The 2014 primary season came to a close on Tuesday with five northeastern states selecting the final slates for a number of important congressional and gubernatorial races.
In one closely-watched race, New Hampshire state representative Marilinda Garcia—who has been named one of the GOP’s “rising stars” by the Republican National Committee—won her primary race for the U.S. House 2nd district by a wide margin, 50 percent to 26.5 percent for her opponent, former state senator Gary Lambert.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz campaigned for Garcia over the weekend, calling her “a strong, positive, optimistic, charismatic leader,” and in accepting the nomination, Garcia hit hard on issues dear to the tea party faithful.
“Together we can make a difference,” she said Tuesday night, “to stop what has become an adversarial federal government. We need to return autonomy to New Hampshire and our empowerment as individuals, as families, as communities and as a state to be able to target reforms and solutions to our unique needs. That’s how America works best and that’s what we need to return to.”
Now Garcia faces the Democratic incumbent, Ann McLane Kuster, in the November general election.
In the state’s U.S. Senate race, former Massachusetts Senator, Scott Brown, handily defeated former state senator Jim Rubens, for the opportunity to unseat another Democratic incumbent, Jeanne Shaheen.
Both Kuster and Shaheen were unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In an intriguing race in neighboring Rhode Island, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras lost his bid to win the Democratic nomination for governor against the state’s treasurer, Gina Raimondo. Pell family scion Clay Pell finished in third.
The race between the three candidates was close in the polls down the stretch, but the final margin of victory was 13 points. Raimondo finished with 42.2 percent of the votes; Taveras got 29.2; and Pell 26.9.
Taveras told his supporters, who had gathered at an ale house in Providence, “I want all Rhode Islanders to know that our state is worth fighting for.”
After a long, hard campaign, Taveras said jokingly that his next goal was “getting lots of sleep.”
In the race to replace Taveras as Providence mayor, former housing court judge Jorge Elorza was able to mobilize Latino voters in the city to edge out City Council president Michael Solomon and win the Democratic nomination.
The margin was 49-43 percent.
“No one thought this was possible, no one gave us a chance,” the 37-year-old Elorza told supporters Tuesday night.
Like Raimondo, Elorza will be considered the front-runner in November because both city and state vote overwhelmingly Democrat.
In the mayoral election, however, the presence of Buddy Cianci, who served two stretches as Providence mayor over 21 years, both of which ended with felony convictions—as an independent complicates the equation.
Asked about facing Cianci, who is known to be a tough campaigner, Elorza told the local media, “I grew up on Cranston Street in the West End… I’m from the toughest streets here in the city. And you don’t get to this point without having that fortitude.”
In the Massachusetts governor’s race, Democrat Martha Coakley edged out Steve Grossman while Charlie Baker handily defeated his tea party challenger, Mark Fisher. The most surprising result came in the 6th Congressional district, where John F. Tierney, who has held a seat in the House for 18 years, lost to Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton by an 8-point margin.
In New York, Democrats Andrew Cuomo and former U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul sailed through their primaries and will the overwhelming favorites to win the governorship and lieutenant governorship come November.
In Delaware, Republican businessman Kevin Wade handily defeated the 81-year-old Carl Smink—a retiree who claimed that the Holy Spirit called on him to run for the U.S. Senate—and now faces incumbent Democrat Chris Coons.