by John Grooms
Results from yesterdays elections contradicted many news organizations' expectations, instantly giving us a more interesting political landscape heading into November. Nearly every faction had something to celebrate and something to moan about. Tea Partiers got their expected victory in the Kentucky GOP senate primary, as Rand Son of Ron Paul wiped out the favored candidate of that states Republican establishment and the National Republican Congressional Committee. In the Democratic senate primary, progressives were heartened by state attorney general Jack Conways apparent victory (theres still a chance of a recount) in the party's senate primary. Republicans are expected to win that seat in November, although Kentucky Dem voters much higher participation yesterday is already raising some doubts about that.
Democrats in Pennsylvania celebrated their victory in a special election for the congressional seat of the late John Murtha. Republicans had touted that particular race as a bellwether of the fall elections, and the NRCC poured resources into the district, but they came up far short. Dems can celebrate, although progressives are wary of the winner, Mark Critz, who is a more conservative Blue Dog Dem, a la N.C.s Heath Shuler. What the Dem win in Pennsylvania shows, according to the Politico website, is that the outcome casts serious doubt on the idea that the Democratic House majority is in jeopardy. Also in Pennsylvania, tired re-tread Sen. Arlen The Chameleon Specter was defeated by a more progressive Democrat, John Sestak, who will have a better chance in November than would have Specter.
In the Arkansas senate primary, the states progressive lieutenant governor, Bill Halter, forced Sen. Blanche Lincoln into a runoff that observers expect to be extremely close.
More often than not, voters yesterday ignored the wishes of their parties establishment and went with candidates who showed some backbone in proposing change, either from the left or the right. If there was one big loser last night, it had to be the NRCC which, as far as we can tell, did not back even one winner. This writer has no knowledge or Nostradamus-esque powers regarding what will happen in November, and anyone who tells you theyre sure one way or another about it is kidding him or herself. Whats certain, though, is that yes, voters from both the right and the left are pissed off at the way things have been run in Washington, so we can probably expect to see more influence on both parties from their respective bases from now until the general election.