This post first appeared on Daily Kos. Forty-two states have already done it, and by this time next week, the entirety of the nation will have completed the process of primary elections. And, in the grand tradition of saving the best for last, there is no shortage of high-octane contests with which we will close out the primary season this week. So, allow this to be your clip-and-save preview of the week's festivities, which kick off Tuesday in seven different states, and then come to a conclusion out west on Saturday, when Hawaii closes the curtain on the primary election cycle. Both Republicans and Democrats have races this week to keep their eyes on, but as has happened throughout the 2010 cycle, the majority of the fireworks are on the Right. DELAWARE: DE-Sen, DE-AL Two months ago, only the most grossly addicted of the political junkie class could have told you the name Christine O'Donnell. Now, O'Donnell, the far-right Republican who was boatraced in 2008 by Joe Biden even as he was being elected Vice-President, has become the center of attention for the political community as we head into primary week. It was about two months ago that the teabaggers decided to make this race their cause celebre, putting longtime Congressman and runaway GOP primary favorite Mike Castle into their crosshairs. That, plus O'Donnell's abnormally brutal (not to mention, at least to some extent, gay-baiting) campaign against Castle seems to have found some purchase in the soils of the Delaware GOP electorate. Just this morning, Tom Jensen of PPP teased that their final poll in the race (due tonight) has it as a single-digit race between Castle and O'Donnell. This has huge implications for the general election. Democratic County Executive Chris Coons is waiting patiently as the certain Dem nominee, and polls show that he has an infinitely better shot at keeping the seat Democratic against O'Donnell than he does against Castle, though he is surprisingly competitive against the longtime GOP Congressman. While the Senate primary is consuming most of the oxygen, it is worth remembering that there is also a primary on Tuesday for the lone House seat in the state (held since 1992 by Mike Castle). Democrat John Carney, the former state Lt. Governor, will learn the identity of his GOP opponent. Attorney and GOP activist Michelle Rollins is generally considered to be the favorite, but she has been challenged hard by wealthy real estate developer Glen Urquhart, who has dropped a half million of his own money into the race. Carney is sitting on more cash-on-hand than either Republican has raised to date, however, and he held a lead in the PPP poll conducted for DK last month. This is the seat that arguably is the most likely in the nation to flip from Republican to Democrat. HAWAII (To be held on Saturday 9/18): HI-Gov, HI-Sen, HI-01 The governorship most likely to change hands from Repubican to Democrat is way out West, where Hawaii's ancestral roots (and the fact that they are the state that still retains the most affection for native son Barack Obama) means that Dems are in the driver's seat for Governor, according to recent polling. First, though, the Democrats have to figure out who will lead their ticket. From the outset, this has been a two-man race between longtime Congressman Neal Abercrombie and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. A late primary poll by the Merriman River Group breaks what had been a coin flip throughout. The poll gave Abercrombie a seventeen-point edge over Hannemann (48-31). Republican state Lt. Governor Duke Aiona has nominal opposition next weekend, and is almost universally expected to be the nominee. Forgotten in the state (and nationally) is the fact that Hawaii will be electing a Senator in November. Daniel Inouye, in his late 80s, has been in DC for half a century, and he will seek another term this fall. Cam Cavasso, who lost to Inouye in 2004, and activist John Roco are the leading competitors to lose to Inouye in November. Abercrombie's early 2010 exit from the House (and the unusual special election rules in Hawaii) handed his House seat to the GOP, in the form of Charles Djou. Djou looked like he might benefit from the Democratic schism that earned him a special election win with just 39% of the vote. Then, in late May, former Democratic Congressman Ed Case surprisingly reversed field and dropped his House bid. That left state Senator Colleen Hanabusa as the last prominent Dem standing. Both Djou and Hanabusa have nominal competition next week, and lots of eyes will be here in November, as this is one of the few legitimate Democratic pickup opportunities. MARYLAND: MD-Gov, MD-Sen, MD-01 Much (probably too much) has been made of Sarah Palin's wave of endorsements this Fall. But easily her most perplexing interference in a primary came in Maryland, where she spurned the clear betting favorite, former Governor Bob Ehrlich, in favor of little-known investment executive Brian Murphy. While no polls were conducted in the final days of the race, a late August poll indicated that Murphy had a little hill to climb to catch Ehrlich: he was down by sixty-two points (75-13). Ehrlich will face incumbent Democrat Martin O'Malley, who took Ehrlich out back in 2006. Polls have shown the race close, with O'Malley staked to a narrow advantage. While a number of Democratic Senators are in electoral peril this Fall, one who appears to be doing just fine is fourth-term Senator Barbara Mikulski. She faces several primary opponents, but no one expects her to be in any primary peril. The frontrunner in a crowded (11 candidates!) GOP primary is County Commissioner Eric Wargotz, who has dumped $575,000 of his own money into his bid. Primaries can be found for 14 of the 16 major party nominations for the U.S. House, but the main one worth watching is in the swing district in eastern Maryland's 1st district. Democrat Frank Kratovil is unopposed, and he seems likely to face a rematch with the man he barely defeated in 2008: Republican CfG fave Andy Harris. But Harris has an interesting primary challenge from IT consultant Rob Fisher, who has dumped almost half a million bucks into his longshot bid. Harris is still a strong favorite, and this is the one House race in Maryland that it at risk of changing hands in November. MASSACHUSETTS: MA-Gov, MA-04, MA-09, MA-10 Massachusetts' gubernatorial race will get a lot of attention in November, with a legitimate three-way battle between incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick, Republican health care executive Charlie Baker, and Democrat-turned-Indie state Treasurer Tim Cahill. However, the convention process in the Bay State ended the primary process (ending the bid of GOP hopeful Christy Mihos), so primary day will be quiet for the three gubernatorial aspirants. Two House primaries, however, are worth keeping an eye on in nominally Democratic Massachusetts. For the first time in several cycles, there is a legitimate GOP target in Massachusetts: the Cape-based 10th district. It has historically been the most GOP-friendly district in the state, and was carried by Republican Senator Scott Brown in January. Both parties have competitive primaries in the wake of the retirement of longtime Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt. On the Democratic side, state senator Robert O'Leary is going heads-up with Norfolk County DA Bill Keating. Keating has easily won the fundraising primary, but the lone internal poll released in this race (in late July) gave O'Leary a six-point edge (44-38). On the Republican side, which has been percolating since before Delahunt hit the bricks, the two leading candidates are former state Treasurer Joe Malone and state legislator Jeff Perry. UPDATE: Two other intriguing primaries on the Democratic side that I meant to hit, and got lost in the shuffle. In the 4th district, longtime incumbent Democrat Barney Frank has arguably the most amusing primary of the night against Lyndon LaRouche activist Rachel Brown. For the uninitiated, the two first locked horns in 2009, when Frank referred to Brown at a townhall (where she had asked a question about HCR by referring to it as a Nazi policy) by saying that talking to her was like arguing with a "dining room table." Speaking of HCR, it is front-and-center of a potentially hot primary in the 9th district, where Stephen Lynch's somewhat inexplicable "no" vote on the bill in the Spring earned him a Democratic challenge from union political director Mac D'Alessandro. Lynch was obviously worried enough about the primary challenger to limit debating to a single 15-minute joint TV appearance. NEW HAMPSHIRE: NH-Gov, NH-Sen, NH-01, NH-02 New Hampshire's marquee race on Tuesday is on the Senate side. Congressman Paul Hodes has the Democratic nomination locked down, but the Republican side is a multi-candidate scrum that has grown more intriguing as we have drawn closer to the primary. In a rare break from form, Sarah Palin went with the establishment choice in the Granite State, giving her nod to state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. This was not only welcomed by Ayotte, but it was (in a pretty comical shot) welcomed by Hodes, as well. Curiously for Ayotte, the nexus of establishment support and the anointment by Mama Grizzly has not translated to electoral success. The influential Manchester Union-Leader decided to give their endorsement to Ayotte's leading conservative challenger, 1996 gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne. Tom Jensen of PPP will be dropping their final poll on the race tonight, and they see a single-digit race there, as well. New Hampshire does have primaries for both gubernatorial nominations Tuesday night, but the winners there are essentially foregone conclusions. Incumbent Governor John Lynch is certain to earn re-nomination from the Democratic Party, while Jensen tweeted last night that his polling makes it extremely clear that, on the GOP side, former state HHS commissioner John Stephen will win the nomination. Both of New Hampshire's House seats will be watched closely in November, and they both have races which will be watched closely on Tuesday, as well. In the 1st district, incumbent Democrat Carol Shea-Porter will learn the identity of her GOP challenger. For months, it seemed like the establishment Republicans were going to ride-or-die with former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. However, the free spending of self-funding businessman Sean Mahoney has made the race extraordinarily competitive. In fact, a late poll has pushed Mahoney into a single-digit lead over Guinta. Meanwhile, in the open seat 2nd district, the action is on the Democratic side, and progressives have a clear rooting interest. Attorney Ann McLane Kuster is an Orange to Blue pick, and her dogged campaigning has moved her into the frontrunners' position against Katrina Swett, the conservative Democrat whose ideological positions makes this race a clear choice for progressive voters. Former Congressman Charlie Bass (who Paul Hodes knocked from office in 2006) is seeking a comeback on the GOP side, and is the betting favorite over former state legislator Bob Giuda and 2008 GOP nominee Jennifer Horn. NY-15: NY-Gov, NY-Sen (both of them), NY-01, NY-13, NY-15, NY-23 The state with the greatest volume of races to watch on Tuesday is the Empire State, where there are no less than half a dozen races to keep an eye on come Tuesday night. At one point, the highest profile race in New York looked like it might be a primary between incumbent Democrat David Paterson and state AG Andrew Cuomo. Paterson's resilience gave way to pragmatism in May, when he announced that he would not seek re-election. That means that the only action on Tuesday is on the Republican side, where quite an incredible trainwreck awaits us. Envy New York Republicans, whose get to choose between former Congressman Rick Lazio (whose obsession with the "ground zero mosque" has been a sight to behold) and businessman Carl Paladino (who thinks that welfare recipients would love the chance to go to prison to learn hygiene skills). There are actually two Senate races in November, as Chuck Schumer's six-year term coincides with an election to fill the rest of the term left unattended by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The latter was the race expected to get the most attention (and Dick Morris, according to a Dave Weigel tweet, thinks this race is still winnable for the GOP), but big-name Republicans eschewed the race. Three Republicans are vying for the seat, with former Congressman Joe DioGuardi the narrow favorite. Gillibrand has maintained a steady double-digit lead throughout the year against all three potential comers. Meanwhile, Republicans will also decide the candidate that will lose in November to Chuck Schumer. Political strategist Jay Townsend and former CIA officer Gary Berntsen are vying for the honor. Meanwhile, there are no less than a quartet of House primaries worth watching. On Long Island's 1st district, the electoral climate has encouraged several Republicans to seek this ancestrally Republican seat held since 2002 by Democrat Tim Bishop. The trio of Republican hopefuls (Nixon grandson Chris Cox, attorney George Demos, and businessman Randy Altschuler) have already spent over three million dollars on the primary, which has the novelty of watching GOP gasbags Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich cheering for different candidates. Meanwhile, on Staten Island (NY-13), there is a potentially explosive primary between former Bloomberg aide Michael Allegretti and former FBI agent Michael Grimm. This primary has exposed any number of fault lines in the local GOP, and that might work to the advantage of freshman Democrat Michael McMahon. In NYC, longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel has been under a huge ethical cloud, and some wonder if that will spell the end of his legislative career in Tuesday's primary. The guess here is that the split opposition (there are a half-dozen Democrats in the field) will save Rangel from primary defeat. Finally, the highest entertainment value comes upstate, in the lone 2009 bright spot for Democrats--the 23rd district. Freshman Democrat Bill Owens looks ready to benefit again from Republican untogetherness. 2009 Indie candidate-turned-de facto GOP nominee, Doug Hoffman, is locked in a primary battle with state legislator Matt Doheny. Deliciously, Hoffman has already promised to fight until November, even if he loses Tuesday to Doheny. RHODE ISLAND: RI-Gov, RI-01, RI-02 Republicans are the only game in town on Tuesday at the gubernatorial level, as Victor Moffitt and John Robataille square off for the nomination. The GOP nominee will likely be the longest shot in November, despite the party being the current occupants in the Governors mansion in Little Rhody. Democrats have coalesced around state Treasurer Frank Caprio (who had a pretty bad week, with the revelation that he met with the RNC in February, presumably to discuss a party switch). Meanwhile, the x-factor is former GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee, who is running as an Independent and seems (from endorsements and campaign pronouncements) to be running to the left of both Caprio and the GOP. Both of the state's House districts have interesting primary action. In the open-seat 1st district, Providence Mayor David Cicilline has enjoyed both the fundraising edge and the polling edge in the sole public poll (a late July Brown University poll) taken to date. He is being challenged by former state chairman Bill Lynch and state legislator David Segal. Republicans are more buoyant than usual about their chances in this district, and will be running state legislator John Loughlin in November. Meanwhile, in the 2nd district, incumbent Democrat Jim Langevin is likely to survive his primary challenge against former state legislator Betsy Dennigan. WISCONSIN: WI-Gov, WI-Sen, WI-07, WI-08 Wisconsin Democrats are already certain of their nominee, as Milwaukee Mayor and former Congressman Tom Barrett has only nominal opposition on Tuesday. Republicans are a bit less certain, as the longtime frontrunner (Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker) has not quite managed to put away his primary challenger, former U.S Congressman and 1998 Senate nominee Mark Neumann. Curiously, in a high-profile race, it has been nearly three months since we have seen primary polling here. Rasmussen's general election polling showed a Neumann mini-surge in August, leading some to wonder if he is closer to Walker than he was in the Spring. On the Senate side, the nominees are nearly assured, as Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold is almost certain to square off in November with plastics company owner Ron Johnson. Johnson has been exposed as of late as a hypocrite on his anti-government rhetoric (despite a dogged attempt to cover his tracks), but that isn't likely to move businessman Dave Westlake into competitive position in the GOP primary. Wisconsin's eight House races include two seats in the northern part of the state expected to be very competitive in the Fall. In the open seat race in the 7th district to replace veteran Democrat David Obey, the primaries are likely to be anticlimatic. Democrats are expected to nominate state legislator Julie Lassa, while Republicans are bullish on attorney and former "Real World" reality show star Sean Duffy. Meanwhile, in the Green Bay-based 8th district, a quartet of Republicans are fighting it out to challenge sophomore incumbent Democrat Steve Kagen. Contractor Reid Ribble has raised the most cash, but that is not always an indicator of primary election success, as we have learned this cycle.
This post first appeared on Daily Kos. When we last left Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson, his campaign was trying to put out the fire from yet another revelation that his vocal "anti-big government" teabaggerism ran contrary to his "hand out to the big government" business record. How does a good teabagger try to reconcile such an uncomfortable part of his history? rewriting his own history, of course:
It's one thing to flip-flop on the issues. But who's ever heard of a candidate rewriting his own company history? That's exactly what U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson did last week. For nearly nine years, his plastics company has carried this online description of its beginning: "Founded in 1977, Pacur occupies a facility constructed specifically for sheet extrusion, which provides polyester and polypropylene sheet and rollstock to converters, distributors, and end users," said the website for the Oshkosh-based factory. But that changed on Wednesday. Johnson's firm tinkered with its website to move up Pacur's first day of operation by a couple of years. "Founded in 1979*, Pacur occupies a facility constructed specifically for sheet extrusion, which provides polyester and polypropylene sheet and rollstock to converters, distributors, and end users," the site says now.
Why the shift? Because the government-financed rail line that was the crux of last week's story was approved in the Spring of 1979. At the time, Pacur was known as Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies. It changed its name in 1979, but the existence of the company (and the involvement of Johnson's brother-in-law, Pat Curler) predated the name change. Johnson is clearly trying to make the case that WISS and Pacur are two totally separate entities, which would put his involvement in the company AFTER the rail line was built. Of course, that still doesn't explain his firm's acceptance of $4 million in government-backed cash during the 1980s for expansion of his company. It is estimated that getting the cash from local government development bonds saved Pacur over a million dollars in financing costs. It is those bonds, incidentally, which now have the Wisconsin Democratic Party now calling for Johnson to release his corporate tax returns. With that in mind, expect this update to the Pacur site: "Pacur was founded in 1979, but Ron Johnson really, honestly, had nothing to do with it until...until...hey, when was the last time we had our hand out to the government?"
This post originally appeared on Daily Kos. With less than five months to go until Election Day 2010, political junkies everywhere are trying to find the perfect tea leaves with which to forecast the outcome. One that received a little attention from the Washington Post this week revolved around one of those little bits of conventional wisdom that portends glad tidings for the GOP--the wide disparity in releasing of campaign, or internal, polling in this cycle:
House Republicans have unleashed a slew of internal polls in recent days, seeking to put the country but, more accurately, the media and the GOP donor base, on notice the playing field for the fall is rapidly expanding. From Ohio's 13th district, which was on nobody's map until very recently, to Oregon's 1st district, which went for President Obama by 25 points in 2008, these internal polls are aimed at making the case that Republicans have a plethora of targets heading into November.
To be sure, anybody who follows the semi-nightly Polling and Political Wrap here at Daily Kos knows that there has been a huge gap emerging between the number of partisan poll released in this cycle by the GOP and those released in this cycle by Democrats. The ratio, at this fairly early stage, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-to-1 or 4-to-1. The practical political value for the Republicans is obvious. Flooding the zone with positive internal polling reinforces the meme that Republicans are ascendant in this electoral cycle. Furthermore, as the Post article by Aaron Blake notes, it has the added benefit of convincing the donor base to dip into their pockets more fervently, since competitiveness tends to loosen bankbooks in political campaigns. Of greater concern is trying to divine the reason why Democrats have largely gone silent on the internal polling front. The most obvious answer is also the most unsettling one. If the flood of GOP polling is not being answered by contrary data by the Democratic Party, it does not take a intellectual leap of faith to suggest that the reason for their silence is that their data is not...well...terribly contrary. Obviously, the Democrats have absolutely no incentive for confirming rosy Republican data with pro-GOP data of their own. There is, for what it is worth, an alternate explanation. As Crisitunity at Swing State Project put it earlier this week: "do the Democrats just not have good news in those districts to counter with, or (as many have speculated) are they engaged in a bit of expectations gaming/rope-a-dope?" That explanation, while clearly less plausible than the prior one, does have at least a thread or two of logic to it. Bad polling news can have one positive effect--it can knock loose any complacency and bring a sense of urgency for the Democrats (see an example of this strain of logic in a story about a recent poll showing the Oregon Governor's race tied up). The problem, however, with that line of logic, is that there is no recent precedent. Looking at the past three electoral cycles, there has been a fairly clear connection between the partisan makeup of internal polling releases and how the parties performed respectively in November. I arrive at these numbers by utilizing a (nerd alert!) database I compiled of over 2700 polls during the 2008 election cycle. I winnowed out presidential polling, and also excluded partisan pollsters whose primary releases are public in nature (insert Rasmussen jokes here). I wasn't nerdy enough did not generate such a database for the 2004 or 2006 cycles. For those cycles, the excellent polling database at DC's Political Report was utilized. Internal Polling releases, by party, 2004-2008
2008: 164 Democratic Polls, 88 Republican Polls 2006: 209 Democratic Polls, 88 Republican Polls 2004: 122 Democratic Polls, 119 Republican Polls
As you can see, during the wave cycles of 2006 and 2008, the Democrats released significantly more partisan polling data than did the GOP (more than 2-to-1 in 2006). In 2004, which was a cycle narrowly carried by the GOP, the numbers were almost perfectly at parity. Before Democrats should start adorning ourselves in funereal garb, however, there is a caveat. The one thing, anecdotally, which seems unique about this cycle is how early the internal polling releases on general election races have come. In the three cycles covered above, the bulk of the polling came in September and October. A lot of that partisan divide occurred in the later months. This stands to reason--as the push toward election day comes, those candidacies that are outperforming expectations are eager to push their polling out there to inspire both the media and donors alike. Therefore, the predictive value of internal polling releases tends to be, as with all polling, what gets released late, rather than what was released early. In that sense, the polling divide is not necessarily a harbinger of doom. At least not yet.
This post originally appeared on Daily Kos. The biggest primary day of the 2010 election cycle is now upon us, as polls are now open from coast to coast. A total of roughly a dozen states head to the ballot boxes today, and, as you have come to expect, the crew here at Daily Kos will be all over it this afternoon and evening.

What follows is a short clip-and-save guide of what to expect, and when to expect it, later today. If you want the unabridged version, you can check out exhaustive previews of the night's festivities from both The Swing State Project and Sunday Kos.

7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT--Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia

  • Does Nikki Haley hold on despite scandal in SC-Gov?
  • Is GOP incumbent Bob Inglis (SC-04) the next to get teabagged?
  • Who wins the competitive heads-up contest in VA-11?
  • Do the NRCC "establishment" picks hang on in VA-02 and VA-05?
  • Does anyone care which Republican wins the seat in GA-09?

8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT--Maine, New Jersey

  • Who will win arguably the biggest tossups of the night--ME-Gov?
  • How does GOP "rising star" Jon Runyan do in NJ-03?
  • Is GOP freshman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) in any danger of getting teabagged?

8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT--Arkansas

  • Does Bill Halter finish off Blanche Lincoln in the AR-Sen runoff?
  • Who emerges from the pack in the three House runoffs in the Natural State?
  • Is a Palin endorsement still voter repellent (watch Cecile Bledsoe in AR-03)?

9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT--North Dakota, South Dakota

  • Does NRCC pick Rick Berg cruise to victory in ND-AL?
  • Who does Scott Heidepriem draw as a GOP opponent in SD-Gov?
  • Who emerges from the field to take on Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (SD-AL)?

10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT--Iowa, Montana, Nevada

  • How close is the GOP primary to take on IA-Gov Chet Culver?
  • Are conventions necessary to find a GOP nominee in IA-02 and IA-03
  • Does Denny Rehberg risk an underwhelming performance in MT-AL, and what Democrat emerges to be his November opponent?
  • What kind of vote tally does Harry Reid get in NV-Sen?
  • Who will be Reid's opponent? Does the Chicken Lady still have some pluck (oooh...apologies for that one)? Or will Sharron Angle finish the job? Can Danny Tarkanian come from behind?
  • Is the career of NV-Gov Jim Gibbons over?

11:00 PM ET/8:00 PM PT--California

  • Do late polls confirm Meg Whitman's GOP landslide (CA-Gov)?
  • Likewise, does Carly Fiorina have the GOP CA-Sen nod locked down?
  • How close can Winograd come to Harman (CA-36)?
  • Is Gary Miller in any danger of a teabagging (CA-42)?
  • Is this is the end of the line for Richard Pombo (CA-19)?
  • What other primaries emerge as stories (just a handful to watch: CA-08, CA-11, CA-33, CA-47, CA-50)?

Check with us later this afternoon, and we will have many of these answers by the close of the night.

This post first appeared on Daily Kos. Well, well, well...that certainly didn't didn't take long:
Two Republican sources at Wednesday’s House GOP Conference meeting tell CNN that there was a lot of grumbling about the party’s loss in a special election Tuesday for the vacant House seat in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district. Democratic candidate Mark Critz topped Republican Tim Burns by double digits in the battle to succeed the late Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha.

“People should be rumbling – members sure were,” said one of the sources.

Some infighting, of course, was inevitable. After all, they had a candidate who had outraised his Democratic opponent by over a quarter-million dollars. They had a district carried by John McCain in 2008. They had a district where the sitting Democratic president routinely polled in the thirties. To top it all off, they had what was supposed to be the best national environment for Republicans in a generation.

And they lost. And it wasn't close.

However, the grumbling here is intriguing, if only because it is centered less on the man who runs the campaign arm for House Republicans (the NRCC--headed by Texas Rep. Pete Sessions), and more on the guy at the apex of the House GOP pyramid--none other than Minority Leader John Boehner:

The accounts also exposed anew long festering tensions or rivalries among House Minority Leader John Boehner and some of his deputies in the leadership. The two sources, both from the more conservative factions of the House GOP caucus, noted it was the Ohio Republican who tapped Sessions for the NRCC’s top post and said most of the NRCC’s top staff have ties to Boehner.

“In baseball, general managers can only fire so many managers before their own neck is on the line – and Boehner knows that,” was the take of one of the sources, the senior GOP staffer who was at the meeting.

We already knew that Tuesday was not so stellar for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who watched his favored home-state candidate get soundly thumped by a loose cannon that McConnell will now have to shepherd to a general election victory.

It is becoming increasingly evident that Tuesday was not so kind to the House Minority Leader, as well.

This post originally appeared on Daily Kos.

Saturday brought the somewhat unsurprising, but nonetheless significant, news that Utah Republicans, in their state nominating conventions, had fired their incumbent Senator.

Bob Bennett is not burdened by scandal, nor has he been the kind of perennially unpopular politico that barely scrapes by intraparty challenges for the duration of his career (the way his fellow Utahn, Chris Cannon, was).

He is a standard-issue incumbent, who committed the capital offense (for 2010, anyway) of being a Republican occasionally capable of a non-ideological vote. This led him to a raft of opponents, and an unceremonious second-round exit in the state convention, one that was fueled at unbridled anger at ideological apostasy, as local columnist Peg McEntee pointed out:

When Bennett lost, the yips and howls from thousands of delegates sounded like coyotes going after one of their own.

Left standing were Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, both Utah County Republicans who like the tea partiers and 9/12ers just fine. Both claim to be strict constitutionalists who will free Utah from an oppressive federal government, take back federal lands in Utah and repeal health care reform.

This process is being repeated from coast-to-coast, where so-called mainstream or "establishment" Republicans are getting battered for their lack of commitment to the "principles" of conservatism.

Of course, the textbook example of this is in the Sunshine State, where the ideological drubbing of Florida Governor Charlie Crist was bad enough to drive him from the party, so convinced was he that he could not survive a Republican primary.

But Crist was not the only man whose political career was imperiled from a primary challenge to their right.

Two races have already confirmed that trend, as the Illinois gubernatorial primary (in a multi-candidate field) saw downstate conservative Bill Brady outlast the more moderate (and according to most polling at the time, more electable) Chicagoland state legislator, Kirk Dillard. Meanwhile, in a convention format similar to Utah's, Minnesota Republicans went with conservative state legislator Tom Emmer, who had ridden the momentum of an endorsement by none other than Sarah Palin.

Bennett, for what it is worth, is not the only incumbent Republican Senator fearing the end of his political career, An even more prominent incumbent is under high-profile fire right now: Arizona Senator John McCain. McCain's challenge from former bombastic conservative Congressman J.D. Hayworth has drawn no shortage of attention.

Meanwhile, several open seat races highlight establishment candidates taking on insurgent right-wing candidates. One of those will be decided in the coming weeks, when Trey Grayson and Rand Paul square off in Kentucky. Other similar challenges await in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and New Hampshire.

In these intraparty schisms, Democrats often believe, is a window of opportunity for their preferred candidates. The next few months will be one of the only times you will see progressive political junkies rooting for the likes of J.D. Hayworth, Peter Hoekstra, and Judge Roy Moore.

The conventional wisdom for that is that more ideological Republican nominees will cede the center to the Democratic nominee, thus enhancing Democratic prospects. As SSP editor Crisitunity wrote of Minnesota's Tom Emmer:

"Emmer, considerably more conservative than the moderate Republicans who are usually the only type who can win statewide, can expect a tough go of it in the general -- especially if Independence Party candidate Tom Horner soaks up a big share of moderate votes. (Seifert would have faced the same problem, but Emmer, who just got a Sarah Palin endorsement, seems especially out-of-whack with his state's preferences.)"

There is, of course, some precedent for this.

In 2002, California's Democratic Governor, Gray Davis, was in fairly dire political straits. The political environment here was toxic amid an energy crisis which had entered the phrase "rolling blackout" into every Californian's lexicon. But the unfortunate Davis got an incredible dose of political luck when Republicans nominated businessman Bill Simon as their gubernatorial nominee, denying the bid of the infinitely more moderate (and, for that matter, infinitely more electable) Republican Mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan. Davis, despite approval ratings that fell as low as the 30s, emerged victorious in November by nearly half a million votes.

There are other examples, as well. A personal favorite: 1996, when Illiois Republicans rejected the establishment choice, Lt. Governor Bob Kustra, for virtually unknown state legislator Al Salvi. Salvi was a teabagger ahead of his time, eviscerating Kustra on the issue of taxes. It reached the point that if you knew nothing else about Bob Kustra, you knew that he had voted to raise taxes 35 times. Salvi won a narrow victory in the primary. Far too ideologically to the right to resonate with the electorate of a blue state like Illinois, Salvi went on to lose to Democratic nominee Dick Durbin by double digits.

With this kind of history in the rear-view mirror, it is with some amount of anticipation that Democrats look to these internecine struggles. Given the trip down memory lane, and the examples of Bill Simon and Al Salvi, such anticipation might seem to be justified.

However, let's also focus on the cautionary tale. I give you one Doctor Thomas Coburn, junior Senator from the state of Oklahoma.

People forget that Coburn was far from the consensus pick when he elected to run for the Senate in 2004 to replace the retiring Don Nickles. The Oklahoma Republican establishment had rallied around another candidate, Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, considered by most to be the more moderate of the two (then again, it isn't difficult to be more moderate than Tom Coburn).

When Coburn easily dispatched Humphreys in the GOP primary, Democrats thought the golden ticket had fallen into their hands. To face off against Coburn (whose penchant for off-putting remarks led the state Democratic chairman to simply conclude he was crazy), the Democrats had nominated conservative Democratic Congressman Brad Carson, easily the most electable Democrat (outside of popular Governor Brad Henry) that the party could have selected.

Carson toed a carefully bipartisan line, while Coburn rambled on about rampant lesbianism in the schools of southeastern Oklahoma. And it STILL didn't matter: on Election Day, Brad Carson was wiped out, losing to Coburn by a 53-41 margin.

The lesson in that is simply the nomination of the more extremist ideological candidate is not an opportunity in and of itself. The climate and location matter a great deal, as well. It is one thing to dispatch a far-right GOP contender in Minnesota or Illinois.

It is quite another to do it in Alabama.

There is also this side effect to consider: even if the "more moderate" Republican candidates carry the day, the trauma of being under fire often leads them to mimic the insurgent candidates they claim are so very dangerous. As columnist Ruth Marcus noted this morning in a column picked up by our own DemFromCT in his must-read "Abbreviated Pundit Wrap-Up":

The most disturbing aspect of Bennett’s defeat is the chastening effect it is likely to have on nervous GOP lawmakers. They are already hardly profiles in courage -- just take a look at the campaign positions adopted by ex-maverick John McCain, facing a primary challenge in Arizona from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Seeing Bennett’s scalp is not apt to strengthen their spines.

The Alabama gubernatorial race is a textbook example of this. There are no "mainstream" aspirants on the GOP side anymore. After being attacked as insufficient fealty to Christianity, for example, frontrunner Bradley Byrne felt the need to hold a press availability and reaffirm his faith in biblical inerrancy.

We have also seen John McCain and Charlie Crist dance similar routines in order to try to out-insurgent the insurgent candidates. McCain on immigration was particularly dispiriting.

If successful in making the GOP nominees completely unelectable, then these kinds of primary challenges are a source of political opportunity for Democrats. But don't discount the inherent dangers in these primaries, as well. There is always the possibility that the less-electable candidate will win, or, failing that, the possibility that the "mainstream" candidate who survives will become what he/she beheld.

This post originally appeared on Daily Kos. As he often does, Tom Jensen of PPP goes inside the numbers and pulls out an incredibly fascinating nugget of data, with potential implications for the 2010 election cycle:
There's an interesting dichotomy right now in how Democrats and Republicans feel about their own parties. Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to think their party is headed in the right direction. But at the same time unhappy Democrats are much more likely to abandon their party at the polls this year than unhappy Republicans.
The hard numbers are nothing short of stunning. Among the nearly half of Republicans who currently express dissatisfaction with their party, only 9% are planning on voting Democratic in the Fall. But among the considerably smaller (about one-in-six) Democrats who are dissatisfied with the Blue team, 48% of them are voting Republican. There might, of course, be a simple explanation for this dichotomy. One thing PPP doesn't apparently do is break down their national poll by region. Therefore, it is entirely possible that this "defecting Democrats" syndrome is sequestered largely in the South, where Democratic registration or self-identification often has diddly to do with actual voting behavior. There are other possibilities, as well. It is possible that this is just a symptom of a perilous circumstance for Democrats that Jensen talked about six months ago. At the time, he noted that Republicans posted vast leads (in an Arkansas poll) among voters who disapproved of both parties. His rationale for this behavior was that if you disliked both parties, voting for the out-party at least offered the prospect of change. That could also explain this finding. The implications for this are potentially grim for the Democrats. For one thing, it calls into question whether teabagger Independent candidacies will be the lifeline that Democrats might hope them to be. Even Republicans angry at their own party seem unflinchingly loyal at this point. It also could lead Democratic strategists at the national level to juggle the idea of appealing to a dissatisfied centrist wing that will vote Republican to show their frustration versus trying to hold together a base that is only starting to closewhat has been a chasm of an enthusiasm gap. In an election year filled with frustrating data points for Democrats, add this one to the pile.