UPDATE 5-Specter loses, ‘Tea Party’ wins in U.S. voting

* Specter falls to Sestak in Pennsylvania primary

* “Tea Party” shows strength with Kentucky victory

* Voter anger fuels threats to two Senate incumbents
(Adds Specter, background, details)

By John Whitesides

WASHINGTON, May 18 (BestGrowthStock) – Disenchanted U.S. voters in
both parties turned against the establishment on Tuesday,
choosing a conservative “Tea Party” newcomer over a handpicked
Republican favorite and dumping veteran Democratic Senator
Arlen Specter ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Two-term Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln also struggled
and was headed to a June 8 run-off election against Lieutenant
Governor Bill Halter after failing to win the necessary
majority of the Senate primary vote in Arkansas.

“This is what democracy looks like — a win for the people
over the establishment, over the status quo, even over
Washington D.C.,” an exuberant U.S. Representative Joe Sestak
told supporters in Pennsylvania after beating 80-year-old
Specter.

Specter, a 30-year Senate veteran and former chairman of
the Senate Judiciary Committee, was the latest incumbent to go
down in a wave of anti-establishment anger fueled by distrust
of Washington and worries neither party is doing enough to
rescue the economy and restrain government spending.

In Kentucky, conservative Rand Paul easily won the
Republican nomination over Secretary of State Trey Grayson for
an open U.S. Senate seat in a race seen as an early test of the
loosely organized Tea Party movement.

Paul, a doctor and son of libertarian Republican
Representative Ron Paul, rode a wave of voter anger with the
help of Tea Party activists who oppose runaway federal spending
and favor more limited government.

“We have come to take our government back,” Paul told
supporters in Bowling Green, Kentucky. “This Tea Party movement
is a message to Washington that we are unhappy and we want
things done differently.”

Paul will face state Attorney General Jack Conway, who won
the Democratic primary, in November.

INCUMBENTS AT RISK

The anti-Washington mood threatens to sweep away many
well-known incumbents and put Democratic control of Congress at
risk in November, when all 435 House of Representatives seats,
36 of 100 Senate seats and 37 of 50 state governorships are up
for election.

A dramatic upheaval could hinder President Barack Obama’s
legislative agenda, threaten each party’s remaining moderates
and increase polarization in Congress.

But Democrats got a shot of good news on Tuesday in a
special House election in Pennsylvania to replace Democrat John
Murtha, who died in February. Democrat Mark Critz, a longtime
Murtha aide, beat Republican Tim Burns in a blue-collar
Democratic district won by Republican John McCain in 2008.

It was the seventh consecutive special House election won
by the Democrats since 2008.

“This was the only race in the country today where a
Democrat faced off against a Republican and the results are
clear,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen, head of the
Democratic House campaign committee.

In the Senate primaries, the anti-Washington wave swept
away Specter, who switched from Republican to Democrat last
year after calculating he could not win a Republican primary.
But a 20-point lead over Sestak turned into a dead heat as
Sestak questioned Specter’s party credentials.

Sestak, a retired Navy admiral and the highest ranking
former military officer ever elected to Congress, will face
Republican Pat Toomey in November’s Senate race in
Pennsylvania.

With just more than half of the votes counted in Arkansas,
Lincoln and Halter were running about even at 43 percent. A
third candidate, D.C. Morrison, won enough votes to prevent
either Lincoln or Halter from crossing the 50 percent
threshold.

Halter has been backed by labor unions unhappy with
Lincoln’s failure to support a bill making it easier to
organize workplaces.

During the debate on an overhaul of financial regulations,
Lincoln introduced a tough bill to force investment banks to
dump their derivatives businesses in what critics called an
overture to the left.

Like Specter, Lincoln faces a tough general election
campaign even if she beats Halter. Polls show Representative
John Boozman, expected to emerge from a crowded Republican
primary, currently leads her in a potential November matchup.

Stock Basics

(Additional reporting by Joanne Allen and Jon Hurdle,
Editing by Alistair Bell)

UPDATE 5-Specter loses, ‘Tea Party’ wins in U.S. voting