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Term-limited South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow trounced former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler to win the GOP House contest Tuesday, while Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman easily captured the Democratic nomination despite an ethics investigation.

In New Jersey, wealthy businessman Douglas Forrester defeated two state senators for the right to challenge scandal-tarnished Democratic Sen. Robert Torricelli. Scott Garrett, a conservative lawmaker opposed by retiring New Jersey congresswoman Marge Roukema, won the GOP contest to replace her.

In all, seven states held elections on the busiest primary day so far of the 2002 season.

In Alabama, Siegelman will face Rep. Bob Riley, who easily defeated two other candidates. Five-term Democratic Rep. Earl Hilliard was ahead of an aggressive primary opponent in a race improbably tinged by Mideast politics but not yet enough to avoid a runoff.

Republicans hoping to reclaim control of the Senate set the stage for fall races in Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. The fight for control of the House fueled several races nationwide.

Turnout was light nearly everywhere.

With 44 percent of precincts reporting, Jankow had 24,973 votes, or 56 percent, to Pressler's 12,014 or 27 percent.

In Alabama, with 47 percent of precincts reporting, Siegelman had 145,792 votes, or 73 percent, to Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bishop's 42,308, or 21 percent. Riley had 93,757 votes, or 77 percent, to 18,275 or 15 percent for Lt. Gov. Steve Windom. Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, trailed.

Hilliard had 50 percent of the vote to Harvard-educated lawyer Artur Davis's 39 percent with 30 percent of precincts reporting. He needs 50.1 percent to avoid a runoff.

In the New Jersey race, Forrester won with 46 percent of the vote in his bid to challenge Torricelli, who has been the subject of unproven allegations of unethical behavior. His nearest challenger, state Sen. Diane Allen, had 35 percent.

In South Dakota, powerhouse Republican rivals were vying to win their party's nomination for the state's lone House seat as Janklow, forced out by term limits after 16 years, went up against Pressler.

In the Democratic primary, lawyer Stephanie Herseth, daughter and granddaughter of longtime state politicians, defeated three other candidates.

In Alabama, the Middle East became a major issue in Hilliard's bid for a sixth term in a mostly rural, majority-black district where Republicans have not fielded a candidate.

Davis, who lost to Hilliard two years ago, criticized the incumbent's positions on the Middle East, including a bill he wrote to lift most U.S. economic sanctions, including those against countries that support terrorism. Davis was blasted in an anonymous memo for support he's received from Jewish donors. Both men are black.

In New Jersey, Roukema, a 22-year veteran, waded into the primary for her successor _ warning GOP voters against Garrett, who nearly beat her in the last two primaries and endorsing state Sen. Gerald Cardinale. Despite her effort, Garrett won with 45 percent of the vote. State lawmaker David Russo had 26 percent; Cardinale had 25 percent.

Democrats hope to capitalize on the discord this fall.

Republicans, who likewise have made holding the House a top priority, said they were confident about Tuesday's competitive races, and their final fall outcomes.

The national GOP has already been involved in Senate races: President Bush traveled to Iowa to support Rep. Greg Ganske, a moderate hoping to defeat a conservative for the GOP nomination against three-term Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

In South Dakota, the Senate race was widely seen as a proxy race for Bush and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, both of whom got involved in the battle between incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson and GOP Rep. John Thune. Johnson has no serious primary challenger, and Thune has no opposition.

Elsewhere, Republicans chose a candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Max Baucus in Montana.

Other spirited House races include a four-way contest for an open and overwhelmingly Republican seat in western Iowa and the New Mexico primary for a largely rural district left open by retiring 11-term GOP Rep. Joe Skeen.

Among governors, only Siegelman, a Democrat, faced a primary challenge. Republicans hoped the probe will ultimately help Riley.

Open governors' seats in New Mexico and South Dakota drew crowded primaries.

Former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby and state Attorney General Mark Barnett vied for the GOP nomination in South Dakota, while Democratic candidates included multimillionaire Jim Abbott.

In New Mexico, Bill Richardson _ the former energy secretary in the Clinton administration and a former New Mexico congressman _ easily defeated a write-in candidate for the Democratic primary. Republican candidates were Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley and state Reps. John Sanchez and Rob Burpo.

Elsewhere, voters in Helena, Montana's capital, decided whether to ban smoking in indoor public places, including bars and restaurants. And South Dakota voters weighed a constitutional amendment that sought to ban corporate farms.

With control of Congress split and razor-thin, this year's elections could tip the balance either way. Democrats control the Senate by one seat; the GOP holds the House, with 222 Republicans, 211 Democrats and two independents.