7 things to know about today’s primaries

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Highlights from Tuesday’s primary elections in Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.


Topping the ticket on the final primary day before Election Day is the race for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, where 10 candidates are on the Republican ballot, seeking to challenge first-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in November. The winner of the general election could help decide the battle for Senate control.

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One Republican stands out: Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a front-runner since he announced his bid in April. He is widely expected to win the Republican nomination with ease Tuesday.

Brown won a special election in 2010 in Massachusetts to finish the term of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, losing his bid for a full term two years later to now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Late last year, he moved to New Hampshire and he has won praise for not taking this primary campaign for granted.

“Some thought he might have an ‘above it all’ campaign,” former state Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen said. “But the guy has earned it.”

Worth noting: Brown beat Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in that 2010 Senate race. She’s also on the ballot Tuesday, running for governor in that state.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo probably doesn’t have much to worry about in his Democratic primary against Zephyr Teachout, a liberal activist. She’s largely an unknown compared with Cuomo, a popular incumbent aiming to win a second term.

But Teachout’s presence on the ballot nonetheless serves as a referendum on Cuomo among liberals, highlighting his uneasy relationship with the party base. The Fordham University law professor and former director of the good-government Sunlight Foundation has criticized Cuomo for his support for charter schools and business-friendly tax cuts, while saying he hasn’t done enough to address government corruption and income inequality.

Cuomo spent most of the primary race publicly ignoring Teachout, refusing multiple requests to debate her and holding few campaign events. His campaign sought to kick Teachout off the ballot by challenging her New York state residency, a legal maneuver that many observers say backfired by giving Teachout’s campaign greater exposure.

The winner faces Republican Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in November.


Three states will pick nominees for governor Tuesday.

— New Hampshire: Retired defense industry executive Walt Havenstein secured the support of the Republican establishment early and appeared to be headed for a primary win against tea party activist Andrew Hemingway and two others.

Havenstein said his leadership at defense contractors BAE Systems and SAIC gives him the experience to run a state and manage multibillion-dollar budgets. The GOP winner faces first-term incumbent Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

— Massachusetts: Coakley seeks political redemption after her loss to Brown — a defeat that ended the Democrats’ supermajority in the U.S. Senate. She faces state Treasurer Steven Grossman and Donald Berwick, a former federal health care administrator.

Gov. Deval Patrick, a two-term Democrat who is not seeking re-election, has not endorsed any of the candidates.

In the Republican primary, Charlie Baker, chief executive of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, is heavily favored over tea party-backed Mark Fisher. Baker lost his bid to unseat Patrick four years ago, but hopes a well-financed campaign and sharpened message can lead to a win in solidly Democratic Massachusetts.

— Rhode Island: General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Clay Pell, grandson of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell, seek the Democratic nomination.

Raimondo has trumpeted her leadership in overhauling the state’s troubled pension system, while Taveras says he was able to save his city from bankruptcy amid a fiscal crisis. Pell has built a campaign largely off his famous name and his experience in the Obama administration, where he worked in national security and education.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and businessman Ken Block, founder of the Moderate Party, compete on the Republican side.


Ex-Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan hopes to be the next first lady of Rhode Island. She’s married to Pell and has appeared in some of his ads, made frequent appearances on the campaign trail and promotes his candidacy to her Twitter followers.

Earlier this year, Kwan was spotted at the Sochi Olympics passing out Pell buttons to athletes.

Kwan’s Prius even figured into the race when it was twice reported stolen. The first time, Pell simply forgot where he parked it. The second, Pell left it unlocked outside their home near Brown University in Providence after dropping the key between the seats, and it was actually stolen.

Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history. The five-time world champion won a bronze medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and a silver at the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan.


Nine-term U.S. Rep. John Tierney is trying to fend off four challengers in the Democratic primary, with Iraq War veteran and former Marine Seth Moulton posing the biggest threat.

Tierney, who prides himself on his constituent service and his record on education, barely survived the 2012 election. He edged out Richard Tisei, a former state senator and openly gay Republican, by just 4,330 votes. He faces a potential rematch if he survives Tuesday’s primary.

Moulton has spent about a half-million dollars on campaign ads introducing himself to voters in the district, while VoteVets, a group dedicated to electing veterans to Congress, has spent slightly more than that on an ad in which a World War II veteran praises Moulton — “a Marine from Marblehead,” the coastal town in the northeast Massachusetts district.


Two Democrats in Providence, Rhode Island, are competing to challenge former mayor and twice-convicted felon Buddy Cianci, an independent who last held office in 2002 before being sent to prison for presiding over widespread corruption at City Hall.

The mayoral race has centered on who can beat the independent Cianci in November. Despite his criminal record, he is a formidable political force and has a network of supporters who credit him with revitalizing Providence during his 21 years in office.

In the race are City Council President Michael Solomon and Jorge Elorza, a law professor and former housing court judge.

Solomon says his experience after nearly eight years on the council puts him in a better position to prevail in November. Elorza says he’s built a coalition of voters, including those in the city’s wealthy enclaves around Brown University and from the city’s growing Hispanic community.

It’s a second comeback attempt for Cianci. He was forced from office in 1984 after an assault conviction, but was re-elected in 1990.

Republican Dan Harrop will also appear on the ballot in November.


Tuesday is the final primary election of the 2014 midterms until Election Day — for every state but Louisiana. The same day, Nov. 4, Louisiana holds a “jungle primary,” with all candidates on the ballot, even those of the same party. If no candidate receives 50 percent-plus-one vote during the primary election, a runoff election will be held on Dec. 6 between the top two vote-getters in the primary.


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