Post-Mortem: Yesterday's 12 State Primary

Carla Axtman

It's been just about a month since Oregonians held our primary. Yesterday, 11 other states followed suit. As we head into the midterm general election for November, the conventional wisdom seems to be that the Democrats are in for a bloodbath, although its a bit early to know for sure.

Interestingly, yesterday's results may actually help Democrats in certain seats where they may previously have been in danger, especially in Nevada. GOP women seems to be scooping up primary victories from coast-to-coast, also giving fodder to the conventional wisdom that the establishment is in trouble (women are often seen as outsiders).

In Nevada, Teabagger du jour Sharron Angle won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and will take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this fall. For his part, Reid performed strongly (and perhaps better than expected) with 75% of the vote in a multi-candidate field. A treasure trove of opposition research on Angle is apparently available and ready for use (..unacceptable and wrong for both parents to work simultaneously..? Ouch. ). A seat where the GOP may have actually knocked off the Majority Leader now seems to be quietly slipping through their fingers. More at Nevada Progressive.

Despite rampant charges of infidelity and some pretty ugly racial slurs tossed against her, Teabagger favorite Nikki Haley took the most votes in the South Carolina GOP Gubernatorial primary. However, Haley didn't reach the 50% threshold against opponent Gresham Barrett, so a runoff is set for June 22. The winner will face Democrat Vince Sheheen in November. The big jolt of the night was also in South Carolina, where an unemployed Army vet named Alvin Greene came out of nowhere to win the primary. Greene apparently has issues, having been accused of allegedly showing obscene material to a college student (which seems like something that wouldn't bother South Carolina if they'll elect a governor who allegedly sleeps around). But Greene is set to face GOP Senator Jim DeMint, and that's a tough row to hoe for any Democrat, much less a guy with no name ID and no money. More at The Politics of Jamie Sanderson.

The heartbreaker of the night for me was in Arkansas, where Bill Halter narrowly lost to Blue Dog Blanche Lincoln. The White House was involved to a degree in this race and honestly, I'm scratching my head at their tin political ear. Essentially, they threw labor under the bus while the Chamber of Commerce came to Lincoln's defense. Lincoln will run against John Boozman in the general, who I think will crush her by 15 points, at least. I'm having trouble seeing the Chamber rise to defend Lincoln against Boozman, too. More at Blue Arkansas.

Not much in the way of surprises for California, to be honest. Robert Cruickshank at Calitics has a good overview, including some thoughts on ballot propositions whose outcomes yielded mixed results (and leaves Oregon as the only west coast state with partisan primaries). Clean elections also took a hit. One especially interesting race was for California DA, in which Republican Steve Cooley overcame an onslaught of nasty "soft on crime" attacks from GOP primary challengers following Cooley's attempts to change the state's money sucking "three strikes" law. A side note: Nutjob birther Orly Taitz went down in flames in her bid for Secretary of State.

In Iowa, there's a looming post-primary showdown between incumbent Democratic Governor Chet Culver and former Governor Terry Branstad. Branstad held off rightwinger insurgents to take the nomination. Senate and House primaries yielded nothing in the way of surprises. More at Bleeding Heartland.

The State of Montana will see the reprehensible Denny Rehberg facing off against Dennis McDonald. The full results have left my friend Jay Stevens scratching his head. A good rundown of Montana outcomes across the board can be found at Left In The West.

The big race in Maine this primary season was the open seat for Governor. The Democratic winner is Libby Mitchell, a long timer in the state political scene. Conservative GOPer and Waterville Mayor Paul LePage will square off against Mitchell. Maine is a left of center state that prides itself on being fiercely independent, which likely bodes better for Mitchell than LePage. More from Dirigo Blue.

As far as I can tell, Georgia is a black hole for progressives, at least in large swaths of the state. The only noteable race was in the state's most GOP district (GA-9) in which Tom Graves will replace Nathan Deal.

Virginia saw the establishment hang on, but rather weakly. NRCC golden boy Scott Rigell and Rob Hurt won their primaries, but neither could manage 50% of the vote. Virginia has no runoff, so they move on. Meanwhile, Keith Fimian defeated Pat Herrity to challenge Freshman Democrat Gerry Connolly. More at NotLarrySabato.

If you were looking to see the ears pinned back on the GOP establishment, the place to watch was New Jersey. Much ballyhooed Republican House contender Jon Runyan won with only 60% of the vote, while incumbent Leonard Lance eeked out 56% in a multi-candidate field. Meanwhile, "establishment" candidates in both NJ-06 and NJ-12 limped along, with the outcome in NJ-06 still in the air between tea party advocate Anna Little and GOP County Vice-Chair Diane Gooch. Blue Jersey has the scoop.

North Dakota's big race: GOPer Rick Berg won the ND-AL primary by almost 90%.

In South Dakota, Lt. Governor Dennis Daugaard mopped the floor with multi-candidate field for the GOP gubernatorial nod with 50% of the vote. But GOP Secretary of State Chris Nelson lost his bid for Congress. Lesser-known state legislator Kristi Noem claimed the nod with 42% of the vote to Nelson's 35%.

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    Frankly it's the 75 percent that scares me. With no real opposition Reid should have racked up at least 85 percent of the Dems.

    Fortunately, he has five months to vaporize wingnut Angle (well documented here ).

    Sadly, nutjob governor Jim Gibbons -- described by the state's top historian as the worst governor in history -- was voted out in the primary, meaning reliable Democrat Rory Reid will have a tough go of it in the general. The new GOP gube candidate, Brian Sandoval, reminds me of early aughts GOP Gov. Kenny Guinn, who did nothing his first term so he could get re-elected, then became a moderate in his second term and raised taxes to keep the state from becoming even more of a nationwide joke.

    Sandoval's best hope is that Gibbons calls a special session to enact immigration reform, riling up the conservative base. That's also Sandoval's worst fear -- it could bring the Latinos out to vote in force for Rory (and Harry) Reid. The gambling industry also would have some strong opinions about immigration reform, since they employ many of the targets of such a bill.

    Gibbons is just crazy enough to try it.

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      Thanks for the link, Carla. I hadn't realized it until you wrote it, but OR really is the only West Coast state left standing with partisan primaries. Decades of weak party institutions seem to have led to this outcome.

      Here in CA we're going to see the big money donors take immediate advantage as soon as the top-two system begins in June 2012. Combined with the initiative on the November ballot to extend the citizens redistricting commission to Congressional races, the races for the House of Reps could get very interesting in '12.

      Which is going to annoy Pelosi to no end, who counts on having a lot of CA Democrats in the House in order to shore up her position not just as the majority party, but as head of that majority party.

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    I'd like to note something about the Maine race. Libby Mitchell won the Dem primary for Governor using the state's Maine Clean Elections Act (like Portland's VOE system) and if she wins in November will be the second governor in the nation (after Janet Napolitano) to be elected using solely public funding for her race. Her biggest opponent, Steve Rowe (who is a pretty good guy too) ran traditionally funded.

    Public financing systems can work really well if they are well designed and enforced properly.

    Imagine - a top Executive who took zero money from any special interests!

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    NOT MUCH TO CHEER ABOUT after the first installment of the people's referendum on the failed policies of Obama-Co. What we all witnessed were the american people continuing to tell Obama and the Wingers hell bent on ruining our economy beyond repair to STOP! I was equally glad to see, after spending the last two years stirred into a fear driven lather (highlighted by the tools of the left spending every waking moment telling eachother how stupid Sarah Palin is and how inconsequential the non violent Tea Party (they curiously seem to be the victims of violence, from the left, and not the preps!) is (all also wrong) I don't know about you but on my scorecard Palin batted almost 1000 with her endorsements and Obama is still not only winless, he is also radioactive!

    The best the "regressives' can really hope for is that some of their people have finally gotten the message from the people theyr derive their power from and stop spending money we do not have and start respresenting the views of the people who put them in office and who have shown no remorse throwing them all out!

    But I didn't come here to gloat and tell you I told you so over the election! I came to do it over the WSJ article titled "ARE THERE ANY DEMOCRATS SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER' LATEST ZOGBY POLL SAYS NO!.

    What did the poll show? It very clearly demonstrated that liberals/Democrats/the left DOES NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND THE MOST BASIC BASIC ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES! And Republicans and Tea Party members and others on the right absolutely do! before you light up your name calling and flame throwers do what Obama and Holder refused to do before they stepped on themselves over their ignorance of the Arizona immigration law and READ THE POLL! You will not believe the dramatic gap between what the left thinks is real and what really is! Ironically the same wrong thinking I have often times run up against here (Mitchell, Joseph) is the same wrong thinking the liberals polled also were challenged by. Read the results of the poll! Better yet take the poll first and see how you do when you try to match your understanding of basic economic principles with 5th graders. I bring this too your attention not to gloat but to hopefully get some of you to wake up to the reality of the mess this country is in and how current liberal policies are driving this country off a cliff like it was riding in a prius with a stuck gas pedal!

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      You really do live in your own reality don't you?

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        Read the results of the poll Mitchell. It is your reality that is suspect. My informed opinion that some of the people on this board spew forth economic gibberish more often than not sort of dove tails nicely with the results of this Poll wouldn't you say? Did you take it yet? did you get 1/2 of them right (which in a classroom full of your liberal peers would have been a high enough score on these 5th grade level questions to totally destroy the grading curve! Rather than try and insult me ... or insinuate that I don't possess the gray matter to compete with 5th graders (which flies in the face of all available 'reality' based information) and instead explain to me how it is possible for liberals (who just got pasted again in this last round of primaries) who's past and current inability to management the US economy (except to send it straight back to the stone ages), is currently on display for the world to see, scored soo poorly compared to every other demographic measured? And not just sort of poorly, but REAL POORLY! Try to make yourself feel smart and try to boost your self esteem by calling me names some other time ...this time lets discuss why liberals can't grasp simple economic theory because their ignorance is costing us all alot of money!

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    The 5 possible responses to each of the statements were as follows: 1. Strongly Agree 2. Somewhat Agree 3. Somewhat Disagree 4. Strongly Disagree 5. Not sure Here are the statements: It should be noted that in order for an answer to be wrong it had to be unambiguously wrong; meaning the respondents had to give the MOST UNENLIGHTENED response. (those most unenlightened answers follow the questions so you can grade yourselves)

    1. Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.
    2. Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services.
    3. Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago.
    4. Rent control leads to housing shortages.
    5. A company with the largest market share is a monopoly.
    6. Third-world workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited.
    7. Free trade leads to unemployment.
    8. Minimum wage laws raise unemployment.

    THE MOST ‘UNENLIGHTENED RESPONSES” No cheating now! 1. Unenlightened: Disagree 2. Unenlightened: Disagree 3. Unenlightened: Disagree 4. Unenlightened: Disagree 5. Unenlightened: Agree 6. Unenlightened: Agree 7. Unenlightened: Agree 8. Unenlightened: Disagree

    What does this have to do with the recent election results and the upcoming election results in November? EVERYTHING!

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