Six Women Win
Conservative Wins Set
the Tone for November
In Arkansas, embattled two-term Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln scored a narrow win over her labor-backed rival and will
face Representative John Boozman in the fall.
In California, former CEOs Meg Whitman, of eBay, and Carly Fiorina, of Hewlett-Packard, a pair of wealthy businesswomen and first-time candidates running against veteran politicians, won confortably. Whitman is the GOP candidate for governor and Fiorina, for State Senate.
In Nevada, Sharron Angle won the right to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall, while in South Carolina, Representative Nikki Haley, endorsed by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, outpaced three male rivals to face Representative Gresham Barrett in a June 22 runoff for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Another conservative candidate, Democrat California Representative Jane Harman, withstood a challenge from Marcy Winograd, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Progressive Democrats of America.
Republican Governor Jim Gibbons of Nevada in the other hand became the first governor tossed from office this year, falling to Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge, while Rory Reid, the son of the Senate majority leader, won the Democratic nomination.
And Republican Representative Bob Inglis of South Carolina trailed challenger Trey Gowdy by double digits, though he qualified for a runoff on June 22 in the solidly conservative district.
But the big upset of the day happened in the South Carolina Democratic Senate race. An unemployed military veteran who raised no funds and put up no campaign website won the nomination to face Republican Senator Jim DeMint in November. Alvin Greene beat former four-term Vic Rawl, who raised (a useless) $186,000 and had to abruptly scrap a late-week fundraiser for the fall. Soon not-to-be unknown anymore Greene scored a big one for the little guy.
Busiest Primary Day
May Not Bring Surprises
Voters in 11 states are going to the pols today, the busiest single primary day in the calendar year. Attention is focused on Arkansas, where Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln is in a runoff election against challenger Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter; and Nevada, where tea party’s Sharron Angle is trying to beat former state senator Sue Lowden and businessman Danny Tarkanian to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.
In California, Republicans will choose former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, or former congressman Tom Campbell or even Assemblyman Chuck Devore to challenge Senator Barbara Boxer, while former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman is favored over state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner to capture the GOP gubernatorial nomination and face Attorney General Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr., a former governor and the expected Democratic nominee, in the general election; and South Carolina Republican gubernatorial primary, where State Representative Nikki Haley, the subject of infidelity accusations and a racial slur by a Republican state senator, is the front-runner, but who needs to receive 50 percent of the vote or go for a June 22 runoff.
Elections will also be held in Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia. In Iowa, Republican former governor Terry Branstad, who was first elected in 1982 and served four terms, leads the field for the party’s gubernatorial nomination and the right to challenge Democrat Governor Chet Culver.
Once again, talk of “constituents’ dissatisfaction” have arisen but, as in May primaries, it may not translate into votes for the GOP or much of a boost to challengers of seating officials in general.
Pre Voting Preview
Midterm Vote May
Four states — Arkansas, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania — will hold primaries Tuesday, the most important date of the election calendar so far. The primaries may provide a snapshot of the general electorate at midpoint and the popularity of President Obama’s agenda. Congress will be altered and the Democratic House majority risks losing two seats.
The political establishment will be paying particular attention to Arkansas and Pennsylvania, where the two incumbent Democratic senators, Blanche Lincoln and Arlen Specter, may lose their party’s nomination. In Arkansas, organized labor is at full throttle campaign against Lincoln, supporting Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter.
In Pennsylvania, Representative Joe Sestak’s challenge to Specter is seen as a test for the clout of the state in national politics. In a special election, Democrat Mark Critz and Republican Tim Burns are racing to fill the vacancy left by the late Representative John Murtha
On the Republican side, Kentucky will hold an epic primary battle for the State Senate between tea party-backed candidate Rand Paul and the party’s establishment favorite Trey Grayson. In Oregon, Chris Dudley leads the polls in the race for governor.
Democrats control every statewide office, both houses of the Legislature and four of five congressional seats in Oregon. Dave Mowry is running for the State Senate against incumbent Senator Rod Monroe, while Will Rasmussen, Joelle Davis and Gerritt Rosenthal are locked in a three-way race for a seat at the state’s House District.
Not Exactly Expected
Specter Loses, Lincoln Fights On
Elections Fail to Enhance Tea Party
Four states — Arkansas, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania — held primaries yesterday, the most important date of the election calendar so far. But the vote didn’t quite provide the overall picture some were expecting of electoral sentiment or even served as a verdict on President Obama’s agenda.
The most important Democratic name to fall was Pennsylvania‘s Arlen Specter, a Republican who switched parties in an attempt to save his political career. Activism and grassroots tactics did play a role in these primaries and the victory of Tea Party-backed Rand Paul in Kentucky signals the group’s growing sway over the GOP. But it’s a far cry from the revolution it was supposed to start within the Republican Party.
In the other closely watched election, Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas was forced into a run-off against challenger Bill Halter. Back in Pennsylvania, Democrat Mark Critz defeated Republican Tim Burns in a contest to fill out the final few months in the term of the late Representative John Murtha. Democrat Dan Onorato has won a four-way race for the nomination for governor and will face Republican state Attorney General Tom Corbett in the November general election.
Elsewhere, well oiled “outsiders” of the Washington political establishment did fare well and many incumbents took a hit. But in Oregon, Chris Dudley won the Republican nomination for governor without the support of the Tea Party and now faces John Kitzhaber, the former two-term governor who beat former secretary of state Bill Bradbury in the Democratic primary. Dudley’s party got energized with some successful campaigns but Democrats are expected to remain in control of the state politics coming November.