Primaries

It got no attention, but yesterday marked the formal end of the presidential nominating contest, with Utah’s primary (long Mitt Romney’s ace-in-the-hole, had he needed it).

Several congressional races around the country, however, did get national notice (the best overall coverage, as is usually the case, was at Daily Kos’ election liveblog threads).

In Utah, to no one’s surprise, Orrin Hatch trounced right-wing challenger Dan Liljequist–whom he very nearly dispatched at a state convention in
April–by a two-to-one margin. Goes to show that exceptional preparation and gigantic sacks of cash are the keys for turning back a Tea Party challenge in a GOP primary, though in Hatch’s case a rich wingnut history of his own and the backing of LDS folk hero Mitt Romney helped a great deal. It’s significant that both the Club for Growth and Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund stayed out of this race.

An incumbent who did not survive a Tea Party-backed challenge was Oklahoma’s John Sullivan, who was upset by little-known challenger John Bridenstine, though it appears Sullivan’s attendance record and tardy campaigning may have had more to do with the loss than ideology.

New York had probably the most interesting batch of primaries. The headliner was Charlie Rangel’s survival over a scattered field of challengers (with Dominican-American state senator Adriano Espaillat coming closest, just five points back) in an increasingly Latino district. In the Democratic primary for a Brooklyn House seat vacated by Rep. Edolphus Towns, city councilman Charles Barron, who won vast publicity from conservatives thanks to his discreditable views on Israel and Africa, was curb-stomped by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who enjoyed tons of last-minute money and endorsements. Rep. Nydia Valazquez survived a primary challenge fed by redistricting. In Queens, state legislator Grace Meng became the first Asian-American to represent New York in Congress. In a Republican primary in NY, Rep. Bob Turner, who won Anthony Weiner’s vacated seat in Queens in a special election, lost the Senate nomination to right-wing judicial activist and Conservative Party endorsee Wendy Long, who becomes a long-shot challenger to Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand.

Down in SC, I am happy to report that former Lt. Gov. Andre “Stray Animals” Bauer lost his bid for a U.S. House seat.

There were other results yesterday that I haven’t mentioned, but feel free to note them if you wish in the comments thread.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.