John Brandt | August 26, 2010
After watching Republican primary candidates slug it out Tuesday night, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) released a memo early Wednesday evening saying that the previous night's election results have left the GOP "deeply divided and with deeply flawed candidates."
Republicans do not agree with their opponent's assessment. "I think we've emerged with candidates that will win in November," countered Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye, "And that's based on their financial resources and their performance on the campaign trail."
In Florida, the DNC points to the bruising battle for the Republican nomination for governor as evidence of a divided party. Former hospital executive Rick Scott spent millions to defeat Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum in a race that was heavy on mudslinging. "Scott's victory was a huge blow to the Republican Party and has left bitter feelings that aren't going to disappear any time soon," the DNC memo reads.
However, the release fails to point out that Republicans brought far more people to the polls, despite having 750,000 fewer registered members in the Sunshine State. More people voted for Marco Rubio, running unopposed for the Republican nomination in the open US Senate seat, than the four candidates running for the Democratic nomination combined. While Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink got 75,000 more votes than general election rival Scott, many observers think that at least some of the 550,000 people that voted for McCollum will cast their ballot for the Republican nominee in November.
In Alaska's down to the wire U.S. Senate primary, the DNC asserts that the race between Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sarah Palin-backed insurgent Joe Miller will create "lingering resentment caused by the backing of Sarah Palin among half the Republican electorate." They also say it is another example of the ongoing feud between "the Tea Party and those who follow the lead of Sarah Palin and the mainstream Republican Party."
There may be some hurt feelings, but more importantly, Miller has shown proficiency in the fundraising arena. In order to pull even with (and possibly ahead of) Murkowski, the Tea Party Express raised about $500,000 for Miller. That's about 100 times more money than his Democratic challenger, Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams, has in the bank right now.
McAdams may have another problem in getting establishment help in his general election race. When asked to name their Alaska Senate candidate on ABC's "Top Line" webcast Wednesday, DNC Spokesman Brad Woodhouse could not come up with an answer . With several other Senate races in play, many experts think it is doubtful that Democrats will spend a substantial sum of money contesting the election there.
A better explanation of Tuesday night's results may be that there isn't one cohesive narrative for this election cycle. Insurgent candidates won in Florida, but lost in Arizona. Most incumbents have won their re-nomination contests, but some might not.