Wisconsin Democrats dashed the comeback hopes of a former governor by nominating a millionaire sports club owner to succeed Sen. William Proxmire, while a Republican legislator became the first woman chosen by either party for a Senate seat this year.
Elsewhere in six state primaries Tuesday, two Republican congressmen from New England passed the first hurdle toward higher office.Vermont Rep. Jim Jeffords won the right to face Democrat William Gray, a former U.S. attorney, for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Robert Stafford.
New Hampshire Rep. Judd Gregg, son of a former governor, captured his party's nomination to succeed Republican Gov. John Sununu.
In Arizona, Republican candidates loyal to ousted Gov. Evan Mecham were having mixed results in primary challenges to more than a dozen legislators who voted to impeach or convict Mecham last spring. Senate President Carl Kunasek was defeated by Mecham supporter Jerry Gillespie, according to unofficial returns, and House Speaker Joe Lane lost his seat in his southeastern Arizona district. But Mecham's former press secretary, Ron Bellus, was trounced by former Senate President Leo Corbet.
Minnesota voters, as expected, set up a November clash between Republican Sen. Dave Durenberger, seeking a third term, and Democratic Attorney General Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III.
The victor in Wisconsin's Democratic Senate primary was Herbert Kohl, the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team owner who spent $2.1 million, mostly his own money, on a campaign built mainly on TV ads.
Kohl, seeking office for the first time, said voters wanted "a qualified non-politician with real business-world experience and they said they want a senator who'll be independent of special interests." Former Gov. Anthony S. Earl finished second in a five-way race.
Kohl will face state Sen. Susan Engeleiter, who defeated Stephen B. King, a conservative former state GOP chairman. King had criticized Engeleiter for seeking the Senate when she has two small children at home.
That theme also was sounded in New Hampshire, when Sen. Gordon Humphrey said former state Sen. Betty Tamposi should not seek the GOP nomination for Congress because she has a 22-month-old daughter. Humphrey apologized two days later, but the candidate he backed, former state Supreme Court Justice Chuck Douglas, won a six-way race.