John Mercurio
September 7, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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The primary election season, dominated by the fierce battle between establishment Republicans and insurgent conservatives, is entering its final leg with another rollicking round of intraparty squabbles this month.

Although tea party-backed candidates have largely succeeded in toppling rivals endorsed by Beltway insiders so far, the establishment is well poised this month to stage a late-breaking comeback.

Polls suggest that establishment-backed Republicans are expected to win key Senate primaries in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Delaware, as well as the contest for New York governor. Still, the candidates are taking nothing for granted, with attorney Joe Miller’s shocking upset of Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary in Alaska fresh in their minds.

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“The Republican establishment is keeping its fingers crossed because just about everyone agrees that they’ve got the stronger set of candidates,” said Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. “But they’ve had a lot of failures this year. And they can’t afford many more, or they’re going to blow a tremendous opportunity.”

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