U.S. Senate: In one of the most closely watched races on Tuesday, state Assembly Speaker Thom Tillis (R) garnered more than 40% of the vote in the GOP Senate primary and was thus able to avoid a runoff. There were eight candidates in the GOP primary, with physician Greg Brannon and Pastor Mark Harris being the two strongest challengers, both from Tillis' right. Tillis garnered broad support from the business community with endorsements from BIPAC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but also National Right to Life and the NRA. Polls show Tillis in a very close race with incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in November.
U.S. House: There were several North Carolina Congressional races to watch, especially in the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 12th Districts. In the 2nd District, Rep. Ellmers (R) easily beat her primary challenger, Frank Roche, but it was the Democratic primary that gained all of the attention. Three candidates were running, "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken, former state commerce secretary Keith Crisco and mental health counselor Toni Morris. Aiken had a strong name ID going into the primary, but Crisco outspent Aiken, leading to a competitive primary. Aiken currently leads by 369 votes, with 41% of the vote. There is no declared winner yet. This will be an uphill climb for Democrats; Romney took the district with 58 percent of the vote in 2012.
One of the most vulnerable incumbents in the first round of primaries was Rep. Walter Jones (R - NC 3). Challenged by former Bush administration official Taylor Griffin in the primary, Jones had his toughest race to date. Griffin had the backing of establishment Republicans, but his background as a Bush staff and lobbyist had some questioning whether he could win over this libertarian leaning district. In the end, Jones was able to hold on to his seat, beating Griffin, 51 percent to 45 percent. The general is not expected to be competitive.
With Rep. Coble (R) retiring, the open seat in NC 6 will go into a runoff, as expected. Frontrunner Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. made it into the Republican runoff, along with Baptist Pastor Mark Walker. Whoever wins the GOP runoff is the favorite for the general election. Romney won the 6th district with 58 percent of the vote in 2012. In NC 12, state Rep. Alma Adams (D) narrowly avoided a runoff, winning just over 40% of the vote in both the special and regular primaries. Rep. Watt (D) resigned from this safe Democratic seat earlier this year.
In the 7th district, former state Sen. David Rouzer beat out former state Sen. Woody White, 53 percent to 40 percent in the Republican primary. Rouzer had the backing of the business community, including the Chamber of Commerce. White, the more anti-establishment candidate, had the backing of former Gov. Huckabee. This is a conservative seat, with Rouzer now favored to win the general. The seat is being vacated by Blue Dog Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) and is considered one of the Republicans' best chances for a pickup.
In Ohio, the field is now set for the two most competitive races in the Buckeye state for 2014 - the 6th and 14th districts. In the 6th district, Rep. Bill Johnson (R) will face former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison (D). In the 14th district, freshman Rep. David Joyce (R) survived his primary challenge from Matt Lynch. This was Joyce's first primary election. He was appointed to the general election ballot after Rep. LaTourette (R) retired after winning the primary nod in 2012. Attorney Michael Wager is now the official Democratic challenger. Both these races are on the DCCC's radar and could shape up into competitive general election races. Speaker John Boehner (R) also easily survived a primary challenge from JD Winteregg, taking 69 percent of the vote.
Indiana has been relatively quiet in 2014. There were no major primary challengers to incumbents, though Club for Growth attempted and failed to launch a credible primary to Rep. Larry Bucshon (R). Of the nine congressional seats, only Rep. Walorski's (R - IN 2) is shaping up to be a competitive race. Walorski won the open seat in 2012 by fewer than 4,000 votes. Joe Bock, a University of Notre Dame professor, won the Democratic primary. This is a race that could become competitive, but Walorski has the upper hand for now.