A Short Obligatory Election Round-Up Of Yesterday’s Key Races

Yesterday, there were a few key primaries from around the country. Here’s a round-up:

* Former Murtha aide Mark Critz handily beat Republican Tim Burns in a special election to fill Murtha’s seat. The final numbers look to be 52%-to-45%. That spread is a bit of a surprise because the polling looked like a toss-up going in and motivation seemed to be with the Burns voters.

There will be a lot of talk about what this loss means for the GOP, but it’s far from a typical district. On the one hand, McCain did win the district in the last election. On the other hand, there’s also a 2-to-1 Democratic registration advantage. On the other hand, these are fairly conservative Democrats who aren’t particularly fond of a left-wing agenda. On the other hand, the fact that the Democrats had a competitive primary between Specter and Sestak may have given Critz a big turnout boost that helped his chances. Wow, that’s a lot of hands!

Long story short, it’s definitely a disappointing loss for Republicans because it would have been devastating to the Democrats to lose a seat that John Murtha held for nearly forty years. Happily, Burns will get another crack at:  it:  in November. Let’s hope he gets:  : over the goal line next time around.

* When it became clear that he was going to be in a lot of trouble in his primary election against Pat Toomey, Arlen Specter switched parties. Here’s what I wrote about that over a year ago, back on May 9, 2009:

Who would win in a Sestak vs. Specter primary? It would depend on how well financed Sestak would be (my guess is very) and how much support Specter would get from the Democratic Establishment (my guess is relatively little). If I had to lay odds, I’d bet on Sestak, who would probably get ferocious support from the activist Left.

At the end of the day, despite getting some weak support from Barack Obama, just as I predicted a year ago, Specter was defeated by Sestak 54%-46%. A man like Specter, who doesn’t believe in anything other than keeping his job richly deserved to lose.

Although some people think the stronger candidate went down, I’m not so sure. I’d honestly rather:  see : a Toomey vs. Specter match-up in November because it would:  : fire : up Republicans and demoralize : Democrats. Toomey vs. Sestak will probably be a tough fight, although Toomey is in a great position to win it.

* As expected, in Kentucky, Ron Paul’s “Libertarianish” son Rand knocked off establishment Republican Trey Grayson. Guess being the protege of the ultimate establishment Republican, Mitch McConnell, wasn’t very helpful for Grayson in anti-establishment year. Paul, whom : I supported over Grayson, is a fiscally conservative diehard, although he’s not that impressive on foreign policy issues. He’ll be facing Democrat Jack Conway, who just nosed out Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. It should be a competitive race, but one that Paul should win if he runs a smart campaign. The winner will get Jim Bunning’s seat.

* In Arkansas, Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln edged out Lt. Gov. Bill Halter 45%-43%, but that wasn’t enough to avoid a run-off. That means three more weeks of campaigning before Lincoln and Halter go at it again for the nomination. This is almost a lose/lose situation for Democrats because Lincoln is already extremely unpopular in Arkansas and Halter is widely considered to be too liberal to win the state. Since they’re already in such a dire situation, fighting it out in a primary a little longer is likely to make the situation even worse.

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