Sestak Defeats Specter in PA, Paul Wins Big in Kentucky — Election Night Liveblogging
I’ll be live-blogging election results tonight in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Arkansas.
In Pennsylvania, Rep. Joe Sestak has surged in the polls these past few weeks against Republican-turned Democrat-turned arch liberal Democrat Arlen Specter. A close race is expected, with Sestak the slight favorite. Also, Democrat Mark Critz will face Republican Tim Burns in a special election to replace the late Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA). This is a highly competitive district, and the latest polling shows a dead heat.
In Arkansas, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) hopes to oust incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), although this race may have to be settled by a runoff if D.C. Morrison (D) is able to hold both candidates to less than 50% of the vote. Halter is strongly backed by labor and the progressive blogosphere, while Lincoln enjoys the support of the White House and most of the Democratic establishment. Morrison has run to the right of both major candidates, and is viewed by most Democrats as a gadfly.
In the Kentucky primary for U.S. Senate, Rand Paul (son of Ron Paul) appears to be on the verge of a major upset over Trey Grayson, who has the backing of the entire Republican establishment — including Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Check back tonight for updates in real time. The polls close at 6 p.m. in Kentucky, 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania, and 8:30 p.m. in Arkansas.
7:12 p.m. — No surprises so far in Kentucky, as Rand Paul leads Trey Grayson 55%-39% with 4% of precincts reporting.
7:25 p.m. — The Kentucky Democratic primary for U.S. Senate has received far less attention than the GOP race, but Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo — who is disliked by much of the liberal blogosphere, is in very tight race against Attorney General Jack Conway, widely viewed as the more progressive candidate between the two. In fact, Conway is actually leading Mongiardo 47%-40% with 13% of precincts reporting.
7:31 p.m. — In case you’re wondering why we’ve already got results from Kentucky, the Bluegrass State closes its polls at 6 p.m. To call that regressive would be quite an understatement. It’s blatantly discriminatory against the working poor — or anyone who isn’t upper middle class, really. What possible justification could there be for shutting down the polls before many people can leave their cubicles and workstations? What am I missing?
7:45: — With 28% reporting, the KY Republican primary is beginning to look like a blowout. Rand Paul is dominating, 59%-36%.
7:47 p.m. — AP projects Rand Paul will win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Kentucky. This is a huge embarrassment for Mitch McConnell.
7:48 p.m. — TPM reports that Paul clobbered Grayson in his home county (Boone) by a margin of 67%-31%. Ouch.
8:03 p.m. — With 38% of precincts reporting, Conway has a commanding lead over Mongiardo in Kentucky, 50%-38%.
9:15 p.m. — With 11% of precincts reporting in Pennsylvania, Specter leads Sestak 55%-45%.
9:23 p.m. — Keep in mind that Specter needs to do very well in Philadelphia to have a shot at beating Sestak. So far, he’s in good shape. With 41% of precincts reporting, Specter leads 64%-36 in Philly. Hard to say if it will be enough for Arlen to prevail, but he’s definitely still in this thing.
9:45 p.m. — With 32% reporting in Pennsylvania, Specter and Sestak are tied, 50% to 50%.
9:54 p.m. — Dave Wasserman, an analyst with the Cook Political Report, tweets: “running down the list county-by-county, it’s becoming clearer and clearer Specter has no hope of pulling this out”
His view is consistent with what most analysts are saying at the moment. The consensus among the number-crunchers seems to be that Specter is toast.
9:55 p.m. — Sestak pulls ahead with 42% reporting, 52%-48%
10:06 p.m. — AP calls KY Senate Democratic primary for Jack Conway
10:14 p.m. — AP calls PA Democratic primary for Joe Sestak
10:47 p.m. — In the special election in Pennsylvania’s highly competitive 12th district, Democrat Mark Critz has defeated Republican Tim Burns. This was the only district that voted for John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. Obama lost the district by less than one percentage point.
11:08 p.m. — NBC reports that the Arkansas Democratic primary for Senate will go to a runoff election. Currently, Blanche Lincoln leads Bill Halter 44%-42%, with 38% of precincts reporting.
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