DemWit looks at three races in last Tuesday’s primaries and what they mean, plus what to look for in Tuesday’s upcoming primaries.
TUESDAY, 11 MAY 2010:
RACE 1: A ‘SIGN’ OF GOP VULNERABILITY?
Nebraska’s 1st and 2nd Congressional districts: Will Republican incumbent Lee Terry be unseated in November by the Obama win in the 2nd District and his close race in the 1st? Experts say not likely.
FROM THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 12 MAY 2010:
The results of Tuesday's primary election most notably a strong showing from a little-known challenger to Republican Lee Terry was met with glee by national Democrats. They say it's a sign the time is right for a Democrat to unseat the six-term Republican.
National Republicans countered that Terry still drew more votes than his Democratic rival, State Sen. Tom White, and they continue to believe the political winds favor his re-election.
White and Terry both garnered their party's nominations Tuesday, setting the stage for a hard-fought battle into November's general election. White is arguably one of Terry's toughest challengers, with a proven ability to raise funds.
White ran in his primary uncontested, while Terry faced a challenge from the right wing of his party in the form of political newcomer Matt Sakalosky.
A Tea Party sympathizer, Sakalosky spent little money on the race, while Terry blanketed likely Republican voters with five direct-mail pieces.
In the end, Sakalosky drew 37 percent of the vote, while Terry took home 63 percent.
“Despite actively campaigning ... Terry's primary win was hardly a clearly defined victory,” said Gabby Adler, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
She called it a “sign” that Terry is vulnerable.
RACE 2: THROW THE BUMS OUT?
West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District – Incumbent congressman, Democrat Alan Mollohan v. challenger State Senator Mike Oliverio. This race is seen as a test of anti-incumbent fervor. Will West Virginia “throw the bums out”?
FROM THE WASHINGTON POST, 12 MAY 2010:
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.) lost his bid for a 15th term Tuesday in a primary defeat that further affirms the anti-incumbent sentiment coursing through the country.
He is the first House member to lose a re-election bid in the 2010 campaign, and his defeat comes days after Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) was knocked off the November ballot in that state's convention process.
Mollohan hadn't faced a serious primary fight in more than a decade and was seen in some circles as unbeatable, given that the state's 1st Congressional District seat had been in his family since 1968. (His father held it for seven terms before he won it.)
But state Sen. Mike Oliverio ran hard against Mollohan's entrenched-incumbent status and made much of the lingering whiff of ethics problems that dogged the congressman for years.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Oliverio had 56 percent of the vote to Mollohan's 44 percent. In November, he will face former state delegate David McKinley, who won the Republican primary Tuesday night.
RACE 3: THE LONG, HOT SUMMER?
Gerogia’s 9th Congressional District: The race to fill the seat of Republican Nathan Deal, who resigned to concentrate on his campaign for governor. Whoever wins will serve in Congress just two months before competing again in the state's July 20 primary, which will determine who is on the ballot in November.
FROM THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11 MAY 2010:
Tom Graves of the tiny northwest Georgia town of Ranger and Lee Hawkins of Gainesville are headed for a runoff for the 9th Congressional District seat. (BJ: In June.)
Both Graves and Hawkins have served in the state General Assembly, but voters in the conservative district showed a strong streak of mistrust of longtime politicians from the beginning of the campaign.
Al D. Marks, a Republican Party official in Hall County, said people were listening to the candidates and asking, "Do we want to send another career politician up there that may have a lot of favors out there, or do we want someone with a little less experience in Washington but clean?"
But political bases, experience and money finally made the difference.
It was a short campaign, after former Rep. Nathan Deal resigned March 21 to run for governor. The winner will finish Deal’s term, which ends in January, but the feeling of victory might be short-lived.
The six Republican candidates in the special election also qualified for the July primary for the seat's next term, so the winner of the occasionally nasty special election will face another challenge before getting unpacked in Washington. A seventh Republican, who wasn't in the special election, also qualified for the July primary.
If there is a runoff after the July Republican primary, voters could be called to the polls in May, June, July, August and November.
TUESDAY, 18 MAY 2010:
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
CNN: “Will Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln lose in Arkansas? Can Sen. Arlen Specter survive his first Democratic primary? Will newcomer Rand Paul upset the establishment and win Kentucky's Republican Senate race? Will the anti-incumbent fervor take hold of voters and wipe out Congress as we know it?”