WildJim’s Primary Digestion (Some good flavor, some heartburn)
Now that I’ve had time to digest this past Tuesday’s primary elections. Here my take and a few prediction for what’s to come!
Starting in Kentucky, Rand Paul won the Republican nomination, and Jack Conway won for the Democrats. No one actually cares about liberal Jack Conway. The Tea Party in the person of Rand Paul and Barack Obama are what this race is about. Conway just happens to be there. The focus is on Rand Paul, given that his father is Ron Paul and far too many members of both parties don’t like him. Now with the controversy surrounding his theoretical discussion about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the media has more ammo to try to bring him down. Additionally, both men appeal to their party bases, you know, the people that actually care enough about their country to get off their butts and vote, instead of just whining, remaining ignorant, and saying “they all suck”. Kentucky is conservative and Paul appeals more than Conway/Obama. Watch for the media to continue to try to tear down Paul in an effort to bring him below 50%.
The other notable is that Republican voters rejected the establishment candidate Trey Grayson by a sizeable margin. Prediction: Voters will continue to reject the establishment in both parties this fall! Paul will win, but it will be closer than it should be due to the manufactured Civil Rights issue. A victory for liberty philosophically, in that Paul will force the fiscal discussion far to the right of where most politicians are comfortable – the right wing of financial discussions eliminates the ability to pander to the proper groups. The reality in Senate voting will be a net “no effect” since Jim Bunning, while a bit insane, does vote pretty consistently for liberty.
In Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln, the sitting senator, was held below 50% by a radical left winger in Lt. Governor Bill Halter. Lincoln is attacked from both the left and the right giving her a slim to none chance of keeping this seat for the Democrats, although I predict she still win the runoff election on June 8th. After that she has the opportunity to face Rep. John Boozman in the general election in November. Boozman is the establishment candidate, being the Deputy Whip in the US House, and won his primary handily while facing a number of other poorly funded candidates. Other than a vote for the original TARP, Boozman has a pretty good record supporting liberty. When Boozman wins in November, add one for liberty in the US Senate.
In Pennsylvania, the US Senate race saw a minor upset with Joe Sestak defeating Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. The electorate is in no mood for a self-serving politician like Snarlin’ Arlen. Sestak is a raging left winger who shamelessly describes himself as being to the left of Barack Obama. A former Admiral should know better! For Sestak’s victory, he gets the prize of taking on Pat Toomey. This race should be fun to watch given the diametrically opposed positions of the men running for the Senate, and the fact that I think both men will campaign on issues as opposed to personal attacks. But in the end, the President is not very popular in the state and the outgoing governor is less popular, so I see a victory for Mr. Toomey. Definitely a fiscal conservative given his past leadership of the Club For Growth. And definitely another +1 for liberty in the US Senate after his November victory.
Then, there’s the PA special election for Jack Murtha’s US Representative seat. The Republicans lost a winnable race for a number of reasons. The Republican Tim Burns was perceived as the party bosses’ choice. While poll working in that district, I heard more enthusiasm for Burns’ primary opponent, Bill Russell. Tim Burns simply doesn’t fit this blue collar district. The district is filled with working class Republican and Democrat voters, and Tim Burns is a self-made millionaire who made his money quickly, got out of the business, and has “worked” as a volunteer for a number of years. His reaching the American Dream so quickly without the perceived benefit of “hard work” and his selling of his company to someone who outsourced some of the jobs, does not earn respect or appreciation in this district (BTW: not saying Mr. Burns didn’t work hard for his money, just offering an observation). Democrat Mark Critz ran a good campaign, slow and steady, meeting people through door knocking rather than taped phone calls, which the Burns campaign severely overused and subsequently annoyed voters. The Democratic senate and governor candidates brought out a lot more democrats than anticipated, while independents simply did not show up. Sadly, I predict that Tim Burns will be a 2-time loser in a good Republican year. Republican leaders have again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory that could have been Russell’s.
Also this week in Connecticut, AG Richard Blumenthal won the endorsement of the Democratic Party and WWE executive Linda McMahon won the Republican endorsement although Rob Simmons will force a primary in August. Blumenthal has taken a win and made it too close to call by talking about his military service in Vietnam during that war, when in fact, he didn’t serve in Vietnam. McMahan has an interesting advantage in that she has the ability to spend as much money as she wants in an expensive TV market and is the outsider candidate to boot. I predict she will beat moderate, establishment, candidate Rob Simmons in the primary, but will probably not beat Blumenthal in this left wing, east coast state, which is a shame since the US Senate could definitely use some “Smackdown”!
And lastly in Utah, the Republican Convention has retired a moderate, long-time senator, Bob Bennett. The Republican will win in this very conservative state and if that person is Mike Lee, liberty will gain a vote. Even if it is Tim Bridgewater, it is still an improvement over the moderate Bennett.