Primary Day notebook: Four stories to watch

Tuesday, today, is Major Primary Day 2010. Voters go to the polls in California, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and Arkansas. The Colorado Independent offers a brief primer of four stories to follow as the day unfolds.

Citizens in Maine will vote on a new tax structure to pull out of the spend-and-slash boom-and-bust cycle that characterizes state budgets across the country. The aim is to diversify revenue streams. It would mean lower income tax for all but higher sales tax and new taxes on a wider variety of services. The new plan passed as a law in Maine last year in the legislature and voters are going to the polls today to approve or reject it. Ads for and against are entertaining.

In South Carolina, state Rep. Nikki Haley (born: Nimrata Randhawa) is the GOP frontrunner to replace Mark Sanford, who made news for trying and failing to reject stimulus money and disappearing to “hike the Appalachian Trail” with his Argentine mistress and giving a wacko press conference about it and writing really terrible love emails. Haley has been endorsed by Sanford’s wife and Sarah Palin and pretty much everyone who counts. But people are coming out of the woodwork claiming to have hiked the Appalachian Trail with her. She denies the allegations. She is also an Indian American and was recently called a “raghead” by state Sen. Jake Knotts, an enlightened supporter of her opponent Andre Bauer. Haley is one of the GOP ladies or “pink elephants” Palin is cheering this cycle. Colorado’s U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton so far is not one of them.

The California GOP gubernatorial primary. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman faces Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. Whitman has spent in the neighborhood of $80 million (in the primary!) and Poizner something like $25 million (in the primary!). It’s California, so immigration is huge. Poizner supports Arizona’s tough new SB 1070; Whitman opposes it. The winner goes up against attorney general, former Oakland mayor and onetime “governor moonbeam” Jerry Brown.

“Queen Birther” Orly Taitz is the woman who suspects (knows!) Obama was born in Kenya and is hiding his birth certificate, which is a fake anyway, and so is ineligible for the office Americans voted him into and also a hypnotized Muslim doing the work of an Islamist puppet master pulling strings from somewhere in Africa or the Middle East. She is a lawyer, apparently, and is running as a Republican for secretary of state in California. She could actually win, at least according to Politico.

** Special note: Arkansas! We meant to include the big runoff election in Arkansas, where Democrats are watching closely to see whether incumbent Blanche Lincoln, object of progressive scorn for her perceived catering to the GOP at the expense of her constituents, can survive a grassroots run mounted by Bill Halter. Observers see this race as a weather vane for the party’s chances for success in November and as a gauge of anti-Washington sentiment.

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