Early returns in Tuesday’s primaries have shredded Republican/MSM/pollster’s predictions about a huge defeat for Democrats looming this fall. With voter economic confidence improving and Republicans spinning out of control way off into wingnut la-la-land, I’m renewing my prediction of a net Democratic pickup in Senate seats and no more than a dozen or so net loss of seats in the House.
The special election in PA-12 for John Murtha’s old seat has been touted by just about everybody as a referendum on just about everything, from the political clout of Nancy Pelosi, to Republicans seizing both houses of Congress in November, to Obama’s chances in 2012.
But guess what? Democrat Mark Critz crushed Republican Tim Burns, leading by 10% with 75% of the vote counted when Burns conceded.
Political commentator Marc Ambinder has been among those pushing the high likelihood of a big Republican win come November. Yesterday he said of PA-12:
The Republican should easily win this seat. If the Republican doesn’t, I think us pundits in Washington are going to have to revise our thinking about whether this is a “wave” election year for Republicans.
Looks like that wave has turned into puddle. Let’s see if all that “pundit revising” actually happens, or if the VRWC+MSM drumbeat of Republican ascendance continues in spite of a solid defeat in what they all expected to be a Republican runaway.
In Pennsylvania, Praise the Goddess, the thoroughly disgusting Arlen Specter has at last been kicked to the curb. Never could stand this pompous ass, with his holier-than-thou attitude and contempt for women and minorities; I’ve wanted him gone for very long time and if this was the only win for my side tonight I would go to sleep happy.
Real Democrat and decent liberal Joe Sestak whipped the snot out of Specter, and everyone on the Democratic side is gleeful even though they promised him they’d be supportive when he switched sides. There was no way he was going to win the general, no matter which party he affiliated with, so this goes from a solid Senate seat pickup chance for Republicans to a toss-up that the Democrats can win if the economy continues to advance. Sestak is a great campaigner, and he’ll be a great liberal Senator as well.
Down in Arkansas where organized labor put on quite a show to defeat the absurd Blanche Lincoln, she’s been forced into a runoff against the liberal Bill Halter. This should be great fun to watch, as labor will pour another $5 mil or more behind Halter while the Democratic establishment will have to give Lincoln lip service but their heart won’t be in it. I give Halter a 55/45 shot at winning the runoff, as most of the 60% who voted for Anybody-but-Lincoln continue to oppose her.
It may be a moral victory, as either of the likely Republican nominees lead both Halter and Lincoln by big margins. Stranger things have happened though, and if the Republicans in Congress continue as they are acting now they could cost themselves a great many races by the fall including this one.
In Kentucky the Republican senatorial candidate will be Rand Paul, who demolished former Republican heavyweight Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked candidate in a massive display of teapartier turnout. Rand Paul is nuttier than his father Ron, which takes some doing. Most far-far-right Republicans moderate their positions for the general election but Little Paul is out to show that he’s more whack than Daddy so I expect him if anything to go even further off into the wingnut ozone.
It will be interesting to see how the citizens of Kentucky view someone who is clearly batshit insane. Of course they kept electing Jim Bunning until he could no longer complete a coherent sentence so they clearly don’t mind crazy, but Rand Paul is Jim Bunning on crack, no telling what will come out of his mouth next, and he could just strangle on his own foot if he shoves it far enough down his throat.
A great night for the Democrats, and maybe a portent of a good November. Still a long way to go, but if I’m an incumbent now it is far better to be a Democrat than a Republican. Key metric to watch? The Consumer Confidence Index. If that continues upward, the Democrats will be fine. If it moves up sharply, Republicans will be fortunate to hold what they have.