Today’s Gabby Giffords election . . .
posted by Mike McClellan
at 12 June, 9:33 AM 0
. . . 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.