SPOTLIGHT

August Primaries Endanger Incumbents

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) (L) participates in a ceremonial swearing in event with Vice President Joe Biden, in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill, on December 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. Schatz is filling the late Sen. Daniel Inouye's (D-HI) seat in the Senate.
National Journal
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
July 25, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

After next week, primary sea­son will re­kindle for its last stretch be­fore every­one can fi­nally fo­cus en­tirely on the gen­er­al elec­tion. And the first week back could end up be­ing the most dan­ger­ous primary week of the year for in­cum­bents.

— Two House in­cum­bents are more likely to lose than not: Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) and Scott Des­Jar­lais (R-TN). But don’t write them in­to any broad­er pat­tern. Bentivolio, who was the only oth­er Re­pub­lic­an on the bal­lot in MI-11 when Thad Mc­Cot­ter‘s frad­u­lent nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions were thrown out, is the defin­i­tion of an ac­ci­dent­al con­gress­man, while the 2012 rev­el­a­tions that Des­Jar­lais had sexu­al re­la­tion­ships with co-work­ers and med­ic­al pa­tients and pres­sured one to have an abor­tion des­troyed his stand­ing with Re­pub­lic­ans. Both at­trac­ted very well-fun­ded chal­lengers with busi­ness and es­tab­lish­ment GOP sup­port.

— Oth­er in­cum­bents up at the be­gin­ning of Au­gust are bet­ter-po­si­tioned, though some still face po­ten­tially dif­fi­cult chal­lenges. Ex-Rep. Todd Ti­ahrt‘s (R) KS-04 comeback at­tempt also de­fies polit­ic­al pi­geon­hol­ing. Many of the groups back­ing Rep. Mike Pom­peo (R) had few ideo­lo­gic­al quibbles with Ti­ahrt while he was in Con­gress, per their vote score­cards, but they’re stick­ing with the in­cum­bent. Both can­did­ates are ac­cus­ing the oth­er of cronyism, and Pom­peo is us­ing Ti­ahrt’s ser­vice against him by at­tack­ing him over ear­marks. Mean­while, most still ex­pect Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) to win re­nom­in­a­tion, but phys­i­cian Milton Wolf (R) hasn’t faded as far as people thought after his X-ray con­tro­versy.

— Then, in Hawaii‘s tra­di­tion­al Sat­urday primary, there’s the lone big Demo­crat­ic Sen­ate primary of the cycle, pit­ting ap­poin­ted Sen. Bri­an Schatz (D) against Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), who wanted that ap­point­ment in the first place and was backed by late Sen. Daniel In­ouye. That race and Gov. Neil Aber­crom­bie‘s (D) con­tested primary are stud­ies in con­trast among Hawaii Demo­crats, high­light­ing eth­nic dif­fer­ences, gen­er­a­tion­al dif­fer­ences, and a long-term ideo­lo­gic­al shift with­in the state party.

Only two con­gres­sion­al in­cum­bents have lost primar­ies this year (though as we’ve noted, that by it­self isn’t a full meas­ure of in­cum­bent strength and weak­ness). As primar­ies re­start, that fig­ure could go up fast.
— Scott Bland

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×