June 7, 2006


States' Primaries Are a Midterm Bellwether: With Both Parties Looking to Results to Plan Strategy, Voters Deliver Few Surprises (Jonathan Weisman, June 7, 2006, Washington Post)

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley easily won the Republican primary contest last night against former state Supreme Court chief justice Roy S. Moore, once regarded as a formidable challenger because of his support from social conservatives who cheered his refusal to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building.

Riley will face Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley, who in the Democratic primary buried the comeback attempt of former governor Don Siegelman. He had hoped to use a November contest against Riley to showcase his contention that his ongoing corruption trial is a political vendetta by the Republican who unseated him.

The results were among the first to come in a night when primaries and special elections across the nation were being closely watched for signs of the broader political environment that will influence this fall's midterm elections. [...]

In the final days of the race, polls showed Busby in a tight contest against Bilbray to complete Cunningham's term in a once-solid GOP seat. A Busby victory in a district where Bush won 55 percent of the vote two years ago would be a clear sign of the headwinds confronting Republicans this fall as they try to keep their 12-year control of the House.

Tuesday's results yielded no significant surprises.

Okay, everyone pretend to be surprised that incumbency is a benefit during a prolonged economic boom....

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 7, 2006 8:52 AM

Oh, I don't know. The economy was pretty good in '86.

Posted by: rds at June 7, 2006 11:50 AM

Nice of them to nominate the pro-gay marriage candidate in Montana.

Posted by: AC at June 7, 2006 11:53 AM

Bush received 55% of the vote in the California district won by Bilbray with only 50% of the vote. This will be spun as a sign that the Dems are catching up. What they will likely not mention is that 4% of the vote went to a candidate that claimed that both of the others were too liberal.

Posted by: Patrick H at June 7, 2006 12:17 PM

But Reagan had carried in the halt, the lame and the braindead in 1980, when no person in their right mind accepted GOP nominations for Senate.

Posted by: oj at June 7, 2006 12:33 PM

Three of the losses in '86 were Southern seats that were tough to hold against a 90+% black vote.

Plus, as someone reminded me in a comment a few months ago, the farm economy was struggling in '86.

The weak incumbents this time are all Democrats, with the exception of possibly Burns in MT (and Chafee). Santorum may be behind, but he is not a weak campaigner. The Dems are not going to sweep Cantwell, Stabenow, Menendez, and the open seats in MD, MN, and TN.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 7, 2006 1:39 PM

The economy is great for me, but my neighbors . . .

Posted by: obc at June 7, 2006 2:37 PM

Busby was an idiot who gaffed big when she suggested, well, vote fraud. Bilbray ran a competent campaign and would have taken at least 52-53% without the two minor candidates drawing away a few votes. Biggest lesson was the low turnout. Voters aren't up in arms about tossing out the incumbents when the economy's rocking.

So it's simple: no big change in November. Not with unemployment at 4.7%, which is considerably better than it was in 1986 (average 7.0%) or 1994 (average 6.1%). I haven't used this cliche for fifteen minutes...people vote their pocketbooks.

Posted by: Casey Abell at June 7, 2006 3:51 PM

As for the corruption angle, wasn't Bilbray a lobbyist?

Posted by: Pepys at June 7, 2006 7:46 PM
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