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Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Karen Handel, right, looks on as former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin speaks at a county women's group meeting on her behalf April 3, 2014, in Union City, Ga. / David Goldman, AP

WASHINGTON ?? Voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania go to the polls Tuesday to pick their nominees in some of the hottest races for Senate, House and governor this year.

Here are five things to watch from Tuesday's results, as the Tea Party is tested on the biggest primary date yet in the 2014 midterm elections:

How big is Mitch McConnell's GOP victory in Kentucky? The Senate GOP leader is a favorite to defeat Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin, setting McConnell up to run for a sixth term. Bevin, a businessman, has spent about $3.4 million and gotten help from Tea Party allies such as the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks. McConnell's campaign adviser, Josh Holmes, told reporters in a memo Monday that primary challengers to sitting U.S. senators who have spent more than $1 million on their races have averaged about 48% of the vote. The final Bluegrass Poll had McConnell easily defeating Bevin, 55%-35%. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes will be waiting to face McConnell in November.

Does Sarah Palin propel Karen Handel into the GOP Senate runoff in Georgia? Businessman David Perdue, a political novice and former CEO of Dollar General, is expected to be the top vote-getter in the seven-candidate GOP race Tuesday. The question is who will be Perdue's opponent in the July 22 GOP runoff. Palin said Monday the "good old boys are ganging up" on Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state and the only woman in the race. Handel gained ground in the crowded field with Palin's help and a flub by Perdue, who referred to his rival as only a "high school graduate." Handel must get past Rep. Jack Kingston, an 11-term congressman who has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Democrat Michelle Nunn is expected to easily win her party's nomination.

Can the Tea Party defeat veteran House members in Idaho and Pennsylvania? Conservative groups say the news media are making too much of the Tea Party vs. Republican establishment theme. Primary challenges to veteran Republican Reps. Mike Simpson of Idaho, who is seeking a ninth term, and Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, running for a seventh full term, are an example. The Club for Growth, which helped identify lawyer Bryan Smith as Simpson's challenger, has spent more than $700,000 on the Idaho race but stopped paying for TV ads a few weeks ago.

Will Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law win the Democratic House nomination in Pennsylvania? Marjorie Margolies, whose son is married to the former first daughter, lost her U.S. House seat 20 years ago when she provided a decisive vote for Bill Clinton's budget. Margolies is locked in a four-way Democratic primary in the Philadelphia suburbs for the seat of Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., who is running for governor. Margolies' final TV commercial featured Bill Clinton, who said the ex-congresswoman "saved the economy" with her 1993 budget vote.

Will any of the Senate Democratic nominees who win Tuesday campaign with President Obama? Obama is unpopular in Arkansas, Kentucky and Georgia ?? three states that figure prominently in the battle for Senate control. Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor welcomed Obama to Arkansas for a tour of tornado damage earlier this month ?? but that wasn't a campaign event. Grimes has campaigned with Clinton, a family friend, but has distanced herself from Obama's coal policy, which is reviled in Kentucky. Nunn has had to walk a tightrope on Obama's health care law, by saying she would not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act but wants to reverse cuts to rural Georgia hospitals that were caused by the state not expanding Medicaid.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

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