Primary election roundup 

Iowa GOP sticks with a winner

Voters in Iowa chose familiarity over change, helping former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad coast to victory in Tuesday's Republican gubernatorial primary.

Iowans rejected newcomer Bob Vander Plaats, a Sioux City business consultant, despite an endorsement from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and the backing of grassroots conservative groups. State Rep. Rod Roberts finished third.

Branstad is the Hawkeye State's longest serving governor, holding office from 1983-1999. While all three candidates ran as conservatives, Branstad is considered the more moderate of the trio, though he managed to snag an endorsement from Sarah Palin.

Voters surveyed just days before the primary signaled they were unwilling to take a risk with someone new in tough economic times. The poll, conducted by the Des Moines Register, found that 55 percent of Tea Party supporters were backing Branstad.

Branstad will face Democratic Gov. Chet Culver in November.

Touchdown dance in New Jersey

Former NFL star Jon Runyan, who received endorsements from both the mainstream GOP and the Tea Party movement, will be the Republican who faces off against vulnerable freshmen Rep. John Adler in November.

Runyan surpassed Justin Murphy, a former Tabernacle Township Committee member who ran as the more conservative, anti-establishment candidate. Murphy was likely unable to overcome Runyan's strong name recognition, despite the endorsement of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Incumbent Republican congressmen Rodney Frelinghuysen, Frank LoBiondo, Chris Smith and Leonard Lance all survived challenges, mostly from the right.

A new congressman from Georgia

North Georgia Republicans picked a staunch conservative to replace former Rep. Nathal Deal.

Former state representative Tom Graves easily beat fellow Republican Lee Hawkins in a runoff election for the chance to finish the term Deal gave up to run for governor.

Graves, referred to supporters as "freedom fighters," was backed by the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots and the anti-tax group Club for Growth.

Graves and Hawkins were the top voter getters in a May 11 special election, but neither won a majority in the eight-person field, sending the race to a runoff.

A July 20 primary will select the GOP nominee for a full two-year term in the House. No Democrat has qualified to run for the seat in November.

sferrechio@washingtonexaminer.com

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