Poor Atrios must be beating his head against the wall dealing with a mental midget like Joe Klein. To recap: Klein is one of those beltway asshats who thinks that primary challenges to incumbents are (to use his reference) something to delight the likes of Robespierre. In other words, anyone who supported Ned Lamont is a bloodthirsty tyrant and, presumably, deserves to be guillotined. Just call me St. Just.
Anyhow, the immediate context for this non-debate is the possibility of a primary challenge to Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA-10), who sits in a district that went for Kerry 59-40. Suffice it to say, I’m not worried that, even if Tauscher were to lose a primary, a Republican would win the general. I say that in no small part because the bluest seat currently held by a Republican is DE-AL, which went 53-46 Kerry – and as many of you know, there are only eight GOP-held Kerry districts overall. In short, the GOP no longer plays very well in districts where voters like to pull the Dem lever at the top of the ticket.
But that’s not to say that “lethal” primaries never happen (as in, lethal to the party in which the primary upset took place). Indeed, they occasionally do. One relatively recent example: Party-switcher Michael Forbes (R to D) narrowly lost his primary in 2000, and the woman who beat him, Regina Seltzer, went on to lose to Republican Felix Grucci that fall.
So, going back to, say, 1980 (just to pick an arbitrary limit), what other lethal primaries for Senate and House seats are you aware of? And, so that we have a basis of comparison, how many incumbents lost primaries overall?