Despite surging anti-incumbent fervor ahead of November legislative and state elections, no incumbent is expected to lose in US primary votes Tuesday, results that would deal a setback to insurgent candidates.
Voters head to the polls for primary elections in Arizona, Florida, Vermont and Alaska and results are being closely watched as a litmus test of voter mood.
Tuesday's results may predict whether insurgent candidates, especially Republicans backed by staunchly anti-government Tea Party groups, will continue to make advances over those with more moderate views.
In Arizona, Senator John McCain has pulled ahead of conservative former radio show host JD Hayworth, but only after tacking right, spending millions of dollars and attacking his rival.
Hayworth shocked many when early polls had him running close to McCain, but the four-time senator came racing back after shifting to the right on key issues such as illegal immigration and border security.
McCain has poured more than 20 million dollars into the primary race, compared with his challenger's 2.5 million, in an increasingly bitter campaign in which he targeted Hayworth's alleged ties to a disgraced lobbyist.
McCain's efforts have been rewarded, with recent opinion polls suggesting that the Vietnam war hero now has a 20-point lead over Hayworth.
Ahead of the voting, Hayworth predicted his Tea Party supporters, even if they are not strong enough to push him toward November's vote, would be energized by the election and "step forward and run for office."
"Maybe for school board, maybe for city council, maybe for the US Senate," Hayworth told political website Politico.
Hayworth has portrayed McCain as a liberal apologist and attacked him for his opposition to Republican tax cuts -- which Obama has promised to let expire -- and particularly for his shift on the hot-button issue of illegal immigration.
In April, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, herself up for reelection, signed a draconian new anti-illegal immigration law, but a judge last month stripped it of key powers allowing police to spot-check immigration status of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.
After vowing to take the immigration fight to the US Supreme Court, she is expected to roll to an easy primary victory and is now favored to win re-election in November.
In Florida, a fierce fight had been expected for the Republican Senate candidacy, pitting outgoing popular Republican Governor Charlie Crist against Tea Party candidate Marc Rubio.
But in April, Crist announced he would run as an independent, throwing the drama forward to the final vote in November.
And in the race for the state's governor, Attorney General Bill McCollum, who spent 20 years in Congress, was expected to emerge as his party's nominee over a well-funded political novice.
"This may be the year of the outsider nationally, but at least in terms of the Florida primaries, the insiders seem to be doing pretty well," Peter Brown, a Quinnipiac University pollster told the Miami Herald.
In Alaska, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is hoping her long-time ties to legendary Alaska politician Ted Stevens, who was killed in a plane crash earlier this month, will help her best another Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller.
Miller is a veteran backed by the state's former governor Sarah Palin, but Murkowski has emphasized that her seniority will help bring Alaska funds, and so far she is leading polls.
The Tea Party movement, which sprung up in 2009 as a grass roots revolt against Obama's tax, economic and health reform policies, has electrified the Republican Party base.
Taking its name from a revolt against British rule in colonial Boston in 1773, the group has emerged as a powerful force in nominating Republicans for November's mid-term legislative and gubernatorial elections.
Tea Party candidates have already won important Senate primary victories in Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and in other states, over more mainstream Republicans.
But Tuesday's results may show the anti-incumbent narrative has been oversold.
"Most voters are anti-incompetence, not anti-incumbent," David Beattie, a Democratic consultant told the Miami Herald. "When they feel all they're getting is political platitudes and no results or corruption, it's not 'throw all the bums out,' it's 'throw out the ones that aren't doing their jobs.'"
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