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Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2010

Democrats look to benefit from GOP civil war

August 26, 2010

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U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, gives a brief news conference Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska, saying that she would not concede the results of Tuesday’s primary election. The Republican senator trailed conservative lawyer Joe Miller by 1,668 votes Wednesday with all precincts reporting, despite being heavily favored to defeat the lesser-known candidate in the GOP primary. She is hoping that several thousand uncounted absentee ballots can swing the election in her favor, and both sides were bracing for a long count to determine the winner.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, gives a brief news conference Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska, saying that she would not concede the results of Tuesday’s primary election. The Republican senator trailed conservative lawyer Joe Miller by 1,668 votes Wednesday with all precincts reporting, despite being heavily favored to defeat the lesser-known candidate in the GOP primary. She is hoping that several thousand uncounted absentee ballots can swing the election in her favor, and both sides were bracing for a long count to determine the winner.

— A Republican civil war is raging, with righter-than-thou conservatives dominating ever more primaries in a fight for the party’s soul. And the Democrats hope to benefit.

The latest examples of conservative insurgents’ clout came Tuesday at opposite ends of the country. In Florida, political newcomer Rick Scott beat longtime congressman and state Attorney General Bill McCollum for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. And in Alaska, tea party activists and Sarah Palin pushed Sen. Lisa Murkowski to the brink of defeat, depending on absentee ballot counts in her race against outsider Joe Miller.

The GOP is likely to survive its bitter intraparty battles in such states as Alaska and Utah, even if voters oust veteran senators in both. But tea party-backed candidates might be a godsend to desperate Democrats elsewhere — in Nevada, Florida and perhaps Kentucky, where the Democrats portray GOP nominees as too extreme for their states.

If Murkowski joins Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, as a victim of party activists who demand ideological purity, other Republicans are still likely to win in November, though Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would have to deal with more maverick members who are loathe to compromise. And the conservative insurgency is hardly all-powerful, as Sen. John McCain proved by easily winning renomination in Arizona despite a challenge from the right by J.D. Hayworth.

The Republican Party’s chief danger lies in battleground states such as Florida and Nevada, where great opportunities might slip away. President Barack Obama and his Democrats see a silver lining amid political troubles driven by high unemployment and a stubbornly slow economic recovery.

The White House has tried to link the Republican Party with the fledgling conservative-libertarian tea party coalition — and demonize the combination as too extreme for the country.

That’s “the Republican tea party” that’s “offering more of the past but on steroids” and is “out of step with where the American people are,” Vice President Joe Biden told the party’s rank and file last week.

Nevada Republicans’ nomination of tea party favorite Sharron Angle may save Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader. His popularity has fallen sharply among state voters, but Democrats say Angle’s comments are scaring voters away from her and back toward him.

In Florida, the conventional wisdom was that McCollum, who had won election statewide, would be a stronger candidate than Scott against Democrat Alex Sink in the governor’s race. Democrats are certain to assail at least one aspect of Scott’s private-sector history: the $1.7 billion that Columbia/HCA hospital corporation paid to settle Medicare fraud charges when he was chief executive officer. In the Republican primary, Scott spent $39 million of his own money to promote his campaign and beat back such attacks.

In a sign of the Democratic Party’s own relative calm this year, Florida’s other insider-vs-outsider contest turned out much differently. Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek defeated millionaire newcomer Jeff Greene for the party’s Senate nomination.

Even if GOP nominees make some rookie mistakes, general election voters might embrace them, said Republican strategist John Feehery. “This is a ‘big change’ election,” Feehery said. “If you are defending the establishment, you are in big trouble this time around.”

Still, tea party activism could cause worries for Republicans in Florida’s Senate race. Conservative Marco Rubio essentially chased Gov. Charlie Crist, then a Republican, out of the party. But a Meek-Rubio split of the vote on Nov. 2 could allow Crist to win the Senate seat as an independent, and he might caucus with Democrats in Washington.

In several other states, the likely impact of anti-establishment fervor and tea party activism is unclear.

Comments

bearded_gnome 3 years, 7 months ago

anyone who takes one word seriously from Jawbone Joe Biden is completely out of his or her mind! "Three letter word: J-O-B-S" --Joe Biden.


candidates might be a godsend to desperate Democrats elsewhere — in Nevada, Florida and perhaps Kentucky, where the Democrats portray GOP nominees as too extreme for their states.

---more comedy laughs? Murcowski was tied to old-boy corruption in Alaska, some of what Sarah has been fighting there all along. Good on Sarah!

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 7 months ago

I disagree with Tom, I think the Republicans deserve to be in charge of both houses of congress. This should assure the re-election of Mr. Obama in 2012!, which would be a good thing. The Republicans will have 2 years to show their lack of any plan, their devotion to the extreme Christian Conservative Limbaugh Beck Reich, and people will have enough of these GOPs to remind them of the massive deficit and economic disaster that was inseminated by the previous administration who took President Clinton's buget surplus and turned it into a huge deficit. They also got us involved in two wars in countries that have been fighting civil war for centuries. Bring on the Republican congress and the Tea Party pretenders, I am anxious to see just what these people can do that is better than what the present lawfully elected administration is doing. Let's give em a chance!!!!

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Ray Parker 3 years, 7 months ago

Uhhh, primary races are designed to settle the winner in intra-party battles. It's not a Civil War until a new party emerges, declaring the old party worthless, as when the Republican Party emerged, declaring the Whig Party worthless in standing and acting against the institution of slavery. Their subsequent nomination and election of the anti-slavery Lincoln as U.S. President is what started the Civil War. A faction of the Republican Party now sees RINOs as worthless in standing and acting against legalized elective abortion. Perhaps a new and better party will emerge, declaring a war on abortion. Abolition now.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 7 months ago

Although there is no doubt there will be a nice chunk of seats swing (R), I still maintain that it is not wise to predict them taking back either one or both the house and senate, and quite frankly, I'd rather see Dems have it all for two more years and then clean their clock. Really, how much more damage can they do? Other than the tax cuts and cap & trade? And those two issues alone will only help seal their fate come 2012.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 7 months ago

How's about the Demo civil war? "Some House Dems Run TV Ads Heralding Opposition to President Obama, Democratic Leaders and Their Policies..." Read the rest at: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/08/some-house-dems-run-tv-ads-heralding-opposition-to-president-obama-democratic-leaders-and-their-poli.html

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grammaddy 3 years, 7 months ago

Tea Party=Republicans on steroids,I'm lovin' it! Can't wait to see which way the wind blows in Florida.Meeks might be the best thing that ever happens to them.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 7 months ago

That Miller spent $200k vs. Murkowski's $2 million is quite telling.

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