For those who couldn't take their eyes off of Arkansas (or, alternately, off of the NBA Finals), what follows is a recap of all that went down on one of the most densely packed primary nights of the cycle:
- ARKANSAS: At this point, everyone knows about the disappointing runoff for the U.S. Senate, where Blanche Lincoln held onto a 52-48 win over Bill Halter (for those who missed it, both Jed and Markos had great takes on that race last night). There were, however, a trio of other runoffs last night, and all proved to be very close. In AR-01, Democrats avoided a possible 2010 incarnation of Parker Griffith when uber-conservative prosecutor Tim Wooldridge fell to Chad Causey, the Chief of Staff to outgoing Rep. Marion Berry (51-49). In Little Rock's AR-02, Democrats nominated an African-American woman to carry their flag: Joyce Elliott followed up her round one lead with a 54-46 win over state House Speaker Robbie Wills. Meanwhile, in AR-03, the Palin-approved Cecile Bledsoe fell short in her bid for Congress, losing to Rogers Mayor Steve Womack 52-48.
- CALIFORNIA: The Golden State went according to form on Tuesday night, as majorities in both parties supported the leading candidates. TV stations throughout the state are rejoicing, as free-spenders Meg Whitman (CA-Gov) and Carly Fiorina (CA-Sen) won the right to take on Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, respectively. The House primaries all went according to form, although several incumbents were held to an underwhelming share of the vote (Gary Miller did the worst--scoring just 49% of the vote in CA-42 to beat Phil Liberatore by around a dozen points). And Orly Taitz can go back to the birther biz, as she logged only about a quarter of the vote against Damon Dunn in her bid for Secretary of State. Another GOPer probably seeing electoral politics in the rearview mirror: Richard Pombo, who finished a distant third in his bid to win the GOP nomination in CA-19.
- GEORGIA: Only one race on the ballot in the Peach State, but it did result in the only new member of Congress. Tom Graves will replace Nathan Deal in Congress, in one of the most Republican districts in the nation (GA-09). Graves defeated Lee Hawkins (56-44) in order to ascend to the House.
- IOWA: It is now official: Democratic Governor Chet Culver is going to have to beat the man who held the office for 16 years in the 1980s and 1990s. Terry Branstad won the GOP nod, albeit in fairly pedestrian fashion (50-41) over hard-right insurgent candidate Bob Vander Plaats. Roxanne Conlin, on the other hand, was a buzzsaw in her Democratic Senate primary, logging 78% of the vote. The expectation of close House primaries never came to pass, as Ben Lange (IA-01), Marianette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and Brad Zaun (IA-03) cruised to large margins of victory.
- MAINE: The only big race on the docket in Maine was the open-seat race for Governor, and it will be a longtime veteran against a small-town mayor. For the Democrats, Libby Mitchell, who has been on the ballot in Maine for a quarter-century, looks to put the capstone on her career after besting Steven Rowe (35-23). Meanwhile, in what might be considered a mild upset, Waterville Mayor Paul LePage scored a wider-than-expected win over wealthy businessman Les Otten (38-17). Based on his website, LePage is an unabashed conservative, which might serve Mitchell well in this state that leans left-of-center, but has a fierce independent streak.
- MONTANA: Republican Congressman Dennis Rehberg (who cruised to victory with 75% of the vote) now knows the identity of his opponent for November. Democrats nominated state party chairman Dennis McDonald, who won with 38% of the vote in a four-candidate field.
- NEVADA: It has been a fait accompli for months, but it is now official: Governor Jim Gibbons is a lame duck. The lamest of ducks, actually, as he was doubled up (56-27) in the GOP primary by Brian Sandoval. Rory Reid cruised (70%) on the Democratic side, though 15% of Nevada voters went with "none of the above" (an option that I believe is unique to Silver State voters). On the Senate side, Harry Reid actually put in a strong performance, logging 75% of the vote in a multi-candidate field. Meanwhile, the GOP followed recent protocol, giving their nomination to the furthest candidate on the right in their primary. Sharron Angle completed her late come-from-behind surge, winning easily with 40% of the vote, well ahead of Sue Lowden (26%) and Danny Tarkanian (23%). Downballot, the NRCC got their man as Joe Heck easily won the GOP primary in NV-03, while the Democratic nominee in NV-02 is still undecided, as Nancy Price and Ken McKenna are separated by around 340 votes out of over 41,000 cast.
- NEW JERSEY: With several potentially competitive House races on the card, the order of the day in the Garden State was a repudiation of establishment Republicans. Ballyhooed Republican contender Jon Runyan won in NJ-03 with only 60% of the vote, while incumbent Leonard Lance won with only 56% in a multi-candidate field. Meanwhile, "establishment" picks in both NJ-06 and NJ-12 struggled, with the outcome in NJ-06 still in the air between tea party advocate Anna Little and GOP County Vice-Chair Diane Gooch (Gooch trails by 63 votes, according to the AP).
- THE DAKOTAS: Doubling up here, since there was only one race of note in North Dakota, and it was a wipeout (GOP frontrunner Rick Berg won the ND-AL primary with nearly 90% of the vote). Establishment picks batted .500 in South Dakota, as Lt. Governor Dennis Daugaard easily beat a multi-candidate field for the GOP gubernatorial nod (50% of the vote). Secretary of State Chris Nelson, however, failed in his bid for Congress. Lesser-known state legislator Kristi Noem claimed the nod with 42% of the vote (Nelson drew 35%).
- SOUTH CAROLINA: For all intents and purposes, the gubernatorial matchup for November is decided. Democrat Vincent Sheheen, in a bit of a surprise, lapped the field, winning 59% of the vote. On the GOP side, meanwhile, officially there is a runoff pending between Nikki Haley (49%) and Gresham Barrett (22%). However, since Haley came so close to the majority, there will probably be at least some pressure brought to bear on Barrett to stand down. On the Senate side, November became irrelevant when the completely unfunded Alvin Greene blasted Victor Rawl (59-41) for the Democratic nod. Jim DeMint just went from a possible sleeper upset to a guaranteed rout. Downballot, Bob Inglis' career as a Republican Congressman is likely over, given that he made the runoff but trailed contender Trey Gowdy in Round One (39-28). Runoffs also await the GOP in SC-01 and SC-03.
- VIRGINIA: In Virginia, the establishment candidates ran the table, albeit in somewhat underwhelming fashion. NRCC faves Scott Rigell (VA-02) and Rob Hurt (VA-05) both won their primaries, but neither could manage 50% of the vote (Virginia, unlike many Southern states, do not utilize runoff elections). Meanwhile, Keith Fimian gets round two against Democratic freshman Gerry Connolly, having defeated Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity by a twelve-point margin (56-44)
Next up on the calendar: a week off, followed by runoffs in North Carolina and South Carolina on June 22nd. Primaries will also take place in Utah two weeks from now.