Two candidates who were viewed as the choice of establishment Washington scored narrow victories in tough primaries Tuesday night. One candidate with ties to Washington, but an outsider aura and the backing of the tea party, won in Colorado. And in Connecticut, a former wrestling executive won a smackdown victory.
Palin's last-minute campaign trip to Georgia Monday to lift one of her "mama grizzlies," former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel, seemed unsuccessful, at least as of the late evening Tuesday. Handel trailed former Rep. Nathan Deal with more than 90 percent of the ballots counted in the race for Georgia's Republican gubernatorial nomination. But the difference between the two was about one percent.
Handel is entitled to a recount under state law if the final difference between the two is one percent or less.
Speaking to supporters just before 11 p.m., Handel noted "a lot of absentee ballots" remain outstanding. She urged the crowd to keep their fingers crossed, "keep the faith, be optimistic and party on!"
Deal had the backing of the NRA and some other potential 2012 presidential candidates in Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, both of whom campaigned for him.
In Colorado, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet was a more decisive victor in the primary for his seat. Bennet was the White House's favored candidate even though he was appointed to the Senate and had never seen his name on an election ballot before tonight.
Bennet withstood a bruising primary challenge from Andrew Romanoff, the former Colorado house speaker who was endorsed by former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton, who knows Romanoff personally, did not actively campaign in Colorado, but he did record a last-minute robo-call for Romanoff. Bennet had 54 percent of the vote to Romanoff's 45 percent with 65 percent of precincts reporting.
On the Republican side in Colorado, Ken Buck, a county attorney defeated Jane Norton, the former lieutenant governor.
Buck had the nod of strict conservative Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Norton has gotten praise but no endorsement from Palin. Norton also campaigned with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.
Norton said some unfortunate things about his choice of footwear and remarked that people should vote for him because "I do not wear high heels."
Buck is seen by some as a gaffe-prone sound-bite machine. He will present a test for the tea party. Read more on the year of the Republican woman here.
In the race for the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon seemed to be running away. McMahon, who spent $25 million of her own money on the primary, was well ahead of former Rob. Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff -- 48-29-22.