ABC News’ David Chalian reports: The primary voters in Ohio, North Carolina, and Indiana didn’t put much of that anti-Washington, anti-establishment fervor on display Tuesday. The national party committees came out on top in all three states.
In Indiana, former Sen. Dan Coats edged out his crowded GOP primary field with nearly 40 percent of the vote. He will now have to unify Indiana Republicans behind his candidacy. The National Republican Senatorial Committee recruited Coats into the race. The retirement of Democrat Sen. Evan Bayh and Coats’ victory tonight make this Senate seat in a traditionally Republican state a prime piece of pick-up real estate for Republicans.
Coats will face Democrat Rep. Brad Ellsworth, a former sheriff, in November.
In a challenge to his party’s leadership, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., endorsed Marlin Stutzman in his effort to support more conservative candidates. It worked out for DeMint in Florida as he was one of Marco Rubio’s earliest national GOP supporters, but John Cornyn’s NRSC won the day in the Hoosier State.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s hand-picked candidate in Ohio, Lt. Gov Lee Fisher, beat Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Fisher has had to expend significant resources in what proved to be a more competitive primary than national Democrats would have liked and now has a lot of fundraising ground to make up as he prepares to take on former OMB Director Rob Portman in the November general election.
And in North Carolina, national Democratic efforts to boost Iraq war veteran Cal Cunningham’s candidacy proved successful enough to force a runoff election on June 22. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall got 36.6 percent of the vote, compared to Cunningham’s 27.1 percent, but with neither candidate reaching the 40 percent threshold, the race heads to a runoff. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is no doubt pleased to see a protracted and expensive Democratic battle continue before all the firepower starts coming his way.