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Published: Wednesday, 8/25/2010

McCain prevails in Arizona, novice beats Florida insider


PHOENIX — Veteran Arizona Sen. John McCain sailed to nomination for a fifth term Tuesday over a challenger with tea party support, while big-spending political novice Rick Scott pushed past an experienced insider in Florida's GOP gubernatorial primary as voters split on the merits of establishment candidates versus outsiders.

In other races, Rep. Kendrick Meek prevailed for Florida's Senate Democratic nomination over Jeff Greene, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska faced a spirited Republican primary challenge.

Primaries highlighted anti-establishment anger and tea party challenges from the right.

Just two years after being atop the GOP party as its presidential nominee, Mr. McCain faced a stiff primary challenge by ex-radio host and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who tried to tap into anti-Washington sentiment. Mr. McCain spent more than $20 million and aggressively cast Mr. Hayworth in a negative light.

Mr. McCain, undefeated in statewide races, enters the general election as the heavy favorite.

Also in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer handily won a GOP primary, months after signing a tough law targeting illegal immigration.

She will meet Democrat Terry Goddard in November after beating Matthew Jette and Buz Mills.

In the bitter GOP race for Florida governor, Mr. Scott's financial might and casting his rival as a typical tax-raising politician were too much for Bill McCollum, the state's attorney general and a former congressman, backed by national party leaders.

Mr. Scott, who made a fortune in the health-care industry and spent $39 million of it blanketing the state with TV ads, faces Democrat Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer.

In Florida's nasty Democratic Senate nomination, Mr. Meek toppled Mr. Greene to face Republican Marco Rubio, who easily secured the GOP nod, and Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is running as an independent, in November.

In Alaska, Ms. Murkowski worked to beat back a challenge from Sarah Palin-endorsed Joe Miller, and in Vermont, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, first elected in 1974, easily won renomination.

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