The Campaign Spot

Reactions to Primary Challengers Aren’t Always So Predictable

MSNBC’s First Read:

While Arkansas isn’t Pennsylvania — where Joe Sestak’s primary has pushed Arlen Specter to the left — [Bill] Halter’s challenge probably ensures that [Blanche] Lincoln ends up voting for reconciliation, assuming that Lincoln wants to remain in the Senate.

Why do folks now see Lincoln as a certain “yes” on Obamacare? Sure, a “no” hurts her in the primary, but a “yes” dooms her in the general. Put another way, she’s near-certain to be looking for a new job to start in January 2011, any way she votes . . .

Over in the House, the cap-and-trade vote appears to have helped trigger a primary challenger to Rep. Allan Mollohan of West Virginia:

[Mike] Oliverio agrees with [Gov. Joe] Manchin that coal will be the deciding issue in this year’s election. Oliverio noted that while Mollohan voted against “cap and trade” climate control legislation, he indicated his opposition only in the last hours before the vote.

“Instead of a member of Congress waiting to the last hour, what West Virginia needs is a leader a fighter on an issue that is important to the state,” Oliverio said. “Think of the jobs, tax revenues and low cost energy it provides.”

Anyone want to bet on Mollohan voting further to the left between now and November?

The West Virginia primary is May 11.

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