Tuesday’s elections saw three significant outcomes occur. I will explore each in more detail below but those three outcomes were the primary results in WI, the passage of a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage in NC and Senator Richard Lugar R-IN) getting clocked by State Treasurer Richard Murdock by over twenty points. Below is what I took away from last night’s results with a bonus 4th point for a little bit of comedy relief.
1. Wisconsin Recall Primary Results: Last night voters went to the polls in Wisconsin to choose their candidates for the June 5th recall. Not surprisingly Walker and Kleefsich brushed past their weak primary opposition. But is in the manner Walker did so that may have implications for June 5th. Democrats had a heated primary between 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Barrett and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. Labor had backed Falk but the was crushed by over 15% last night. Yet even as Democrats were deciding their nominee in a contested primary more Republicans showed up at the polls to show symbolic support for Walker. For the left and unions this is not welcome news. For it shows Walker’s support is as solid as ever and may be even deeper than originally thought.
2. North Carolina Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage: With the presidential race on both sides decided already the attention in North Carolina rested on a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Backers argued it simply puts in the state constitution what is already in its charter. Opponents worried it would weaken some of the legal rights gay couples already have. Polls on election night showed the measure passing and pass it did with over 60%. The measure lost in the Triangle, Charlotte and metro Durham but passed everywhere else in the state. Not surprisingly opposition to the measure came overwhelmingly from African-Americans in solidly majority-minority counties. While opponents of the measure may feel dejected they did get a bit of good news today when President Obama endorsed gay marriage. Good for him. However the president would be wise to think he can jam a social mandate down the US public’s throat.
3. Senator Richard Lugar’s defeat in Indiana GOP Primary by over 20 points: Six term Indiana GOP Senator Richard Lugar was defeated in his relection bid last night in the GOP primary. Lugar faced state treasurer Richard Murdock who while an able candidate was nothing special. However he definitely ran a better campaign than Lugar. Lugar had not faced a tough race since the 80s and it showed. He faced controversy after controversy and even after 2010 made no efforts to reach out to disparate conservative or Tea Party groups. It cost him. Not only did Murdock win he won by over 20% points and over 100,000 votes. Democrats hope it puts the seat in play for Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly but Murdock has appeal to independents. Limited exit polling in the state showed Murdock even won independents in the open GOP primary. While the result does not by itself show the Tea Party is alive and well, Lugar and local factors were likely more at work for his downfall, it does show the pitfalls moderate GOP lawmakers have to walk to keep their jobs.
4. TX inmate wins 41% of Democratic Primary vote vs. Obama: This is funny. WV had its primary last night and on the Democratic side President Obama got 59% of the vote. Who got the other 41% you ask? A TX inmate named Ketih Judd who has run for elected office since 1996. Said inmate even won ten counties. Now while the result does show how hostile WV is to Obama (coal and energy issues anybody) it also could be that many Democrats just wanted to vote against the president in the primary when it meant nothing. Maybe they will vote for him in November. Regardless WV is likely to not break its streak of voting Republican for president since 2000.