WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING….It’s worth stepping outside all-things-Convention for a moment to note that Tom Coburn just won the Republican nod for the Oklahoma Senate race this fall, a very good development for Democrats who want to take back that seat and have an excellent chance of doing so now. Campaign observers widely believed that Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, who was one of two Republicans challenging Coburn for the spot, has much broader appeal for swing voters and would have been a formidable opponent in November. Coburn, on the other hand, has the backing and financial resources of a number of conservative groups, but also the baggage of a right-wing reputation. He only made things worse for himself a few weeks ago when he remarked that doctors who perform abortions should get the death penalty. And then clarified that while there isn’t yet a law that would allow capital punishment for such doctors, he would support the passage of one. Nice.

This may sound par for the course for conservative Republicans, but Coburn’s extremism doesn’t match the direction in which his state is moving. After years of being led by a Republican governor, Oklahoma now has a Democrat living in the Governor’s Mansion and both the state Senate and House are controlled by Democrats. The Democratic candidate for the Senate, Rep. Brad Carson, won 80 percent of the vote in his primary and is a popular political figure in the state. If you’d told me two years ago that Oklahoma would not only be in play but maybe even a “likely Dem” state for the Senate this year, I would never have believed you. Maybe Tom Daschle is right about that whole “Senate Majority Leader” thing…

Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan is a Chicago-based journalist who has written about religion, politics, and culture as a senior editor for Time, National Journal, and Yahoo. She was an editor at the Washington Monthly from 2004 to 2006.