Dem primaries

Dem primaries

Sen. Bennet: Voters will make choice 'irrespective of endorsements'

Colorado Democrats will decide on whom to choose as their Senate candidate "irrespective of endorsements," incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said Tuesday.

Voters head to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballot in the contested primary between Bennet and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who's waged a Democratic primary challenge from Bennet's left.

Both candidates boast top endorsements, pitting President Obama (who endorsed Bennet) against former President Bill Clinton (who endorsed Romanoff).

Bennet said he's happy to have the president's support, but downplayed the role the endorsements would play in voters' decisionmaking.

"I think it helps — I'm very proud to have his support — but I think the people of Colorado are going to make this decision irrespective of endorsements," he said during an appearance on MSNBC.

Romanoff has surged in recent days, raising the prospect of another defeat for a Democratic candidate favored by the White House. Obama had backed Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who lost a Democratic primary to Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania. The White House was also embarrassed when Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley lost the special election in January to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

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Kilpatrick trails primary challenger in poll

Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), the mother of a disgraced former Detroit mayor, finds herself trailing her primary opponent, according to a new poll Monday.

Kilpatrick, the seven-term lawmaker from Detroit, trails state Sen. Hansen Clarke 38 percent to 30 in a primary battle for Michigan's 13th congressional district.

If the Democratic primary were held today, 38.1 percent of the district's voters would choose Clarke and 30 percent would vote for Kilpatrick, while another 20.3 percent were undecided, according to a new Detroit News/WDIV poll.

The poll shows struggles for a second straight cycle for Kilpatrick, the mother of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D), who resigned two years ago and was convicted and jailed on corruption charges.

The former Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman was almost unseated in a 2008 primary challenge as well, when critics made her passionate defense of her son a key issue in the contest. She held off former state Rep. Mary Water and state Sen. Martha Scott in a divided primary field, but fell well short of winning a majority of the primary field.

Though a number of other candidates have entered 2010's contest to unseat Kilpatrick, they drew only a combined 9.5 percent in support from voters in the Detroit district.

The primary election will be held Aug. 3. The poll, conducted by Glengariff Group from July 14-15, has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

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Axelrod: Greene win 'doesn't appear' legitimate

A top Obama administration adviser Sunday cast doubt on the legitimacy of Alvin Greene's Senate Democratic primary win South Carolina.

Asked if Greene's victory was legitimate, Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod said, "It doesn't appear so to me. The whole thing is odd. I don't know how really to explain it. I don't think anyone else does either."

Axelrod's comments come after House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) suggested last week that Greene's candidacy was a "plant" and called for an investigation.

"How he won the primary is a big mystery. Until you resolve that I don't see how you can claim to be a strong candidate," Axelrod said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Greene is an unemployed military veteran. The Associated Press reported last week that Greene faces a felony pornography charge.

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AFL-CIO plans aggressive push for Halter in Arkansas runoff

The AFL-CIO said Wednesday that it would wage a "very aggressive" campaign in the runoff election between Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and her Democratic primary challenger.

The labor group said it would spend what it needs to in order to help Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter unseat Lincoln in a Democratic primary challenge.

"We're in it to win it," AFL-CIO political director Karen Ackerman said in a conference call Wednesday. "We are certainly ready and able to spend whatever we need to do on behalf of Halter."

The union said it saw a "real victory for working people" in last night's Arkansas primary, in which neither Lincoln nor Halter received 50 percent of the vote, forcing a June 8 runoff primary between the two.

The AFL-CIO and other labor groups poured millions into the race on Halter's behalf, angered by Lincoln's stance on healthcare reform legislation and a union organizing bill, among other issues.

Ackerman also hailed the victory for Democrats in Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district, and downplayed incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter's (D-Pa.) loss in a Democratic primary. She said that local AFL-CIO officials had decided to back Specter, in part due to their years of support for him.

But she said that their focus had shifted to Arkansas, where they will commit resources to Halter, though Ackerman wouldn't put a price tag on the amount.

"We figure that it is very important to take a stand against incumbents or candidates who are not sympathetic to the needs of working people, and who have not really proven themselves to fight for the economic security of working people," she said.

Cross-posted from the Briefing Room.

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