Revisions/extensions (5:18 pm 5/19/2010) - There’s some rather good, learned takes that are better than mine out there. First up, there’s a whole series from Jim Geraghty. Then, there’s Melissa Clouthier, who linked to this missive. DaTechguy compared and contrasted PA-12 with Massachusetts. Stacy McCain filed a back-home closing dispatch after spending a lot of shoe leather in the district. Go read their takes as well.
In case you missed the toplines from yesterday’s primaries (and special election for the seat formerly held by John Murtha), Arlen “Scottish Law” Specter (D-PA) is now a lame-duck Senator, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is headed for a runoff in her primary, Rand Paul knocked off Trey Grayson in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary, and the Democrats hung onto the House seat formerly held by John Murtha. Let’s see if I can make any sense out of all that.
The first two items are actually the same phenomenon – After riding the nutroot wave to power, Barack Obama has become The Establishment, and the nutroots are as anti-Establishment as ever. When old Scottish Law became Specter the Defector (credit BobNoxious’ mom for that one), Obama and the establishment in the Pennsylvania Democrat Party embraced him. Joe Stestak ran as the “real” Democrat, and won going away.
Meanwhile, Blanche Lincoln, despite voting (or perhaps because she voted) with Harry Reid and Barack Obama, couldn’t pull 50%+1 to avoid a runoff with nutroot-approved Lt. Gov. Bill Haller. I’m still waiting for the presstitute exposés on how the nutroots have taken over the Democrat Party at the state level.
That brings me to the mixed-bag main events, ones that may have implications for Wisconsin. The first is the Paul trouncing of Grayson. Paul wholly-embraced the Tea Party movement, with full reciprocity. Meanwhile, Grayson clung solely to the establishment that tried to install him. The results weren’t even close, even though (or more-likely because) it was a closed primary limited to Republican party members.
I’m sure the Mark Neumann camp would like to make hay of that result. However, they already botched the attempt to tie themselves to the Tea Party movement; while Neumann waited until February 2010, a full year after the movement began and 7 months after he entered the race, to publicly reach out to Tea Party-related groups, Scott Walker was out there early and often.
That brings me to what is being spun as the “Big Dem Win” – Mark Critz’s 7.6-point win over Tim Burns in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district, the seat formerly held by John Murtha. While on the surface, it is a big win, the fact that normal primary elections happened at the same time means one can quantify just how unpopular even a Dem who ran away from the Dem agenda, as Critz did, is. In the 3-person Democrat primary for the full-term fall election, just under 81,000 Democrats participated, with just under 46,000 Republicans participating in their 2-person primary (also won by Burns), which made for a participation margin of D+27.6 points. In the special election, 10,000 of those who voted in the Democrat primary did not vote for Critz, 15,000 who did not vote in the Republican primary voted for Burns, with 3,000 voting for the Libertarian candidate. That still leaves a 20-point swing away from the Dem column and to the GOP column.
22,000 23,000 (forgot to round up) votes in the Democrat primary that did not go to Critz. Somehow, I doubt 10,000 of them voted in the Democrat primary, then turned around to vote for Burns in the special election, so I’ll take the scenario that those 10,000 simply didn’t vote in the special election. Even with that assignment, Critz would have only won by 14 points, a 13.6-point swing to the Republicans.
Neither Steve Kagen (the Dem Congressman in the 8th District) nor Julie Lassa (the Dem state senator who is the anointed candidate for the 7th Congressional seat being vacated by Dave Obey) can be too happy with that bit of math. The 8th is considered a “swing” district, even after the last 2 elections, while the 7th isn’t nearly as Democratic as Pennsylvania’s 12th. Moreover, neither Kagen (who proudly proclaimed he was one of the architechts of PlaceboCare) nor Lassa (who voted for Healthy-and-Depopulated Wisconsin back in 2007) can credibly run as anything other than Huge Government Liberal Democrats.