Primary suggests voters ready for new blood

May 19, 2010 7:24:37 PM PDT
Tuesday's primary results in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Arkansas confirmed voter support for new blood. It's shaping up to be the year of the outsider, as well-known candidates were snubbed.

The biggest example of anti-incumbent sentiment was when 30-year Senate veteran Arlen Specter was beaten in the Democratic primary.

In Arkansas incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln forced into a primary run-off and in Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the GOP's standard bearer was routed by political novice and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul.

In Pleasanton, Tea Party organizer Bridget Melson believes the movement is picking up steam.

"So yeah, people are fired up. I received hundreds of e-mails," she said.

Melson's Tea Party organization turned out thousands at a tax day rally last month, and she believes the current momentum will carry into the California primary.

"California's next. I think absolutely we can defeat Boxer," she said.

Melson's organization hasn't endorsed any of the Republicans running against Boxer, but she's convinced it'll make a difference.

"Absolutely, I mean we have influenced over 10,000 people," she said.

But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, doesn't think so. On Monday, she told ABC7 the tea party vote in Kentucky is just that -- in Kentucky.

"There is no question there is anti-incumbent sentiment out there. How that translates into an election is different from one district to the next," she said.

"Nancy Pelosi is right. There is no way of generalizing from primary results to what's likely to happen in November," ABC7 Political Analyst Bruce Cain said.

Cain says in fact, the most indicative race on Tuesday night may have been the special election to replace the late Congressman John Murtha, where a Republican and Democrat faced each other and the Democrat won.

"Actually won by seven points so," he said.

So it's not an anti-Democratic wave, at least not yet. But if there was a clear loser on Tuesday night, it was the president. His support for Specter and Lincoln failed to deliver and in Pennsylvania Democrat Mark Critz won by running away from the president on health care abortion, guns and cap and trade.

Cain says moderate Democrats in Congress will take note, making it harder for the president to pass his energy bill or jobs bill or an immigration bill before November.

Tip O'Neill's famous quote that "all politics is local" may be the mantra for incumbent Democrats in competitive seats.

As for the often predicted Republican sweep in November, Tuesday's results make it a lot less clear than it appeared after Scott Browns win in Massachusetts.


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