Primaries Set Gov Races in Wisc., N.C.

By: - May 8, 2012 12:00 am

The only real uncertainty in yesterday’s (May 8) primary elections was the margin of victory.

As expected, Wisconsin voters selected Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett as the Democratic nominee to challenge Governor Scott Walker in the state’s historic June 5 recall election.

Barrett’s victory sets up a rematch with Walker who won the governorship in 2010, but later angered organized labor by pushing through legislation that reduced unions’ bargaining power. As Politico reported, labor groups’ favorite candidate was former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who had trailed behind Barrett in polls even after major national unions threw her their support.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Barrett Tuesday night called for unity. “Do we want a governor who has divided this state like it has never been divided before? Do we want a governor who has caused this state to lose more jobs than any other state in this country?” Barrett asked the crowd last night. “This race is not about the past. It is not about the past. It is about the future of Wisconsin,” the paper reported.

In North Carolina, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton bested the slate of Democratic candidates, setting up his race this November against Republican nominee Pat McCrory. The winner will succeed one-term Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue who chose not to run.

For the Democrats, Dalton won 425,051 votes cast or nearly 46 percent. Dalton’s closest competitor was former U.S. Representative Bob Etheridge who earned 38 percent, according to unofficial election results from the state. McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte who lost to Perdue in 2008, won 83 percent of the GOP votes.

In North Carolina, where the Democratic presidential convention will take place this summer, voters also weighed in on the national debate over gay marriage by endorsing an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage solely between a man and woman. As Stateline reported, other issues entangled the ballot measure, including its potential to eliminate health insurance benefits that some domestic partners receive from municipal governments.  The measure to ban gay marriage and civil unions won with 61 percent of the votes.

The North Carolina ballot also renewed pressure on President Obama to make clear his own position on the subject after Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan both said recently that they supported gay marriage. White House officials have reiterated that the president’s “personal views on this were evolving.” Before the vote, robo-calls with a taped message from former President Bill Clinton urged North Carolina voters to defeat the measure.

Meanwhile in Indiana, the bid to succeed term-limited Governor Mitch Daniels got under way as U.S. Representative Mike Pence formally won the GOP nomination and former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg won for Democrats. Both were unopposed.

Also in Indiana, as Stateline reported, more than 10 Republicans ran for the Indiana House either as “Lunch Pail” Republicans, who are sympathetic to unions, or with support from the state’s largest teachers union, the Indiana State Teachers Association. Browse Stateline’s Indiana page for the latest news.

And in West Virginia, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, and the GOP’s Bill Maloney, won their respective parties’ primaries. Tomblin narrowly defeated Maloney in last year’s special election for the governor’s seat. The governorship became open when Governor Joe Manchin won a 2010 special election for U.S. Senate following the death of Robert C. Byrd.

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