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Election Results LIVE: August 24 Primary Liveblog

Huffington Post Politics Team  
First Posted: 08/24/10 09:09 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:25 PM ET

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12:45 AM ET DNC congratulates 'the shell of a politician that was once John McCain.'

The Democratic National Committee greeted the news of Sen. John McCain’s primary win tonight with a blistering statement that left little doubt as to how far the Senator has veered from the position he once held as every Democrat’s favorite Republican.

“Today, the Republican party of Arizona nominated for Senate JD Hayworth in the shell of a politician that was once John McCain,” said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan. “The complete takeover of the Republican party by the Tea Party has included taking over the soul of a Senator who was once the face of comprehensive immigration reform and who now would just build the ‘danged fence;’ a man who once reveled in being a maverick and who now is a rubber stamp for the extreme rightwing; a man whose name was synonymous with campaign finance reform and who now barely registers a notice when the law that bears his name was gutted by the Supreme Court to favor corporate America. So, we congratulate JD Hayworth on his nomination tonight.”

The tough statement might give off the impression that Democrats see little opportunity to engage with McCain even after his race moves into general election. The reality, however, is that both Democrats and Republicans alike have come to the realization that the Senator will make compromises so long as they suit his immediate interests. McCain may hold a grudge against the DNC for calling him a chameleon. But if he thinks a vote on, say, small business legislation could help his electoral prospects, the going bet is he’ll end up swallowing his pride.

-- Sam Stein

11:22 PM ET John McCain declared winner in AZ-Sen GOP primary.

Both CNN and AP are calling McCain's victory.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has also been declared the victor in the GOP primary by the AP.

John McCain's daughter Meghan tweets: "Congratulations dad!! @senjohnmccain ... And jd way to 'have the biggest upset in political history' - how bout them apples?"

11:19 PM ET Opposition research starts to fly against Rick Scott.

Conventional wisdom holds that just-christened Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott’s major weakness heading into the general election is his past stewardship of Hospital Corporation of America.

The big-moneyed conservative candidate, as Karl Rove pointed out Tuesday night, received government funding for his hospital (at a time when anything involving federal spending is deeply agitating to Republican voters). Scott was also CEO of the health care firm when it was slapped with a $1.7 billion fine over fraud charges.

But a sharp-eyed Democrat, dispensing tidbits of opposition research right before Scott’s win was formally announced, actually highlighted another controversial part of his past that failed to really surface during the primary but seems likely to be an issue in the months ahead.

During his career in the private sector, Scott served on the board of Secure Computing, a company that was used by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran to prevent citizens from accessing the Internet.

As the Huffington Post reported back in May 2009:

Scott secured his board position in early 2006 after the company for which he previously worked -- CyberGuard -- was bought by Secure Computing for $295 million. According to Hoovers.com, Scott received $35,000 per year for serving on Secure Computing's board. He also received a half share of Secure stock and $2.73 for each CyberGuard share that was purchased. According to the company's website he remains in his Secure Computing post, though an SEC filing says he left in November 2008.

At the time of merger, Secure Computing was already facing criticism for allowing its SmartFilter software to be used by governments eager to limit public Internet access. As far back as 2001, Saudi Arabia had been using Secure Computing's content filtering technology to block access to certain websites. Often the prohibited sites were pornographic in nature. Occasionally, however, the censorship was of political, religious or culturally sensitive content.

This line of research scarcely touched the surface during the health care debate, when Scott was spent millions to try to derail reform. That may change during the bruising battles of a gubernatorial campaign. Scott has been one of the few Republican candidates to attack President Barack Obama for supporting the controversial Cordoba House project in downtown Manhattan, described by Scott as "Obama's Mosque." Democratic efforts to tie Scott to controversial Middle East interests would seem, by Scott's standards, fair political game.

-- Sam Stein

11:09 PM ET Bad omen.

RT @DaveBiscobing15: Ben Quayle has canceled his campaign party. Bad news?

11:03 PM ET Tonight's lesson.

John Dickerson: "The national lesson from the primaries today is clear: a;sdlfk jp9r;tyh##"

10:53 PM ET AP calls Florida race for Rick Scott

The Associated Press has just called the Republican Florida gubernatorial primary for Rick Scott, a rather surprising upset. His opponent Bill McCollum is not conceding, however, saying the count will go "until the wee hours of the morning."

10:19 PM ET Rick Scott wins in Florida?

In the bitter race to be the GOP nominee for Florida governor, Bill McCollum, the state's attorney general and a former congressman, is trying to fend off Scott, who made a fortune in the health care industry and spent $39 million of his own money on his bid. (In November, the victor will face Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer who sailed to the Democratic nomination.)

Dave Weigel, who's at Rick Scott's Florida election party, published a tweet a few minutes ago that reads, simply, "Rick Scott wins."

Meanwhile, conservative activist and pundit Eric Erickson writes, "A reporter on the ground is telling me McCollum is going to concede. Have not verified. Also hearing from Scott sources who think they won."

10:12 PM ET Vermont's tight governor's race.

Steve Singiser posts an update on the surprisingly dramatic Democratic gubernatorial primary in Vermont:

In Vermont, it could scarcely be closer in the highly competitive five-candidate race to determine the Democratic nominee for Governor. After leading most of the night, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz has into a near tie with 2002 nominee Doug Racine. With one-third of the precincts in, Racine now trails by just 39 votes out of the more than 22,000 votes cast. Peter Shumlin is still in the argument, in third place but only 290 votes out of the lead. UPDATE: This is pretty damned amazing. With just over half of the precincts now reporting, it is Shumlin at 26, with Markowitz and Racine both at 25. First and third are still separated by just 226 votes.


In other words, Vermont's popular senior senator Patrick Leahy is crushing his primary opponent Daniel Freilich. After watching the Freilich ad below, you might understand why:

-- Nico Pitney

10:08 PM ET Top Senate GOPer John Cornyn slams Crist.

There was a time when Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was the gem recruit of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the type of fresh, popular Republican figure who would keep the state’s vacated Senate seat firmly in GOP hands.

That time has long since passed. Marco Rubio’s Tea Party-powered rise made Crist at once unpopular and dispensable. And with the Senate general election contest formally starting on Tuesday night, the National Republican Senatorial Committee began the inevitable process of framing Crist as not just an opportunist (which they did once he defected from the Republican Party) but, essentially, the political equivalent of a second Democratic candidate in the race, next to the official Democratic nominee, Rep. Kendrick Meek.

From NRSC Chair John Cornyn’s statement Tuesday evening:

While Meek is an unabashed liberal, Governor Charlie Crist has made it clear that he will simply say or do anything to win an election, as his positions seem to move wherever the most politically-expedient wind blows.

Within a few short months, Charlie Crist has espoused different positions on the Democrats’ massive health care bill. Back when he needed Republican votes, he talked about being pro-life and filled his website with pro-life language. Now that he needs Democrat votes, he has scrubbed all pro-life language from his site and now claims to be pro-choice. Crist switched his position on off-shore drilling while vying for a Vice Presidential nod in 2008, and then switched it back again after leaving the Republican Party. And he flip-flopped on whether he supported President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor after abandoning his Republican primary bid.

Both Crist and Meek have championed President Obama’s failed economic policies, but at least Meek was honest about it. After campaigning in support of the stimulus, Crist later went on to deny ever backing it, and then flipped back again to support it.

-- Sam Stein

10:06 PM ET SEIU trumpets its help for Meek in Florida.

Kendrick Meek's impressive victory over billionaire self-funder Jeff Greene in Florida may have been fueled in part by big union groups across the state who reportedly devoted serious resources to Meek's campaign.

Here are some stats provided by SEIU, via Chris Good of The Atlantic:

* 1,000 SEIU member political organizers volunteered across the state.
* SEIU distributed nearly 50,000 workplace flyers in support of Kendrick Meek.
* SEIU members made 432,527 volunteer and independent expenditure phone calls to primary voters and knocked on nearly 3,700 doors.
* Members led petition collection teams across the state to help Meek become the first U.S. Senate candidate to qualify for the ballot by petition.


Meanwhile, ABC's Amy Walter notes: "The big question in FL SEN: how much $ will DSCC put up for Meek? He starts waay behind Rubio and Crist." -- Nick Wing

9:28 PM ET Meek begins the general election.

Florida's newly-minted Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek has just sent out a release previewing his general election message: "Meek Faces Two Lifelong Conservative Republicans In The General Election." A Meek victory in the three-way Senate race against Republican Marco Rubio and independent Charlie Crist seems dependent on a) significantly shoring up the state's Democratic base and b) driving down Crist's support among Democrats and independents while pushing it up among Republicans. Florida AP reporter Brendan Farrington tweets a laugh line from Meek's victory speech tonight. "Mr. Greene wasn't a pushover. He was running more commercials than Geico, Burger King and McDonald's put together."

9:09 PM ET Rep. Alan Grayson has an opponent.

AP has called the Republican primary race in Florida's 8th district for Daniel Webster, who will now go on to face firebrand Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson in November.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee immediately blasted out their "welcome" to Webster:

Newly minted 8th district Republican nominee Daniel Webster’s pledge to cut Social Security shows how wrong he is for Central Florida’s seniors. If Webster had his way, Seniors who are already struggling to get by on a fixed income would be dealt drastic cuts to their Social Security payments and the result would be devastating. [...]

BACKGROUND:

· Daniel Webster said one of his first priorities in Congress would be to cut entitlement programs like Social Security. At a forum on August 12th, 2010, Webster said “My number one priority would be to cut spending, turn off the spigot. We can do that, and the way we would do that is to roll back the budget to 2007. Just three years ago, if we would take that budget and pass it today just as it was, does it roll back some salary increases? Yes. Does it get rid of TARP and health care and all of the other things, including the stimulus package? Yes, it does that. Does it take back some of the COLAs for the entitlement programs? Yes, it does that, too. But it's only three years ago. If we took that budget and passed it, it would self-balance in two more years.” [Orlando Sentinel, 8/12/10]


More on Webster and Social Security here.

9:01 PM ET Rick Scott's lead bumps to 3 points with 51% of precincts reporting.

Harry Enten, Pollster.com's summer intern, won't be surprised if Florida Republican Rick Scott -- who for the moment is leading narrowly in the vote count -- wins or does a lot better than expected in the Gubernatorial primary. Harry points out, via email, that Scott did better on automated polls and those that drew their sample from registered voter lists. Scott led in only two polls, by Public Policy Polling (PPP) and and Sunshine State News, that used both an automated method and a voter list sample. Harry's entirely reasonable theory is that both methods provide a more accurate identification of truly likely voters.

- Mark Blumenthal

8:42 PM ET The forgotten Arizona Democratic Senate primary.

HuffPost's Amanda Terkel has a piece tonight highlighting the contentious primary on the Dem side. The winner will face either Sen. John McCain or J.D. Hayworth in November.
The Democratic front-runner, Tucson city councilman Rodney Glassman, is up against attorney and labor organizer Randy Parraz, former state lawmaker Cathy Eden, and former journalist John Dougherty. Glassman was an early favorite within the Democratic establishment, and he spent some time on Capitol Hill working for Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). He also has a sizable cash advantage, having raised $650,000 and contributed another $500,000 of his own money. Glassman has taken significant hits from progressives, however, and hasn't been able to pull comfortably ahead of his rivals. A late-July poll by Rasmussen showed the councilman at 15 percent support, followed by Eden with 11 percent, Parraz with 10 percent and Dougherty at 7 percent. More recent internal polling released by the Parraz campaign showed Glassman ahead with 20 percent, followed closely by Parraz himself at 17 percent. Most notably among Glassman's recent woes, he's had to fight back allegations that in 1997 he said he didn't want to sit next to openly gay councilmember Karin Ulrich. Glassman later said he was "proud" to sit next to Ulrich claiming that she had promised to support his campaign, but Ulrich confirmed the incident took place and said she is supporting all four of the Democratic candidates.
More here.

8:26 PM ET Twitter reaction to multi-millionaire Jeff Greene's major loss in FL-Sen.

Jason Linkins (@dceiver): "Jeff Greene's message -- 'Mike Tyson actually did drugs NEAR, not ON, my vomit-caked yacht' -- must have not resonated with Floridians."

Dave Weigel (@daveweigel): "Wow, Jeff Greene is even losing Palm Beach County. I should have shorted him."

8:23 PM ET Rep. Allen Boyd on the knife's edge.

Via @FixAaron: "Rep. Allen Boyd's (D-Fla.) lead is down to 51-49 with 42 percent of precincts reporting. Could be in real trouble."

8:21 PM ET AP declares Kendrick Meek victorious in FL-Sen Democratic primary.

Via AP's Phil Elliott. Speaking of Florida, Dave Weigel is live-blogging from Rick Scott's election night party.
At 8 p.m., the big screen at Scott HQ (playing CNN, not Fox) tells the crowd that Marco Rubio has won the GOP's U.S. Senate nomination. No one stops talking, eating, or using the open bar. Two minutes later, CNN runs the AP headline "SCOTT LEADS MCCOLLUM IN FLA GOV RACE" and there are loud, nervous cheers.
With 35 percent of precincts reporting, Scott is leading McCollum 46% to 44%. - Nico Pitney

8:07 PM ET Marco Rubio, Alex Sink clinch nominations.

CNN has officially declared Marco Rubio to be the GOP Senate nominee in Florida, and Alex Sink the Democratic nominee for Florida governor.

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