The first battles of the 2010 election war, and perhaps the most telling, are the contested primaries between moderate, establishment backed Republicans and conservative challengers. The lesson of 2010 to date is that conservative activists and Tea Parties can take out moderate establishment Republicans in a contested primary IF they effectively work together.
The victories of 2010 include Charlie Crist pulling out of the Florida Senate primary against Marc Rubio, the booting of Sen. Bob Bennett in the Utah Senate primary and now Idaho’s first congressional district where local tea party favorite Raul Labrador upset Vaughn Ward last night in the Republican primary. Labrador overcame a fundraising disadvantage and Ward’s endorsement by Sarah Palin and the National Republican Congressional Committee to win 48-39 percent. Ward’s loss shows that a blessing from Sarah Palin does not guarantee a candidate victory. As Ward lost in Idaho so can McCain in Arizona.
Conservatives and the Tea Parties also have loses to look at with Coats winning the Indiana Senate primary, Devore trailing in the California Senate primary and Angle in a tight three way race in the Nevada Senate Primary.
The message to all conservative activists and Tea Parties is, yes we can win in the primary if we take effective action together. That means more than just going to a meeting. It means becoming a PC, volunteering time and money to a campaign, walking your precinct and calling, getting out the vote for your candidate. The primaries are ours to win or lose based on the level of effective political action we take. It means working together to pull behind a single candidate where there are multiple choices, such as our Arizona races for US Senate, Governor, Attorney General, etc.
In short, it will work if we work it and it won’t if we don’t. It is up to us.