- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

McConnell routs tea party rival in Ky. GOP primary; Nunn wins Georgia Dem Senate nomination

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dispatched his tea party challenger with ease Tuesday night, and Democrats turned to two women, Alison Lundergan Grimes to oppose him in Kentucky and Michelle Nunn to fight for Georgia, in elections next fall with control of the Senate at stake.

Setting up a third high-profile race, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton, were unopposed for their parties’ nominations.

On the busiest primary night of the year to date, Democrats eyeing a return to power in the Pennsylvania state Capitol nominated businessman Tom Wolf to oppose Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s bid for a second term.

Republican primary struggles between establishment-backed conservatives and tea party-favored rivals were a dominant feature of the evening, as they had been earlier in North Carolina and will be later in Mississippi, Kansas and Alaska. Republicans must gain six seats to win a Senate majority, and party leaders have made it a priority to avoid the presence of candidates on the ballot this fall who are seen as too conservative or unsteady - or both - to prevail in winnable races.

McConnell, a five-term lawmaker and the embodiment of the GOP establishment, was pulling 60 percent of the vote in Kentucky. Challenger Matt Bevin was gaining 36 percent.

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Thai army declares martial law, denies coup underway as it intervenes in political crisis

BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand’s powerful army chief intervened for the first time in the country’s latest political crisis, declaring martial law and dispatching gun-mounted jeeps into the heart of the capital with a vow to resolve the deepening conflict as quickly as possible.

The army insisted it was not taking over, and it left the nation’s severely weakened caretaker government intact. But a dozen official edicts announced throughout the day - which steadily expanded the military’s power and included media censorship and threats to prosecute opponents - fueled speculation troops had carried out what Human Rights Watch described as “a de facto coup.”

Despite Tuesday’s dramatic events, life continued normally in most of the country, with residents largely unfazed by the declaration and tourist sites open. But the intervention, which follows six months of crippling protests that killed 28 people and injured more than 800, left the country at another precarious crossroads - its fate now squarely in the hands of the military.

“The key going forward will be the military’s role in politics,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. “If they play the role of enforcer of law and order and even mediator … this could be a resolution to the impasse.”

But if they don’t, “we can expect protests and turmoil from the losing side.”

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10 Things to Know for Wednesday

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