The Republican Party got the results it wanted from Tuesday’s primaries in South Carolina, North Carilina and Utah — for the most part.
The GOP’s first big wins of the night came in South Carolina, where gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and congressional candidate Tim Scott won their respective runoffs easily. Both candidates were favorites of the national party and had backing from prominent national Republicans. Haley and Scott also provide the party with racial diversity on the November ballot. Haley will be the state’s first female governor if she wins the general election, while Scott would be the first black Republican in Congress in nine years. Additionally, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) lost his runoff against challenger Trey Gowdy in what essentially became a referendum on Inglis’s vote in favor of the bank bailout.
In the Tar Heel State, Republicans also got the candidate they wanted to face first-term Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) in the 8th Congressional District, a top GOP target this cycle. Former TV sports anchor Harold Johnson won the runoff and had the backing of the entire GOP congressional delegation from the state. Republicans are also happy with the results of a Democratic race in North Carolina — that state’s Senate primary runoff. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) is now set to face Sen. Richard Burr (R) in November.
In Utah, Tea Party favorite Mike Lee defeated Tim Bridgewater in the Republican Senate primary. The NRSC was officially neutral in that race, but the committee had initially backed Sen. Bob Bennett (R), who was ousted at the state party convention in May. The Tea Party Express who backed Lee’s bid now turns its attention to Alaska where it is will “devote its full attention … and resources” to buttress Joe Miller‘s primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R).