Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big Primary Election Night, But No Surprises.

Today, six states went to the polls to nominate candidates for the House of Representatives, the senate and some governorships and the result is that for the most part, there are no real surprises.
The best one-stop site for complete election results is here at the Politico website.
The big news is that the senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fended off what started off a serious challenge from Tea Party-backed Matt Bevin. But the Bevin campaign imploded on two issues. Mr. Bevin's confused and convoluted position on the TARP bailout, which I wrote about here, and holding a campaign event at a cockfighting event.
Even in Kentucky, cockfighting is not looked on in a good light.
In the end, Mr Bevin could barely muster up 35% and was trounced by Sen. McConnell, 60% to 35% and the remainder to a couple of has-beens. Sen. McConnell will face the Kentucky Secretary of State, Democrat candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes, in the general election in November.
Down Interstate 75 was the Battle of Georgia where the Republican field of candidates totalled six and the two front-runners are going to a run-off primary for the nomination on July 22.
The top two GOP candidates in the polls, businessman David Perdue and current congressman Jack Kingston came out the same in this primary round as neither could muster up the 40% plus one to avoid the runoff. FTR, I was hoping that former secretary of state, Karen Handel, would be one of the top two after Mr. Perdue essentially impugned her because she only has a high school diploma. But she could not get more than 23% and that is a respectable third place. Congressmen Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey mustered 20% between them. Art Gardner trailed the pack with only about 5,600 total votes out of about 576,500 total GOP voters.
Look for Congressman Kingston to win this one as I believe that Mrs. Handel will throw her support to the congressman.
That leaves one major race for the GOP and that is the Oregon senate primary.
In that race, Dr. Monica Wehby became the overnight front runner and has won her primary with 55% of the vote.
She won the crowded five candidate field with relative ease and her nearest opponent was state Rep. Jason Conger, who ran to her right.
Let me be very clear. To win a general election in Oregon, the GOP can't nominate a candidate like Rep. Conger for the reason of his traditional stands on social issues. After all, this is the home of Portland and it is left-wing central. And the suburbs around Portland is not all that much better for a Republican candidate. A good showing in Multnomah county (Portland) and high numbers everywhere else and Dr. Wehby has a great chance to win.
A real observation is that the Tea Party did win tonight in a way.
Because of the early strong showing of Mr. Bevin, Sen. McConnell was forced to run more to the right and will continue to do so for the general election. Both candidates in Georgia also ran more to the right, but Congressman Kingston will be more acceptable to Tea Party voters. And while Dr. Wehby is not all Tea Party, she is an outsider and a doctor that will be a great counterweight to the pro-Obamacare senator she is running against, Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Once the primary season is over, I sense that Republicans and the Tea Party will work together to elect more Republicans. Because after all, the common political enemy is the Dear Leader, President Obama, and the Democrat party.
At the end of today's voting, there were no surprises in who won key races. And that is more good news for the Republicans come November.

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