Election wrap-up & breakdown

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Timmy Boy, we hardly knew ye. And thank God for that. In the 8th Congressional District GOP primary runoff, the Wild Man from Raeford, Tim D’Annunzio — whose wacked out ideas and enraged rants freaked out even the right-wingers running the GOP — lost to Harold Johnson, a famous former Charlotte sportscaster and human cardboard cutout. In the pre-Timmy D’ days, when Johnson’s name was floated as a possible GOP congressional candidate, a lot of Charlotteans reacted by scratching their heads and chuckling. Now, Johnson’s the guy keeping the state GOP from being embarrassed. For Charlotteans who remember Johnson’s TV days, I ask: did you think Harold Johnson, for God’s sake, would be the least embarrassing candidate in an election? The Big Guy now goes on to face Rep. Larry Kissell in November.

In the other big N.C. primary runoff, N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, touted as an old-line Democratic populist, easily defeated the lethally bland Cal Cunningham who, although he had the support of the national Democratic establishment, had next to zero grassroots support. Marshall now faces Sen. Richard “BlueCross” Burr in the fall general election. Burr is considered the favorite due to a hefty $10 million war chest, and currently leads in polls by anywhere from 7 to 14 percent, although he is plagued by high “unfavorable opinion” numbers. Burr’s support is pretty shallow — Liddy Dole, anyone? — but it remains to be seen whether Marshall can raise enough money to give him a serious race. The race could turn on how much support and money the national Dems will kick in.

In the most watched race of the day, South Carolina state representative Nikki Haley, the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, crushed U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, to become the GOP candidate for governor. Haley, who had strong support from Tea Party enthusiasts as well as Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, successfully navigated her campaign through the state’s traditional "swampy, snake-ridden minefield" ambience. She brushed aside accusations of marital infidelity, largely ignored racist remarks by Republican state Sen. Jake “Yes, there are still people like me down hyeah” Knotts, who called her a “raghead,” and was unaffected by nasty runoff tactics by members of the state’s GOP establishment, who insinuated that Haley had only converted to Christianity for political reasons and was actually still a Sikh.

Haley’s victory has produced an unexpected result: satisfaction and smiles from both Tea Partiers and progressives. The T.P.ers are glad that someone who shares their beliefs in lower taxes and limited — really limited — government has a good chance of being S.C. governor. Progressives, and particularly progressives such as yours truly, who grew up in S.C., are glad that the state GOP establishment — as sordid and corrupt a bunch of ignoramuses as exist in any American statehouse — had their asses handed to them. Moreover, progressives are happy to see a woman survive sexist attacks and go on to victory — not to mention the incredible fact that the next governor of the state could be not only a woman, but a woman named Nimrata Nikki Kaur Randhawa Haley. Another reason progressives are gladdened by Haley’s win? Haley is a Sanford disciple; that is, a strictly libertarian-style budget and tax cutter, a true believer. If she becomes governor, she will probably have as much trouble as Sanford had getting proposals passed by the legislature. That spells legislative paralysis to some extent, which is bad, but is still a better option than having the slimeballs of the state's mainstream GOP relying on a like-minded colleague in the governor’s mansion to help them run roughshod over the state for their own benefit.

Elaine Marshall, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
  • Elaine Marshall, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate

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