US 2010 Mid-Term Election Campaign Reader
by Charles Lemos, Sat Aug 28, 2010 at 11:26:01 PM EDT
West Virginia Primary
Popular Governor Joe Manchin easily won the Democratic nomination Saturday in the race to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Robert Byrd. He will face GOP primary winner and wealthy businessman John Raese who has previously run unsuccessfully for Governor and for the Senate. Raese beat out nine other Republicans. The New York Times has the full details.
Voters in the Bayou State also headed to the polls on Saturday. Results are not fully in as yet but it appears that scandal-plagued Republican Senator David Vitter appeared poised for an easy primary victory over two little-known challengers. With 23 percent of the precincts reporting, Vitter has amassed 88 percent of the vote. On the Democratic Side Congressman Charlie Melancon, who also had two primary opponents, is coasting to an easy victory. Melacon has 69 percent vote with 23 percent of precincts reporting. The Vitter versus Melacon promises to be the nastiest contest this cycle. A Libertarian party candidate, Randall Hayes, will also be on the November ballot.
There is also a competitive Democratic primary in the Louisiana Second Congressional District that encompasses much of New Orleans. The seat is currently held by GOP Congressman Anh Joseph Cao. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana State Representative endorsed by much of the state's Democratic political establishment, beat out three others in that race with 64 percent of the vote. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has live updates.
A Recount in Vermont
Doug Racine, a State Senator from Richmond, finished 197 votes behind Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin in the five way Democratic gubernatorial primary in the Green Mountain State. Under Vermont state law, a candidate trailing by less than 2 percent can request a taxpayer-funded recount. Shumlin finished with 24.48 percent, or 18,276 votes, versus 24.22 percent, or 18,079 votes, for Racine. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz finished third with 17,580 votes, only 696 behind Shumlin and 499 behind Racine. Google community relations director Matt Dunne had 15,323 votes, and state Sen. Susan Bartlett had 3,759. The Burlington Free Press has more on this story.
Getting Nasty in Alaska
If Joe Miller hadn't already caught the nation's attention with his surprisingly competitive race for the GOP nomination in the Alaska Senate contest, he certainly did himself few favors when he compared Senator Lisa Murkowski's possible third party run to prostitution on Twitter. The Anchorage Daily News updates on the latest barbs.
The vitriol began boiling over Friday when Miller's campaign accused the National Republican Senatorial Committee of trying to manipulate the outcome of the race by sending lawyer Sean Cairncross to assist Murkowski with legal questions surrounding the ballot count.
The committee's place is "on the sidelines," he said in a statement.
"You have to be concerned anytime somebody lawyers up and tries to pull an Al Franken, if you will," Miller said, referring to the 2008 ballot recount battle between then-Sen. Norm Coleman and the Democrat who beat him, Al Franken. "We are very aware that there may be some attempt here to skew the results. I hope that is not the case. Alaskans won't stand for any post-election foul play; the accurate vote of the people must stand."
Murkowski fired back, suggesting Miller had first "lawyered up" by hiring Sarah Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, who's best known for defending the former Alaska governor against ethics complaints. Palin endorsed Miller in the race and is credited with steering his way hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the Tea Party Express.
Joe Miller is an extremist, no question about that. He give Sharron Angle a run for the money in the insanity department. Over at The Nation, John Nichols points to eight reasons why the situation now developing in the Last Frontier provides an opening for Scott McAdams, the former mayor of Sitka and now the Democratic nominee. While Nichols admits that it "would be silly to suggest that Democrats have an upper hand in the race for the Alaska seat," Nichols believes that McAdams might be competitive whether Murkowski mounts an independent bid or not.
Taking a swipe at Miller’s lack of experience, McAdams noted that: "I'm the only candidate in this race who's ever balanced a budget. I'm the only candidate in this race who ever voted on a budget. I am by far the most experienced candidate in this race."
There has been some talk, mainly from pundits, about replacing McAdams with a higher profile Democrat, as could be done. But that a dangerous game. McAdams, a former deckhand on as the chairman of the Southeast Alaska Conference of Mayors, a board member of the Alaska Municipal League and a former president of the Association of Alaska School Boards. (In contrast to Miller, he’s been a leader on issues of concern to indigenous population, fighting to protect and expand Alaskan Native language instruction.)
McAdams is already on message, declaring Wednesday that "Yesterday, Alaskans sent an important message. They're ready for change. I am that change, not Joe Miller."
Ripping into Miller’s prehistoric policies, McAdams said, "I believe we are the moderate, rational, practical campaign, not the campaign of extreme measures and nineteenth-century ideology. Not only do they say no to progress in the form of things like developing Alaska through Congressionally vetted appropriations, but they also say no to social progress.… The Tea Party has been clear in rejecting the Department of Education, the Department of Energy and other great progress our society has made."
The Republicans are obviously worried. On Thursday, the general counsel of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, was dispatched to Alaska to “provide guidance” to Murkowski during an anticipated recount fight.
While Washington Republicans try to prevent the candidate of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement from getting a place on the fall ballot, Democrats will be pardoned if they imagine the prospect of running a competitive—perhaps even a winning—Senate race in Alaska.
With more 23,000 absentee and questioned ballots not yet counted, it is perhaps too early to get excited by the prospects of a competitive Senate race in Alaska but given the political landscape in the lower 48, we'll take some solace wherever we can get it.