some of his candidates weren’t “pro-life enough.”

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In Montana Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg wins the primary and will campaign to unseat Democratic Senator Jon Tester. Finally, in New Mexico, former Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson and Democratic Congressman Martin Heinrich both won their party primaries and will face each other in a head to head battle to replace Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman, who is retiring at the end of his term.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

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