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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Elections Message — Voters Want Change

We didn’t win the big one, CA-50, losing by less than 5,000 votes with 90.2 percent of the vote reported at this posting. But, in a way, we did, according to Chris Bowers’ insightful analysis at MyDD:

In 2004, Busby lost the CA-50 by 22.0%. Today, it looks like she will lose by around 4.5%. And that was with the NRCC spending $4.5M on the race. If Republicans want to spin losing 18 points after spending $4.5M of committee money as a good thing, go for it. After all, spin is basically why they spent so much money on this race. By blowing their wad in a solidly Republican district, they wanted to change the media narrative on the election in their favor. It will probably work, given how subservient and generally inaccurate the media tends to be when it comes to Republicans and elections. In reality, for a Republican candidate to pull 49.5% of the vote in a district with 44.5% Republican registration is shocking. Given those numbers, Bilbray probably managed all of 20% of the vote among independents.
No matter what the media says, no Democrat should be mistaken about this result. First, this is a huge, seismic shift in our favor that bodes extremely well for November. If we receive an 18% shift nationwide, we will win the House easily. If Republican candidates are pulling only 20% of the independent vote, the Indycrat realignment is still on.

Was immigration reform a wedge issue that favored Bilbray or Busby in this north San Diego district? The WaPo wrap-up says Busby probably would have won, if not for a gaffe encouraging illegal immigrants to vote. If so, the Busby vote was all the more impressive. If there are any exit polls, it will be interesting to see how immigration reform played out. In any event, Busby gets another chance to beat Bilbray in November, and 5,000 more votes seems doable.
The other big story is a huge victory for netroots in the Dem Senate primary in Montana, where state Senator Jon Tester, favored by many progressives, beat state Auditor John Morrison by a healthy margin, a victory Bowers describes as “Historic” and “Revolutionary.” Tester’s chances are excellent, but he will need more dough to take this seat for the Democrats, and Bowers’ article has the links for those who want to contribute.
Voter anger about corruption was a common denominator from coast to coast, according to the AP wrap-up:

Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota also held primaries. Corruption and allegations of corruption — in California, Alabama and Montana — crisscrossed the country. Immigration was a campaign issue from the South to the Plains.

Concern about immigration reform cuts both ways and may prove to be a washout, nationwide. But corruption, along with increasing dissatisfaction with the mess in Iraq, will most likely sharpen the Democrats’ edge between now and November.