For a guy who purports to be the ardent social warrior of the Republican party, Rick Santorum sure seems cozy at the right hand side of Arlen Specter, applauding him as he berates those in the “radical” wing of our party — you know, those crazy people who are fighting for justice for the unborn and religious freedoms.
Take note, Wisconsin social conservatives. The guy who is selling himself as someone who will fight for your values is becoming, well, unraveled.
Portending things to come, yesterday’s primary elections were a rousing reality of America’s anti-incumbent mood: Specter lost, Paul won, Lincoln will be in a run-off. In Pennsylvania’s District 12 special election, Critz was victorious. Or, as Michael Scherer from Time characterized it:
This is how it goes in 2010 at the ballot box: Old orders are upended, political lions become roadkill, chosen successors get left behind, and the outsider, riding a wave of discontent, becomes the new frontrunner.
The election in 60 seconds – after ad. (If video is choppy, pause until it loads.):
Party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter fell to a younger and far less experienced rival in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, and political novice Rand Paul rode support from tea party activists to a Republican rout in Kentucky on Tuesday, the latest jolts to the political establishment in a tumultuous midterm election season.
In another race with national significance, Democrat Mark Critz won a special House election to fill out the term of the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha in southwestern Pennsylvania. The two political parties spent roughly $1 million apiece hoping to sway the outcome there, and highlighted the contest as a possible bellwether for the fall when all 435 House seats will be on the ballot.
On the busiest night of the primary season to date, Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln was forced into a potentially debilitating runoff election against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in her bid for nomination to a third term. The run-off will be June 8.
Specter, seeking his sixth term and first as a Democrat, fell to two-term Rep. Joe Sestak, who spent three decades in the Navy before entering politics. Sestak was winning 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Specter. He told cheering supporters his triumph marked a “win for the people over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington, D.C.”
Sestak’s campaign calling card was a television commercial that showed former President George W. Bush saying he could count on Specter, then a Republican, and then had Specter saying he had switched parties so he could win re-election. Once unleashed, it coincided with a steady decline in Specter’s early lead in the polls and signaled the end of the political line for the most durable politician of his generation in Pennsylvania.
Former Rep. Pat Toomey won the Republican nomination and will run against Sestak in the fall in what is likely to be one of the marquee races in the battle for control of the Senate.
UPDATE: I’ve replaced Rand Paul’s acceptance speech video with Karl Rove’s analysis this morning of yesterday’s primary results. It contains a portion of Paul’s speech:
Though our chat forum is back to normal size, we want to say thanks to all who filled our full-page chat box last night with comments and updates as election results were announced. We shared a great evening together!
For background information regarding yesterday’s primary elections, click here.
It’s been a ‘rock em sock em’ year for incumbent politicians. Will America’s anti-Washington mood prove to be a sucker punch at the polls? Join us on Mitt Romney Central’s chat forum tomorrow, May 18th at 7:00 PM ET. We’re pulling up a ring-side seat to discuss primary voting results for big bout races while establishment candidates take on their opponents.
In the ring tomorrow:
Joe Sestak vs Arlen Specter
Specter vs Sestak – Pennsylvania Senate Democrat primary: Five term incumbent, former Republican, Democrat-for-a-year Arlen Specter is the palooka facing retired Navy admiral Joe Sestak. With the White House and DSCC (Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee) heavily invested in Specter’s campaign, this is going to be an a knock-down drag-out match. Quinnipiac polling shows a statistical dead heat between the two contenders. Will ‘corner man’ Obama pull it off?
Bill Halter vs Blanche Lincoln
Lincoln vs Halter – Arkansas Senate Democrat primary: Running for a third term in this swing state, centrist Senator Blanche Lincoln squares off against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Criticizing Lincoln for not supporting a public health care option while Obamacare was debated, Halter has the backing of Move On.org, unions, and other liberal Democrat groups. Halter also hopes to land an uppercut against Lincoln because she worked to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions. Lincoln is relying on her position as Chairman of the Agricultural Committee to carry weight with voters in heavily agricultural Arkansas. She will need over 50% of the vote to avoid a ‘split-decision’ run-off.
Rand Paul vs Trey Grayson
Grayson vs Paul – Kentucky Senate Republican primary: The gloves are off as Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state, battles Dr. Rand Paul (Ron Paul’s son), to capture the seat of retiring Senator Jim Bunning. Grayson, endorsed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, is the establishment candidate and was favored early on. He is also endorsed by Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, and Rick Santorum. Grayson says his experience, problem solving skills, and cuts in his offices’ budget qualify him for the senate seat. However, recent polls give the lead to Paul who is backed by Tea Party groups who have held rallies and made phone calls in his favor. Rand is also endorsed by Sarah Palin. Senator Jim DeMint, and evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson.
Obama slugs for Specter:
Mitch McConnell takes a swing for Trey Grayson:
James Dobson roots for Rand Paul:
Republican and Democrat Gubernatorial Mail-In Primaries in Oregon: These primaries have been on the back page of the roster because, as State Republican Chairman Bob Tiernan says, “There’s a simple reason; we don’t have any Republicans in statewide office.” Democrats hold every statewide office in Oregon, control both houses of the Legislature and occupy four of five congressional seats. Democrat Governor Ted Kulongoski is stepping down due to term limits. According to a May 8-10 poll by Davis, Hibbetts, and Midghall, the Dem fight will be between John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury. On the Repub side, candidates Chris Dudley and Allen Alley will be lacing up the gloves.
Mark Critz vs Tim Burns
UPDATE 5/18/10 – Special-election congressional race in Pennsylvania 12: Adding to the excitement of tonight’s election results is the special-election congressional race in PA 12 to fill the late Congressman John Murtha’s seat. The latest from PPP polling shows Republican candidate Tim Burns leading Democrat Markt Critz by one point. From PoliticsPa.com:
Yet by happenstance, Murtha’s unexpected death came precisely as Republicans generally, and “tea party” activists in particular, were gaining significant traction nationally from attacks on Democratic efforts to spend federal money to fight the recession.
So here, in an ancestrally Democratic district that swung from supporting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 to Republican John McCain in 2008, the stage is set for a blunt clash of ideas at the ballot box on May 18, the date of a special election to fill the rest of Murtha’s term, as well as a primary for the full-term election in November.
Voters will have to decide whether the district – in decline in many areas since the early 1980s – should continue to seek economic development through federal largesse, as Murtha labored mightily to do, or whether constituents should forswear the “pork” and dealmaking that typified Murtha’s tenure and instead cast their lot with a Republican Party that advocates lower taxes and smaller government.
Join the fun here on MRC’s chat forum while we watch which candidates kiss the canvas or are saved by the bell! Who: All – especially if you’re tired of rope-a-dope politicians When: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 Time: 7:00 PM Eastern Time Note: Chat will be full page at 7:00 PM ET.
In his bid to unseat Senator Arlen Specter (D) PA, Pat Toomey welcomes an endorsement by Gov Mitt Romney today.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday endorsed Sen. Arlen Specter’s GOP opponent in the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race, giving Pat Toomey the backing of one of the Republican Party’s most influential members.
Romney, who ran unsuccessfully for his party’s presidential nomination last year and is considered a top contender in 2012, announced his support for Toomey in Philadelphia.
Specter’s seat is a prime target for Republicans, since the veteran and moderate lawmaker switched from the Republican to Democratic Party earlier in the year over fears that Toomey would trounce him in the primary.
Now Specter faces both Democratic and Republican challengers.
Calling him the “man for the job,” Romney pledged in a fundraising e-mail to work “very hard” toward Toomey’s election.
But Specter’s not suffering from a dearth of high-profile support.
President Obama attended a Philadelphia fundraiser for Specter last month, calling on supporters to “fight” for Specter in the coming year.