. . . might say a lot or might not. Depends on who wins in CD 8.
Tea Party candidate Jesse Kelly — who’s moderated some of his firebrand behavior from 2010 a bit — lost by only 2% to Giffords in 2010. On the other hand, 2010 was a Republican tsunami, wiping out the Democratic House majority. So Kelly losing was actually an outlier, especially since the Congressional district is a Republican majority one.
On the third hand, Gabby Giffords is a centrist Democrat, so defeating her with the Tea Party rhetoric wasn’t that easy, as results showed.
And now, today?
If Giffords’ replacement Ron Barber wins, the message isn’t so clear: Did the majority vote for him and against the Tea Party, or did he get a huge sympathy vote, both for him and for Giffords? I guess exit polls might tell us something about that.
If Kelly wins — and according to a Public Policy Poll, he trails Barber by 12 points — the message is clearer: It’s another blow to President Obama.
How so? Kelly overcoming the huge sympathy residing in Tucson for Barber and Giffords means that district — which is, despite the Republican majority, a centrist district — would prefer to send a Tea Partier to Congress rather than a centrist Democrat.
Would a Kelly victory be the canary in the coal mine for the Obama campaign? Maybe not. But a Kelly victory could mean that the independents who voted for Obama in 2008 are more willing today to give a look — and a vote — to someone like Kelly, someone they didn’t consider in 2010. And in what appears to be a close election in November, that’s bad news for the Pres.
Azcvoices.com is a network of community bloggers created by The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News to highlight diverse viewpoints. Members' opinions do not represent the views of Republic Media.
Bio: Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.