Tuesday :: May 18, 2010

A Big Election Night for Democrats and Progressives!

by CA Pol Junkie

Today was a very interesting election day in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Three Senate primaries featured progressives challenging more conservative Democrats: Sestak vs. Specter in Pennsylvania, Conway vs. Mongiardo in Kentucky, and Halter vs. Lincoln in Arkansas. A fourth key race was the special election in Pennsylvania's 12th District for the seat which had been held by Jack Murtha. These races were seen as barometers for the strength of the Democratic Party (in PA-12) and progressives in the primaries. Polling showed three of the races very close with Lincoln well ahead of Halter in Arkansas.

U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania 12th District
Pennsylvania's 12th District is famous for being the only one which voted for John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. It is in the Appalachian region which proved to be Barack Obama's nemesis, a key region of new found strength for Republicans. If Republicans couldn't win a swing district there, what would that say about their chances in November? Indeed, the Republican running in PA-12 declared:

I believe the entire country in fact sees this election as a referendum on the Obama-Pelosi agenda


Don't kid yourself. A vote for Mark Critz is a vote for Nancy Pelosi

The results are in, Democrat Mark Critz has defeated Republican Tim Burns by 9 points, so according to the Republican candidate, America loves Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Democrats were helped by higher Democratic turnout for the competitive Senate primary, but the result for the Democrat was far better than anyone had predicted. Democrats ran an amazing operation while Republicans couldn't organize themselves out of a paper bag.

U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, Democratic Primary
The progressives took on the establishment and won by 8 points. Throughout his Senate career, Arlen Specter has done whatever he wanted for the first four years of his term and then for the last two years pandered to either the Right or Left as needed to be re-elected. He famously declared that becoming a Democrat would "enable me to be re-elected". Rep. Joe Sestak took on Specter and got the backing of progressives. Specter had the support of the party establishment including Barack Obama, no doubt the fulfillment of a promise made when he switched parties. This race was very close in the polls, but progressives scored a big win here and will have a strong candidate for November.

U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Democratic Primary
The Democrats have an uphill battle in Kentucky for the seat being left vacant by the retirement of Republican Jim Bunning. The Democratic primary featured Attorney General Jack Conway against Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo. Mongiardo is pro-life and proud of voting to ban gay marriage, while Jack Conway is surprisingly progressive for a Democrat elected statewide in Kentucky. Although the polls showed the race becoming close, none had Conway in the lead. He pulled out an upset today, beating Mongiardo by 1.1 points. Not only do we have a more progressive candidate, but polling indicates that he is a stronger candidate against Republican nominee Rand Paul.

U.S. Senator from Arkansas, Democratic Primary
Blanche Lincoln (along with Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson) is famous for using filibuster threats to drag the health insurance reform bill to the right. She is also the most endangered Democrat running for re-election. She got a primary challenge from Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, who while still moderate ran to Lincoln's left. The polls showed Lincoln with a ten point lead going into the election, but with 66% of the returns in both have about 43% of the vote. Arkansas has runoff elections, so Lincoln will have to face the overperforming Halter again.

Congratulations to Democrats and progressives in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Arkansas for doing a great job today.

CA Pol Junkie :: 7:43 PM :: Comments (11) :: Digg It!