Another round of primaries is over, and once more the Republican party has been sifting between their far right and super far right candidates in a number of hotly contested races.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback easily held his primary opponent at bay, but Jennifer Winn’s nearly 40 percent showing at the polls has many wondering if the sitting governor is more vulnerable than he first appeared. As the Washington Post reports, moderate Republicans are expressing discontent with their ultra-conservative party member, and 100 of them have endorsed Democrat Paul Davis for the general. Brownback may be trying to roll back his social conservative agenda and refocus on the economy, but that could be difficult now that a second firm has lowered the state’s credit rating. Brownback, meanwhile, has taken no hints from this message and said that the state should continue to cut taxes in order to improve their ranking.
Brownback wasn’t in real danger in his primary (although the general will be a different matter) but Republican Sen. Pat Roberts was believed to be, with Tea Party candidate Dr. Milton Wolf running a surprisingly competitive race. Surprising because Wolf “has equated President Barack Obama’s treatment of successful Americans to Hitler’s treatment of Jews and gypsies. He has compared Obama to a ‘less despotic‘ Benito Mussolini,” according to Mother Jones. Then again, sometimes that’s the sort of thing that really works in a primary, and it could have, except for an unfortunate incident where the medical doctor thought posting x-rays of gunshot victims, complete with funny quips, was a good idea. Instead, Roberts managed to hold onto his seat.
While incumbents made it through their primaries in many cases, the same can’t be said for Michigan Republican Congressman Kerry Bentivolio. Bentivolio, a first term representative, was unseated by businessman Dave Trott, ending Bentivolio’s foray into national politics, at least for now. Now, Bentivolio can return to his previous job, former reindeer farmer and Santa impersonator.
Meanwhile, Michigan’s state legislature could get a little more feisty next session, as Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan, wins a primary by a mere 33 votes. Glenn is virulently anti-homosexual, and at one point suggested that homosexuality should be re-criminalized. “[W]e believe that states should be free to regulate and prohibit behavior that’s a violation of community standards and a proven threat to public health and safety — including, as most of the United States did throughout its history, homosexual behavior,” Glenn once wrote in an email, according to Right Wing Watch.
Also in Michigan, an attempt to unseat Congressman Justin Amash in a primary battle failed, and Amash decided to use his victory speech to lash out at every politician who failed to support him in his reelection, according to the Washington Post. “[To] Former congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who backed challenger Brian Ellis? ‘You are a disgrace. And I’m glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance.’ (Hoekstra lost the state’s 2012 Senate race — and in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.) Ellis? ‘You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you.’”
Finally, in Missouri, there were few surprises in primaries, but constitutional amendments declaring protection from having electronic data seized and amending the constitution to declare an “unalienable right” to bear arms both passed via the voters. A “right to farm” amendment appears to have passed by just a few hundred votes, but may end up in a recount. The amendment was “part of an effort to fortify the ag industry against animal-welfare activists and opponents of genetically modified crops,” according to the Kansas City Star, who said amendment opponents “fear the amendment will be used by corporate farms to escape unwanted regulations such as pollution control.”
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