Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Here we go again with the party primaries for Congress.  I don't sense of anywhere near the tumult of 2010, but it is early in the season.  Yet, a Republican incumbent did go down to a challenger from the right in Ohio last night, as reported in the Washington Post: 
In the first upset of 2012, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) lost a primary to Army Reserves Major Brad Wenstrup, a political newbie.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Wenstrup won 49 percent to 43 percent.  Schmidt has represented Ohio’s Cincinnatti-area 2nd district since 2005, when she won a special election against Democratic Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett. She faced a tough primary in 2006 from former Rep. Bob McEwan but has not had a serious challenge from within her party since. “I’m honored that the voters heard our message of change,” Wenstrup said in a statement. “Change that includes strong, ethical leadership. Change that also includes reforming government, cutting spending and unleashing small business owners so they can create jobs.”
He challenged Schmidt from the right, targeting her votes for raising the debt ceiling.  Wenstrup had help from the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a new Texas-based super PAC targeting incumbents on both sides of the aisle. The group also backed Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) against Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) in Ohio’s 9th district.  “Voters were the victors,” said PAC co-chairmen Leo Linbeck III and Eric O’Keefe in a statement. “In the 2nd and 9th Districts of Ohio, the Campaign for Primary Accountability achieved its goal of greater participation and competition in Congressional primaries.”

What caught my eye is the SuperPAC - Campaign for Primary Accountability.  They want to pump money to those who challenge incumbents from both parties. (Although they suppported Dennis Kucinich over another Democratic incumbent, so right out of the gate, not terribly consistent).  It is hard to tell what these folks want to achieve substantively although the website has an anti-federal spending, lower taxation, anti-bailout bent.  They seem to be targeting mostly what they would categorize as big-spending incumbents and promoting anti-tax, small government primary challengers in both parties.  

1 comment:

  1. There was an editorial in the New York Times about it yesterday:
    Even though Campaign for Primary Accountability aims at shaking up Congress by helping defeat incumbent House members, it seems to bring even more polarization in primaries...