The news from last night’s elections was almost universally good for Democrats (and, therefore, the president), yet, the cable news programs are tripping over themselves to tell you otherwise. There should be no question, even if the polls weren’t decisive about it, that Joe Sestak and Bill Halter will be stronger general election candidates than Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln. Halter still needs to win a run-off election against Lincoln in three weeks, but he’s in good shape considering that 55% of Arkansas Democrats just voted against Lincoln. The Republicans still have a good chance to pick up the Arkansas seat, but it is no longer guaranteed. In Pennsylvania, the GOP’s odds just got very long, as Pat Toomey is way too far to the right to win against a fresh face.
The Democrats also won their seventh straight competitive Special Election in Pennsylvania’s 12 District, where Mark Critz retained John Murtha’s seat. As you’ve probably already learned from watching teevee, Murtha’s district was the only one in the entire country to vote for Kerry in 2004 and then McCain in 2008. Some polls showed that Obama only has a 35% approval rate in the district (where he is most famous for his low bowling score). The election wasn’t even close, which has to be discouraging to Republicans who think they are going to ride some kind of wave into the midterms.
The Democrats also lucked out in the Sixth District, where their well-funded but somnambulant candidate, Doug Pike, went down to defeat against the much more compelling and energized Manan Trivedi. The Sixth District is probably the most Democratic district still held by a Republican. And the incumbent, Jim Gerlach, has a bit of a Specter problem after having announced his retirement to run for governor only to drop out and run for reelection. He, too, only cares about saving one job, and it ain’t yours.
The Democrats also caught a break in Kentucky when the lunatic Rand Paul won the Republican primary and immediately began talking nonsense in his acceptance speech. The Democrats were smart enough to elect Jack Conway, who was not only the more progressive option, but the stronger general election candidate. Our prospects for picking up crazy Jim Bunning’s seat just went up substantially.
It’s hard to find any good news for Republicans from last night’s results. I suppose that they can be grateful that their Arkansas nominee, John Boozman, avoided a run-off. Maybe they’re happy that former NBA schlub Chris Dudley won the gubernatorial nomination in Oregon. Just don’t ask him to make a free throw or convert a lay-up. He’s an expert at fouling, however.
The Democrats got the nominees they needed, even if the Establishment might have pretended otherwise. The Republicans rolled the dice on some deranged candidates. Where the house needed cleaning, the Democratic voters did so preemptively. I couldn’t be more pleased. Everything went perfectly, right down the line.