Sens. Jim Bunning (search) and Blanche Lincoln (search) easily won their parties' nominations in Kentucky and Arkansas primaries Tuesday, as voters in Oregon picked a challenger to run against another popular Senate incumbent, Ron Wyden (search).
In other races, Republicans in Kentucky chose a candidate to take on actor George Clooney's (search) father for a seat in the U.S. House, while Oregon voters considered whether to re-elect two county commissioners who decided in secret meetings to allow gay marriages.
In the Kentucky Senate race, Democratic state Sen. Daniel Mongiardo (search) was picked to challenge Bunning, a Hall of Fame pitcher looking to win a second term. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Mongiardo won 65 percent of the vote, defeating David Williams, who had 35 percent.
Bunning, a Republican who has raised $4.6 million already, had only token opposition and, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, had 84 percent of the vote.
Earlier this year, Bunning's campaign apologized after he said at a GOP dinner that Mongiardo, the son of Italian immigrants, looked like one of Saddam Hussein's sons. The campaign said the remark was a joke.
In Arkansas, Republican state Sen. Jim Holt (search) beat out two other candidates to win his party's nomination to challenge Lincoln, a first-term Democratic senator who has raised more than $5 million for her re-election campaign. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Holt had 69 percent of the vote.
Lincoln, a former congresswoman, faced a little-known, underfunded candidate in her bid to hold onto a seat that has had only four occupants since 1932, including Dale Bumpers and J. William Fulbright. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, she had 83 percent of the vote.
Al King, a Republican rancher, won his party's nomination to face Wyden, a popular Democrat who has held the post since a special election in 1996 to replace disgraced Sen. Bob Packwood. With 78 percent of precincts reporting, King had 37 percent of the vote. His nearest opponent, Portland community activist Bruce Broussard, had 23 percent.
Wyden, who was unopposed Tuesday, is running for his second full term.
In other primaries:
— Geoff Davis, a manufacturing consultant, was picked by Republicans to take on Nick Clooney, a media personality in the Cincinnati area and the father of the former "ER" star. While the elder Clooney opposes abortion and gun control, Republicans have threatened to use his son's more liberal views against him in the fall. Davis said Tuesday that Clooney is "raising Hollywood money by the truckloads."
Elsewhere in Kentucky, Republicans chose state Sen. Tom Buford to challenge U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, a Democrat who won a special election in February to represent the Lexington area.
— In Oregon, Iranian-American Goli Ameri won the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. David Wu, who is running for a fourth term in Congress and remains the favorite in November.