Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Anti-Incumbency Fever Set To Hit PA, AR, KY

It's a cool, rainy and most likely uneventful political day in New York. All eyes will likely be fixed on the primary elections in nearby Pennsylvania, and Arkansas and Kentucky as well. Two incumbents are looking at serious challengers and after Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) was booted by a more right-wing Republican, the situation has become quite serious. Two of today's races are contests on the left, while the other in Kentucky pits a teabag backed candidate versus the Republican party's choice to take over for resident loon Jim Bunning (who has spurned the establishment and backed the teabag-friendly Rand Paul).

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is not on the ballot in this week's primaries, nor is Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Senate leader.

But both have a stake in intensely competitive Senate races in three states, contests testing the strength of the tea party among Kentucky Republicans and the durability of incumbent Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.

In a fourth race of national significance, Republican Tim Burns and Democrat Mark Critz battled to fill out the term of the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha in a congressional district in southwestern Pennsylvania. Both political parties reported spending roughly $1 million to sway the race, turning it into a laboratory for the fall campaign, when all 435 House seats will be on the ballot.

Laboratories aside, the biggest issue here that isn't mentioned in the article is that turnout will likely be extremely low. Any kind of defining moment, or partisan revolution, will come from a small minority of voters who are either fearful of new blood or sick of the same old politician and wish to make a change. Of course, there'll be a big headline on every paper tomorrow morning proclaiming a mandate has been stated by the American people (living in PA, AR and KY) regardless. The truth of the matter though, is that most people simply do not care about these contests and do not see a point in bothering to make it to the ballot box.