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Three things to watch in tonight's primary races

By John Helton, CNN
Sen. John McCain is facing a tough Republican primary challenger -- former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
Sen. John McCain is facing a tough Republican primary challenger -- former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
  • Several states holding primary races Tuesday night
  • Sen. John McCain faces a tough challenge from J.D. Hayworth
  • Billionaire Jeff Greene wants to clinch the Democratic Senate nomination in Florida

(CNN) -- Voters across the country go to the polls Tuesday night for party primaries.

Here are three things to watch.

1) Can you buy an election?

Of course not -- that's against the law. But two wealthy Floridians are pouring part of their personal fortunes into primaries: Billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene hopes to grab the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination from U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and millionaire former health care executive Rick Scott is running against Bill McCollum, the state's attorney general.

Three other largely self-funded candidates have already secured a place in the November general election with scads of their own money: Linda McMahon, whose family built World Wrestling Entertainment into a multibillion-dollar business, is the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut. Meg Whitman, former eBay president and CEO, is the GOP nominee for governor in California. And Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and AT&T executive, is the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in California.

Funding your own campaign is generally a bad investment -- of 51 self-funded millionaires who ran for office in 2008, about 40 percent didn't get past the primaries and 37 in all dropped out or lost, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

2) Will 'the maverick' return?

Sen. John McCain proclaimed himself a "maverick" when he ran for president and he had the credentials to prove it, often breaking with his party in the senate and forging alliances with Democrats. But facing a stiff challenge for his Senate seat in Arizona's Republican primary, McCain embraced the GOP conservative brand in an effort to fend off a challenge on his right from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Video: Billionaire candidates spending millions

Hayworth is telling fellow Republicans not to fall for McCain's shift to the right. Hayworth described McCain as a "shape-shifter," who will lurch back to the left after he wins the race. Speaking of lurching left and right, McCain used to tell a joke on the presidential campaign trail: He resented that people said Congress was "spending money like a drunken sailor," he would say, because he had once been a drunken sailor himself.

3) Worst in history?

It's hard to stand out when you're one of 10 candidates running for a seat in the House, even if you're name is Quayle. But Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, called President Obama the "worst president in history" and got free, national publicity by making the rounds of cable talk shows and interview programs.

Quayle got even more attention over rumors he contributed to a website called, which detailed nightlife in the Arizona city and was apparently devoted to showing how little clothing you could wear while partying there. The site's owner said Quayle used the alias "Brock Landers" in his posts. Quayle denied using the alias, but admitted he wrote a few innocuous posts.

He was, he said, the victim of a "smear campaign."