June 2nd, 2010
09:31 AM ET
5 years ago

History is made, another incumbent falls in Tuesday's primaries

Voters in Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico cast their ballots Tuesday.
Voters in Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico cast their ballots Tuesday.

(CNN) – Voters in New Mexico made history, while voters in Alabama did not. And a second party-switching Congressional lawmaker was ousted in a primary by his new party.

Susana Martinez on Tuesday easily captured the Republican gubernatorial primary in New Mexico. She'll face off in the general election against Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The winner in November will become New Mexico's first female governor, succeeding term-limited Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.

With nearly all the results reported, Martinez was winning just over 50 percent of the vote in a five person primary field. The district attorney for Dona Ana County in the southern part of the state will join GOP Lt. Gov. nominee John Sanchez on an all Hispanic ticket.

Assistance from the Republican Governors Association apparently played a key role in the Martinez victory, and an endorsement and campaign visit last month from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also aided Martinez.

"New Mexico citizens are ready to end eight years of broken government under the Richardson-Denish Administration. Susana Martinez is poised to bring a new era of responsibility to Santa Fe," RGA spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.

"Susana Martinez is all flash and no substance. She was an ineffective District Attorney and doesn't deserve a promotion to the state's top job," Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Nathan Daschle said in a statement. "We've all seen too many politicians who promise the world, deliver very little and then expect a promotion. New Mexicans want a Governor who will get the job done. That's Diane Denish."

In Alabama, Rep. Artur Davis failed to become Alabama's first African-American Democratic nominee for governor, when he lost the state's primary to Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Sparks captured 62 percent of the vote to Davis' 38 percent.

"Davis' vote against President Obama's efforts on health care reform and his lack of support from statewide black leaders, helped lead to his defeat Tuesday night," said CNN Political Editor Mark Preston.

If Davis had won the primary and then the general election, he would have become Alabama's first black governor.

The Republican gubernatorial nomination is headed for a runoff.

Former state community college system chancellor Bradley Byrne will be in that runoff after capturing 28 percent of the vote Tuesday. The second spot is too close to call, with Tuscaloosa physician Robert Bently leading Greenville real estate developer Tim James by 140 votes. James, son of two-term Gov. Fob James, created a buzz in recent weeks with his tough ads and speeches against illegal immigrants. Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, best known for losing his seat on the court for refusing to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from his courthouse, finished fourth in the seven candidate field with 19 percent of the vote.

In another high profile race capturing national attention, Rep. Parker Griffith was ousted in his bid for a second term. Griffith, who made headlines late last year when he changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, came in second with only a third of the vote. Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks grabbed just over 50 percent of the vote in the battle for the GOP nomination in Alabama's 5th Congressional district, located in the northern part of the state.

"Griffith is the fourth incumbent to lose his bid for re-election this year, yet further evidence that voters are willing to dismiss Washington experience for fresh blood on Capitol Hill," said Preston, CNN's political editor. "And we have seen another example of a party switching politician being shunned by primary voters."

Last month, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who abandoned the Republican Party in 2009, lost in the Democratic primary to Rep. Joe Sestak.

In other Alabama news, Sen. Richard Shelby easily won the GOP primary in his bid this year for a fifth term.

In Mississippi, Angela McGlowan failed in her bid to become the first black Republican member of the House since JC Watts. The conservative political strategist and Fox News analyst had been courting Tea Party activists. She came in a distant third in a three person field. Longtime state Sen. Alan Nunnelee won just over 50 percent of the primary vote and will now face Rep. Travis Childers, a conservative Democrat who's held the seat for two years, in November.


Filed under: 2010 • Alabama • Mississippi • New Mexico • Popular Posts
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Willy Brown

    Looking foward to seeing Barry go into a lame duck status in Nov till 2012.

    June 2, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. James

    Martiniz talks the talks but forgets she has issues in her life that are not the walk!

    Late paying taxes...hello....you calim to be honest yet you "ooops" forgot to pay your payroll taxes. When the NM people look at her husband they will see some issues that will be brought to light!

    June 2, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. mdn

    Too bad for Parker Griffith. He should have stayed a Dem. At least he would have maintained his credibility. Even the Republicans can sniff out an opportunist.

    June 2, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Matt

    How was history not made? Alabamians made the choice not to elect someone that ran on a democratic ticket but opposed something a mojority a democrats supported. How is that not history?

    June 2, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. Linda Tinjum

    More hype from CNN. Parker Griffith didn't lose because he was an incumbent, but because he was a party switcher. And voters weren't dismissing Washington experience either. Since Griffith was only electedin Nov. 2008, his "Washington experience" amounted to all of 16 1/2 months. Your political director, Mr. Preston, needs to be more independent and original in his reporting, rather than repeating the same old same old the media has been spouting for months.

    June 2, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. scott

    finally parker griffin paid a price 4 being a trader.he would of easily won relection if he would of stay a democrat.

    June 2, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Tayo

    This November will be very interesting!

    Very interesting!!

    June 2, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Bob in PA

    Well one good thing here, another Clinton cronies will finally bite the dust.

    June 2, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    The Dems need to be sent packing. The country has gone from bad to worse, in the past 18 mos.

    June 2, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Patrick McCormick

    Vote out incumbents and keep on voting them out until our elected officials represent us and not the special interests and foreign countries. End campaign donations from businesses and other governments. The US is a government "Of the People By the People and for the People". It was never meant to serve any other interest. Our financial problems are ALL a result of our elected officials making laws that benefit special interests and not the People of the United States.

    June 2, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. carmikal

    Sounds like Davis was trying to win based off of the white vote........in the state of ALABAMA?????? Wow!!!

    June 2, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    A good definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

    Having said that... get rid of them all. ALL of them.

    June 2, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. JonDie

    Perry the Swift Boater paid for almost all of Martinez's campaign.

    June 2, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Frank

    Many African Americans running on Rupublican tickets on southern states for governor or seats in the house or senate lost their bids. Did you really think, you could win? You had better chances of winning the lottery. By and large, race still is the upper hand in local elections. There is not post racial society in America. We are still trapped in segreation, racism, and prejudice both defacto and dejure racism.

    June 2, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    The time to clean up both The House and 1/3 the Senate is upon us. Don't vote for the party! It is time the people sent a message to Washington DC we reject politics as usual.
    Fire All incumbents!
    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"

    June 2, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Tyler from Florida

    Thanks once again for making an article entirely about race CNN. Its not enough to tell us about the politics of the candidates or tell us where they stand on political issues, this article shows that CNN is concerned first and foremost with race. Nobody is interested in what color these people are, they want to know where they stand on issues. Why can't you reporters get that through your heads?

    June 2, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. malabar

    Hahaha, sick of politicians who promise the world, fail 2 deliver, and expect a promotion . . . why was that democrat reminding every1 about Obama?

    June 2, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. katiec

    I most certainly can understand voting out any republican incumbent due to their actions this last year.
    When you have a political party who has no regard, concern or passion for us and our country, who puts ridiculous goals over our survival, who is more concerned about the welfare of big business over our once again becoming the great country we once were, then you have a political party that has lost all touch with the American people.
    One would think a party that created numerous crisises would want to right their wrongs.

    June 2, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. REG in AZ

    One line in posting keeps being altered and should say:

    And returning to 'more of the same' is the con that will satisfy only the few (less than 5%) and be a continuing catastrophe for the majority (more than 90%).

    June 2, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |