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May 21, 2014 1:28 PM Did You Know Last Night Was a Mittiganza?

By Ed Kilgore

I’ve seen a lot of post-election spin in my day, but this may take the cake (from BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins):

For the small orbit of friends, loyalists, and former aides that still revolves around Mitt Romney, Tuesday’s GOP primaries were cause for celebration — and a little bit of gloating.
The elections featured a trio of Romney-endorsed Republicans beating back challenges from the tea party by filling their coffers with establishment cash, and appealing to electoral pragmatism. In Idaho, Rep. Mike Simpson defeated his primary opponent with $4 million raised by allies like the United States Chamber of Commerce. In Pennsylvania, incumbent Rep. Bill Shuster triumphed over a challenge from the right. And in Oregon, Monica Wehby, a pro-abortion rights neurosurgeon who many Republicans have touted as a rising star, emerged victorious despite a last-minute character assault led by Democrats.

Never mind that all three of these candidates were heavily favored. Or that one of them, Wehby, won not because of any help from Mitt but because revelations of her serial stalking of former menfolk in her life (illustrated by police reports and 9-1-1 records, not by any “character assult led by Democrats) came out too late to affect the result in a all-mail-ballot state. Or that Wehby enters the general election against Jeff Merkley perhaps mortally wounded. Or that Romney had nothing to do with all the other races last night, most of which got more attention than the three he was involved in.

No, May 20 was a Mittiganza.

Ryan Williams, a former Romney campaign spokesman, boasted, “Tonight was a good night for Gov. Romney and his endorsed candidates.”
He went on to add, “For too long our party has been without a powerful voice who has been able to help the most electable conservative candidates build support and raise the resources needed to navigate competitive primary contests. Governor Romney has filled that void.”

In single House districts in Idaho and Pennsylvania, and in Oregon.

Well, guess the Comeback has to start somewhere.

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.

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