News Guide: Primary election highlights

Highlights from Tuesday's primary elections in Alaska and Wyoming.

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SULLIVAN WINS IN ALASKA

Former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Alaska.

Sullivan had been the presumptive front-runner in a race featuring three prominent candidates. He had scored the backing of Washington, D.C., establishment Republicans and raised about four times as much as his nearest GOP rival, Mead Treadwell.

The race also featured tea party favorite Joe Miller, the 2010 GOP Senate nominee in a race won by Sen. Lisa Murkowski with a write-in campaign.

For months, Sullivan had been the focus of attacks by a super PAC supporting Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, creating an opening for his rivals. But his campaign grew increasingly confident of his chances as the primary neared.

The race is important to Republicans nationally because Begich, a first-term incumbent Democrat, is seen as vulnerable and the GOP needs a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate. Begich easily won his primary Tuesday.

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OIL TAX REFERENDUM

Voters rejecting a referendum to repeal Alaska's revised oil tax system were prevailing with a narrow lead in late returns Tuesday, but the outcome remained too close to call.

The revised tax system was approved last year the urging of Gov. Sean Parnell. It narrowly passed the state Senate with the promise that it would attract investment for new wells and put more oil in the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Critics called it a giveaway that awarded tax breaks to already profitable oil companies with no guarantee they will invest in Alaska.

Parnell's measure replaced a tax system championed by Parnell's predecessor, former Gov. Sarah Palin.

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SEN. ENZI WINS IN PURSUIT OF 4th TERM

What had been shaping up as one of this year's most bitterly contested primaries came and went with barely a ripple on Tuesday as Wyoming U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi soundly beat four little-known Republican challengers in his pursuit of a fourth term.

Last summer, former Vice President Dick Cheney's elder daughter, Liz Cheney, launched what widely was expected to be a formidable primary challenge for Enzi.

Ultimately, Cheney found little mainstream support in the sparsely populated state, and she dropped out in January, citing family health issues.

Enzi, meanwhile, raised even more campaign cash than usual: Just over $3 million to date.

In November, Enzi will face Democrat Charlie Hardy, a 75-year-old former Roman Catholic priest from Cheyenne, in the overwhelming Republican state.

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WYOMING'S GOV. MEAD WINS

Gov. Matt Mead beat back two challengers to claim victory in the Wyoming Republican primary election as he seeks a second term.

Rather respond to his challengers during the campaign, Mead instead focused on his record. He has emphasized his administration's efforts to improve Internet service around the state.

Mead enjoyed considerable support from the state's energy industry. He's been an outspoken advocate of Wyoming's coal industry, traveling to Asia on trade missions to seek overseas markets and filing numerous legal challenges to U.S. Environmental Protection air-quality regulations he says would hurt the industry.

Mead, 52, now heads to the November general election facing Pete Gosar, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary in the majority Republican state.

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OUT-OF-STATE CANDIDATES

Two out-of-staters are running as Democrats in Wyoming's primary -- and one won Tuesday because he was the only one to register.

Richard Grayson, a 63-year-old political gadfly from Apache Junction, Arizona, was the lone contestant in the Democratic primary for U.S. Congress. No Wyoming Democrat bothered to register; the seat is held by Republican U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, who is seeking a fourth term in Washington.

Grayson said he has run for Congress several times before in other states. It's legal -- a candidate simply must reside in the state they want to represent by Election Day.

Another non-Wyoming resident also ran Tuesday. William Bryk, a Brooklyn attorney, was one of four candidates seeking the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. He lost to a former Roman Catholic priest.

Bryk also ran -- and lost -- against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in Alaska on Tuesday and has run for Congress in other states over the past several years.

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UP NEXT

The next primary elections on Aug. 26 are in Vermont, Florida and Arizona, where six Republicans look to replace outgoing Gov. Jan Brewer in a GOP primary that has focused on immigration, border security and economic issues. The winner will face Democrat Fred DuVal in November.

In Florida, former Gov. Charlie Crist, who won in 2006 as a Republican, is running to regain the office as a Democrat and is a heavy favorite in the party's primary against former state Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich. Republican Gov. Rick Scott has token opposition from two political unknowns in his primary.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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