(CNN) -- In a night of many winners and more losers, Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln stood out Tuesday for successfully overcoming an aggressive, multimillion-dollar campaign by national unions and liberal interest groups who desperately sought to slap a pink slip in this Democrat's hands.
No walking papers were issued to Lincoln, who led a small group of major winners -- dominated by women -- to emerge from Tuesday's primaries. There was also a handful of losers, who probably woke up Wednesday morning wondering what hit them.
A snapshot of winners and losers from Tuesday's primaries:
• Sen. Blanche Lincoln: Labor and liberals had hoped to make an example of Lincoln, who proved over the years that she was not always a reliable Democratic vote, certainly not so on union issues. But this double barrel of labor and liberals failed to send Lincoln to the head of the unemployment line, and she now has five months to make her case for six more years in Washington.
Her win will likely help boost the confidence of some centrist Democrats fearful of facing the wrath of the emboldened liberal activists in the Obama era. But the unions are expressing no remorse in trying to defeat a Democrat. The AFL-CIO and SEIU both issued statements proclaiming that their efforts were a success, even if they didn't win.
"Taking a two-term incumbent in deep red Arkansas into a runoff, and coming within few thousand votes of her ... is a virtually unprecedented achievement," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. "If working families were able to accomplish this in Arkansas, imagine what they can achieve in other states.
"It is also now abundantly clear to all politicians that if they want to get the support of working families on Election Day, they are going to need to fight for their issues every day," he added.
Undoubtedly, the unions and the liberal interest groups that opposed Lincoln will come under fire from fellow Democrats for dedicating millions of dollars to try to defeat a Democrat when that money could have been used to try to beat a Republican in November. Don't expect these groups to concede that this was a mistake, because they are an important financial and grass-roots constituency for the Democratic Party.
• Nikki Haley: After enduring more than two weeks of accusations of infidelity, South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley nearly walked away with the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Not one, but two men have claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Haley, who deftly maintained her composure and denied the allegations. The voters responded.
Haley gained more votes than the current state attorney general, a congressman, and the lieutenant governor. Haley's campaign, once considered a long shot, gained steam in the closing months, and it received a boost when Sarah Palin endorsed her.(Continues here)