Tuesday, 8 May 2012

0 What's at stake in elections Tuesday in 4 states

A quick look at what was at stake in elections Tuesday in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin:

INDIANA: Veteran Sen. Richard Lugar lost a bitter challenge from the right flank of his own Republican Party, his nearly four-decade career in the Senate ended by a tea party-backed GOP foe, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Playing out in a conservative state, the race illustrated the electorate's animosity toward many incumbents and anyone with deep ties to Washington. Lugar hadn't faced questions about his residency in decades, but he found himself on the defensive over whether he lived in Indiana or northern Virginia. The 80-year-old senator also was cast as too moderate for the conservative GOP in Indiana, and he took heat for his work with Democrats on issues such as nuclear nonproliferation. Mourdock will face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in the general election. Democrats promised a spirited fight as they seek to deny Republicans the four seats they need to take control of the Senate.

stake in elections

NORTH CAROLINA: Voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, making it the 30th state to adopt such a ban. State law already bans gay marriage, as do nine other states, but an amendment effectively slams the door shut on same-sex marriages. The amendment also goes beyond state law by voiding other types of domestic unions from carrying legal status, which opponents warn could disrupt protection orders for unmarried couples. Six states – all are in the Northeast except Iowa – and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. The North Carolina amendment was placed on the ballot after Republicans took over control of the state Legislature after the 2010 elections, a role the GOP hadn't enjoyed for 140 years.

WEST VIRGINIA: Sen. Joe Manchin defeated Democratic primary challenger Sheirl Fletcher, a former Republican and ex-legislator. Unopposed on the GOP side was John Raese, who lost to Manchin in the 2010 special election that followed the death of Robert C. Byrd. The seat is now up for a full six-year term.

WISCONSIN: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary in the state's historic recall election, emerging from a field of three Democrats to face Republican Gov. Scott Walker next month. Barrett's victory sets up a June 5 rematch of the 2010 governor's race in what will be the culmination of an effort to oust the first-term Republican. Anger over Walker's proposal to take collective bargaining rights from public workers – it passed last year – spurred the recall effort, which brought in more than 900,000 petition signatures. Walker has embodied the Republican rise to power in 2010 and hopes to avoid becoming just the third governor to be recalled in U.S. history. He has tapped his status as a national conservative rock star to raise a record $25 million so far, most of it from out of state.

GOP PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Mitt Romney added to his big lead in the race for convention delegates by winning Republican presidential primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia. The former Massachusetts governor won at least 63 delegates, with 28 delegates in West Virginia still undecided. He has a commanding lead in the race for delegates with 919, just 225 delegates shy of the 1,144 he needs to clinch the GOP nomination – a gap he could close by the end of the month. The only other Republican still in the race, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, has at least 100 delegates, including six he won in North Carolina. Romney won all 27 delegates at stake in Indiana and 36 of the 52 delegates up for grabs in North Carolina. Results for the West Virginia delegates – 112 candidates were running for the 19 statewide spots – were expected to be late.


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