Great Primaries Today

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Aug 24, 2010 8:50 AM
There are primaries today in Florida, Arizona, Alaska, Vermont and Oklahoma, but the first three are of course the biggest.

FLORIDA

The blockbuster race is the Florida Democratic Senate primary between Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) and bizzaro billionaire Jeff Greene. Meek is a reliably Democratic candidate plugging along in a mostly Republican state, and Greene is famous for his exotic yatch parties and affiliation with notorious Hollywood Madames. Meek is ahead of Greene in the polls, which is important for two reasons: one, it shows that Florida voters aren't entirely crazy, and two, Meek's victory would suck voters from Gov. Charlie Crist's slingshot Independent bid in the general election. That means Marco Rubio could win it all.

Then there's the other Florida billionaire, Rick Scott, who is running against Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. Scott will forever be ingrained in my mind as the Mister-Clean-esque spokesman of the anti-Obama health care campaign put on by Conservatives for Patients' Rights. Don't get me wrong — it was a great campaign — but it was also quite notorious, given that Scott was the CEO of a hospital that has weathered charges of Medicare fraud to the tune of 1.7 billion. McCollum enjoys a 39-35 point lead in the latest polls, and was the presumptive nominee until Scott jumped in with $30 million of his own money. Whoever comes out on top will go up against presumptive Democratic nominee Alex Sink and independent candidate Lawton "Bud" Chiles III.

Let's certainly keep an eye out for the GOP competitors fighting to take on crazy Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.). At the top of the ticket is Bruce O'Donoghue, but there's six other competitors which could slice and dice this race into GOP oblivion. Then there's the 24th district, where Karen Diebel and Craig Miller are leading the field for the honor of challenging Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.). Both Grayson and Kosmas are highly vulnerable this cycle and sit in very evenly divided districts.

ARIZONA

In Arizona, Sarah Palin has endorsed Paul Gosar in a crowded GOP primary in Arizona's 1st district. He's got the lead among no less than eight Republican opponents, including 2008 nominee Sydney Hay, all of whom have been courting tea party support. They're vying for the chance to take on sitting Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who is sitting in a 6 Republican district and voted for health care. In other words, they're hungry hyenas. Similarly, in Arizona's eighth district, state Senator and Iraq veteran Jonathan Paton faces another Iraq veteran Jesse Kelly to earn the privilege of taking on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — one of Pelosi's favorite puppets.

Let's not forget the GOP Senate primary in Arizona, where Sen. John McCain takes on challenger J.D. Hayworth. Hayworth was looking strong in the polls out of the gate, but has fallen behind towards the finish after McCain spent $21 million slamming Hayworth as a "huckster." That's more money than McCain has spent every single Senate campaign combined since he first won a Senate seat in 1986. He was of course aided by his friend Sarah Palin.

ALASKA

In Alaska, Palin has again made an endorsement, this time against sitting Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. Most people attribute this to a longstanding grudge from when Murkowski defeated Palin's father in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. Instead, Palin wants attorney Joe Miller to take the race, but polls are showing him lagging behind, probably because of his wide cash disadvantage. Murkowski has high approval ratings and played up her experience card.