Several congressional primaries were held this week, and while the results were mixed, the anti-incumbent wave predicted for 2010 is still alive and well. For the GOP, the biggest race was the five-way contest in Indiana, where the winner goes on to face Rep. Brad Ellsworth, the Democrats’ handpicked successor to retiring Sen. Evan Bayh. Former Republican Sen. Dan Coats, heavily favored and promoted by establishment Republicans, won with 39 percent, a less-than-stellar performance that was likely hindered by his lobbyist background and abandonment of Hoosiers. Meanwhile, incumbent Republican Reps. Dan Burton and Mark Souder likewise squeaked by with only a plurality of the vote after their opponents attacked them for becoming creatures of Washington.
North Carolina Democrats turned out in record-low numbers and the two Washington-connected opponents looking to take on Sen. Richard Burr (R) will have to hold a runoff. In the Ohio Democrat primary to fill the open seat left by Republican George Voinovich’s pending retirement, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher won with 55 percent, which seems impressive until one considers that his opponent was supported by ACORN and was so broke she didn’t have enough money for a single television ad.
In other election news, The New York Times reports, “Among the many reverberations of President Obama’s election, here is one he probably never anticipated: at least 32 African-Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans, the biggest surge since Reconstruction, according to party officials. ” The Times says party officials believe this is the result of “the marriage of two factors: dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, and the proof, as provided by Mr. Obama, that blacks can get elected.”