Today's Winner: US Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Expectations certainly aren't great for first-term Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane) in his long-shot run against two-term incumbent US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

After Tuesday's primary, Cantwell is at 55.62 percent to Baumgartner's 30.45 percent; four other minor candidates, including one other Democrat, two other Republicans, and a Reform Party candidate combined for about 10.5 percent.

But you'd at least expect Baumgartner, a smart, amiable guy with a polished resume—Harvard grad (and Harvard teacher) and adviser in Iraq—to beat Cantwell in his own state senate district, where he knocked out incumbent state Sen. Democrat Chris Marr in 2010, 54 to 46.

In fact, the 6th District is even more conservative than it was in 2010—losing Spokane's Democratic South Hill and West Central neighborhoods in last year's redistricting, while swapping in the West Plains, which are Republican turf, and a GOP stronghold, Fairchild Airforce Base.

The numbers in the 6th currently: Cantwell 46.99 to Baumgartner 44.48.


Today's loser: King County Council member Joe McDermott 

McDermott, an arena proponent, got slapped down by the 34th District Democrats, his own turf (he represents much of the 34th on the King County Council and is a former state senator from the district) after an hour-and-a-half-long debate last night, when the Democrats voted overwhelmingly (50 to 23) to oppose the arena.

One of the panelists going up against arena proponent McDermott was environmental attorney Peter Goldman, who's on fire lately, who argued (apparently convincingly) that the mere fact that San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen has bought up a bunch of SoDo property is no reason to sidestep normal environmental rules, which require governments to consider alternative sites for major projects.