Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Arkansas each held primaries May 18. The results were surprising and may indicate what could happen in the November elections.
In Pennsylvania, long-time Sen. Arlen Specter was defeated by Joe Sestak.
Specter left the Republican Party a year ago to become a Democrat, but the move may have backfired. Sestak won the primary, and Specter gave maybe the shortest concession speech in history.
“It’s been a great privilege to serve the people of Pennsylvania,” Specter said.
Michael Geer with the Pennsylvania Family Institute says President Obama helped convince Specter to switch parties and Democratic leaders implied that they would clear the primary field for Specter to run unopposed. But Sestak stuck around and won.
“Perhaps Specter’s seeing the handwriting on the wall and not wanting to have yet another public loss of his prestige and his electoral pull,” Geer said, “like what happened in Massachusetts and elsewhere.”
On the Republican ticket, Pat Toomey was able to get a win over Peg Luksic.
In Kentucky, Rand Paul took the GOP primary from Trey Grayson with a 24-point victory. Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul, attributed the victory to the Tea Party movement.
“I have a message, a message from the Tea Party,” Paul said at a victory party in Bowling Green, “a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back.”
Paul will face Jack Conway, the state attorney general, who won the Democratic nomination.
Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, said Paul’s prospects are good.
“I think one of the key reasons he’ll win it,” he said, “is because Kentucky is right now deeply opposed to this health care takeover that was just jammed through by President Obama.”
In Arkansas, incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln only garnered 45 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary and finds herself in a runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.
Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council, said she hurt her campaign by voting for the president’s bail-out and health care bill.
“I think if she had voted against the health care bill,” he said, “I think she would have possibly won without a runoff.”
Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com said of the election: “Recent election defeats of establishment Republicans means congressional Republican leadership will develop backbone, especially in the Senate, and aggressively challenge the entirety of the Democratic agenda.
“Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is already showing it’s no longer acceptable to put up a polite but ineffective defense against the left’s legislative agenda. As reported in The New York Times and Politico, the morning after Rand Paul defeated McConnell’s hand-picked Senate candidate in Kentucky by a wide margin, Mr. McConnell gave his strongest floor opposition to the big-government financial reform bill.
“Republicans apparently did not learn from the 2006 and 2008 losses. But with recent primary results, their hearing seems to have improved.”