AR, CA, GA, IA, ME, NJ, NV, SC, SD & VA Primary Preview

We’ve got an epic night of liveblogging on tap tomorrow night. Here’s our preview of the races that you need to watch:


  • AR-Sen (D): There’s not a whole lot more that need be said about this race between Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Before election day, it looked like Lincoln might win outright in the first round, but she wound up performing poorly, edging Halter just 45-43. Meanwhile third-wheel conservaweirdo D.C. Morrison pulled a surprisingly impressive 13%. Will his voters go to Lincoln as the candidate further to the right? Go to Halter as the anti-Lincoln vote? Or just stay home? It’s impossible to say, but we’ll have our answers soon enough. Historically, incumbents running for statewide office who only narrowly lead in the first round tend to fare poorly in runoffs, so it looks like Halter’s in the driver’s seat. But this one could be very close yet again. (D)
  • AR-01 (D): Yikes. This race pits conservative Democrat Chad Causey against really, really conservative Democrat Tim Wooldridge. (Wooldridge once proposed legislation to bring back public hanging, for starters.) Causey, a former chief-of-staff to retiring Rep. Marion Berry, trailed Wooldridge, a former state senator, 38-27 in the first round. But he seems to have consolidated a lot of support since then, scoring endorsements from several also-rans as well as Bill Clinton. Wooldridge released an internal poll last week showing him up 48-24, but the polling memo was oddly framed as an attack on Causey, which doesn’t exactly project confidence. Causey hasn’t released any new polling, but he claims a pre-runoff poll of his own showed him trailing 31-5, so he’s spinning this as a 27% surge for him, but just a 7% increase for Wooldridge. (D)
  • AR-02 (D): The contours of this runoff differ quite a bit from AR-01. Here, state House Speaker Robbie Wills faces off against state Senate Majority Leader Joyce Elliott, who led 40-28 after the first round. Since then, things have gotten very negative. Wills, an insider’s insider who is close to Gov. Mike Beebe, has attacked Elliott – who just so happens to be both black and a woman – as too liberal for the district. Some Elliott supporters have decried Wills’s arguments about “electability” as racially motivated, and she’s hit Wills with some negative ads herself. Both candidates have picked up support from also-rans, and in the absence of any polls, we can only say that it’s anyone’s race. (D)
  • AR-03 (R): In this final Arkansas runoff on our list, state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe is up against Rogers Mayor Steve Womack. Womack took the first round by a sizable 31-13 margin over Bledsoe (who herself edged the awesomely named Gunner DeLay by just 150 votes to secure the second-place spot). But Bledsoe seems to have gotten a larger share of endorsements (including from the also-rans), as well as a big score from Moose Lady herself, Sarah Palin. The race has turned pretty negative, with Womack accusing Bledsoe of hiking taxes as a state legislator, while Bledsoe has directly compared Womack to Barack Obama on a range of issues, including immigration. The winner here is almost guaranteed a seat in Congress, given the R+16 nature of the district. (D)


  • CA-Gov (R): Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has spent $25 million of his own money on this primary, which sounds like an enormous sum – until, of course, you recall (and how could you forget?) that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has spent an brain-bending $80 mil, also self-financed. For a brief moment a month ago, it looked like Whitman’s poor campaign skills (and a possible backlash to her wild over-spending) were going to make the race close – SurveyUSA even showed Poizner just two points back. But the last half-dozen polls (including another from SUSA) have all given had her ahead by at least 24. The winner will take on Jerry Brown, who has spent barely a dime and has a $20 million warchest. (D)
  • CA-Sen (R): For all of 2009, the Republican primary in the Senate race pitted Carly Fiorina — who followed getting fired as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO with getting fired as a McCain campaign surrogate — as the sorta-moderate, NRSC-backed establishment choice, against Assemblyman Chuck DeVore as the right-wing movement conservative. The race got scrambled in January when ex-Rep. Tom Campbell (who lost the 2000 Senate race to Dianne Feinstein) bailed out of the Governor’s race, where he was badly financially outgunned, to the Senate race, where he was at least in the same financial universe. Campbell (whose entry forced Fiorina to move to the right) maintained significant leads over Fiorina for much of 2010, but then in the closing weeks of the campaign, Campbell ran short on funds just as Fiorina opened up her wallet to double down on advertising, which has allowed her to open up double-digit leads down the home stretch. We’ll have to see if Campbell’s last-minute pitch (a Hail Mary based purely on his electability in November) works, but polls point to a Fiorina victory — which has to be heartening to Barbara Boxer, who, despite Fiorina’s self-funding capacity, would doubtlessly rather face Fiorina and her pile of vulnerabilities and weird political instincts (as seen in some of the oddest political advertising, well, ever). (C)
  • CA-LG (D): The battle of the heavyweights characterize this race, a classic NorCal v. SoCal showdown, with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom taking a downgrade from slugging it out with Jerry Brown at the top of the ticket. In the SoCal corner is Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles City Councilwoman (and sister of former LA Mayor James), who represents the Harbor area. Newsom’s had his share of scandals but has also garnered his share of endorsements, especially from the NorCal political establishment, notably Dianne Feinstein, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate President Darrell Steinberg, but also Assembly Speaker John Perez (of Los Angeles) and four of the state’s five largest papers. Hahn’s far from alone in her corner though, bagging the endorsements of the California Federation of Teachers, the Teamsters, and EMILY’s List as well as her brother’s successor as Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. A poll in February had Newsom leading Hahn 33-17, but this was before the exit of Senator Dean Florez of Kern County. Undecideds are still high here, leaving this race still up in the air. (JMD)
  • CA-LG (R): After being rejected the first time by the Assembly, Central Coast Senator Abel Maldonado was finally confirmed and sworn in to replace now-Congressman John Garamendi (D). Maldonado, who carved a relatively moderate profile in the State Senate, isn’t getting a free pass from the conservative wing of the party and is being challenged his former colleague Sam Aanestad, who represents a sprawling district from Placer County north to the Oregon state line. Aanestad, who’s term-limited this time, was notably, one of 7 senators to vote against Maldonado’s confirmation. Four other minor candidates round out the field, but this race remains very much Maldonado v. Aanestad in an oft-repeated pattern of “moderate” vs. unabashed conservative. (JMD)
  • CA-AG (D): For an office previously held by old white guy and older (albeit would-be governor) white guy, the field to replace the outgoing Moonbeam is surprisingly diverse. There’s Facebook’s former Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, former LA City Attorney and 2006 rerun Rocky Delgadillo, San Francisco DA Kamala Harris (who, on the diversity front, is half-Indian and half-Jamaican-American), and three termed-out Assemblymen playing musical chairs: Ted Lieu of Torrance, Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, and Alberto Torrico of Newark. There’s also attorney Mike Shmier, who hasn’t yet filed a campaign finance report and isn’t a contender. Harris is viewed as the frontrunner and has earned the endorsement of four of state’s five largest papers, but she’s been busy fighting an air war with Kelly, who’s now criticizing his former company and siding with MoveOn against Facebook’s questionable privacy policies. Survey USA had Harris narrowly leading Kelly 25-17 with Delgadillo behind at 13% in late May, but given the wide geographic distribution of candidates – three are from the Bay area with one each from San Francisco, the East Bay, and the South Bay; one from the Central Coast, and two from LA – and the sheer number of credible candidates, the only thing certain in this race is that the winner will squeak through with a small plurality. (JMD)
  • CA-AG (R): Republicans have three candidates of their own vying for the nod for the open Attorney General slot, but unlike the Democrats, they all come from Southern California. There’s Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley, Chapman University (in Orange County) Law School Dean John Eastman, and Senator Tom Harman of Orange County (no relation to CA-36 Rep. Jane Harman). Cooley, elected from a large overwhelmingly Democratic constituency, would no doubt be the strongest candidate for the GOP in the general, but since when has that stopped the cat fud from flying? Both Harman and Eastman are attacking Cooley for being “soft” on crime and insufficiently supportive of the state’s three-strikes law. Survey USA recently pegged this race at 29-28 Cooley over Harman with Eastman lagging at 14. While the primary electorate will likely be hard right as the California GOP tends to be, there are two candidates splitting the conservative vote, leaving Cooley an opening to get through. (JMD)
  • CA-11 (R): Brad Goehring captured the hearts and minds of many fans of teh crazy with his comments a few weeks ago about hunting liberals (and his strident non-apologies afterwards), but he’s far from the only Republican candidate here jostling for the right to face sophomore Rep. Jerry McNerney. The establishment favorite here is probably David Harmer, an attorney who performed above expectations against John Garamendi in last year’s CA-10 special election and then moved east for a more favorable district (at R+1, the state’s only GOP-leaning district held by a Dem), and who has fundraised well. Autism advocate Elizabeth Emken and former US Marshal Tony Amador are also in the mix and shouldn’t be counted out. (C)
  • CA-19 (R): The Republican primary is the main event here in this reliably red district in the Sierra foothills and Central Valley, where Rep. George Radanovich is retiring after 16 years. Polling indicates that the two main contestants seem to be state Sen. Jeff Denham, Radanovich’s hand-picked successor, and former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who’s the favorite of the Club for Growth crowd. A wild card here is ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, bounced out of the 11th in 2006 but looking for a safer district as a springboard back into office. Between his carpetbagging and sleazy reputation, Pombo has gotten little traction, which is probably the best we can hope for here. (C)
  • CA-36 (D): One of Tuesday’s most interesting primaries is in the 36th in southern L.A. County suburbs, one of the bluest districts in the country to be represented by a Blue Dog. Rep. Jane Harman is not one of the worst Blue Dogs, but her occasional high-profile moments of hawkishness or corporatism have raised the ire of many liberal activists who consider her a bad fit for this district. Flying the liberal flag in the primary is Marcy Winograd, who also launched a 2006 challenge against Harman but didn’t break 40% — but that was before Harman’s strange role in a scandal last year involving an NSA wiretap and Israeli intelligence. Internal polling seems to point to another Harman victory. (C)
  • CA-42 (R): Rep. Gary Miller is not what you’d ordinarily think of as vulnerable in his dark-red district in some of the wealthiest parts of Orange County, but he might be vulnerable in the GOP primary to a well-funded anti-establishment challenge… and he’s got one. Accountant Phil Liberatore has pumped $375K of his own money into the race against Miller, who has long had ethical clouds following him concerning his real estate deals, and now he’s also hamstrung by recent revelations of misstating his military service. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in so many other GOP primaries this year, the teabagger vote is diluted with the presence of Some Other Dudes, making it likely that Miller wins even if it’s with a plurality. (C)
  • CA-47 (R): The GOP seemed to think last year that they might have something here to pull of the upset over Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, although you haven’t heard much touting of this race lately. Assemblyman Van Tran is still their preferred choice in the race, but this will be an interesting one to watch because the presence of Tan Nguyen in the race could split the Vietnamese vote (in this Hispanic-majority district) and let Kathy Smith, the lone Anglo candidate, sneak past him. (C)


  • GA-09 (Special): In this, the fourth-reddest district in the nation by Cook PVI, Barack Obama took just 24% of the vote, so it’s not too surprising that in the first round of this election, the top two candidates who advanced were both Republicans. Former state Rep. Tom Graves led former state Sen. Lee Hawkins 35-23 back on May 11, necessitating a runoff since neither man got to 50%. Graves was generally considered to be the front-runner and had consolidated a lot of establishment support – but a startling revelation a little over a week ago has the potential to rock this race. Graves, it turns out, is being sued by a local bank for failure to repay a $2.25 million business loan that was made just last year. Even if he emerges victorious, Graves might emerge battered, and several candidates (including some who lost in the first round) say they plan to challenge whoever wins the runoff in the July 20th primary for the November general. (D)


  • IA-Gov (R): This race pits four-term ex-Gov. Terry Branstad against conservative gadfly (and frequent candidate) Bob Vander Plaats and state Rep. Rod Roberts. Amazingly enough, only two public polls have been conducted of this race this year, both in the last week. Both have showed Branstad with surprisingly weak numbers in the mid-40s, while Vander Plaats sits at about 30. A big part of the reason is Branstad’s uneasy relationship with conservatives (it’s hard to be teabagger-pure when you actually have to govern), who appear to be flocking to Vander Plaats. It would be quite the colossal upset if Branstad lost, given his profile and huge fundraising edge. You almost have to wonder if the DGA missed out on an opportunity to ratfuck the Republicans here. We can still hold out a bit of hope for an underdog win of Ron Sparks proportions, though. (D)
  • IA-02 (R): For a longest-of-long-shot races, there sure are a lot of Republicans lining up for a quixotic bid against Rep. David Loebsack in this D+7 district. Most prominent may be businessman Rob Gettemy, who made it to the bottom tier of the NRCC’s Young Guns program (although that’s largely through fronting $100K of his own money). Other opponents include Marianette Miller-Meeks, an ophthalmologist who didn’t break 40% against Loebsack in 2008, Chris Reed, who lost big to Tom Harkin in 2008, and Steve Rathje, who lost the 2008 GOP Senate primary to Reed. (C)
  • IA-03 (R): Aging Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell has been on the NRCC’s target list for a while, as he’s been underperforming in the last few elections. Former Iowa St. wrestling coach Jim Gibbons is the NRCC’s preferred candidate here, which seems kind of odd since he’s never run for office before and there’s also a state Senator, Brad Zaun, in the race. Teabagger Dave Funk and moderate Mark Rees are also in the field; this could get split enough ways that nobody clears 35%, which means that the nominee would be decided by convention (where local insiders might tend to opt for Zaun). (C)


  • ME-Gov (D): I’ve found it impossible to keep track of the many (and little-known) candidates running for Governor in Maine, and the one public poll of the primaries, released last week, indicates the Mainers have no idea either, with more than half of Dem primary voters undecided. With current Dem Governor John Baldacci termed-out, and no obvious successor in the wake of ex-Rep. Tom Allen’s decision not to run, this race has been a big question mark for the last year and a half. The leading Democratic candidate, state Senate president Libby Mitchell, polled at a whopping 13%, with former AG Steve Rowe close behind. Businesswoman Rosa Scarcelli and former state Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan are the other Dems. (C)
  • ME-Gov (R): The Republican side of the Maine gubernatorial race comes a little closer to having a frontrunner, in the form of businessman Les Otten, the founder of the American Skiing Company and former part-owner of the Boston Red Sox… although he’s only polling at 17% in the lone public poll of the primaries. Other Republicans piled into the clown car include moderate state Sen. Peter Mills (who narrowly lost the 2006 primary), Waterville mayor Paul LePage, former Susan Collins CoS Steve Abbott, former university president Bill Beardsley, and businessmen Matt Jacobson and Bruce Poliquin. As with the Dem primary, though, it looks like anything could happen, and clues have been few and far between. (C)

New Jersey:

  • NJ-03 (R): Republicans have been licking their chops over the possibility of knocking off frosh Dem Rep. John Adler, especially after Chris Christie dominated this CD last November in the state’s gubernatorial election. The NRCC’s preferred candidate in the race, ex-Philly Eagle Jon Runyan, hasn’t been off to a stellar start. He was dinged in the press for a DUI arrest in his college days, a spotty voting record, and the huge property tax breaks that he receives after he decided to designate the area around his home as “farmland”. In the months leading up to the primary, there has been little evidence of hustle out of the Runyan camp, and he only managed to scrape together $225K for his campaign (half of which came from his own pockets) so far. Still, Runyan’s opponent, ’08 primary loser Justin Murphy, raised only $13K and is running a campaign fueled by a few social conservative endorsements, teabagger angst, and fumes. Though Murphy did manage to snag the endorsement of the Philly Inquirer, a Runyan loss would be absolutely stunning — and would likely doom the GOP’s shot at a win here in November.
  • NJ-07 (R): Of all the races worth watching tomorrow, GOP Rep. Leonard Lance’s first primary as an incumbent should be lower on your list of priorities. Still, it’s not entirely uninteresting, either. Lance, who campaigned as a moderate in 2008, faces a threesome of poorly-funded teabaggers in the primary, the most notable of whom is probably businessman David Larsen, who self-financed $80,000 for his excellent adventure in batshit politics. The teabag set has had a lot of at-bats in many races across the nation so far with mixed results, and this one will surely lower their average. The winner will take on Democratic educator and former Hill aide Ed Potosnak in the fall.


  • NV-Sen (R): If Sue Lowden loses her primary tomorrow, she’ll have laid one of the biggest eggs of the cycle. The former state GOP chair was leading all the polls and had a financial advantage over ex-state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle and ’06 SoS candidate Danny Tarkanian, but that appears to have gone up in smoke following a series of self-induced implosions, beginning with her bold solution to reform healthcare, which was of course to let patients trade chickens for medical treatment, just like grandpa used to do. Lowden’s campaign never seemed to get back on track after picking one of the strangest hills to die on, giving an opening for the Club for Growth-backed nutcase Angle, who now enjoys sizable leads in all the recent polling, including an eight-point lead in Mason-Dixon’s most recent survey. Tarkanian, who surely has to be the GOP’s best bet against Reid now that so many warts have been exposed on Lowden and Angle, doesn’t appear to be reaping the windfall of Lowden’s collapse in the polls. Harry Reid probably doesn’t deserve to be this lucky.
  • NV-Gov (R): It was over before it started, really. Ex-AG Brian Sandoval has led deeply unpopular incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons, whose gubernatorial career started off badly with assault allegations in 2006 and only got worse from there, in every poll of the race. It promises to be a pathetic end to the career of a truly pathetic politician, which is of course bad news for Democrat (and son of Harry) Rory Reid, who fares poorly against Sandoval in the polls.

South Carolina:

  • SC-Gov (D): As the only statewide-elected Democrat in the race, state School Superintendent Jim Rex might have been expected to out-power his chief rival for the nomination, state Sen. Vince Sheheen. However, Sheheen, by all accounts, has waged a smart, well-funded, and effective campaign, and has beaten Rex in the endorsement contest by a significant margin. PPP’s poll of the race showed Sheheen up by 36-30 over Rex, and InsiderAdvantage gave Sheheen a 26-17 edge. State Sen. Robert Ford, who is African-American, is also in the race and is polling in the double-digits, meaning that a runoff is a distinct possibility here.
  • SC-Gov (R): If you had a gubernatorial primary featuring a sitting lieutenant governor, attorney general, congressman, and state representative – and what’s more, that state rep. was closely tied to the scandal-marred current governor and there had been multiple recent allegations about her own marital fidelity – you definitely wouldn’t figure her for the frontrunner. Yet that’s exactly where Nikki Haley finds herself, ahead of a field that includes Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, AG Henry McMaster, and Rep. Gresham Barrett. Haley’s done it by getting the backing of the Club for Growth, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and, of course, the Mark Sanford machine, who evidently must not be as toxic as you might imagine. In a field this crowded with heavyweights, it would be a miracle for anyone to win 50% in the first round, though PPP’s last poll had Haley at 43, suggesting it could happen. (D)
  • SC-01 (R): With nine names on the Republican primary ballot for the open seat being left behind by the master of crumb-bummery, Rep. Henry Brown, this race is almost definitely going to a run-off in three weeks. The Club for Growth’s horse in this race, state Rep. Tim Scott, held a wide lead in a Club-commissioned poll, while an internal poll from late April had Carroll “Tumpy” Campbell, the son of a former Governor, with a slight lead. Also in the mix is attorney Paul Thurmond (another legacy choice, as Strom’s son). Democrats initially courted a number of names for this seat, which Democrat Linda Ketner lost by only 4% in 2008, but Robert Burton, a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Housing Finance and Development Authority, is the only name of note to run.
  • SC-03 (R): Don’t get your hopes up about the Dems picking up this open seat, vacated by Rep. Gresham Barrett for his gubernatorial bid; it’s R+17 and about as evangelical as any corner of the country. After starting out with a crowded field and a lot of winnowing, it’s basically down to a two-man race, so we might not see a runoff here. The two contestants are both state Reps., although their varying endorsements help us to identify which flavor of wingnut they each are: Rex Rice has the endorsement of Mike Huckabee, while Jeff Duncan has the Club for Growth’s endorsement. (C)
  • SC-04 (R): Will Rep. Bob Inglis be the next Republican incumbent to lose a primary? It could very well happen. It’s a little bit difficult for a sane person to describe exactly what Inglis’s sins are, given that he’s compiled a very conservative voting record over his career. One big one sticks out: He voted for TARP (aka the bailout), which was a big contributor toward bringing down Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah. Inglis has also occasionally said some non-crazy things, and admitted that he can’t “identify” with the “hard right” – true fightin’ words in a GOP contest. Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy has raised half-a-million bucks, a decently impressive sum for a challenger – and that almost matches Inglis’s haul, which seems pretty weak for a sitting congressman. A just-released PPP poll showed Gowdy up 37-33, with everyone else in single digits. If no one gets 50%, there will be a run-off in just two weeks, on June 22nd. (D)

South Dakota:

  • SD-Gov (R): Without any public polling of this race, it’s impossible to say with certainty what the outcome in the GOP gubernatorial primary will be. However, in terms of money raised, Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard is clearly in the lead. Daugaard’s raised over $1.65 million over of the course of his campaign, twice that of his nearest rival, state Senate Majority Leader Dave Knudsen. Rounding out the field are state Sen. Gordon Howie, rancher Ken Knuppe, and former Brookings Mayor Scott Munsterman. Daugaard also enjoys the backing of outgoing Gov. Mike Rounds, but he’ll need to clear the 35% mark to avoid a run-off later this month. The winner will face Democratic state Sen. Scott Heidepriem.
  • SD-AL (R): One other race where there’s a backlog of Republicans trying to get the nomination is South Dakota’s at-large seat, where Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is usually safe but could be vulnerable with a big enough wave. The biggest name in the GOP primary is Secretary of State Chris Nelson, who may be able to win this simply based on his statewide name recognition, as his two opponents are state Representatives (who obviously have very small constituencies in South Dakota). Blake Curd, a surgeon in his spare time, has been dipping into his own money to raise his profile, and Kristi Noem has also been advertising on TV, so Nelson is by no means a lock. (C)


  • VA-02 (R): In the race to make Democrat Glenn Nye the One-Term Guy, the NRCC likes auto dealer Scott Rigell, which of course means that the GOP base distrusts his candidacy. They do have a compelling reason, though, as Rigell has a big black mark on his record — a $1,000 donation to Obama a couple years ago. Still, a Rigell loss would be something of an upset; not only does he enjoy the backing of Gov. Bob McDonnell, he’s invested nearly $700K into his campaign and raised another half-mil on top of that. One candidate who has almost matched Rigell to the dollar is businessman Ben Loyola, and Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Bert Mizusawa brought in nearly $500K for his campaign. A Public Opinion Strategies internal gave Rigell a big lead, with Loyola and Mizusawa struggling to break out of single digits.
  • VA-05 (R): With his vote for Democratic Gov. Mark Warner’s 2004 budget (which contained significant budget-correcting tax increases), GOP state Sen. Robert Hurt invited years of hatred by the teabagger sect of the Republican base. Yet the field of challengers running against Democrat Tom Perriello is so large and so fragmented, that it seems probable that Hurt will slip through the primary with an underwhelming plurality. Hurt’s competitors include Albemarle County Commissioner Ken Boyd, real estate investor Laurence Verga, teacher/activist Feda Kedd Morton, but no one appears to have caught fire. If Hurt does win, he’ll have to watch his right flank: Teabagger Jeffrey Clark says he’ll launch an independent bid if Hurt wins the primary.
  • VA-11 (R): Republicans are charging hard to claw back this suburban NoVA district, which has a Cook PVI of D+2, from the clutches of Democrat Gerry Connolly. ’08 candidate and self-funding businessman Keith Fimian is back for another try, but he’s facing a primary from someone who knows a thing or two about actually getting, y’know, elected: Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity. Herrity and Fimian have both blasted each other on taxes (Fimian for not paying his, Herrity for raising them), but Fimian has brought the bigger war chest to the race. Both camps claim big leads in their internal polling. They both can’t be right!

Other races:

  • CA-Proposition 14: California voters get the chance to adopt a Washington-style top two primary system.
  • CA-33 (D): Former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is vying for the Dem nod to replace retiring Rep. Diane Watson.
  • CA-45 (R): GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack vs. teabagger Clayton Thibodeau.
  • CA-50 (D): ’06 candidate Francine Busby vs. attorney Tracy Emblem.
  • ND-AL (R): State Rep. Rick Berg vs. oilfield consultant J.D. Donaghe.
  • NV-03 (R): Joe Heck vs. various teabag detritus.

102 thoughts on “AR, CA, GA, IA, ME, NJ, NV, SC, SD & VA Primary Preview”

  1. I’m assuming Maine does not have a runoff? So each of the nominees could conceivably win with about 20% of the vote?

  2. We also have Proposition 16. It is where PG&E, the electric company is trying to prevent counties from forming their own energy sources without 2/3 of the vote. PG&E is spending 35 million for Prop 16 and is calling it the taxpayers right to vote. They “forget” to mention that it is the taxpayers right to vote for 2/3 of the vote, not 50.000001%. The proposition needs 2/3 of the vote to pass. The no on prop 16 people have little money but the Democratic party and all the newspapers are against it so the measure will probably fail although it should get more than 50%.  

  3. Blanche Lincoln trying to align herself with Obama was one of the many stupid decisions her campaign made. Having his backing has proven to mean zero- see Coakley, Corzine, Specter etc. And the public is fed up with Washington and their bs and that includes Pres Obama. Unfortunately for Blanche her corporate butt kissing is finally catching with up with her.  

  4. Searching for a compare-and-contrast, this AR-Sen environment reeks of the scene back in 1993 with the NYC Comptroller primary. Incumbent Liz Holtzman and challenger Alan Hevesi were basically tied in the initial primary (there was a third candidate, Herman Badillo), but in the run-off, Hevesi completely blew her away, 67-33%. If I’m not mistaken, Holtzman actually received LESS votes in the run-off than in the primary, meaning a) some Holtzman voters bolted for Hevesi and/or b) there were serious GOTV issues for the incumbent.

    I won’t be caught dead officially predicting such a scenario here, but I absolutely believe Halter is winning.


    For Lt. Gov on the GOP side, Maldonado leads Aanestad 26%-16%, with 32% undecided and the rest going to random guys.  On the Democratic side Newsom leads Hahn 43%-27%.  

    Props 13-17 are also polled.  On 14, the Washington primary system, yes leads 50%-28%.  On 16, the dreaded PG&E energy idea, no leads 45%-41%.  

  6. The Sunday Des Moines Register published the latest Iowa poll by Selzer, which included a subsample of 501 likely Republican primary voters. Selzer found Branstad way ahead with 57 percent, Vander Plaats with 29 percent and Roberts with 8 percent.

    I would be more surprised to see Branstad end up under 50 than I would to see him end up at 60-65 percent in the primary.

    I’m also interested to see the turnout numbers for the GOP primary. About 199,000 Iowans voted in our hard-fought three-way Republican gubernatorial primary in 2002.  

  7. I voted for Kamala Harris, I have no ill will against the assembly men running, but I refuse to let Chris Kelly or Delgadillo win the nomination.

    Also voted for Newsome, Yes on 13 & 15, no on everything else.

  8. This is the damnedest primary I have ever seen.  Sue Lowden, the infamous “Chicken Woman” was on Hardball last night.  She didn’t do bad, and stuck it to Sharron Agle on the $cientology issue, Chris was good enough to run her ad about Narconon, the $cientology front group which was fun to see.  But I doubt if Hardball is watched much in the hills and wild places where snakes, lizards and tea baggers thrive.  This race, no matter which one of these loons wins, will be FUN TO WATCH !!  Seeing these two gals slug it out will make me want to sit down, drink raw whiskey, take a few pot shots at the people next door with my shotgun and chew a pinch of Copenhagen. -Rollo Weems

  9. The proposition only requires a majority to pass.  That would be a good proposal for future propositions though: “Any law requiring supermajorities must be approved by the voters by a supermajority of the same margin”

  10.    not $35 million to pass it. It will be a miracle if it is defeated, but I sure hope it will. Prop 17 is similar in that it was put on the ballot by a private interest to change the rules to its advantage. 17 is the Mercury Insurance initiative which may be slightly less evil than 16 but still deserves defeat.

      Vote NO on 14, 16 and 17! and Yes on 15 and 13…

  11. Maybe this guarantees a Lincoln win, since they have actively supported mainly losers recently.

    Of course this situation most closely mimics the Specter support, so maybe it guarantees a loss.

    I cant wait for the GE when the white house support will make more sense.  The WH/DCCC meddling this cycle has been outright annoying and counter-productive.

  12. I don’t know what I’ll do if my expectations are this high and Lincoln ends up pulling it out in the end.

  13. I dont think that comparison is fair. Holtzman had some bit of a scandal brewing from loans she got from Fleet Bank. the scandal kind of hit critical mass between the primary and the runoff which lead to her defeat.

    Badillo was the one pushing the story. He was also running on the GOP line with Guiliani on a Fusion ticket. But having Holtzman impode before he got the one on one vs her doomed his canidacy and “Alan Who?” won the general (only to be driven out of office as State Comproller many years later for using government workers to chauffer his wife on her shopping trips and other assorted pay to play scandals).

    Nothing like that is cropping up in the AR senate race.

  14. Honestly, I think if Halter does actually beat Lincoln, then Boozman will beat Halter by a larger percentage than Halter beats Lincoln.

  15.    but otherwise a depressing poll. Looks like 15 will go down bigtime while 14 passes. I am a patriotic Californian, but sometimes my state sucks!

  16. I know it’s supposed to make everyone equal and not allow rich people to take over the election process, but to me, I always thought states and the federal government could use their money for more important things. Especially in California.

  17. Prop 15 is poorly written; it only affects the Secretary of State races in 2014 and 2018 if I recall correctly.

    It’s a “trial” proposition, and it is very much “half a loaf.”

    I’m voting Yes on that one, but it is neither favored nor opposed in any major advertisements so why vote Yes?

    Prop 16 and 17 are apparently a tossup at this point, which means that my No votes tomorrow will help out a great deal!

    Voting Yes on 13 and 14.

  18. I was in Maine for the holiday weekend and saw a grand total of 2 political signs, and there was zero buzz about the governor’s race in the local news. For a normally civic-minded state, Maine is taking a grade-A siesta this cycle.

  19. I think a lot of the problems with public funding of campaigns can be seen in NYC municipal elections.

    Lunatics cults like Lenora Fulani’s are able to game the system by running candidate who have no chance winning but are able to raise cash from followers and get taxpayer funded matching funds. It really gets me that people like that can abuse the system to get free government money to support their cult like that.

    Also a lot of pols who have no real competitions (i.e. Dem incumbents running against token GOP candidates in D+20 districts are able to raise the max, get matching funds from the City of New York and then spend cash on things like a campaign car or cell phones or even “hire” relatives to run their campaigns.

    While that causes some outcry I think the real problems for public matching will occur when some racist neo-nazi group gets a candidate to run for office and then gets tax payer money to support his campaign. Regardless of the merrits of public finacing I could even imagine my tax dollars going for something as horrible as that.

  20. that publicly financing CA politicians.  Horrible idea.

    Looks like a homerun for progressive positions on the initiatives, especially if PGE loses in the most painful way possible.

  21. But Halter’s got a better chance of making up some ground by the end than Lincoln does.

  22. moot point since neither stand much of a chance in November but I do think Halter would outperform Lincoln by a lot. I could understand why you are supporting Lincoln but from a purely electoral standpoint Halter is a better candidate.

  23. Lincoln is DOA anyway and Halter has the potential to make up the ground. I can’t honestly imagine a Halter victory but I can definitely not imagine a Lincoln win by any means. If an upset is to be had in November it will be with Halter.

  24. I still havent definitevely made up my mind on Prop 14- where the electorate gets to vote on everyone in the primary, and the top 2 go to the general election.

    Almost always I have my absentiee ballot in weeks ago, but this looks like it will go to the wire.

    I suppose Ill end up casting the ballot tomorrow, while Im a clerk at the precinct.

  25. As someone in WA state, where we already have a top two primary, I encourage you to please vote NO on Prop 14.

    What it does in reality is take away voter’s rights.

    In our state, the best known candidates always go to the general election. Because of it, Dino Rossi is ensured to be in the general election with Sen. Murray. He doesn’t even have to run in the Republican primary. There is almost no way that Dino and Murray will not be the two people  going on to November.

    Also, there are no longer any third parties that run candidates. Why should they? They cannot go on to the next round. In some places, during the general election, there are two Democrats running and in other places, two Republicans.

    In short, the top two primary is a horrible idea. It limits the choices voters have.

  26. Please Vote No on 14!

    As someone in WA state, where we already have a top two primary, I encourage you to please vote NO on Prop 14.

    What it does in reality is take away voter’s rights.

    In our state, the best known candidates always go to the general election. Because of it, Dino Rossi is ensured to be in the general election with Sen. Murray. He doesn’t even have to run in the Republican primary. There is almost no way that Dino and Murray will not be the two people  going on to November.

    Also, there are no longer any third parties that run candidates. Why should they? They cannot go on to the next round. In some places, during the general election, there are two Democrats running and in other places, two Republicans.

    In short, the top two primary is a horrible idea. It limits the choices voters have.

  27. However, I did not mention the Lincoln part because that’s a given if polling is taken seriously.

    Yes, I am for Lincoln, however, my reason for posting that was to basically say “hey, we’re screwed either way”.

    This entire “hey we’re going to win the Primary, but we have no chance in the General” is strange to me. Why get excited about that? Unions are not supporting Halter because of his views, they’re supporting him because he’s not Lincoln. That money could be better spent supporting a candidate who can actually win the General.

    Halter been side stepping EFCA and other policy questions.

    I do disagree that from an electoral standpoint Halter is a better choice. Halter is polling slightly better, but he has no chance.

  28. I’ll take the over, though not by much.  Direct mail is king in this expensive media market, and while Harman has mailed out her customary two or three puff pieces to date, I wasn’t expecting the anti-Winograd glossy that arrived in my mailbox on Friday.  If you buy the CW that incumbents don’t go negative unless they perceive real danger, Winograd is probably outpacing her 38% baseline from 2006.  While I doubt Harman has made many new friends in the last four years, I also don’t think Winograd has done enough to overcome her name-recognition deficit.  I’ll give her a +5 and predict it’ll be Harman, 57-43.

    Now, if Ted Lieu had run for CA-36 instead of CA-AG… sayoonara, Jane.  Probably about a 10% win for my local Assemblyman.

  29. But what is she thinking? Running as a peacenik candidate in a district dominated by the aerospace industry (Boeing is the district’s largest employer), particularly when she’s running against an incumbent with hundreds of millions of personal money, doesn’t seem especially smart.

  30. I’m undecided about these jungle (or non partisan) primaries. But the more I think about it I do think they help 3rd parties and encourage democracy.

    Under this system in the 1st round voters have the option of voting with their heart for 3rd party candidates before voting for the lesser of 2 evils in the runoff.

    Also it encourages more voters to participate. In many places in California (like SF) winning the Dem primary is tantamount in many elections to winning the general. Yet registered Republicans and Independents cant vote in the Dem primary. So you end up with a very small percentage of the over all electorate deciding the election.

    This opens up the process to everyone.

    On the downside of course this kind of jungle primary system did lead to a Gov election in Louisiana that pitted David Duke against Edwin Edwards. That would be one election where I really wish there was a third party option!


  31. Pretty good summary of why 14 is a good idea.

    It’s kind of weird to even dispute that it shouldn’t be Dino and Murray in the general.

  32. that wouldn’t diminish the importance of voting for the crook against the Klansman. I almost always would vote for a Republican against a really corrupt Democrat – such as by voting for Rangel’s opponent if I were still living on the Upper West Side. But not when the Republican is a Klansman!

  33. Is that the two most well known candidates move on to the general election.

    Usually this will be one Democrat, one Republican. But sometimes it will be two Republicans.

    This limits voter’s choices.

    Why should there only be two people allowed to run in a general election?

    Top Two primaries are awful in practice.

  34. http://www.independentpolitica

    “Let us reiterate this FACT: the result of the Top Two Election System is the systematic elimination of any choice for voters other than Republican or Democrat in the General Election, unless a “Minor Party” can overcome one of the two “Major Parties” in the Primary!”

  35. You disagree that Halter is a better choice from an electoral standpoint? Is it harder to climb back from a 10 point deficit or twenty point deficit? And of course everybody already has a firm opinion about Blanche.  

  36. to send a message to other Democrats that they better toe the line.  They don’t really care whether Halter is electable or whether he wins, what they want to do is to make it clear is that you’ll face opposition if you don’t support union priorities.

    I don’t know that Halter would be even an iota more liberal than Lincoln.  Until 2009, Lincoln was pretty liberal for a Southern senator.  And even in 2009, she supported the stimulus and health care.

    On the other hand, I do think Halter has a slightly better chance of winning than Lincoln.  It may be 2% to 0%, but if Boozman really screws up, Halter might be able to take advantage, but Lincoln being a hated incumbent would not.  

  37. Technically he might be, but at some point reality has to set in.

    Lincoln could be behind by 40 percent, Halter by 35.

    Basically, I’m saying it’s a lost cause regardless of the nominee. I do think Lincoln would be stronger in the end, but it’s a lost cause.

    Winning the Primary is great, and I hope the left is happy with a Halter win. However, the real race is in November, and, it’s not even a race anymore.

  38. Lincoln has no chance to win the general anyway, so the unions aren’t really costing the Dems a seat.

  39. Back when Harman was first elected in 1992, aerospace was indeed the dominant employer in this district.  I used to drive by the McDonnell Douglas plant on Western and 190th every day going to school, and later I interned for TRW at Space Park in Redondo Beach.  While I don’t doubt that Boeing is still the largest employer here, the blue collar Dems who used to roll out F-15s and DC-10s have dwindled (and their white collar workers, engineers and such, have always skewed Republican).  So I disagree that an anti-war candidate is automatically doomed in this district.  Plus, Harman is a poor retail politician, and isn’t exactly Meg Whitman in the campaign spending department either.  In sum, I think she could be toppled from the left by a candidate with a decent bankroll (say $300K) who really put herself out there at district events.

    I wish Winograd were that candidate, but from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t think she is.

  40. That money could easily be better spent in other parts of the country.

    Halter does not seem to be that friendly towards labor anyway since he dodges questions about EFCA constantly.

    It would be hilarious if Halter was elected and ended up being more conservative than Lincoln.

  41. Dont misunderstand me! Obviously any sane person would vote for the lizard over the wizard!

    I’m just saying if there ever was a situation where a 3rd party or independent candidate could have won it would have been with a Klansman running against a crook!

    But the Jungle Primay system did split the votes of non-KKK Republicans and non-crooked Dems leaving the 2 worst candidates to get into the runnoff with a minority of total votes. Then voters had no other choice than to vote for one of these 2 horrid candidates with no other options

    That’s the problem with jungle primaries. It’s got its pluses but also its minuses.

  42. But I can see it from the union perspective.  They used some tough carrot and stick approaches during the health care debate toward wavering Dems.  If they don’t wield their stick towards Dems who didn’t support health care, then in the future, Dems can ignore union demands.  They had to have a high profile race this year where they could use their stick, and show they “mean business”.  Given that Lincoln was unelectable and Arkansas is pretty cheap, it was probably the best deal that they got.    

    I don’t expect Halter to be less conservative than Lincoln.  He’s pretty similar, a real moderate on both fiscal and social issues.  I always had respect for Lincoln because she held strong on her pro-choice stance (unlike Mark Pryor who was proudly pro-choice as AG, but switched his stance when he ran for national office).

    On EFCA, Lincoln supposedly signaled to the Dem leadership that she would have “went along” (i.e. voted for cloture) on a compromise bill.  It probably would have passed if not for Scott Brown’s victory.  

  43. He is far definitely more progressive than Lincoln.  And if he screws up as bad as she has, we here in Arkansas will hold him accountable.

  44. in her 1998 primary campaign for Governor. If she felt she needed to, she would again.

  45. The jungle primaries may throw up two not great candidates, but what they will almost never do is throw up two truly horrible Klan types.

    Edwards was close to guaranteed to beat Duke, but throw in a third party and Duke could have won.  Not good.

  46. then we never would have drafted Halter into this race to begin with because everyone here was saying he couldn’t beat Lincoln.  I don’t believe in no win situations.

  47. Is Dino the best candidate the GOP has? I would say no. He is just the most well known.

    Why should he become the Republican nominee without first campaigning for the Republican nomination? Under our Top Two Primary, he will become the nominee without even having to debate the other Republicans in the race. In fact, it would be foolish for him to debate the other Republicans since it would only give them name recognition.

    Would you want a Democrat to get the Democratic nomination without first having to run for the nomination and first debating other Democrats.

    Again, the Top Two Primary limits democracy when it is in practice.

    Vote NO on 14.

  48. There will be legislative districts in CA with only two Republicans running in the general election.

  49. Your making assertions which don’t have to happen, and almost certainly won’t happen.

    Regardless though, this is going to pass overwhelmingly.

  50. Because of the Top Two Primary, Rossi does not have to campaign for the Republican party’s nomination.

    This will happen in CA as well, anytime there is someone with a lot of name recognition.

  51. I forgot who your Governor is.

    You Californians like inexperienced famous rich people who win office with little campaigning.

    How’s that working out for you?

    PS I was there during the Recall of Gray Davis, so I know of what I speak.

  52. Boozman could mess up and drop out at the last minute.

    There’s always a chance, but Halter’s chance is a very slim one.

    I wouldn’t bet on him winning.

  53. I guess more to the point would be this query.  What situation could Halter win that Lincoln couldn’t?  If we can’t name one, well, that is RuralDem’s point.  And I certainly can’t think of one.

    Though I hope the SEIU drops about $10 million on the GE if Halter wins.  It’d be annoying if they spent $3-$4M on the primary and then didn’t go full on for the GE>  I understand the concept of protecting your interests, but beating Lincoln to prove a point and not super-duper-duper support Halter in the GE is just bad.

  54. Being from Arkansas, you clearly would know better than most of us. I do have to ask, however, exactly how is Halter more liberal than Lincoln?

    Everything I’ve read/heard about him lately seems to lead me to believe he’s fairly conservative. He might not be a Conservative Democrat, but he’s far to the right of what Daily Kos and other liberal groups would normally support.

    On one hand it seems like everyone is saying it’s more of a “anyone but Lincoln” scenario, however, you seem to be indicating there’s a logical ideological reason to back Halter over Lincoln.

  55. I think people should be able to vote for (and run as) Democrats in conservative areas and as Republicans in liberal areas. And of course third parties should be allowed as well.

    Plus, with the top two primary, this could happen in a swing district as well.

    I can see it happening if there were two Republicans running and a bunch of Democrats running. You could even get two candidates on the ballot with less than 20% each.

  56. It just seems that Halter’s not popular among the big names in Arkansas politics.

    Sure, the liberal wing of the party is backing him, but most of the outside interests seem to back him simply because he’s NOT Lincoln. Sure, there are voters in the state voting for him, but he wouldn’t be running half the campaign he’s running now if he didn’t have outside help.

    If Lincoln wins the Primary, I could see Arkansas Democrats rallying around her against Boozman.

    It just seems to me, and maybe I am way off with this, but I think Halter supporters would rally around Lincoln and do more for her than Lincoln supporters would for Halter.

    Halter just does not seem to be popular with other Arkansas politicians. I’m not sure I’d want to be on the opposing side of the Clinton machine and Governor Beebe.

  57. Then that basically leads to a blueprint for Repubs to win in areas where unions are strong.  

    Dems don’t need to toe a single line, as its now how the current majority was built.

    If unions will destroy anyone who toes their line, then what of Dems who win primaries and don’t toe their lines?  It’ll be easy attacks for Repubs to make.  Point out the fact that the Dem nominee doesn’t support union priorities.  It’ll turn off Dem votes while not actually lying.  It would then give Repubs and advantage.

    Its fine if everyone wants to throw out Lincoln, Landrieu, Nelson (NE), and so on.  I’m just curoius why everyone thinks this will result in a more progressive majority.  

    I guess we’ll see how the more progressive nominee in Arkansas does should Halter win.  I’m guessing not well.  And so would a more liberal Dem in LA, NE, MT, ND and so on.

    A party cannot become beholden to a sinlge entitee ever, and certainly the concept of an open party didn’t deter from the final results.  HCR is passed, 2 supremse court justices will be confirmed, stimulus passed, etc.  Only other thing to do is end the wars on both fronts.

  58. If the 2 Repubs are the 2 biggest vote getters, I’m curious how the system could be improved.  Clearly people favored the top 2.  Not sure why exactly we need to control what voters vote for when we are, in fact, in a democracy.

    The same would apply for 2 Dems.  If you want to change the policy tot he top 3 run in the General, I’m fine but the concept of how the top vote getters in the party would be listed int he GE would be monumental.  

    The world is not desigend to have a primary system to have a Dem vs Repub.  Why would that assumption be the goal of any legislation that is passed is beyond me.

  59. I can see it happening if there were two Republicans running and a bunch of Democrats running. You could even get two candidates on the ballot with less than 20% each.

    It sounds like you’re talking about unlikely hypotheticals — if such a fear were real, it would strengthen the role of parties.

    Furthermore, in deep red and deep blue districts, the third candidate is well… the third candidate. Not relevant, except as a possible spoiler.

  60. that the reason why HCR passed was because they were able to convince/pressure enough Dems who did not want to vote for the bill to do so.  Without the threat of a primary and withholding of union support in the general, many more Dems would have taken the safe way out and voted against HCR.  

    I don’t know if you misunderstood my point, but the unions would drop Halter after the primary is because he is unelectable, (not because Halter may disagree with the unions on EFCA and other issues).

    My feeling is that Arkansas was chosen by the unions because, a. Lincoln was toast and they didn’t have to worry about losing the seat because of their actions, and b. it was relatively cheap.

  61. then I suspect that the Democratic party would not have a monopoly on progressivism anymore.

  62. seem to be grassroots activists, liberals, and people pissed off at Washington in general. Whereas Lincoln seems to be winning mostly establishment types. If anything, I would think Halter would do a better job at consolidating Lincoln’s support than vice versa. You can’t seriously believe that Clinton and Obama wouldn’t endorse Halter if he won.

  63. It’s obvious you’re trashing Lincoln there, but do you honestly think Halter can get elected because he’s not “a Washington insider” or, in your words “a politician with zero convictions”?

    I mean, if those are the two reasons Halter can win, then wow, that means D.C. Morrison had a great shot.

  64. You gave us a campaign slogan, not an actual scenario.  

    Seriously, tell me how Bill Halter gets 50.0001% of the vote.  I’d love to hear how Boozman plummets and what Halter can do that Lincoln can’t.

  65. I’m sure Obama will.

    It’s one thing to endorse, it’s another to actually work to help a candidate.

    ARDem can probably shed more information on this (if it’s accurate) but I’ve been under the impression that Halter is highly disliked by much of the establishment.

    Governor Beebe and others will probably endorse him if he wins, but again, a simple press release is not that big of a deal.

    As far as the category of people go, I think activists would come around and support Lincoln, realizing that her Chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee is a positive thing for the state. Liberals are not that large in number in the state. Those angry at Washington would likely lean Republican and I’d think they’d appreciate her Chairmanship as well.

    Again, I’m not saying Lincoln will win. I just think Halter’s supporters are more likely to work for Lincoln than vice versa.

  66. Third Parties and Independents should be in the general election.

    You often don’t have that with the Top Two Primary.

    Most reform measures are BS and cause more trouble than they supposedly solve.

    Look at CA with its term limits, it’s Prop 13, it’s ridiculous 2/3rd majorities for raising taxes.

    Because of the flawed initiative process, rich people and big business can get pretty much anything on the ballot.

    CA is a failed state because of it. WA is following close behind.

  67. be honest I think most of it has to do with Lincoln’s misbehavior during the HCR debate. Many progressives hate her guts for the debacle and would happily support  anybody willing to bad mouth her. I’ll put it this way, I do not like Lincoln. I am a progressive and she really ticked me off during the HCR debate however I am a Democrat before I am a progressive so if I thought Lincoln stood a better chance in the general than I would absolutely back her. However Halter stands a slightly better chance in the general and Lincoln getting her ass kicked is just a bonus. That’s just me though.  

  68. I just want to say that Lincoln is not a good AG chair in my view. Feel free to disagree with me on that but still I just wanted to say that first. I would agree that many conservative Democrats might not go to Halter but at the same time liberals, indies and many others are not going to vote Lincoln period and Halter could do well with some who are pissed at Washington perhaps and I still think he carries the majority of Lincoln backers while the same can’t be said about Lincoln. Neither will win but at the same time Halter has a shot and Lincoln doesn’t, hence my supporting Halter.  

  69. I doubt activists would work that hard for either of them, but especially not for Lincoln. She pissed off just about everyone during the HCR debate. And the signs that this is an anti-incumbent/establishment year continue to build, which is only bad news for Lincoln.

  70. angry at Washington would lean toward John Boozman, who’s in Washington vs Bill Halter who’s not?

  71. Can Halter appeal to — and actually win the votes of McCain Democrats? If (relative) left of center southern populism is still alive, Arkansas will be an excellent showcase thereof.  

  72. have a massive voter registration in Arkansas. If Halter can run against Boozman as the “Washington establishment” and the “TARP voter” (I think but correct me on this if I am wrong), he may win. If he can energize Democrats and Independents to vote against the Washington establishment, then he might win. It’s a long shot.

    Then we have Blanche Lincoln.  If her agricultural committee chairmanship was really that important (and she ran numerous ads on this), why would she still lose? I don’t think Independents really care if she is Chairwomen, they will be more concerned with voting out an incumbent.

  73. They are in the “jungle” primary.  They are offered up as an option and most often aren’t in the top 2, or 3, or 4 even.

    What you desire is a system that guarantees parties a place on the general election battle.  What you are hoping for is primaries in major parties to eliminate the 2nd tier Dems and Repubs to give the Indypendent and 3rd party candidates a better shot.  

    You’re actually voting for a system that tilts toward 2rd parties and such to the detriment of candidates who would normally get more votes.

  74. I mean HCR has to go through reconciliation because they didn’t have the 60 seat majority in the Senate if I recall.  We can hypothesize until the cows come home but I don’t seriously think the union won this as much as Obama sweeping in some people did.

    The unions dropping Halter is stupid.  It sends totally the wrong message.  Do as I say or else you’re out.  if anything I’m cheering on Lincoln because I don’t like this, even though I disagree with her voting on some things.

    Seriously, she voted the will of her state.  No doubt HCR would not pass in that state.  Because she has a D next to her name she is supposed to vote against the will of her constituents?

  75. People hate Washington more than they hate the party that controls Washington.

    In your view, wouldn’t EVERY non-DC challenger be favored over a DC incumbent?  And yet I expect the house to re-elect about 90%+ of those running for re-election, and the Senate at between 80-90% at least.

  76. if labor hadn’t pushed as hard as it did, it would not have passed.  Period.  They barely had the votes as it was.  Unions were making it clear to Congresspeople that they would withhold support and primary those who did not support HCR.  And apparently some 10-15 Congresspeople were swayed.

    I have no problem with the unions opposing people that have opposed their agenda.  They have the right to do so.  It is up to the voters to decide whether they want to follow their lead.  

    Same thing with the Democratic grassroots.  They have a fundamental right to primary elected officials that they don’t like.  It is again up to the voters to determine whether they want to follow.

    At the end of the day, it isn’t MoveOn or the AFL-CIO that ends Lincoln’s career, it would be Arkansas Democratic primary voters.

    But this is factually wrong:

    The unions dropping Halter is stupid.  It sends totally the wrong message.  Do as I say or else you’re out.  if anything I’m cheering on Lincoln because I don’t like this, even though I disagree with her voting on some things.

    Unions are dropping Halter because he can’t win in November, not because they disagree with his positions.

  77. The reason, quite simply, is Arkansas is trending Republican on federal elections.  We’ll see in the near future a 3-1 or 4-0 edge for Republicans in house representation, when Pryor retires Repubs will take both Senate seats.

    I know people like to talk about Dem registration advantages.  I think we all know rural areas where Dems can win locally but they can’t even be competitive in a Federal race.  This is Arkansas currently, and will someday in the future (maybe not sooun, but soon enough) be West Virginia.

  78. supporting someone who can win a race that doesn’t allow the person to ever support union views in legislation (primary), and then dropping them because they can’t win the race to help support union legislative priorities (general).

    Its just out and out dumb.  I bet those millions of dollars could help out some of those union families during this recession.

  79. They just helped to deliver health care to 30 million more people.  That will do a lot more for union families in the long run.  

    After this conversation with you, I have moved from being on the fence on whether this primary was a good idea to being strongly in favor of the union’s strategy here.

  80. I hope the SEIU primaries Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Kent Conrad, and so on. (Sarcasm)

    Please SEIU, primary anyone who has ever voted against HCR, minimum wage, EFCA and so on.  Cut off your nose to spite your face.

    I get the idea to protect your own interests.  What I don’t get is why people feel HCR or Minimum wage increases would even get a vote in a Republican controlled legislature.  Not every bit of legislation will come out smelling like roses, nor every member of congress/senate, but c’mon.

  81. serious teabagger, who raised about $70,000 (which is a lot in Montana, for example most state senate races cost about $15,000, just for a comparison) and who got the endorsement of two GOP County chairs, but he’ll probably end up with like 25-30% of the vote.

    The Dem Primary is highly competitive though, and if Tyler Gernant is the winner he might get a good shot at Rehberg in the General Election (I’m a Tyler intern, but it’s pretty much consensus in the MT blogosphere that he’s more electable).

  82. I REALLY wish Ted Lieu would’ve done that and I agree he totally could’ve won. He was super-awesome as a legislator by current Assembly standards and his district and electoral history strongly overlap Harman’s district. Lieu’s a solid Dem, without being so lefty that he’s unelectable, and he’s leagues more in touch and grassroots-y.

    Plus, it’s more of a story when a sitting legislator challenges a Congresswoman than if it’s a regular, non-elected-official like Marcy Winograd.

    And as for the over/under 40%, I’ll make my guess that Winograd gets exactly 40%.  

  83. is a special case. Boozman isn’t a great campaigner and Lincoln has horrible approval ratings.  

  84. can run against the bailouts, can’t he? Lincoln voted for them. Halter can run on a bunch of issues that Lincoln can’t, because she’s already been in Washington to cast them.

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