Political Animal


June 13, 2012 8:44 AM At the Polls Yesterday

By Ed Kilgore

A scattering of primaries and one special election yesterday should be noted before we all move on; none will get the kind of attention Wisconsin’s recall election received last week.

In Arizona, as expected, former Gabby Giffords staffer Ron Barber held her House seat for Democrats, defeating arch-conservative Republican Jesse Kelly by a 52-46 margin.

In North Dakota, voters handily defeated two ballot initiatives backed by conservative activists: a “religious freedom” law that would have arguably protected clergy against child abuse allegations (it lost about two to one), and an initiative repealing all property taxes, which lost by better than three to one.

In Maine, voters chose Democratic (state senator Cynthia Dill, a progressive favorite) and Republican (well-known Secretary of State Charlie Summers) as their candidates to succeed Olympic Snowe, but independent Angus King remains the heavy favorite.

And in South Carolina, primary turnout reached record lows (under 4% in Richland County, which includes the state capital, Columbia) after a court decision knocked more than 200 challengers off the ballot.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on June 13, 2012 8:59 AM:

    Maybe Rick Scott can ask the FL Supreme Court to emulate SC's?
    Now THAT'S how you suppress votes!
    And to make sure only the "right" 4% votes.

    As for Angus King, the best reason NOT to vote for him, is that he'll be Joe Manchin's BFF, taking "The Dishonorable Joe Lieberman "Indy" Douch-nozzle Senate Seat," and help him stick shivs into the backs of Democrats on a daily basis - up to, and including, President Obama, if he gets elected.

  • DAY on June 13, 2012 9:21 AM:

    In Days of Yore you could follow the heady aroma of Habanos and Montecristos to find the smoke filled rooms where the realpolitik was practiced.

    The cigars and booze have been replaced with urls, but the money has multiplied tenfold, and the primary candidates are curried and groomed like Lipizzaner stallions- with a few fillies included, if they are "up to snuff'.
    Oops, snuff has gone the way of Delmonico's and Gaslight, but the rules are the same. Gerrymander the district, turn out the base, and distract the hoi poloi with something bright and shiny on primary day. Result: A Scott Brown with a safe senate seat from here to eternity.
    Unless, of course, the Democrats run a qualified candidate like Ms. Warren- and GOTV!

  • Hedda Peraz on June 13, 2012 9:23 AM:

    You mean, like Joe Manchin?

  • Peter C on June 13, 2012 9:38 AM:

    I'm glad to see sanity in North Dakota. We should never assume that states like ND are irretrievably conservative. We need to find these sane people, inform them, and get them to vote.

  • merrinc on June 13, 2012 9:59 AM:

    The link for the North Dakota results is incorrect. It leads to the HuffPo article about the Arizona election.

  • Patrick Star on June 13, 2012 10:02 AM:

    I think it's a sad commentary of our times that a pie-in-the-sky ballot initiative proposing to eliminate all property taxes would actually end up on a state ballot, ANY state ballot. Remember the old stereotype of Republicans being "realists" and Democrats being Pollyannas? I swear, a large percentage of this country is high on something.