National Journal Online

Wednesday's Starting Lineup

Good Wednesday morning. How's this for close: In the race for the 2nd runoff spot in AL GOV, state Rep. Robert Bentley (R) leads businessman Tim James by 140 votes out of about 500K cast. Have fun counting (and recounting) those ballots.

Here's today's Starting Lineup, previewing the people who will make a difference in politics today:

Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 6:58am

Griffith Fails To Reach Runoff, Loses AL-05 GOP Bid

Updated: 12:45 a.m.

Rep. Parker Griffith (D), who left the Dem Party in Dec. after voting against most major Dem pieces of legislation, lost his first bid as a GOPer tonight to Madison Co. Commis. Mo Brooks (R), 51-33%.

The results were a surprising blow to Griffith, who many expected to at least make a runoff. The AP has yet to call the race, but the Huntsville Times reported that Griffith conceded just after midnight ET.

Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 12:46am

Runoffs For AL-02 GOPers, AL-07 Dems

Montgomery Councilor Martha Roby (R) came oh-so-close to avoiding a runoff, but came up a hair short, taking 48.6% in a four-way primary. The NRCC "Young Gun" face activist Rick Barber (R), who came in second with 28.4%, in a 7/13 runoff. AL school board member Stephanie Bell (R) took 18% and failed to qualify.

At least as far as fundraising is concerned, this was no contest. Roby outspent her challengers by a combined 3.5-1. But unfortunately for Roby, this was not fought over FEC reports.

Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 12:42am

How To Reverse Higher Ed's Dropout Crisis?

Thought leaders from the government, academia and business today called for an improvement in college completion rates. At stake, they said, is Americans' ability to remain competitive in a global economy.The statistics are grim: Only about 56 percent of students enrolling at four

Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Sparks Cruises, GOP Primary Razor Thin

Pollsters cringed and the establishment drew 2 wins on Tuesday in the AL GOV race as Ag. Commis. Ron Sparks (D) rode his wave of endorsements from every major black political group to an overwhelming, nearly 2-to-1 victory over Rep. Artur Davis (D), while ex-AL education chancellor Bradley Byrne (R), businessman Tim James (R) and state Rep. Robert Bentley (R) were virtually tied for the lead on the GOP side.

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 11:26pm

MS-01: NRCC Young Gun Avoids Runoff, Will Challenge Childers

While we await slow-arriving results in AL -- where Rep. Parker Griffith (R) is fighting for his political life -- the GOP has received some good news.

One of the two NRCC "Young Guns" in tough primary battles tonight has not only survived, but also managed to avoid a runoff. State Sen. Alan Nunnelee (D) defeated two Tea Partiers to win the GOP nod to face Blue Dog Rep. Travis Childers (R). Nunnelee defeated ex-Eupora Mayor Henry Ross (R), 51-33%, while ex-FNC commentator Angela McGlowan (R) took 16%.

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 11:25pm

Martinez To Face Denish In November

Dona Ana Co. DA Susana Martinez (R) will face off against LG Diane Denish (D) this fall after handily winning the GOP primary tonight.

Martinez took 51% of the vote, easily besting ex-NM GOP chair Allen Weh (R), who took 29% of the vote, with 43% of precincts reporting.

Martinez got a big boost last month when ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed her candidacy; still, she was widely seen as a front-running contender for the nomination, and she had tacit support from much of the state's GOP establishment.

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 11:04pm

NM GOV: Martinez Takes Early Lead

GOPers vying to replace outgoing Gov. Bill Richardson (D) faced off in today's NM primary.

Dona Ana Co. DA Susana Martinez (R) is the front-runner, running against ex-NM GOP chair Allen Weh (R), state Rep. Janice Arnold Jones (R), atty Pete Domenici Jr. (R) and PR firm owner Doug Turner (R).

The winner will face LG Diane Denish (D), who ran unopposed for the Dem nod.

Results, with 131 of 1509 precincts and a handful of absentee ballots reporting:

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 9:29pm

AL GOV Primary: A Three-Way GOP Battle

Tonight, in the race to replace outgoing Gov. Bob Riley (R), ex-state community college chancellor Bradley Byrne (R) faces real estate developer Tim James (R), state Rep. Robert Bentley (R), ex-state economic development director Bill Johnson (R), ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R), financial analyst James Potts and construction company salesman Charles Taylor (R) are fighting for the GOP nomination. Rep. Artur Davis (D) and state Ag. Commissioner Ron Sparks (D) are vying for the Dem nod.

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 8:43pm

Haley Denies Affair, Opponents Don't Press

Allegations of a claimed affair that has rocked the SC GOV race spilled into a debate tonight as state Rep. Nikki Haley (R), the surprise front-runner, denied inappropriate relations with a former campaign ally.

When asked by WBTW News13 anchor/debate moderator Bob Juback about whether rumors of her personal life would affect her ability to govern, Haley said, "Not at all, because the questions raised about my personal life aren't true." She said the allegations came up when she became a "double digit leader in the polls."

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 8:31pm