On Tuesday, besides the Wisconsin recall effort, six other states held primary elections not only for President, but to determine Congressional and Senate match ups come November. Considering that Obama will face off against Romney because he has the nomination for the GOP, turn out was not particularly high in any state except Wisconsin, but other offices than Governor were not being decided. Wisconsin's primary for non-presidential offices will be held on August 14th.
Most of the results came out as expected in an earlier posting here. In South Dakota, Republican Kristi Noem, an up and coming rising star in the party, will face Matt Varilek, who will represent the Democrats. This race should not be close in November. In neighboring Montana, Denny Rehberg will square off against Democratic incumbent John Tester for the Senate. With Rehberg attempting to move up, Steve Daines will try to hold this at large House seat for the GOP against Kim Gillan. Both the Senate and House races in Montana should be good ones this year as control of the House and the Senate hangs in the balance.
Down in New Mexico, as stated in a previous posting, it would appear that the GOP has a solid chance to pick up a Senate seat. This is especially important since we will likely lose a seat in Maine and I would not call Scott Brown's chances in Massachusetts a slam dunk for Republicans just yet. In Heather Wilson, despite her sometimes RINO label, Republicans have the chance to take the seat currently held by Jeff Bingaman. She will face off against First District Rep. Martin Heinrich. Going in, he is likely the favorite, but Wilson may be just moderate enough to woo some independents and moderate Democrats in New Mexico and pull an upset. And in that 1st District, the Republicans have a strong candidate in Janice Arnold-Jones who will face Michelle Grisham in November.
In New Jersey, there were no surprises. However, Bill Pascrell will run in the 9th District after defeating fellow incumbent Democrat Rothman on Tuesday. Two interesting races are developing in the Third and the Sixth Districts. In the Third, freshman Republican John Runyan will face Sherry Adler, widow of the man Runyan defeated in 2010. In the 6th, incumbent Democrat Frank Pallone had a scare from Anna Little, who has Tea Party backing, in 2010 and he will have to face her again in November. This race is rated as "leans Democrat," and is not a likely or safe Democratic hold. Given Little's 2010 run, an upset may be in the making here.
California uses a system where the two highest vote getters in each district go on the ballot in November. Its possible that a Democrat can face another Democrat, a Republican another Republican, or either against an independent candidate. That actually happened in eight of their 53 district primaries. In reality, only eight (not necessarily those alluded to above) races will be competitive in November. In the Third, Democratic incumbent will face a stiff challenge from Kim Vann for the GOP as will Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney in the 9th. McNerney seems to be a target of the GOP, but they may have their best chance in 2012 with Ricky Gill. However, optimism in these areas is tempered by Dan Lungren's (R-7th) tenuous status and the possibility we may lose a seat to Ami Bera here. In the open 21st, David Valadeo will face former astronaut John Hernandez while Democratic incumbent Lois Capps in the 24th District will face a formidable foe in former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado for the GOP. The open 26th should remain in Republican hands in the name of Tom Strickland. In the 41st, both parties got their men to square off in November. John Tavaglione will run for the GOP and Mark Takano for the Democrats. Redistricting made Republican incumbent John Campbell a little more vulnerable in the 45th. One side note: Democrats feel that Gary Miller in the 31st was vulnerable, but he will face off against an independent, not a Democrat, in November.
As regards California, the situation looked somewhat bleak for the Republican Party in November. After this past Tuesday, the situation is not that bleak. Time will tell if this analysis is correct.
Finally, there was the Wisconsin recall effort that cost the state millions of dollars in what amounted to a staged union attack on a sitting Governor. As I stated earlier, apparently organized did not learn an expensive lesson in Arkansas in 2010. Maybe they should remember two words before they engage in futile exercises: Blanche Lincoln. Beating union money in Arkansas is one thing, but to do so in Wisconsin is truly a momentous act. Liberals throughout the country have been beating the drum of "outside money" and Citizen's United ad nauseum.
However, a look at Wisconsin reveals the truth of the situation. Since Walker has assumed office, a $3 billion projected budget shortfall has turned into an anticipated $150 million surplus. Statewide, property taxes have increased an average and meager 0.4%. The state has added 24,000 jobs. Their ranking among states to do business has increased dramatically. Local school districts have found it easier now to staff schools. And worker concerns like seniority and such are still covered by civil service rules. Perhaps the citizens of Wisconsin looked around and realized that things were not the armageddon the unions predicted under Scott Walker. Maybe the voters of Wisconsin realized the onerous unions were bleeding their state. Maybe the people of Wisconsin circled the wagons against the outside influence of unions and sent a message loud and clear. Of course, to the liberal, they just cannot fathom these things because Scott Walker and people like him may as well be aliens from another planet. This election has placed Wisconsin squarely within reach for Mitt Romney in November, something Obama and the Democratic Party never anticipated. The Republican Party likewise proved that they can play for keeps and play well. That too is a lesson for November. With this distraction out of the way, it is time to build on the momentum and vote Obama out in November.