News Guide: Highlights of primary elections
The Associated Press
Sep. 10, 2014
Highlights from Tuesday's primary elections in Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
TOP OF THE TICKET
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a front-runner since he announced his bid in April, glided to an easy win Tuesday in the Republican primary for Senate in neighboring New Hampshire.
Brown was one of 10 candidates on the Republican ballot seeking to challenge first-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in November. That race is among those expected to decide control of the Senate for the final two years of President Barack Obama's term.
Brown won a special election in 2010 in Massachusetts to finish the term of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, but he lost his bid for a full term two years later to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Late last year, he moved to New Hampshire and won praise for not taking this primary campaign for granted.
"Some thought he might have an 'above it all' campaign," former state Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen said. "But the guy has earned it."
Worth noting: Brown beat Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in that 2010 Senate race. She was also on the ballot Tuesday — and won her primary for governor of Massachusetts.
LONGTIME HOUSE MEMBER LOSES IN MASSACHUSETTS
U.S. Rep. John Tierney conceded defeat to former Marine and Iraq war veteran Seth Moulton, bringing an end to his congressional career after 18 years in office.
Tierney, who prides himself on his constituent service and his record on education, barely survived the 2012 election. He edged out Richard Tisei, a former state senator and openly gay Republican, by just 4,330 votes.
Moulton will face Tisei, again the Republican nominee, in November.
Moulton spent about a half-million dollars on campaign ads introducing himself to voters in the district, while VoteVets, a group dedicated to electing veterans to Congress, has spent slightly more than that on an ad in which a World War II veteran praises Moulton — "a Marine from Marblehead," the coastal town in the northeast Massachusetts district.
The 35-year-old businessman and Harvard graduate enlisted in the Marines in 2001 and described himself in a campaign ad as a "progressive Democrat who opposed the war in Iraq."
"But I also was a Marine serving my country," Moulton said. "So I went, led my platoon and always ate last after my men."
CUOMO CHALLENGED FROM THE LEFT
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn't end up having much to worry about when it came to winning his Democratic primary against Zephyr Teachout, a largely unknown liberal activist.
But Teachout's presence on the ballot nonetheless served as a referendum on Cuomo among liberals, highlighting his uneasy relationship with the party base. Cuomo won the race with ease, but he fell far shy of posting the kind of overwhelming victory that might have been expected from a popular incumbent aiming to win a second term in November.
Teachout is a Fordham University law professor and former director of the good-government Sunlight Foundation who criticized Cuomo for his support for charter schools and business-friendly tax cuts, while saying he hasn't done enough to address government corruption and income inequality.
Cuomo spent most of the primary race publicly ignoring Teachout, refusing multiple requests to debate her and holding few campaign events. His campaign sought to kick Teachout off the ballot by challenging her New York state residency, a legal maneuver that many observers say backfired by giving Teachout's campaign greater exposure.
Cuomo moves on to face Republican Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in November.
THREE MORE RACES FOR GOVERNOR
Three states were picking nominees for governor:
—New Hampshire: Retired defense industry executive Walt Havenstein secured the support of the Republican establishment early and beat tea party activist Andrew Hemingway and two others.
Havenstein said his leadership at defense contractors BAE Systems and SAIC gives him the experience to run a state and manage multibillion-dollar budgets. He now faces first-term incumbent Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.
—Massachusetts: Coakley won some measure of political redemption after her loss to Brown, a defeat that ended the Democrats' supermajority in the U.S. Senate. She beat state Treasurer Steven Grossman and Donald Berwick, a former federal health care administrator, to win the Democratic nomination for governor.
Gov. Deval Patrick, a two-term Democrat who is not seeking re-election, didn't endorse any of the candidates.
In the Republican primary, Charlie Baker, chief executive of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, beat tea party-backed candidate Mark Fisher. Baker lost his bid to unseat Patrick four years ago, but he hopes a well-financed campaign and sharpened message can lead to a win in solidly Democratic Massachusetts.
— Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo beat Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and newcomer Clay Pell, husband of Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, to win the Democratic nomination for governor in Rhode Island.
The state's general treasurer trumpeted her leadership in overhauling the state's troubled pension system, and in the process outraised and outspent both of her opponents, shelling out more than $5 million.
Raimondo will face Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who beat businessman Ken Block, founder of the Moderate Party, on the Republican side of the ballot.
MICHELLE KWAN'S RACE
Ex-Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan had hoped to be the next first lady of Rhode Island. Married to Pell, she had appeared in some of his ads, made frequent appearances on the campaign trail and promoted his candidacy to her Twitter followers.
Earlier this year, Kwan was spotted at the Sochi Olympics passing out Pell buttons to athletes.
Kwan's Prius even figured into the race when it was twice reported stolen. The first time, Pell simply forgot where he parked it. The second, Pell left it unlocked outside their home near Brown University in Providence after dropping the key between the seats, and it was actually stolen.
Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history. The five-time world champion won a bronze medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and a silver at the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan.
BUDDY CIANCI, PART III
Law professor and former judge Jorge Elorza will face former Providence, Rhode Island, mayor and twice-convicted felon Buddy Cianci in November after winning the Democratic primary. Cianci, running as an independent, last held office in 2002 before being sent to prison for presiding over widespread corruption at City Hall.
The mayoral race has centered on who can beat Cianci. Despite his criminal record, he is a formidable political force and has a network of supporters who credit him with revitalizing Providence during his 21 years in office.
Elorza beat City Council President Michael Solomon, who said his experience after nearly eight years on the council puts him in a better position to prevail in November. Elorza said he's built a coalition of voters, including those in the city's wealthy enclaves around Brown University and from the city's growing Hispanic community.
It's a second comeback attempt for Cianci. He was forced from office in 1984 after an assault conviction, but he was re-elected in 1990.
Republican Dan Harrop will also appear on the ballot in November.
Tuesday was the final primary election of the 2014 midterms until Election Day — for every state but Louisiana. The same day, Nov. 4, Louisiana holds a "jungle primary," with all candidates on the ballot, even those of the same party. If no candidate receives 50 percent-plus-one vote during the primary election, a runoff election will be held on Dec. 6 between the top two vote-getters in the primary.