The Year In Upsets
Earlier this week, we took a look at the Year In Scandals.
Today, we'll look at the biggest upsets of 2010. And there were plenty to go around this year -- from a Republican winning Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts to Tea Party fueled upheaval in Republican primaries.
The year started out with one of the biggest upsets of the year: Sen. Scott Brown's (R) special election victory in Massachusetts. Brown, a little known state senator, took on Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), who as a statewide officeholder, had a perfect political resume - on paper. By running a well-oiled campaign that capitalized on early unrest with the Democratic agenda to raise millions of dollars, Brown won late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in January. And, as we noted recently, Brown is in surprisingly good shape for 2012 when he is up for re-election.
Alaska could be dubbed "upset central" after the 2010 cycle. First, we saw Republican attorney Joe Miller pull off a Tea Party Express fueled stunner against Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Senate Republican primary. More than anything else, Miller's win was another example the Tea Party Express' ability to influence a Republican primary electorate -- something that defined 2010 Republican primaries.
The primary win was the high point of Miller's campaign and it quickly went downhill from there. Murkowski launched a long shot write-in bid, something no senator has successfully pulled off since Strom Thurmond in 1954. Miller stumbled repeatedly, including a highly covered incident where his security detail (yes, evidently he had a security detail) arrested a reporter. That opened the door for Murkowski to pull off the second upset in the Last Frontier, when she beat Miller, despite his unwillingness to bow out of the race.
After Miller's primary win, the Tea Party Express rolled into Delaware and produced another stunner: Christine O'Donnell's win over Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican Senate primary and ending Castle's four long service holding elected office in the state. O'Donnell went on to run a much-mocked general election campaign, virtually handing the Senate seat to Democrat Chris Coons. All was not lost for O'Donnell, however; the Republican, who -- if nothing else -- could spark media coverage on demand, recently signed a book deal.