Did Nevada GOP primary signal move back to middle?

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Updated: 6/12/2014 12:56 pm

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Republican regulars are relishing what they view as a return to normalcy as mainstream candidates defeated more conservative primary challengers in their struggle with tea party activists for control of Nevada's GOP.

Political analysts say it won't be clear until November whether Tuesday' results were driven most by the hugely popular Gov. Brian Sandoval's coattails, the power of incumbency or a move toward moderation.

The rift between the mainstream and right-wing politicians who've assumed state party leadership was in the spotlight, especially in the lieutenant governor's race, where Sandoval's backing helped carry Mark Hutchison past the GOP-endorsed Sue Lowden.

Sandoval's 90 percent showing is encouraging those who want him to challenge Sen. Harry Reid in 2016.

UNR political science professor Eric Herzik says it's hard to win 90 percent of the vote in Nevada even when running unopposed.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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