Primary Season Ends For Another Cycle
Christine O'Donnell must be missing student loans payments or mortgage payments again. She's threatening the Republican Party that she may run for the U.S. Senate again. Her successful primary challenge to popular mainstream Rep. Mike Castle in 2010 in universally thought to be the reason the GOP doesn't hold the Delaware Senate seat occupied by Chris Coons now. “I think I owe that to my supporters, to at least consider a run,” O’Donnell said in an interview last week. “People sacrificed. Not only came out of their comfort zone-- sacrificed to work hard in order to win the primary. And I think that I owe it to them to give it every consideration.” (She has also said she is available for a paying gig in a Romney Administration if he wins the November election.)
If Democrats are cheering, mainstream Republicans must be rolling their eyes at the thought. Primaries by right-wing extremists like O'Donnell have hurt the GOP in general elections, not so much in deep red states where the brain-dead citizens would vote for a lump of shit labeled "Republican"-- think Utah or Texas-- but in normal states. This primary cycle, for example, saw 15 congressional incumbents defeated-- 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats, although, to be fair, one of the Republicans, Bob Turner, was gerrymandered out of his district and then lost the GOP Senate primary.
All but 2 of the Democratic losses were incumbent vs incumbent matches-- Jason Altmire lost to Mark Critz in western Pennsylvania. Both are extremely reactionary right-wing Democrats who commonly vote with the GOP. In New Jersey moderate Steve Rothman lost to more progressive Bill Pascrell. In Ohio, quirky economic progressive/social conservative Marcy Kaptur beat progressive icon Dennis Kucinich, in a district that was drawn to predict those results. In Michigan under-funded progressive Hansen Clarke was beaten by ConservaDem Gary Peters and St. Louis political fixture Russ Carnahan, a moderate, was beaten by the more progressive William Lacy Clay in a 63% to 34% landslide. In the two districts where there were actual non-incumbent challengers, corrupt Blue Dog Tim Holden was beaten by a more progressive Matt Cartwright, 57-43%, a stunning and rare upset. A few weeks later a similar primary battle in El Paso resulted in longtime Establishment Democrat Silvestre Reyes going down to defeat at the hands of popular young reformer, Beto O'Rourke, 50.5 to 44.4%. (Beto, pictured on the right, will be the Blue America live guest at Crooks and Liars tomorrow at 11am (PT, noon El Paso time.)
In Republicanville, there were 3 incumbent vs incumbent races. Florida Establishment shill John Mica swamped teabagger Sandy Adams, widely considered the stupidest Member of Congress (yes, dumber that Gohmert). He swamped her financially, spending $1,214,486 to her $451,281, and beat her 60-40%. The Republican Machine wiped out an annoying teabagger without much effort. In Illinois, the GOP Machine got behind freshman zombie Adam Kinzinger and helped him beat Don Manzullo, 56-44%, even though the redrawn 16th CD included 44% of Manzullo's constituents and 31% of Kinzinger's. Kinzinger spent $1,548,515 on the primary and Manzullo spent $1,257,113 but outside groups orchestrated, possibly illegally, by Eric Cantor and Aaron Schock (widely rumored to have a gay crush on Kinzinger) spent a great deal of money to defeat Manzullo. The third incumbent vs incumbent race pitted Dan Quayle's lunkhead son, Ben, a leadership lackey, against David Schweikert. Ben Quayle was never popular in the Arizona district and was remembered for having been an on-line pornographer (DirtyScottsdale.com/Brock Landers) before narrowly winning a wild primary against 10 other Republicans (outspending all his rivals combined). This year Schweikert spent $1,289,381 and Quayle spent $1,537,407. An Adelson-funded superPAC, Friends of the Majority, spent another $1,120,000 in negative ads against Schweikert. But Arizona voters were tired-- after just one term-- of being embarrassed by the clownish Quayle and he went down 53-47%.
Far more interesting were the 4 races where non-incumbents beat incumbents. The headliner, of course, was far right extremist Richard Mourdock beating Indiana GOP icon Richard Lugar with a stunning 60% of the vote. Lugar was viewed (disapprovingly) as a mainstream conservative when the GOP primary voters wanted someone more like... Christine O'Donnell. Mourdock spent $3,162,191 on the primary and Lugar spent $8,301,994. But outside spending, mostly from extremist groups, was tilted in Mourdock's favor. Club For Growth spent $947,991 in negative ads against Lugar and $517,810 in favor of Mourdock. The Koch brothers' FreedomWorks spent $341,503 against Lugar and another $330,129 in favor of Mourdock. Similarly the NRA spent over a quarter million dollars tearing down Lugar and approximately $638,000 bolstering Mourdock.
In the Tulsa, OK-area and Jacksonville, FL-area House races, unknown challengers came from nowhere to beat, respectively, John Sullivan and Cliff Stearns. Jim Bridenstine beat Sullivan, an extremist and drug addict, 54-46%. Sullivan spent $1,113,091 on the primary and Bridenstine spent $293,890. The PACs from opthamologists and anesthesiologists, who had felt dissed by Sullivan, spent around $100,000 against him and seem to have made the difference in the race. And in the case of the never-popular Mean Jean Schmidt, it was podiatrists who did her in. In fact, a podiatrist, Brad Wenstrup, beat her 49-43%, in a district east of Cincinnati. Wenstrup sent $357,260 and Mean Jean spent $657,489. The good government group, Campaign for Primary Accountability, spent $132,022 against Schmidt. (It's worth noting that they also spent $240,000 against Reyes, $130,875 against Hoden and $224,529 (some of it funneled by Cantor and Schock) against Manzullo.
Primary season is over and it's time to get serious about November. Normally this would be a time when we could safely say that there isn't a single congressional race anywhere in America where the GOP nominated someone better than the Democrats. That may not be the case this year. We're still investigating, but Republican rebel and libertarian may well turn out to be a less odious choice for voters than anti-Choice fanatic Steve Pestka in the Grand Rapids/Battle Creek area of south-central Michigan. We'll get back to you on that one.