The Republican Party got the results it wanted from Tuesday's primaries — for the most part.
Its first big wins of the night came in South Carolina, where gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and congressional candidate Tim ScottTim ScottA better economic policy Republicans rebuke King for racial remarks Conway on criticism: 'I'm not there to read about myself' MORE won their respective runoffs easily.
"South Carolinians made history today when they nominated Nikki Haley as the state's first woman and Indian-American nominee for governor," said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in a statement. "And when he is victorious in November, Tim Scott will be the first African-American Republican congressman to represent the Palmetto State in a century."
Republicans also got the candidate they wanted to face first-term Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), 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.
Johnson will have to recover from a particularly nasty runoff that featured plenty of personal attacks between him and Tim D'Annunzio.
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 BurrRichard BurrDevin Nunes has jeopardized the oversight role of Congress Schumer: Trump must apologize for wiretapping claim Senate panel asks Trump ally Roger Stone to preserve Russia-related records MORE (R) in November.
"There will be a clear contrast for North Carolina voters in November," National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill Senators push Trump on defense deals with India MORE (Texas) said in a statement. "Marshall has demonstrated that she will simply serve as another rubber-stamp for President Obama and Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE's deeply unpopular, out-of-control spending agenda in Washington, which North Carolinians have soundly rejected."
But it may not be smooth sailing for the GOP. Public Policy Polling analyst Tom Jensen noted that “Marshall has polled closer to Burr” than Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham has in every poll the firm has conducted since August.
And Republicans didn't emerge from Tuesday unscathed.
As expected, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) lost his runoff against challenger Trey GowdyTrey GowdyIntelligence chairman sparks storm with Trump briefing FBI Director Comey hearing a dud for Democrats THE MEMO: Five takeaways from Comey’s big day MORE in what essentially became a referendum on Inglis's vote in favor of the bank bailout.
National Democrats quickly pounced on the loss.
"Like Parker Griffith in Alabama or countless BoehnerJohn BoehnerObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE-Cantor-backed Young Gun candidates across the country, it's increasingly clear that even Republican primary voters reject the brand Republicans have built for themselves," Jesse Ferguson, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Southern regional press secretary, said in a statement.
In Utah, Tea Party favorite Mike LeeMike LeeGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill How 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation Overnight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease MORE 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 primary turned into an establishment-versus-activist battle, with Sen. Bennett endorsing Bridgewater and groups like the Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks lining up behind Lee.
In a statement early Wednesday morning, the Tea Party Express said it now plans to "devote its full attention ... and resources" to Alaska, where the group is backing attorney Joe Miller's primary challenge to Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiElle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE (R).