By JAMES HOHMANN | 6/25/14 1:16 AM EDT Updated: 6/25/14 7:22 AM EDT
Tuesday night was bad for Democrats, good for the GOP establishment and great for incumbents of both parties.
Going into the latest round of primaries, top Republicans feared that Sen. Thad Cochran would fall in Mississippi, immigration hard-liner Tom Tancredo could win their gubernatorial nomination in Colorado and GOP Rep. Richard Hanna would lose a primary in New York because he had endorsed gay marriage.
Such a scenario would have kept one of the country’s reddest states on the map of competitive Senate races through the fall and badly damaged the Republican’s Senate challenger in Colorado — not to mention spurred days of negative coverage presenting the tea party as ascendent and the GOP as intolerant.
But the Republican nightmare didn’t happen: Cochran and Hanna won, Tancredo lost and Rep. James Lankford trounced his Ted Cruz-backed rival in an Oklahoma Senate primary, avoiding a widely expected runoff.
With that in mind, here are takeaways from Tuesday night:
Mississippi is off the map.
The Magnolia State would have joined Kentucky and Georgia as a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats in a year when they are mostly focused on defending incumbents in red states.
A win by the 41-year-old McDaniel would have created at least a narrow opening for Democratic candidate Travis Childers, a moderate former congressman. Now Cochran is expected to coast to a seventh term.
That means millions of dollars that might have been spent to get McDaniel across the finish line in November can now be invested in races that will decide control of the Senate.
Eric Cantor looks like an outlier.
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