Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Specter & the Spectre of Incumbency

image:: Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., along with his daughter, Alex, and his wife, Susan, speaks at a primary night watch event at the Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Wayne, Pa., Tuesday, 18 May 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Originally posted on ThickCulture

Arlen Specter, longtime 6-term Republican who switched to the Democratic Party is out. He lost his bid for re-election in yesterday's primary. The emerging pattern is that the people aren't interested in politics as usual and that incumbency may be a heavy liability in the November midterms.

Usually, incumbency offers advantages and even in the bloodletting midterm elections of 1994 and 2006, incumbents were re-elected at a relatively high rate—just not as high as usual. My thinking is that some incumbents will have a harder time than others with the key driver being how ties they are to the establishment.

Sestak was behind the 8-ball in early polls, but I agree with the analysis that ideology didn't drive the turnaround. It was a desire for a fresh face. Here's the ad {"The Switch"} by Joe Sestak that started Arlen Specter's decline in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary::

The ad linked Specter to the establishment.

It will be interesting how the races in California play out. There are two Republican ex-Silicon Valley CEO political outsiders vying for the statehouse and Barbara Boxer's Senate seat. Millionaire Carly Fiorina running for Governor and billionaire Meg Whitman setting her sights on the U.S. Senate, if they get through the primaries, are hoping to give marquee-name Democrats {Boxer and Jerry Brown, respectively} a run for their money. I don't think their messages will get much traction in California this year, but never underestimate the power of a substantial warchest. I'm sure Jerry Brown's sister, Kathleen, still remembers what happens when you run out of money in a campaign, as she did in 1994.

Song:: Green Day-'American Idiot'

Twitterversion:: [blog] Specter loses Senate bid—PA primary. Will incumbents face a "throw the bums out" mandate this fall? #ThickCulture @Prof_K

1 comment:

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