Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., won his 6th District Republican primary Tuesday night, avoiding a runoff despite facing the toughest reelection race of his career.
The Birmingham News reported that state Sen. Scott Beason, Bachus's closest competitor, conceded the race. With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Bachus led Beason 58 percent to 27 percent, according to the AP.
Bachus has faced allegations this year that he profited from stock sales made with non-public information, charges which underscored his connections to the banking industry. The allegations also highlighted the length of the Financial Services Committee chairman's service in Washington. The South has been home to many veteran committee chairs over the years, but Beason and Bachus's other opponents argued Bachus was in the thrall of big banks instead of focusing on serving district residents.
That contributed to Bachus's lowest primary finish since his first run, in 1992, when he took 37 percent of the vote before winning 59 percent in the runoff. Since then, Bachus has run unopposed for the GOP nomination six of nine times and never got lower than 76 percent, his 2010 result, in the other three.
Bachus's survival will calm skittish nerves in the House, which braced for a long season of primary upheaval last week. In the nation's first congressional primary on March 6, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, fell to a GOP challenger in the 2nd District after several cycles of poor results. However, Schmidt's decision to spend election day in Washington exemplified her lethargic efforts to protect her seat. By contrast, Bachus had spent over $1.5 million on his primary by the Feb. 22 pre-election reporting deadline.
Bachus can also count his win as a victory over the Campaign for Primary Accountability, the non-partisan, anti-incumbent super PAC that contributed to Schmidt's defeat last week. CPA spent over $200,000 attacking Bachus with TV ads, robocalls, and mail over the first two weeks of March. For more, go to Hotline On Call.