Tuesday, August 08, 2006


A Big Night -- 3 Members of Congress Lose Primary Bids

Not quite sure what message to take from primary election results around the country tonight. As nearly everyone has probably heard by now, Senator Joe Lieberman was beat by liberal-blogosphere-backed millionaire Ned Lamont. In addition, however, moderate freshman Republican Congressman Joe Schwarz of Michigan also lost to a more conservative candidate Tim Walberg and far-out Democrat Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney lost in a runoff election to Hank Johnson.

While it's possible that commentators will look back and point to tonight as a sign of an anti-incumbent tide, I don't think that'll be the case and here's why. While that sentiment may have played a bit of a role, each of the races was a unique situation -- particular the two House Members, and these defeats were not as unusual or unexpected as an incumbent going down normally would be.

Schwarz was only a freshman Republican, elected with a plurality in a hard-fought multi-candidate primary in 2004. Though he surprised me with his relatively party-line voting in the house, he is much more moderate than this reliably-conservative, Republican district in Michigan, and he only won the primary two years ago because the conservative vote split between half a dozen candidates. Walberg, who won, was one of the candidates from the primary campaign two years ago. He never really stopped campaigning, had significant support from the Club for Growth, etc., and unified the grassroots around his candidacy. Honestly, it would have been more shocking had Schwarz pulled it off.

McKinney needs no introduction, and her district has already booted her out once as an embarrassment. Punching capitol police and continuing her no-holds-barred opinions did not endear her to her district any further. Her opponent had broad support, including from Republicans, and again, this election was a correction of the anomaly of her election in the first place.

This isn't the making of an anti-incumbent groundwell, or much of a national message at all.

McKinney will now more than likely make claims that the election was rigged..that there is a conspiracy against her and she'll bring in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to complain and protest on her behalf...
McKinney will have to settle for assaulting Mall security rather than Capitol Police now.
Good riddance to McKinney. The liberal media will no doubt make some kind of political hay out of her loss.
Even though I am glad to see that McKinney was not re-elected. I do not agree with you that her election was an anomoly. I would say her constituents realized they had made an error and corrected it.
Not sure that we can ever say for sure what "the voters" are doing when we make our decisions, and in this case I don't think it really matters, but I stand by my comment that McKinney's re-election in 2004 was an anomaly.

Congresswoman Denise Majette, who had beat McKinney in the 2002 Primary, unexpectedly announced that she was running for the Senate, leaving the congressional seat open only a couple months before the primary (and angering the mainstream Dem establishment) McKinney pulled off winning that primary because the others didn't have a chance in the short period of time. Once the district realized what it had done, as you say, the corrected their mistake.
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