2010 Elections: Primary Season Kicks Into High Gear

Ohio, Indiana and N.C. primaries may provide clues to political climate.

ByABC News
May 3, 2010, 5:51 PM

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2010— -- The political world still awaits some of the highest profile primary battles and special elections of the season, but today's voting in Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina may provide some clues about the electoral climate.

One key factor to watch in today's primaries is how well candidates preferred by the national parties fare in an anti-Washington environment, not just by wins and losses but by the overall level of support the candidates receive from the primary electorate.

2010 Elections Map: Follow the Senate, House and Governor's Races

When Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., announced his retirement in February, he shook up the race for the U.S. Senate in the Hoosier State. National Republicans successfully recruited former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., into the contest. But he has faced steady competition from the right since declaring his candidacy.

Both former Rep. John Hostettler and state Sen. Marlin Stutzman have whipped up support among the conservative wing of the GOP. Stutzman recently won the backing of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who has actively supported conservative candidates even if they are not preferred by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Coats, who has faced Democratic opposition painting him as a Washington lobbyist insider and a former Hoosier who had since moved out of state, is expected to carry the day in the GOP primary, but his margin of victory may provide an important clue about how fired up and motivated the conservative wing of the Republican Party might prove to be.

Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., is the presumptive Democratic nominee chosen by the Indiana Democratic Party to replace Bayh.