Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Good Night For the Democrats

Democratic chances of holding the US Senate seat of Arlen Spector (D, no longer R - PA) improved somewhat last night with the defeat of Sen. Arlen Spector. Seems weird, but it's true. Rep. Joe Sestak is a much more compelling figure than Senator Spector and is much the better candidate for the general election.

Democratic chances of picking up the US Senate seat of Jim Bunning in Kentucky improved somewhat last night when the Republicans nominated Rand Paul by a wide margin over establishment favorite Trey Grayson. Grayson's campaign was inept. Paul's campaign was pretty good. But running in a conservative primary and running in a general election are two very different enterprises. It's not yet clear (at least to me) that Paul can play on the bigger stage.

Extended, caustic primary battles are never good for the party enduring them, so the news from Arkansas (there will be a run-off primary because last night's primary did not produce a majority vote for one candidate) is probably bad for Democrats. But whoever emerges from the June run-off primary will face Rep. John Boozman. Boozman is not a particularly sharp opponent. A clever campaign can keep this one close.

Meanwhile, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) captured 90% of his party's primary vote, while some law professor that no one has ever heard of managed to win the GOP primary. Barring some kind of political earthquake, Wyden should coast to re-election.

All in all, not a bad night for the Democrats.