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What's at stake as IN, NC, WV and WI decide on Senate, gay-marriage, governor, president
A quick look at what was at stake in elections Tuesday in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin:
INDIANA: Veteran Sen. Richard Lugar lost a bitter challenge from the right flank of his own Republican Party, his nearly four-decade career in the Senate ended by a tea party-backed GOP foe, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Playing out in a conservative state, the race illustrated the electorate's animosity toward many incumbents and anyone with deep ties to Washington. Lugar hadn't faced questions about his residency in decades, but he found himself on the defensive over whether he lived in Indiana or northern Virginia. The 80-year-old senator also was cast as too moderate for the conservative GOP in Indiana, and he took heat for his work with Democrats on issues such as nuclear nonproliferation. Mourdock will face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in the general election. Democrats promised a spirited fight as they seek to deny Republicans the four seats they need to take control of the Senate.
NORTH CAROLINA: Voters considered a referendum that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, effectively shutting the door on state recognition of same-sex marriage. Political observers expected the measure to pass. In the final days of the campaign, Obama administration officials spoke up in support of same-sex marriage. Former President Bill Clinton lent his voice to robo-calls opposing the amendment while evangelist Billy Graham has been featured in full-page newspaper ads backing the ban on gay marriage.
WEST VIRGINIA: Sen. Joe Manchin faced a challenge in the Democratic primary from Sheirl Fletcher, a former Republican and ex-legislator. Unopposed on the GOP side is John Raese, who lost to Manchin in the 2010 special election to serve out the term of the late and long-serving Robert C. Byrd. The seat is now up for a full six-year term.
WISCONSIN: Voters choose the Democrat who will face Republican Gov. Scott Walker in next month's recall election, a vote forced by union leaders and others who rallied against Walker's push to strip collective bargaining rights from most state workers. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is one of four Democrats on Tuesday's ballot and a victory by Barrett would set up a potential rematch of the 2010 election that put Walker into office.
GOP PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Without any significant opposition for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney won presidential primaries in Indiana and North Carolina and awaited an expected victory in West Virginia. A total of 107 convention delegates were up for grabs in the three states, and Romney could win about 100 of them with a strong showing. (Wisconsin held its nominating contest last month.) Heading into Tuesday's contests, Romney was fewer than 300 delegates shy of the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, according to an Associated Press count.