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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

A Good Night for McConnell, a Disappointing One for the Clinton Family



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

How About [YAWN] Those Thrilling [YAWN] Primary Night Results?

It would be easy to say something snarky or derisive about Matt Bevin, jumping into a primary challenge against Mitch McConnell and largely failing to get any traction, winning only 35 percent to McConnell’s 60 percent. Yes, he made a bunch of missteps along the way. Yes, he was an imperfect-at-best messenger for an anti-TARP message. But he got in the arena, made his case, stood up for what he believed in, and took his lumps. That’s what America’s system of free elections is all about, and the country — and the conservative movement — will need more people willing to do that in the years to come. And as much as Tuesday night’s results must have disappointed Bevin and his supporters, it’s worth remembering that the McConnell campaign treated him like a serious threat — because he had the potential to be a serious threat.

The boss . . . doesn’t quite agree:

To no one’s surprise, Mitch McConnell won handily tonight, a testament to his sure-footedness in Kentucky politics and to the folly of the groups that invested so much in defeating him. Those groups ran a weak candidate with probably only a long-shot chance to win at best and ended up, in effect, making a large in-kind contribution to the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign — largely because they were bent on pursuing a vendetta with deep roots in the Senate cloakroom, consequences be damned. I’m glad that, as Pat notes, the groups are now endorsing McConnell, but this was a primary challenge that started out dumb and ended up dumber.

Note that last night Grimes got . . . 76 percent up against a trio of no-names in the Democratic primary? Hmm. Nearly 100,000 Kentucky Democrats voted for one of the other guys.

In Georgia’s GOP Senate primary, David Purdue and Jack Kingston advanced to the runoff, as expected.

In Pennsylvania . . . maybe the Clinton endorsement isn’t so golden after all:

State Rep. Brendan Boyle won the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District Tuesday and is overwhelmingly favored to take over the Democratic-leaning district, after besting Clinton in-law and former Rep. Marjorie Margolies in the primary.

Quick point on Oregon, where we can expect the rest of the campaign to revolve around this:

An employee of the Democratic Party of Oregon was the first person to request the April 2013 police report of timber baron Andrew Miller accusing Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby of “stalking” him after a break-up.

For Republicans, there’s some delicious satisfaction of accurately accusing Democrats of snooping around in a woman’s personal life, and accusing them of a war on women.

But are those of us who don’t know Monica Wehby sure the voters shouldn’t think about this accusation? Maybe not enough to disqualify herself from the U.S. Senate, the august institution that includes Al Franken and used to include Ted Kennedy, Robert “Sheets” Byrd, Ben “Cornhusker Kickback” Nelson, Bob Torricelli . . . 

This is from her victory speech last night:

When I was going through the process of deciding to get into this race it was my son who first said, “Mom, why would you leave a job that you love, that you trained until you were 35 years old to do, where everybody loves you, to take a job where people say all kinds of mean things about you on the internet.”

And I told him about a brain-tumor patient of mine who had made a full recovery and came back to my office to give me a card that I treasure to this day. The card read, “If we’re not here to make life better for one another, then what’s the point?” Over the last several days, in the face of vicious, ugly, and hurtful attacks, I’ve thought a lot about both my son’s question and my patient’s words of wisdom. And now more than ever I take those words to heart. I am running for Senate because I want to help make life a little better for each other.

Look, Lord knows I’m not perfect. I am like countless other Oregonians. I’m a working mom who balances a career that I love with children that I adore and would do anything to protect. I try my best, but in my life I’ve made some mistakes. And when I do, I’m no different than any of you in that when I’ve fallen short, I have gotten up and tried to do better. I promise that as your Senator, I will do the same.

My message to the Democrats who are willing to shred my family for their own political gain is that people are tired of your dirty tricks. The best way to defeat a bully is to stand up to them, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Tonight, we are sending a message that this Senate race will not be decided by the ugly kind of politics that people in Oregon and across the country are sick of. That time is over.

I’m exactly the person capable of changing things. You see I’m not a career politician, but I am a doctor, a mom, and someone very familiar with my opponent’s playbook. As President of the Oregon Medical Association, I ran our state’s TORT reform campaign — that was my first experience with hate mail. In 2009 I put my professional reputation on the line by appearing in television ads that ran nationwide warning people about the dangers of Obamacare — that was when I had to change my home phone number. In 2011 I ran and was elected to the board of trustees at the American Medical Association as a conservative change agent, to try and move that organization in a more balanced direction.

I say this not just to give you a bit of my biography, but to let you know that I have a long history of standing up for what I believe in.

Game on, Oregon.


Tags: Mitch McConnell , Matt Bevin , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Monica Wehby


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