Republicans clearly lost oppurtunities to gain senate seats in 2010 because of some mistakes in the nominating process. Christine O’Donnell (DE) and Sharon Angle (NV) come to mind.
Those two may be the most extreme examples of the GOP primary divide from the last election cycle because of their high profiles.
They are also two of the reasons I find the Indiana senate race between Senator Richard Lugar and state treasurer Richard Mourdock so interesting. We once again have the dynamics of a long time 36 year incumbant very likely to win a seventh term in the senate if only he could win the party nomination. The problem, however, is that polls indicate that possibility is slipping away.
Timing is everything, especially in a political campaign. Come out negative too early and you can turn off voters. Wait too long to try to brand your opponent and you might find it hard to get your message across.
That seems to be the case with the campaign of six-term Sen. Richard Lugar, whose efforts to paint tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock as untrustworthy last week had all the markings of a desperate attempt to toss anything and everything at Mourdock to see what might stick less than two weeks before the vote that could end Lugar’s political career.
With Mourdock we have the Sarah Palin backed Tea Party branded conservative running against the establishment’s choice.
Democrats hope Mourdock winning the nomination will put the seat into a potential pick up for them in the fall elections. (I think either primary candidate will be able to hold the seat)
We see an interesting paradigm once again in the rift between the establishment and the GOP base. In an election year as imporant as 2012, Republicans cannot afford to lose any oppurtunities to take back the US Senate.
In many of the upcoming primaries across this country, it will be interesting to see whether the anti-establishment forces in the party will produce candidates with the qualities of Marco Rubio or of Christine O’Donnell.