It was a great evening for conservative women on both coasts—and for one moderate Democrat in Arkansas.
Meg Whitman, the former eBay chief executive, won California's Republican gubernatorial primary (defeating millionaire Steve Poizner, the Republican state insurance commissioner) and will now take on Democrat Jerry Brown (currently the state's attorney general) in the general.
Also in California, Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, beat two Republican men (one a former congressman, one a current Tea Partier) in order to move on to the general, in which she will challenge three-term Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer for her seat.
Over in the amazingly dirty South Carolina Republican primary, state representative Nikki Haley—who has been accused of two affairs in the last few weeks, leading to two polygraph tests and some fascinating televised testimony by this gurrrrl—won without getting the over-50-percent majority she needed to end the primary process, and so now goes into a runoff election on June 22 (which, at the rate things are going in this race, is time enough for at least two more affair accusations).
For Democrats, the biggest news of the night is Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, who had been targeted by unions and the progressive blogosphere for not backing the Employee Free Choice Act and for getting all squishy on health care reform, then was written off for dead, then was readied for use as another data point supporting the meme that says incumbent Democrats are in deep trouble this year—and yet, to everyone's surprise, is currently holding 52 percent of the vote. (Her opponent, Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, now joins the ranks of men dispensed with by women tonight.)
The second-biggest news for Democrats is the victory in Nevada for conservative Tea Partier Sharron Angle, who is exactly the type of nutcase that they wanted running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He may not be popular in his home state, but he might be more popular than a woman who, when she served in the state assembly, voted no on so many things that consensus votes "were often called as '41-to-Angle.'"
What to make of it all? Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown both have a fight on their hands, Jon Stewart has his dream result in South Carolina, Blanche Lincoln has a good shot at six more years, and Harry Reid has the beginning of a great comeback narrative.