Nebraska Primary, West Virginia Primary: A Fight Night Preview
Updated, 11 p.m. | Tea party-versus-the establishment is the theme Tuesday night as voters head to the polls in two of the hottest GOP primaries of the year: open-seat contests for party nods in Nebraska Senate and West Virginia’s 2nd District.
Here’s a recap of the night:
Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary
Tea Party Candidate Wins Republican Nod for Capito Seat
Nebraska Primary: Lee Terry’s Close Call
(For more on upcoming primaries, check out CQ Roll Call’s May Primary Cheat Sheet. )
West Virginia’s 2nd District – Polls close 7:30 p.m. Former United States International Trade Commissioner Charlotte Lane, former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney and pharmacist Ken Reed are battling it out in the race to replace Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who is running for Senate.
Mooney has the backing of national conservative groups, while Lane, the early favorite, is the choice of the local establishment. But Reed put enough of his own money into his campaign and television advertising that no one is willing to rule him out.
The late assessment by state and national Republicans was that Mooney had the momentum going into Election Day.
Former West Virginia Democratic Chairman Nick Casey is expected to cruise to his nomination and take on the GOP nominee in a race that is rated Leans Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Roll Call Politics reporter Abby Livingston will be live-tweeting Tuesday night as the results come in after polls close at 7:30 p.m. EST. Follow Abby here .
Nebraska Senate — Polls close 9 p.m.
In the Nebraska Senate race, Midland University president Ben Sasse, former state treasurer Shane Osborn, and Pinnacle Bank president Sid Dinsdale are facing off for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Republican Sen. Mike Johanns.
Sasse, a former Bush administration official with the backing of tea party and conservative groups as well as Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, is the frontrunner.
Osborn began the race as a frontrunner, thanks in part to his involvement in an international incident while serving as a Naval aviator. He is seen as having the tacit backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. But in the final days of the race, he appears to be slipping.
Both Osborn and Sasse are beneficiaries of outside group spending — much of it in the form of negative ads ripping the other candidate apart on the airwaves. As a result, Dinsdale has seen a surge in the polls reminiscent of Deb Fischer’s come-from-behind GOP primary victory in Nebraska in 2012. She won that race in part because two other candidates invested their efforts in attacking each other, ignoring her candidacy. But the outside groups backing Sasse caught on and in the final days of this race have shifted focus to Dinsdale.
The seat is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, so the winner of Tuesday’s primary will likely be the next senator.
Roll Call Politics reporter Alexis Levinson will live-tweet results as they come in when polls close at 9 p.m. EST. Follow Alexis here.