When Democratic Rep. John Murtha died, many feared
that his Pennsylvania
district, which John McCain won in 2008, would likely go Republican. So
it was a real surprise to see Democrat Mark Critz win Tuesday's special
election against Republican Tim Burns. Many pundits have long predicted
that Republicans would sweep the 2010 elections and possibly retake the
House majority. Does this mean they should reevaluate their predictions? What are the
national lessons, if any, of the Democratic victory?
- So Much
for GOP Sweep NBC News' Domenico Montanaro says
this should have been "ripe for the picking" for Republicans. "This
isn't a good sign for the GOP in its quest to take back the House in
November. Why? Because this was a race that Republicans -- in this kind
of political environment -- should have been able to win. ... Remember,
back in 1994, Republicans were the ones winning House special elections.
But can this be '94 all over again if the Democrats are the ones
winning these things -- four straight this cycle."
Activists Fought Hard The Washington Post's David Weigel calls this "a
shock and a disappointment to tea party activists." He writes, "Make no
mistake -- conservatives were almost as plugged into this race as they
had been in NY-23. The National Action Network, Americans for Prosperity
and the National Republican Trust all got involved in the race with
on-the-ground aid or advertising. ... Fox News endlessly promoted Burns,
Sarah Palin endorsed him, and Newt Gingrich and Scott Brown stumped for
- GOP Went National, Dems Went Local The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder breaks it
down. "PA 12 simplified: GOP tried to nationalize the race. Health
care, Obama, etc. Democrats localized it (and the Dem candidate ran
against Obama). And the DCCC put 200 people on the ground there in the
last week. Meaning: Dems can be competitive in races if they run the
right candidates the right way. And Republicans aren’t gonna cruise to
victory in the fall."
- Every Election Can't Be National
Referendum The American Conservative's Daniel Larison says GOP
strategists "they tend to ignore or dismiss the interests of the
specific district where they are competing in order to make a statement
about national party agendas. The national GOP wants these elections to
be mandates against Pelosi/Reid’s agenda or Obama’s agenda. ... most
voters are not interested in vindicating a pre-scripted anti-Obama
- Could 'Mark Critz Prototype' 'Save' Dems?
L.A. Times' Johanna Neuman explains,
"Democrats believe that in a toxic year for incumbents and despite
unfriendly districts, they can win on tactics. The Critz victory -- and
it was not even close, with a 53%-45% tally -- suggests they may have a
point. ... Maybe all politics really is local. If that's true, Democrats
have a chance to keep the House even in an atmosphere of
anti-Washington fervor. Especially if Republicans -- at war within over
Republican National Committee leadership and 'tea party' passion -- keep
thinking this election is about their power instead of the voters'
- GOP Must Stem Infighting Townhall's Carol Platt Liebau worries, "Republicans
need to make sure that independents feel they have a reason to get to
the polls. Distractions -- like third party candidates -- need to
be minimized (yes, I know, as always). And GOP candidates had
better realize that it's not going to be a slam dunk win when their
opponents are claiming conservative values."
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