House: No family feud in NY-13, VA-11 gets settled

In a disappointing finish to a farcical storyline, the race in New York's 13th congressional district just got a bit less traumatizing for Republicans. They have caught no break in this contest ever since Vito Fossella was arrested on DWI charges, as they have suffered through the incumbent retiring in disgrace, Democrats fielding one of their best opponents, the strongest Republican contenders declining to run, the Staten Island GOP being forced to settle for a second-tier candidate and that candidate's son announcing that he would run as the Libertarian candidate, making sure that no one would be able to take his father's candidacy seriously.

But yesterday, the Libertarian Party's Manhattan chapter (which also controls Staten Island) voted to give is nod to Susan Overeem. The chapter's spokesman explained that "has the better grasp of what it meant to be a Libertarian." This removes the threat of the ballot being shared by a Francis M. Powers and a Francis H. Powers and will allow the Republican candidate to campaign without having to continually answer the charges voiced by his son (who seemed quite determined to see his father lose). This in itself is a relief for the GOP who will fight hard to avoid extinction in New York State.

Democrats remain favored to this seat. Not only was the recruitment success of the two candidates clearly unbalanced but it will be hard for Republicans to survive in any open seat that is remotely competitive at the presidential level.

Another such district is VA-11, vacated by Rep. Tom Davis and at the top of every Democrat's target list. Northern Virginia has been rapidly trending Democratic and it is responsible for Tim Kaine's election in 2005 an Jim Webb's in 2006. Yet, the strength of the dispute between former Rep. Leslie Byrne and Gerry Connolly, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, threatened the Democrats' confidence. Byrne, who occupied this seat from 1992 to 1994 and who lost a close race for Lieutenant Governor in 2005, ran a liberal campaign to remain relevant versus the machine of Connolly, who portrayed himself as a moderate Democrat.

Last night, Virginia voters went to the polls (turnout was only 5%) and gave a resounding victory to Connolly, who thus becomes the Democratic nominee for the general election and the favorite to succeed Tom Davis. He will face Republican businessman Keith Fimian, whose principal strength is that he could self-fund his candidacy in an expensive media market and thus keep the race somewhat competitive. But it would be a big upset surprise if Connolly were to lose. Northern Virginia has been the Democrats' beacon of hope for years and they have been impatiently waiting for Davis to step down to seize this seat.

Democrats dejected that Virginia Democrats lost an opportunity to elect a more progressive politician might be comforted by the primary results in Maine's 1st district, where Chellie Pingree survived a late push by Adam Cote, who ran a more moderate campaign. This seat, left vacant by Tom Allen's senatorial run, is the more Democratic of Maine's two districts which positions Pingree well to defeat Republican Charles Summers and become the first woman to be elected in this district. Note that this primary was essentially a general election and -- to further heighten the stakes -- a probable stepping stone for a Senate candidacy once Sen. Snowe, Sen. Collins or Sen. Allen retire (well if Allen wins in November he is unlikely to retire for a while, but you get my point).

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  • Thanks for stopping by. The support email is support@blogger.com

    Link me? Thanks

    By Blogger Swee, At 11 June, 2008 18:21  

  • Hey, Maine finally gets a mention...and you get our excellent nominee's name wrong! Oh, well. I guess we'll take what we can get.

    Anyway, it's Chellie (pronounced Shelly)--not Charlie--Pingree.

    By Blogger Mainiac, At 11 June, 2008 22:12  

  • Name's corrected! And I have talked about the Maine Senate race at times (though I admit less than other contests). Don't hesitate to email me any Maine stories that I should be covering...

    By Blogger Taniel, At 12 June, 2008 00:20  

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