The Corner

Once a Tea Party Star, Renee Ellmers Goes Down in Primary Defeat

From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Funny, I Didn’t See Renee Ellmers at Trump’s Victory Rally Last Night

In other election news out of North Carolina, the 2016 primary season finally saw an incumbent House Republican lose a primary battle: Renee Ellmers, elected in 2010. Ellmers just happens to be the one House Republican endorsed in a primary by Donald Trump so far this year.

I’d love to let out a bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha, but the alliance with Trump is, at most, the third reason for Ellmers’ defeat. The biggest reason was a dramatic redrawing of House district lines, one that left her running against another North Carolina GOP Congressman, George Holding. Considering the district lines, Holding began with an advantage; “the new 2nd District will contain far more people and places that Holding currently represents than Ellmers currently represents.”

In the end, it wasn’t close:

“You go to Washington and you think you vote the right way,” Holding said at his victory party Tuesday night. “I try to vote in a conservative manner, and you wonder sometimes, do people even notice? This primary gave me the opportunity to learn that people do notice.”

With all precincts reporting, Holding defeated Ellmers by about 30 percentage points. Ellmers squeaked out a second-place finish by less than a percentage point over tea-party-connected candidate Greg Brannon.

The second biggest reason was Ellmers’ role in undermining key pro-life legislation:

Congressional leaders had planned for weeks to bring up a bill to ban abortions after 20-weeks on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But Ellmers sabotaged the bill by insisting that broad rape and incest exceptions needed to be added to the bill that many pro-life groups were worried would undermine the bill entirely and render the ban moot.

National Right to Life ripped her: “There is no member of Congress in recent memory who has done greater harm to a major piece of pro-life legislation, while claiming to be pro-life, than Renee Ellmers.”

Having said that, Ellmers had Trump record a robo-call for her, and The Atlantic was speculating about the possibility of a “Trump Bump” Tuesday night.

Not only could Trump not save Ellmers in her GOP primary Thursday night, it’s not clear his endorsement did any good. How many incumbent Congressional Republicans want to bet on Trump’s voters to save them in November?

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