President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, who have been starved for good news through much of 2010, finally received a generous helping Tuesday night.
Republicans, meanwhile, were left with several new reasons to wonder whether all the favorable national trends showing in the polls are enough to overcome local candidates who are inspiring little confidence about their readiness for the general election 12 weeks from now.
In each of the four states that held primaries Tuesday, the GOP either nominated or gave an overnight lead to candidates tarnished by scandal, gaffes or some other significant vulnerability.
The headline victory belonged to Sen. Michael Bennet, the Colorado Democrat who, with extensive help from Obama and the party establishment in Washington, galloped to a surprisingly wide 9-point victory over challenger Andrew Romanoff. A former state House speaker, Romanoff once looked well-positioned to rally liberal discontent and give the White House a very visible black eye.
But the party establishment showed it still has some fight, even in an anti-establishment year. And Democrats, in an assessment that many independent analysts tend to agree with, said the most favorable news for them may have come from the results on the Republican side.