2014-05-21T123213Z_2_CBREA4K03LJ00_RTROPTP_2_USA-ELECTIONS

McConnell coasts to Kentucky win, Tea Party falls in key primaries

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and wife Elaine Chao wave to crowd of campaign supporters after defeating Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin in states Republican primary elections in LouisvilleBy John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell easily beat a Tea Party primary challenger in Kentucky on Tuesday, setting up one of November’s most expensive and hard-fought Senate races against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Establishment-backed Republicans also swept away Tea Party rivals in Georgia and Oregon, extending the establishment’s winning streak against the Tea Party and bolstering Republican chances of retaking the Senate in November. McConnell’s decisive victory over conservative businessman Matt Bevin headlined the busiest election night of the year so far, as voters in six states picked candidates for November elections that will decide which party controls Congress. Republicans need to gain six seats to recapture Senate control and party leaders have waged a successful effort to avoid divisive primaries that produced weak candidates and helped cost them Senate races in 2010 and 2012.

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