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May 17, 2010

US States Hold Primaries for November Legislative Elections

Polls in the southeastern U.S. state of Kentucky have closed, as several U.S. states hold primaries for congressional elections in November.

Kentucky voters cast ballots for the final contenders for a U.S. Senate seat, in a contest that could help indicate the strength of the conservative Tea Party movement.

Tea Party supporters are backing eye surgeon Rand Paul in the state's Republican primary.  Polls gave Paul a lead over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, despite the fact that Grayson had the backing of U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

Democratic U.S. senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas each faced tough primary battles, despite support from President Barack Obama.

Navy Admiral Joe Sestak is challenging Specter, who switched to the Democratic Party last year after serving nearly 30 years as a Republican.

Pennsylvanians in the state's 12th district also are voting for a replacement for U.S. Representative John Murtha, who died in February after 35 years in office.

Senator Lincoln, of the southeastern state of Arkansas, is under attack from unions for her votes on health care and trade. It is not clear whether Lincoln can avoid a runoff even if she wins the most votes in the primary.  

Nationwide, both Republican and Democratic parties face anger against incumbents.

Democratic voters in the eastern state of West Virginia earlier defeated long-time Representative Alan Mollohan in that state's primary.  And Republican voters in Utah defeated three-term Senator Bob Bennett.  Conservatives had criticized Bennett for his support of bank bailouts and health care reform.

Voters in the northwestern state of Oregon also cast ballots Tuesday, with the voting day to end much later than the eastern states.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.