The Real Winners and Losers of the Colorado Primaries

After a confusing flurry of summer primaries leading up to November's midterms, the Aug. 10 Senate contests in Colorado provided some clarity about the mood of the electorate and the parties' prospects for the fall

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Photo-illustration by Wes Duvall for TIME: from Left, Ed Andrieski / AP; Karl Gehring / The Denver Post/ AP

After a confusing flurry of summer primaries leading up to November's midterms, the Aug. 10 Senate contests in Colorado provided some clarity about the mood of the electorate and the parties' prospects for the fall, with an advantage this time to the Democrats.

NOMINATION WINNER

Democratic Senate Primary
Appointed incumbent Senator Michael Bennet, a first-time candidate backed by the party establishment

Republican Senate Primary
The Tea Party's Ken Buck, the Weld County district attorney, who pulled an upset over former lieutenant governor Jane Norton with a relentlessly anti-Beltway mantra

INDIRECT WINNERS

Democratic Senate Primary
President Obama (who campaigned for Bennet) and his political team, which showed it could turn out purple-state voters with the technical proficiency it will need in the fall

Republican Senate Primary
Washington Democrats, who will get the November matchup they wanted against the controversial Buck. Anti-Establishment forces within the GOP that hope to shake things up

INDIRECT LOSERS

Democratic Senate Primary
Bill Clinton (who backed the challenger Andrew Romanoff). Pundits who argued that the Obama brand and Democratic incumbents are totally doomed

Republican Senate Primary
Washington Republicans, who have now failed to get their desired Senate nominees in six key contests. Necktiemakers (Buck and Bennet both adopted the casual open-shirt look as a campaign strategy)