By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Last night was a great night for Republicans across the board. Here are five reasons why Republicans are so happy with the results of yesterday’s primaries:
1. Republican women ruled. California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman won her primary handily, Carly Fiorina easily won the GOP nod for the U.S. Senate seat from California currently held by Barbara Boxer, Nikki Haley will likely win the runoff for the Republican nomination for South Carolina governor, and Sharron Angle surged ahead to get the GOP nomination for the Nevada Senate seat. And they all won big--each by at least a 20-point margin, according to Politico. “As clear evidence of voter desire to the shake up the good old boy network in politics, women ruled the night,” writes GOP strategist Mark McKinnon.
2. Fiscal conservatives won big. "Career politicians ... be warned,” said Meg Whitman in her victory speech, “because you now face your worst nightmare: two businesswomen from California." With their message of limited government, reduced spending, and deficit reduction, fiscally conservative candidates--experienced business leaders, many of whom happen to also be women--are really connecting with voters fed up with fiscal insanity at the state and federal level. One voter in nearly-bankrupt California told the Wall Street Journal: "Business people know what the real world's all about, and I'm afraid that politicians don't. I think fiscal conservative is the most important thing you could be right now" because of the state economy's woes. That’s great news for the GOP.
3. There’s a lot of energy on the right. Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle came from a start in the single-digits to a 40-26 win last night in Nevada for the GOP nod against vulnerable Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; according to Real Clear Politics, she’s leading in polls by an average of 43 to 41 against Reid. That’s just one example of how fluid some races were, and most of the momentum is on the right. There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm right now across the country in state and local Republican Party organizations, in part because so many women and minorities are getting involved for the first time in politics. Among the fresh faces who won last night: Nikki Haley, who is on track to become the first person of Indian descent to serve as governor of South Carolina.
4. Big Labor is in big trouble. In Arkansas, labor unions spent $10 million in an effort to defeat a Democrat, incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln, and failed. (Lincoln won 52-48 after she was predicted to lose by at least five points.) A few weeks ago, labor unions failed to score a win for Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and now it appears the Democrats’ problems with “white, working-class discontent,” as Ron Brownstein of the National Journal writes, has become a big problem for Democrats. The White House is furious that the unions spent millions going after one of their own sitting Senators--not a Republican. One White House official told Politico: “Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise. If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November.” Republicans are ecstatic. [See which industries donated the most to Lincoln.]
5. The Comeback Kid comes back. Many observers are crediting former President Bill Clinton for Blanche Lincoln’s win in Arkansas; he campaigned hard for her and is expected to be deployed to various races nationwide this fall. If you’ll recall some of the gaffes Clinton made during the 2008 election campaigning for his wife and later for Barack Obama, you’ll understand why Republicans are glad to see the former president back out on the stump. The only thing that would make Republicans even happier is if the DNC gets on a roll and sends Jimmy Carter and Michael Dukakis to join him on the campaign trail. Hey, is Walter Mondale available?