||One of the nation's top political analysts, Stuart Rothenberg, dissects politics at the congressional and statewide levels.|
Primary Results Update: Pennsylvania, Arkansas And Oregon
By Stuart Rothenberg
GOP voters in Pennsylvania's 15th C.D. reminded pundits and prognosticators about the uncertainty of primaries by nominating businessman Pat Toomey for the Republican nomination. Toomey was widely regarded as trailing both state Sen. Joe Uliana and '96 nominee Bob Kilbanks.
Uliana, the front runner, was hammered late in the campaign by his opponents, as well as by term limits groups. He and Kilbanks exchanged shots late in the campaign, leaving an opening for Toomey, the well-funded, pro-choice Republican in the field.
In addition to tactics, geography apparently also mattered. While Uliana won Northampton County, he finished fourth in Lehigh County. Toomey won in Lehigh but finished third in Northhampton. Kilbanks finished second in both counties.
Toomey now faces state Sen. Roy Afflerbach in November. Republicans should be concerned about Toomey's ability to hold together the GOP coalition -- he won the nomination with just over 27 percent of the total GOP primary vote -- as well as whether he can appeal to the district's blue-collar voters.
Afflerback lacks the Republican's polish, but this isn't a district where polish is all that important. The race is a tossup, but begins to lean slightly toward the Democrats.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, conservative Cong. Bill Goodling (R-PA 19) crushed conservative primary opponent Charlie Gerow, who was backed by Gary Bauer and term limits forces, and car dealer Tom Sherwood won a crowded Republican primary to win the GOP nomination in the 10th C.D. He's an underdog against Democrat Pat Casey (D). And in the 13th C.D., incumbent Jon Fox easily won renomination against three challengers. Fox now faces a re-match against County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel (D) in the general election. Two years ago, Fox beat Hoeffel by 84 votes.
In the Arkansas Senate primaries, former congresswoman Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D) easily placed first in the Democratic primary, just falling short of winning a majority. That means she'll face Attorney General Winston Bryant in a runoff. She'll be a clear favorite for the nomination, and begins with an almost equally clear advantage in the fall against the Republican nominee, state Sen. Fay Boozman.
In Oregon, in the 1st C.D., businessman David Wu apparently came from behind to edge out Linda Peters for the Democratic nomination, while '96 candidate Molly Bordonaro, a conservative, beat moderate John Kvistad for the GOP nomination. Wu's victory complicates Republican prospects for winning that seat in November.
In Oregon's 2nd C.D., moderate Greg Waldon beat conservative Perry Atkinson and former congressman Wes Cooley, making him not only the GOP nominee but also the prohibitive favorite for the fall election. Conservative groups beat up on Waldon, and a term limits group did heavy advertising against him. But he was been endorsed by outgoing congressman Bob Smith (R).
All in all, Tuesday wasn't a great day for conservatives or term limits advocates. And a Senate seat the Republicans once coveted -- Arkansas -- seems to be slipping away quickly.