Here we go again on the heels of another Tuesday primary. Apologies for the immense delay between updates, as I had alot going on at the time. Also, this update has very few links, as I have no computer at the moment and am forced to use the library whenever possible. Anywho,
Upset at the Salt Lake (Mike Lee - UT - R)
Mike Lee battled businessman Tim Bridgewater for the Republican nomination to the US Senate in Utah last Tuesday. Bridgewater received a boost from an endorsement from former Senator Bob Bennett, who was ousted during the Republican state convention on the second ballot. In addition, former candidate and activist Cherilyn Eager, who finished 4th with some dedicated support at the convention, endorsed Bridgewater. To top it off, Bridgewater was endorsed by The Salt Lake Tribune, a prominent newspaper in the state.
Lee struck back with some last-minute endorsements of his own, from the TeaPartyExpress and Rep. Ron Paul. Besides previous support from Senator Jim Demint, Lee benefited from volunteers sent by Dick Armey's Freedomworks organization. In the end, Lee beat Bridgewater 51 to 49%. Lee will face Democrat businessman Sam Granato in the fall, but in this deep red state the Republican will almost certainly win.
One last minute endorsement for Lee came in from radio commentator and pundit Glenn Beck. The day before the primary Beck lambasted Bridgewater in a manner reminiscient of Debra Medina. For those who support Paul's faction of the Republican Party, Beck appears to be a double-edged sword. However, this would also seem to discredit conspiracy theories that Beck takes marching orders from "the establishment."
Predictable Ending (Nikki Haley - SC - R)
ANother round of primaries too place this last Tuesday. One of the most-watched races was for Governor of South Carolina, where oft-criticized State Senator Nikki Haley took on TARP-supporting Represtative Gresham Barraett in a runoff. Haley won as predicted with a healthy margin of 65 to 35%. In red South Carolina she is expected to take over the Governor's office in November from Mark Sanford.
An interesting scenario may play out in 2012 with Haley in the governor's office. South Carolina is an early presidential primary state, so the Governor's endorsement can influence the outcome of the vote and the trends of the primary season. While Haley has supported Ron Paul's Campaign For Liberty organization in the past, Paul himself never endorsed her in the race. However, Mitt Romney endorsed her and donated $42,000 to her campaign from a series of PACs he controls. Haley also campaigned for Romney in 2008. However, Sarah Palin also endorsed Haley at a critical point in the primary. With numerous potential presidential candidates in the mix, Haley has many options headed into 2012.
"Libertarian Republican" (Mick Mulvaney - South Carolina - 05 - R)
A surprisingly strong challenge to entrenched 14-term Democrat Jon Spratt has emerged in the form of South Carolina State Senator Mick Mulvaney. A few weeks ago Mulvaney clinched the Republican nomination in the race in an uncontested primary. However, he has had momentum on his side for quite some time. In January PublicPolicyPolling had Mulvaney only 7 points back in the race. More recent internal polling (take this of course with a massive grain of salt) shows Mulvaney withing the margin of error, polling 41% to Spratt's 43. A few days ago the state senator secured the endorsement of Dick Armey's Freedomworks, which may help Mulvaney find national money to take on the incumbent.
One interesting note about Mulvaney's campaign is the influx of Minnesota figures coming to his aid. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will soon be appearing with Mulvaney at a fundraiser. In addition, radio host Jason Lewis of Minneapolis previously headlined a fundraiser for the state senator.
The surprising aspect of Mulvaney's candidacy is the degree of support the national party appears to lend him. The candidate recently declared he is a "Libertarian Republican". He lead the fight against RealID in South Carolina (along with Haley), and he has said that he would vote to repeal the Patriot Act. Interestingly, I and others have been unable to find ANY information on his foreign policy stances. Whether this means he is hiding a closet non-interventionist stance or simply doesn't care about the issue remains to be seen.
Broken Promises (Justin Amash - MI - 03 - R)
State Representative Justin Amash continues to gain momentum in the crowded race to succceed Congressman Vern Ehlers in Michigan's third congressional district. He finally gained an official endorsment from Ron Paul (through LibertyPAC). In addition, former Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham lent his support to the state representative. And most significantly, Amash has the backing of the prominent Devoss family (some of the biggest donors to the Republican Party).
Amash has recently seen national press on his position of posting a rationale for every vote he takes on Facebook. This actually is a wise policy, politically and for transparency. On the political side, local Michigan newspapers can easily look to Amash's Facebook page for any position on a bill (useful to reporters trying to write a story). Thus, Amash gets his name thrown around a bit in Michigan newspapers.
One endorsement Amash didn't secure? Vern Ehlers. The incumbent remains bitter after Amash entered the race with the intent to primary him. Despite a pledge to remain neutral in the primary, Ehlers has endorsed ex-Kent County Commissioner Steve Heacock (much to the chagrin of State Senator Bill Hardiman, another primary opponent).
Making a Splash (Van Irion - TN - 03 - R)
An outspoken candidate has emerged in yet another attorney, Van Irion. Irion has been effective at grabbing headlines, whether it was for carrying a concealed gun at an interview with a local newspaper or launching a lawsuit on the Obama administration over health care reform immediately after its passage.
The campaign appears to be gathering some momentum. Along with Lee and Amash, Irion secured Ron Paul's endorsement. In addition, a pair of Ronald Reagan's old staffers have come out with their own support for the candidate. Irion also appears to have significant Tea Party support.
Irion is running in a safe Republican district, vacated after Rep. Zach Wamp decided to run for governor. It is a crowded field, so Irion may just pull it out and grab the nomination in August.