2010 Elections, 7/21 Version (It’s incumbent’s night for the Democrats)

Primary and Filing Status

Last night, Georgia conducted its party primaries.  Its incumbent Democrats were re-elected with varying percentages. At the top of the ticket, former governor Roy Barnes was one of several ex governors (the others are in California, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon) who want their old job back. Democratic primary voters agreed, giving him a solid 66-22% primary victory. What makes this comeback so remarkable is that Barnes was defeated in 2002 in an upset after a single term in office, becoming the first Democratic governor in Georgia to lose to a Republican since Reconstruction. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Secretary of State Karen Handel helped put her into the August 10 runoff against former Congressman (and former Democrat) Nathan Deal – she led 34-23%.

There were two Democratic incumbent Congressmen thought to be in political trouble who survived their primaries tonight. Four year incumbent Hank Johnson received unfavorable publicity over his assertion in a committee hearing that “…relocating Navy personnel to Guam would cause the small island to become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize…”, yet he survived his primary with 55% of the vote against two opponents.  Another Democratic incumbent, John Barrow, voted against healthcare reform in a district that gave Obama 55% of the vote. Though this vote enraged some Democratic activists, he defeated his primary opponent with 58% (he had defeated the same opponent two years ago in the primary with 76%). This defeat is yet another example of Democrats who voted against healthcare reform’s surviving their primaries despite retaliation from liberal activists.

Oklahoma will hold its primaries next week, and from there, 15 more states (including Louisiana’s August 28 Congressional party primaries) will be holding primaries. After the gauntlet of August primaries, all will be quiet on the political front until “Super Tuesday II” on September 14, when 7 states hold their primaries on that day. “Super Tuesday II” pretty much concludes primary season nationally, although Hawaii has a primary on September 18, and on October 2, Louisiana will have (if necessary) party runoffs for Congress, as well as “open primary” races for statewide (Lt Governor, PSC) and local (judge, school board, etc) races. And if no one in those local/statewide races receives a majority, they will have to compete in a runoff held on the same day as the midterm elections.

(UPDATED 7/21) Finally, there has been a considerable back and forth on the Senate seat vacated by Robert Byrd’s death. As of right now, the governor has appointed a 36 year old attorney to the seat as a placeholder. There will also be a special election (primary on August 28, with the general election on Election Day in November) held to fill the remaining two years of Senator Byrd’s term. Democratic Governor Joe Manchin is running, as is 95 year old former Secretary of State Ken Hechler on the Democratic side. The Republicans’ strongest candidate, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, decided not to run because of the possibility of a legal challenge if she ran for the Senate seat at the same time she was running for re-election to her House seat. Filing for this race ends this Friday.

John is a political consultant and blogger with JMC Enterprises with expertise in poll sample development and analysis, development of targeted voter files for phone canvassing or mail outs, campaign strategy and demographic consulting, among other things. See his site at WinWithJMC.com for more information.

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