The biggest story of the elections held Tuesday may not be the defeat of Arlen Specter in the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania or the win by Rand Paul in the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky.
Those were intraparty contests. The story that must have Republicans rethinking their champagne orders for November was the special election for the seat of retiring Democratic Congressman John Murtha in Pennsylvania’s 12th District.
This was a partisan race, a battle between the parties for a House seat that the pollsters said was up for grabs. And as Politico reports, it was a district that Republicans should have done well in. President Obama’s approval rating is low there and voters say they are overwhelmingly against the health care reform that passed earlier this year.
Republicans spent a fortune to win the seat to send a message that November would bring a landslide, but the voters had other ideas. Democrat Mark Critz beat Republican Tim Burns to keep the seat in the Democrats column. Here is Politico’s take.
Given the resources the GOP poured into the effort to capture the seat and the decisiveness of the defeat—as it turned out, it wasn’t really that close—the outcome casts serious doubt on the idea that the Democratic House majority is in jeopardy and offers comfort to a Democratic Party that is desperately in search of a glimmer of hope.