GOP upset and relief by @BloggersRUs

GOP upset and relief

by Tom Sullivan

Dimwit GOP pun on "right." Haywood County, NC. Photo: Kathrin Weber, via Facebook.

Republicans have one less sword hanging over their heads. In West Virginia last night, convicted coal executive Don Blankenship soundly lost his bid for run for U.S. Senate on the GOP ticket. Patrick Morrisey, the state's attorney general, defeated U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and distant third, Don Blankenship. Morrisey will face incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin in the fall. By 70-30 Manchin defeated Paula Jean Swearengin who ran to the left of the conservative Democrat. A West Virginia U.S. Senate race that might have been months of embarrassment for the GOP (had Blankenship prevailed) could be a bigger challenge now for Manchin.

Former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray will be the Democrats' candidate for Ohio governor, having defeated former congressman Dennis Kucinich in the state's primary. Cordray had the endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts while Kucinich drew support from Our Revolution, the activist group that grew from Sen. Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign.

In North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, former Charlotte pastor Mark Harris upset incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger by two percentage points. Not only is Pittenger the first incumbent in the country to lose this year, but he lost to a nonincumbent opponent, according to the Raleigh News and Observer:

Pittenger, a former state senator first elected in 2012, was seeking a fourth term in the district that extends from southeast Charlotte east to Bladen County. In 2016 he defeated Harris by 134 votes, one of the country's closest congressional races.

Harris cast the primary as a battle for "the heart and soul of the Republican Party." He ran as much against the GOP-controlled Congress as against Pittenger. He said Pittenger was part of the Washington "swamp."

Nevertheless, "each candidate portrayed himself as President Donald Trump's more loyal supporter." Considered a competitive race before last night, Pittenger's defeat increases the chances Republicans will lose the House seat in November. Harris will face Democrat Dan McCready, a Marine Corps veteran and solar energy entrepreneur being compared to Pennsylvania's Conor Lamb.

The year of the woman continues, as evidenced in candidates who prevailed last night:

Some of the seats are safely controlled by Republicans and will not be competitive this fall. But the success of candidates like Liz Watson in Indiana and Kathy Manning in North Carolina, and of female Democrats across the four states that voted on Tuesday, illustrates how much women are driving the opposition to President Trump. There are more women who are Democratic House candidates this year than ever, and the first primaries of 2018, beginning with Texas and Illinois in March, have demonstrated that they are not just running — they are also winning nominations.
Finally, in a campaign fueled by his own money Mike Braun upset two better-known Republicans in Indiana's U. S. Senate primary. The Indianapolis Star describes the primary as "the nation’s nastiest and most expensive." Braun will face incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly in what is expected to be a competitive race for Democrats.

Next Tuesday: Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

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