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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Barone on the June 8 Primaries

Michael Barone writes:

Eleven states voted yesterday in primaries and runoffs—the largest number of the year—and one way to look at the results is that no incumbent member of Congress lost his or her bid for reelection. So does this make 2010 less of an anti-incumbent (and anti-Democratic) year? Not really. I am put in mind of the story of the Teamsters Union business agent who was confined to the hospital. A bouquet was sent, with a note reading: “The Executive Board wishes you a speedy recovery, by a vote of nine to six.” Such was the voters’ verdict on incumbents on June 8.

Consider Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, renominated in 2004 by an 83%-17% margin and reelected that November by 56%-44%. One big headline of last night’s news coverage was that she won her Democratic primary runoff over Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. But her margin was only 52%-48%. And in recent polling she trails 3rd district Republican Congressman John Boozman by a 59%-34% margin. Her runoff victory and her “I’ll keep fighting” election night speech may close the gap a bit in Jacksonian Arkansas. But not by much.

Or consider South Carolina 4th district Republican Congressman Bob Inglis. Elected in 1992, 1994 and 1996, he lost a Senate race to Democrat Ernest Hollings in 1998, then came back to win when his 4th district successor Jim DeMint ran successfully for Hollings’s seat in 2004 and won reelection in 2006 and 2008. So he’s represented the 4th district—Greenville and Spartanburg, basically, for 12 of the last 18 years. And on Tuesday he trailed Spartanburg County Solicitor (i.e., prosecutor) Trey Gowdy by a 39%-28% margin. That’s a devastating result for an incumbent in his own party’s primary: 100% know him and 72% voted for someone else. Inglis managed to carry his home base of Greenville County but by only 29%-24%. He lost Spartanburg County 60%-19%. Maybe he has a chance in the runoff since there are a lot more voters in Greenville County than Spartanburg County; but I doubt it. Gowdy’s winning tactic: he pointed out that Inglis has the most liberal voting record of any South Carolina Republican member of Congress (although only marginally more so than Senator Lindsey Graham’s), including voting for the $700 billion TARP bill in fall 2008.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:
Swing State Project notes a race that confirms Barone's analysis:
Who (other than Swing State Project, of course) would've guessed that out of all the dozens of incumbent House members up for re-election, the night's second worst performance after Bob Inglis would come from Orange County's Gary Miller? With problems including war record embellishment, ethical clouds, and a pro-TARP vote, Miller beat Phil Liberatore only 49-37.