No upset in Delaware U.S. Senate primary

Kerri Eveyln Harris (left) and Sen. Tom Carper talk with voters in Wilmington about two hours before the polls closed Thursday. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Kerri Eveyln Harris (left) and Sen. Tom Carper talk with voters in Wilmington about two hours before the polls closed Thursday. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Senator Tom Carper appears ready to return to the U.S. Senate after fending off progressive challenger Kerri Evelyn Harris. With 100 percent of the vote counted, Carper leads Harris with nearly 65 percent of the vote. He’ll face Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett in November. Other winners: Scott Walker is the republican challenger in the U.S. House race. Kathleen Jennings won the democratic primary in the race for Attorney General. Kathleen McGuiness won the democratic nomination for Auditor General.

You can find vote totals at the state Department of Elections website.

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Earlier tonight:

It’s a primary like Tom Carper has never seen before. “I don’t think we’ve ever had so many people from out of state who’ve come to be involved in our primaries,” Carper said outside a polling place at Bayard Middle School in Wilmington.

His opponent, Kerri Evelyn Harris, has received support from a number of progressive groups, hoping she will be the third progressive candidate to upset a sitting member of Congress this election cycle. “Change is going to be the theme of the day,” Harris said while greeting voters at P.S. duPont Middle School in Wilmington.

The Senate primary race has drawn rare national attention to a Delaware campaign, where incumbents have typically won re-election by wide margins. But there have been rare departures from that incumbent success streak, most recently when tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell pulled off a stunning upset of U.S. Rep. Mike Castle in 2010.

A New York Times headline said the Senate race “threatens to rip apart” Delaware’s centrist political fabric.

In response to the newspaper’s angle, Carper quipped: “If I get my head handed to me tonight, you might say, ‘Yeah, things are changing.’”

After hearing reports of strong voter turnout from a number of polling locations, Harris exuded confidence that this is exactly what will happen. “We’re going to see a fundamental change in democracy in the state of Delaware,” Harris said. “I am confident I’ll win.”

While not quite as bold in his prediction, Carper was also optimistic. “At the end of the day, hopefully, we’ll be well ahead and I’m encouraged. We’re getting a great turnout.”

The winner of the Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary between Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett and Gene Truono, PayPal’s former chief compliance officer .

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