"Challenges By Tea Party Favorites Highlight Early Primary Returns "

Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell defeated her mainstream Republican opponent in Delaware's GOP U.S. Senate primary Tuesday, extending the run of victories by conservative candidates in what is considered an anti-incumbent atmosphere in the country. Other results from the final day of major primary balloting before the November congressional elections showed another Tea Party-backed candidate holding a solid lead in New Hampshire, and former Gov. Robert Ehrlich winning the GOP gubernatorial primary in Maryland. The voting in seven states and the District of Columbia included embattled veteran Rep. Charles Rangel's attempt to overcome ethics allegations and win his Democratic primary in New York, and Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty's bid to hold off a major primary challenger. Results of the highest-profile races will provide further evidence of whether the Tea Party movement can continue to knock off moderate GOP contenders. The victors will run in November against Democrats considered vulnerable due to high unemployment and a general anti-incumbent mood across America. In Delaware, O'Donnell had more than 53 percent of the vote with 99 percent of the returns counted, according to figures provided by The Associated Press. Her opponent, nine-time U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, had just under 47 percent.O'Donnell supporters gathered in Dover to await the result cheered loudly as their candidate's lead held up through the night. Election officials said turnout was strong for a midterm primary in parts of the state, particularly the southern district targeted by O'Donnell. The bitterly contested campaign saw O'Donnell receive the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and more than $150,000 in late spending from the Tea Party Express. In response, conservative stalwart Bill Kristol, who fears O'Donnell is incapable of winning the Senate seat in November, said: "I know Sarah Palin. I respect Sarah Palin. And with all due respect -- Christine O'Donnell is no Sarah Palin