This is the busiest day of the 2010 primary election season, with Democratic and Republicans nomination fights (along with some third party battles and lots of referendums) on the ballots in a dozen states.
Here’s where and what type of voting is taking place:
Arkansas – Primary Run-Off Election
California – Primary Election
Georgia – CD-9 Special Election Republican Run-Off
Iowa – Primary Election
Maine – Primary Election
Montana – Primary Election
Nevada – Primary Election
New Jersey – Primary Election
North Dakota – Primary Election
South Carolina – Primary Election
South Dakota – Primary Election
Virginia – Primary Election
And here races and trends to watch:
1. Arkansas Democratic U.S. Senate Run-off:
If challenger Bill Halter beats incumbent Blanche Lincoln, the shockwaves will be felt from Little Rock to Washington. The Democratic political establishment has backed Lincoln, with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama uniting to back the conservative incumbent. But Halter has become the vehicle for labor unions and Internet activists to express their displeasure with Democrats who are more prone to compromise than change. Lincoln is a good target in this regard, even if Halter is not quite so progressive as some of his backers imagine. (The Arkansas lieutenant governor is running a populist campaign that wisely seeks to tap into generalized anger at Washington.
If Halter does win, the most important message will be this: Despite all the media frenzy regarding the influence of the Tea Party movement on the Republican primaries, the real action is on the Democratic side. Democratic primaries have generally been attracting higher turnout and they have seen more political turbulence than Republican contests. If Lincoln becomes the second Democratic senator (after Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter) to lose a primary, the pundits might just wake up to the fact that the most energetic and effective challenge to the status quo is playing out within the Democratic Party.
2.California District 36 (Harman-Winograd):
Progressive challenger Marcy Winograd has scared the wits out of conservative incumbent Jane Harman (every Republican’s favorite Democrat. This race is a real test of anti-war sentiment. Harman was an apologist for the Bush-Cheney administration and has encouraged the worst instincts of the Obama-Biden administration with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan. Winograd is backed by Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America and key anti-war activists. She’s also won a good deal of backing from unions that object to Harman’s pro-Wall Street. But Winograd’s determination to hold Israel to account in the aftermath of the raid on the Gaza aid flotilla has given the incumbent a tool to attack the challenger, and many otherwise liberal House leaders (including Henry Waxman and even Congressional Progressive Caucus cio-chair Lynn Woolsey) have backed Harman.