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Primaries will test McCain, Palin

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has contributed at least $87,500 to candidates she's endorsed in the last few months.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has contributed at least $87,500 to candidates she's endorsed in the last few months. AP

Tuesday's primary elections will answer a lot of questions. Among them: Is Elvis alive?

The King's status has become a political issue in Arizona, where a top aide to Sen. John McCain has declared that the campaign of Republican challenger J.D. Hayworth is "deader than Elvis."

Hayworth, a former radio talk show host, infomercial pitch man and congressman, has spent the past six months bashing McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, as a phony conservative and a washed-up Washington insider. McCain's advisers, buoyed by polls giving their candidate a big lead, are dancing on Hayworth's political grave already.

Is their celebration premature? That's one of several key questions that will be answered when voters in Alaska, Arizona, Florida and Vermont go to the polls in primary elections on Tuesday. Among those questions:

Does Sarah Palin still have clout in her home state?

The queen of the Mama Grizzlies is trying to play kingmaker in her home state. Former Gov. Sarah Palin has endorsed little-known Joe Miller, the Tea Party Express-backed challenger running against GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska in the Republican primary.

There's a generation of bad blood here: Palin unseated Murkowski's father Frank Murkowski in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary.

Who will survive Florida's ugly Democratic Senate primary?

A few months ago, the Florida Democratic Senate primary wasn't even on the radar screen. The national press was obsessed by the GOP battle between conservative Marco Rubio and moderate Gov. Charlie Crist.

Now, there's not much of a GOP Senate primary — Crist is running as an independent — and two Democrats are fighting a nasty primary battle for the right to siphon votes away from him in November.

"How corrupt is Congressman Kendrick Meek?" opponent Jeff Greene asks in his TV commercials. Greene, who has made billions in real estate, is "profiting off of suffering," Meek retorts.

Will there be a Quayle dynasty?

Former Vice President Dan Quayle's son Ben is running for a Phoenix-area open seat in Congress — and he's running against President Obama, who he calls "the worst president ever."

But the 33-year-old Arizona lawyer has been nicked by various controversies, including one involving posts he wrote on a racy Web site.

How strong is Jan Brewer?

The biggest political winner in the battle over Arizona's tough immigration-enforcement law appears to be Gov. Jan Brewer. The Republican incumbent was once an underdog for renomination against strong Republican opposition.

But since she signed the immigration measure into law, Rasmussen Reports polls show her zooming from 24 percent to 61 percent.

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