Primaries Setting the Stage for Midterms

U.S. governmentWASHINGTON (CNN) — The critical primary votes Tuesday will set the stage for November’s midterm battle.

At stake in the fall: control of the Senate.

Republicans have to pick up six seats, and Tuesday’s outcome could be pivotal.

Kentucky, Georgia and Oregon will pick the Republican candidate to face the Democrat come November.

The marquee race Tuesday: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell challenged in Kentucky by tea-party backed businessman Matt Bevin.

“Make me the offensive coordinator instead of the defensive coordinator,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

McConnell is expected to win, but the margin will be telling. He’ll probably face a strong challenge in November from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

“This woman, well she’s not an empty dress. She’s not a cheerleader. She’s not a rubber stamp. She’s an independent Kentucky woman that stands on her own two feet,” said Alison Lundergan Grimes, (D-Kentucky Senate Candidate).

In Georgia Tuesday, the upcoming retirement of Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss has led to a free-for-all among seven Republicans. A key test is whether a GOP establishment candidate or tea-party backed candidate will come out on top. That nominee will likely face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the fall.

And in Oregon, Republican Dr. Monica Wehby seemed poised to become the nominee. But a wildcard at the last minute: new revelations that after a breakup last year she was accused of stalking, according to a police report.

Whoever wins Tuesday will face Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley in November.

In addition to those three Republican Senate primaries Tuesday, Pennsylvania and Arkansas have contested gubernatorial primaries and Idaho has a House primary.

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