The news was mixed for top recruits of the National Republican Congressional Committee who were competing in hard-fought primaries Tuesday.
State Sen. Alan Nunnelee won his three-way GOP primary outright Tuesday and earned the right to face freshman Rep. Travis W. Childers (D) in Mississippi’s battleground 1st district in November.
Nunnelee, who has recently been named a top national party recruit, barely avoided a runoff by taking 51 percent of the vote when the Associated Press called the race with 96 percent of the precincts reporting. But it was enough to secure the majority needed to avoid a second vote against former Eupora Mayor Henry Ross, who had been gaining momentum in tea party circles in the late stages of the GOP primary.
Nunnelee’s victory will help soften the blow for the NRCC, whose other highly touted recruit who faced a primary Tuesday appears likely to be forced into a July 13 runoff. With 86 percent reporting in Alabama’s 2nd district, Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby held just 46 percent. Rick Barber, a tea party activist, clocked in at 31 percent.
Being forced into a runoff won’t help Roby’s image on the campaign trail after she has put in an underwhelming fundraising performance thus far. The winner of the runoff will face freshman Rep. Bobby Bright, a top Republican target.