BOSTON (Reuters) - Voters in five eastern states are set to vote in the final primary elections of 2014 to pick gubernatorial candidates in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York and U.S. Senate challengers in New Hampshire and Delaware.
The incumbent Democratic governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island opted not to seek re-election, setting the stage for two competitive party primaries in each state.
According to opinion polls, the top contenders in Massachusetts are state Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Treasurer Steve Grossman, both Democrats, and businessman Charlie Baker, a Republican.
Rhode Island voters will pick among a field of gubernatorial hopefuls including Democrats state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Republicans Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and software executive Ken Block.
New Hampshire voters will face two Republican primaries, including picking from a field including former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown to run against incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and among businessman Walt Havenstein and Tea Party activist Andrew Hemingway to take on Governor Maggie Hassan.
Delaware voters also face a Republican U.S. Senate primary, with businessmen Carl Smink and Kevin Wade looking to take on Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Coons in November.
In New York, sitting Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo faces a long-shot primary challenge in left-leaning political neophyte Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor and former Occupy Wall Street activist.
Cuomo has done his best to ignore his primary rival.
"Experience matters," he said in a campaign appearance on Monday.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Grant McCool)