June 9th, 2010
NY Daily News
BY Sean Alfano
Golden State Republicans hope they've nominated a pair of golden gals to defeat Democrats this November.
Their opponents conceded the races within 90 minutes of the polls closing, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, will now face three-term Sen. Barbara Boxer, while Whitman, who used to head eBay, goes up against former governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown.
Both candidates poured millions of their own dollars into their campaigns, with Whitman dropping an astounding $71 million, a record for a California politician, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Speaking for both women, Whitman announced to her supporters after winning the primary, "Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., be warned — you now face your worst nightmare; two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done!"
Whitman quickly turned to bashing Brown:
"Jerry Brown has spent a lifetime in politics and the results have not been good," Whitman, 53, said of her 72-year-old opponent. "Failure seems to follow Jerry Brown everywhere."
Not to be outdone, Brown shot back, saying, "It's not enough for someone rich and restless to look in the mirror one morning and decide, 'Hey, it's time to be governor of California.'"
As for Fiorina, 55, she heads into a historic, all-female showdown for the Senate seat.
"I believe in lower taxes," Fiorina said, "so that we the people can best decide to spend and invest our hard-earned dollars."
Speaking of Boxer, Fiorina continued, "She believes the government can best decide how to spend your income."
Boxer simply referred to Fiorina as a "heartless" executive who only knows how to eliminate jobs, not create them.
June 9th, 2010
A senior White House official just called me with a very pointed message for the administration's sometime allies in organized labor, who invested heavily in beating Blanche Lincoln, Obama's candidate, in Arkansas.
"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise," the official said. "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."
Lincoln relied heavily both on Obama's endorsement, which she advertised relentlessly on radio and in the mail, and on the backing of former President Bill Clinton, who backed her to the hilt.
Lincoln foe Bill Halter had the unstinting support of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME and other major unions. And labor officials Tuesday evening were already working to spin the narrow loss of their candidate, Bill Halter, as a moral victory, but the cost in money and in the goodwill of the White House may be a steep price to pay for a near miss.
UPDATE: AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale responds that "labor isn't an arm of the Democratic Party."
June 9th, 2010
WASHINGTON - The subplots abounded Tuesday night: Antipathy toward elected officials and the establishment. The power of special interests. Tests of party purity. The tea party. The quixotic fight against hyper-partisanship.
Each of these narratives, any one of them a powerful story line on its own, came together on the busiest day of the primary season, a concentrated preview of November's midterm elections. And all were the result or a cause of the single most defining trait of the U.S. political landscape:
A dispirited public is demanding change. Again.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a centrist from Arkansas, defied an anti-incumbent boomlet by winning a runoff against a primary opponent backed by labor groups. Union spent millions of dollars against Lincoln in a failed attempt to send a signal to other not-so-friendly Democrats.
Lincoln's comeback strategy was twofold: She took the anti-incumbent mood head on — "I know you're angry at Washington," she said in one ad — while making out-of-state unions a political boogeyman more scary than even, well, a Washington incumbent.
These outsiders, she said, "try to tell us who we are and buy our votes."
Former President Bill Clinton, still popular in his home state, especially among black voters, echoed Lincoln's messages.
With Clinton and Arkansas business leaders behind Lincoln, the race became a fight between the state's establishment (Lincoln, Clinton and the Chamber of Commerce) and the Washington establishment (unions).
There were numerous candidates — incumbents and challengers, Republicans and Democrats — whose races were influenced by outside groups who acted independently from the campaigns. Such freelancing can overwhelm the candidates' own message, and it gives voters more pause about the political system.
In addition to Lincoln, two other congressional incumbents faced stiff challenges Tuesday night: Reps. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., and Jane Harman, D-Calif.
Inglis fell far behind his primary challenger and was forced into a runoff after a race centered around the incumbent's support for the 2008 financial bailout. He's not the first incumbent haunted by that vote.
Nevada voters tossed Gov. Jim Gibbons from office after a tumultuous term that was marred by a bitter divorce and allegations of infidelities.
Less than one-third of Americans say they are inclined to support their House representative in November, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, a level lower than in 1994, when Democrats lost control of the House after 40 years in power.
Four incumbents lost seats earlier this spring: Sens. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Arlen Specter, D-Pa., and Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., and Parker Griffith, R-Ala.
Political neophytes were the rage again Tuesday, winning from California to New Jersey. An unemployed military veteran stunned South Carolina Democratic Party leaders by winning the nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.
Primary voters are punishing candidates who cooperate with the opposing party. Specter was one of the Senate's best-known moderates. Republican activists ended Bennett's career because he had worked with a Democrat on a health care bill that went nowhere.
Lincoln avoided that fate. Inglis was punished.
Voters tell pollsters that partisanship and gridlock are among the reasons they despise Washington.
California voters sought to tackle the problem by approving an initiative to scrap the primary system for state and congressional elections. Supporters say the change will benefit moderates who often stumble in highly partisan primaries.
Party leaders oppose the idea — no surprise — because they fear a loss of clout.
It was an uneven performance for the loose coalition of conservative and disenchanted voters called a tea party.
Movement candidates won in Nevada, South Carolina, Georgia and Maine.
But in Virginia, three tea party congressional candidates lost.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll showed the percentage of Americans who hold an unfavorable view of the movement has jumped from 39 percent in March to 50 percent.
It's not that voters are any happier than they were three months ago. Perhaps some are starting to view the tea party — and its controversial candidates — as something else not to like about politics.
Less than two years ago, voters sought to pull the country in a dramatically different direction by electing a young, inexperienced president who promised to change politics. Despite a deep economic recession, the percentage of people who believed the country was headed in the right direction skyrocketed. Barack Obama's job approval numbers soared.
While Obama's ratings are fairly steady now — his job approval hovers around 50 percent — a vast majority believe the country is on the wrong track. Only 22 percent of Americans say they trust the government in Washington, according to Pew Research Center, among the lowest measures in half a century.
The unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent. Oil sullies the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. troops die in Afghanistan and Iraq. Government bailouts and Obama's health care initiative stir fears about the national debt. And, nine years after 9/11, doubts linger about the country's defenses.
"We need," said GOP voter Tony Williams on Election Day in California, "some new blood in there."
More from msnbc.com
June 9th, 2010
TALIBAN fighters are burying dirty needles with their bombs in a bid to infect British troops with HIV, The Sun can reveal.
Hypodermic syringes are hidden below the surface pointing upwards to prick bomb squad experts as they hunt for devices.
The heroin needles are feared to be contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. And if the bomb goes off, the needles become deadly flying shrapnel.
June 9th, 2010
If there's one political lesson from Tuesday's primary results, it's this: When voters become disenchanted with the political system, insiders do best by impersonating outsiders.
In Arkansas, embattled Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln narrowly captured her party's nomination by positioning herself as an underdog fighting for her political life against big-money influence from Washington.
In South Carolina, Nikki Haley made it to a June 22 runoff in the state's GOP gubernatorial primary by running as a tea party insurgent, in spite of her close ties to incumbent Republican Gov. Mark Sanford.
And in California, two establishment candidates, Meg Whitman in the GOP gubernatorial race and Carly Fiorina in the GOP Senate race, won their respective nominations by running as fresh-faced outsiders willing to challenge the status quo, even though both women are very rich, self-financed former corporate executives.
Yet as analysts begin to assess the biggest day of voting thus far in the 2010 race, the question of how voters feel heading into November was as muddled as ever.
In Nevada, tea party favorite Sharron Angle defeated the onetime frontrunner in the race, former state GOP chair Sue Lowden, by double digits — a major victory for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has his best shot of winning re-election against Angle. But was Angle's victory more reflective of the tea party movement or Lowden's own campaign missteps? In the final month of the campaign, Lowden wounded her own campaign by suggesting live chickens could be bartered in exchange for medical care — a claim endlessly mocked by Democrats and press commentators — and her campaign never recovered.
Still, the tea party's influence in the race cannot be underestimated. In the final hours of the campaign, both Lowden and third-place finisher Danny Tarkanian tried to swing votes their way by trumpeting talk-show host Glenn Beck's doubts about Angle's electability this November. Yet tonight's results also call into question how big a movement the tea party really is. While Angle and Haley, another tea party favorite, sailed to victory, a trio of party-backed candidates in Virginia House races easily fought off tea party challengers.
In any case, one political theme is clearly unchanged: the influence of money. In California, Whitman spent more than $70 million of her own to win the primary, setting new records in a state well known for its expensive campaigns. California also approved Prop. 14, a voter initiative instituting an open-primary system that would pit the two top vote-getters in a primary automatically in a runoff-style general election. The measure was pitched as a way to steer candidates into the political center, but opponents of the initiative claim that it will only fortify big-money candidacies in the state.
Finally, Whitman played into a theme that, as we noted earlier, might have legs this November: the rise of GOP women. Women dominated nearly all the big Republican races tonight — Haley in South Carolina, Fiorina and Whitman in California, and Angle in Nevada. Blanche Lincoln, who was first elected to the House in the historic 1992 "Year of the Woman" wave that principally benefited Democratic candidates, probably couldn't have imagined a similar trend taking shape on the GOP side of the aisle when she first came to Washington. But back then, Lincoln really was an outsider.
— Holly Bailey is a senior political writer for Yahoo! News.