Four more primaries, Thompson wins Wisconsin
Four more Senate and House primaries were held today - Wisconsin, Florida, Connecticut and Minnesota.
All four have US Senate races this fall in the battle for control of the Senate.
1) Minnesota: Democrat incumbent Kobuchar is safe. No real primary contests in House races.
2) Connecticut: Joe Lieberman retired, Independent who voted with Democrats. At one time former Congressman Chris Shays, a liberal to moderate Republican, was thought to have a chance if nominated. But he got clobbered by former WWF leader Linda McMahon. She was nominated last time, but blew a winnable race. She did much better this time, but now will be a decided underdog against Congressman Murphy.
3) Florida: Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson won re-nomination. This is a critical seat for the Republicans. They hold the state legislature, statewide offices and most congressional seats yet Florida is a critical state for President and control of the Senate. The Republican nominee is Congressman Connie Mack, who defeated three others with just over 50% (not impressive given huge name identification and funding advantage). His dad Connie Mack was a very popular Senator. His grandfather Connie Mack was one of the historic figures of baseball. His wife is Mary Bono, a congresswoman in her own right who won her late husband Sonny Bono's seat after his death. Polls show it as a hard, close fight just like the Presidential race will likely be. But Mack has a slight edge and so, hopefully, will Romney-Ryan.
There were three interesting congressional primaries here: a) long-time congressman John Mica defeated a more conservative freshman Republican b) Congressman Allan West, a Tea Party favorite, easily won and c) Cliff Stearns, a long-time quiet conservative leader in Congress was upset by around 700 votes in his primary
4) Wisconsin: It seems like Wisconsin has been the center of the political universe since the last election. Scott Walker and the Republicans amazingly swept Wisconsin in 2010. They passed legislation to reform statewide pensions and the public sector unions initiated a recall election. The brawl took on national implications, with Walker finally winning by a larger margin than he did the first time. The GOP held on to the majority, but did lose some Senate seats. In 2010 the Republicans took a lead in congressional seats as well, including the stunning upset of long-time Democrat leader David Obey. This year there were no real challenges in the House primaries.
United States Senator Herb Kohl, of Kohl's Department Stores and long-time owner of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team, decided to retire. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, one of the most leftist members of Congress, is the Democrat nominee. She is the first lesbian to serve in the House and would be the first to serve in the Senate. She is far to the liberal side when Wisconsin is trending the other direction.
So the Republicans decided to have a war. Former Governor Tommy Thompson designed WorkFare and helped pioneer the Milwaukee school public school charter movement that started it all. Then he served as HHS Secretary, and since then has been in Washington. But he came back for one more try. Wealthy businessman Eric Hovde, with the backing of some conservative economic groups, spent truckloads of money trying to win, even though he was a long-time Washington resident as well. Former Congressman Mark Neumann had Tea Party backing and a fourth candidate Jeff Fitzgerald was also in the race.
Thompson, to the chagrin of many conservatives won, bucking the trend of old guys losing. Thompson is certainly no RINO (Republican In Name Only) even though he likely was called that over and over. But he was the most establishment candidate in the race.
His victory was narrow. He basically won Madison south, west and east. Hovde won the Milwaukee suburbs up thru Green Bay and some of the north central/east cities. But the victory of Thompson was one in the more rural areas, where pike and muskies outnumber people. There he clearly led with Neuman a reasonably close second. But the wealthy businessman Hovde, even though conservative, did so poorly that even though there weren't many votes, they gave Thompson a solid but not impressive win (34% to 31% to 23% to 12%).
You can go to my Facebook page for a review of how it unfolded.
Next up: The Republican National Convention and one more primary: Arizona.