In another closely watched Michigan primary, Democratic Rep. John Conyers staved off a primary challenge in a slightly redrawn district to advance to November’s election, when he will be strongly favored to win a 25th consecutive term in Congress.
In the Missouri contest, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri led former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner with about half the vote reported in Missouri. The winner and McCaskill will compete in what will be one of the most closely watched Senate races of 2012.
Hoekstra easily outpaced his nearest challenger, Clark Durant, overcoming a late push by Durant that included sharp attacks on his conservative record and cast him as a Washington insider.
Primary elections were being held in four states Tuesday. The Missouri race figured to have the greatest national significance: The GOP needs to net four seats from Democrats to gain control of the Senate and Republicans viewed McCaskill as among their top targets this year.
•Member- vs.-member primary contests in Michigan and Missouri, including a showdown between two of Missouri’s most prominent Democratic families. Reps. Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay vied for a St. Louis-area seat in a race brought on by congressional redistricting.
•A Democratic congressional primary for an open seat in Washington state.
•Republican primaries in Kansas could determine whether a conservative bloc would take control of the state Legislature.
In Missouri, all three Senate hopefuls have lambasted McCaskill for what they say are her close ties to President Barack Obama and, in particular, her vote for Obama’s signature health care law. The race took on a different dynamic in recent days as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — two of the GOP’s most prominent faces — lent their backing to candidates.
Palin, in particular, has been dogged in her support of Steelman, a former state treasurer. The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has appeared in television and radio ads and campaigned with Steelman.
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