-- This is the week Democrats hope the specter of Ken Buck
raises its head. Buck, the 2010 Republican nominee against Sen. Michael Bennet
, was such a disaster of a candidate that he cost the GOP a good shot at their 48th seat. DSCC executive director Guy Cecil
- who managed Bennet's race - labeled Mourdock the next Buck. Mourdock's win certainly makes the Indiana seat more competitive than it would have been if Lugar were the nominee, but not to Buckian levels. Still, how appropriate that Buck actually surfaced this week, at a Mitt Romney
event in his home Weld County.
-- The tea party draws strength from being a decentralized movement. But that is also making it difficult for the group to elect its candidates in open House primaries. In Indiana's 6th District GOP primary, for example, two main tea party challengers split 42 percent of the vote between them, while the victor, establishment candidate Luke Messer
, won with 40 percent.
In a few places, though, the conservative grassroots could get an assist from state election laws. In North Carolina's 8th District, party favorite Richard Hudson
finished first in the Republican primary. But after getting 32 percent, he'll face Club for Growth-backed Scott Keadle
in a runoff, and two other tea party candidates from the primary have now endorsed Keadle. The July runoff will be a good test of what the tea party can accomplish when it can decide on one candidate.
-- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
and his Democratic allies seem to have forgotten what started this whole recall saga in the first place. Walker set off a firestorm last year by curtailing the collective bargaining power of that state's public employees unions. But in his Democratic primary victory speech on Tuesday, Barrett never mentioned collective bargaining
. His campaign's newest TV spot
laid out a critique of Walker's agenda but again failed to bring up collective bargaining.
The latest Marquette poll
found that when asked about limiting collective bargaining rights for most public employees, 49 percent of Wisconsin voters said they favor the move while 45 percent said they oppose it. Considering the extremely high levels of polarization and voter engagement in the state, the recall election should come down to which party's base turns out at a higher rate. Democrats need to rally their troops without what was expected to be their lightning-rod issue.
-- Democrats in North Carolina had one major win on Tuesday night even in the face of the passage of Amendment One: the nomination of Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton
in the gubernatorial race without a run-off. By holding former Rep. Bob Etheridge
under 40 percent of the primary vote, Democrats allowed Dalton to shift directly into the general election at a time when he is trailing Republican nominee Pat McCrory
severely in the funding race. If Dalton, a heavy underdog entering the summer season, has any realistic chance of winning this fall, he has to stockpile his cash and begin to develop a general election message now. Two more months of a financially draining primary campaign with Etheridge lowering his favorability ratings with negative ads would have nullified Dalton's already slim hopes of victory against the ready-for-primetime McCrory.
-- With the Democratic State Convention taking place in Connecticut this weekend, Rep. Chris Murphy
spent the week shoring up support from Hispanic and women voters. And things aren't looking good for former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz
, with Murphy capping off the week with an endorsement by the National Organization for Women.
Murphy's support among women will also help if he ends up facing former WWE CEO Linda McMahon
in the general election. But McMahon -- well aware of her struggle
to bridge the gender gap, has tirelessly been courting suburban women voters since launching her campaign.