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Both Dems and GOP winners in Senate primaries

The establishment wing of both national parties scored wins in Tuesday's Senate primaries in Ohio and Indiana - and, to a lesser extent, North Carolina.

Neither former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) nor Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D-Ohio) scored terribly convincing victories over their underfunded primary opponents, but in winning, they cleared a necessary hurdle and in so doing beat back challenges from their party's activist base.

The Indiana race drew the majority of attention as Coats struggled to placate the conservative wing of the party. But those voters wound up splitting their votes between state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, who had the endorsement of South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, and former Rep. John Hostettler.

Although DeMint praised Stutzman's campaign and the narrow margin by which he lost, it's worth noting that for all the energy generated by conservatives in the contest, Coats ultimately prevailed.

A similar but much less high-profile scenario played out in Ohio, where Fisher beat out Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner for the Democratic nod. Fisher had the backing of state and national Democrats, but Brunner drew support from liberals.

Fisher managed to win but spent heavily to do so - spending that means he will start in a deep financial hole against former Rep. Rob Portman, a Republican, in the fall.

North Carolina's Democratic Senate primary posed more questions than it answered. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall finished first, but former state Sen. Cal Cunningham kept her under 40 percent of the vote - ensuring a June 22 runoff.

The question now before the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is whether they officially endorse Cunningham in hopes of catapulting him to a runoff win.

And, even if the committee does make such a move, where will the votes of African-American attorney Ken Lewis, who finished third in the primary, go?

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