The wave of populist anger which has starved President Obama of good news for most of this mid-term election season appears to be abating, at least temporarily, after Senator Michael Bennet, a White House-backed Democrat from Colorado, beat off a stiff challenge from a prominent rival in one of the year's most bitterly-fought primary contests.
On a rare night of good news for both the Democratic party machine and incumbent politicians across America, Bennet won an eight-point victory over Andrew Romanoff. The result provided a glimmer of evidence that candidates who hitch their wagon to the fortunes of the 44th President may not necessarily be dealt a bloody nose in November's elections.
It was also a lucky escape: President Obama had featured in several of Bennet's campaign adverts and since Romanoff was strongly backed by former President Bill Clinton, his loss would have represented a PR disaster for the administration. During the election, it emerged that the White House took the threat so seriously that it had offered several jobs to Romanoff in an effort to persuade him to quit.
Republicans meanwhile selected another wave of right-wing candidates endorsed by the Tea Party in the four States where primaries were held, seemingly playing into the hands of Democratic strategists who hope the populist movement's trenchant policy positions will eventually prove to be a turn-off for independent voters who carry the balance of power. Bennet will face Ken Buck, a conservative and self-proclaimed outsider who was recently caught on tape telling a voter to back him over his GOP rival Jane Norton "because I do not wear high heels," and in another taped gaffe, asked for someone to tell "dumbasses" to stop asking him about President Obama's birth certificate during campaign events.
In the election for Governor of Colorado, a State which Obama narrowly carried at the 2008 presidential election, the newly selected Republican candidate Dan Maes is similarly quirky. He recently campaigned against a new bike lane in Denver, on the grounds that it was part of a UN conspiracy to "take away our freedoms."
In Connecticut, GOP voters have selected another Tea-party supporter: the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon, who has vowed to spend $50 million of her own funds on advertising during the campaign, but currently trails her Democratic opponent Richard Blumenthal by ten percent, amid controversy over alleged violence and steroid abuse encouraged by the sport.
Minnesota will now see Democratic former US Senator Mark Dayton face the Republican incumbent Tom Emmer. Georgia's GOP nomination is meanwhile still too close to call, with Nathan Deal, a conservative facing an ethics investigation, narrowly ahead of fellow right-winger Karen Handel, who is backed by Sarah Palin and recently told her rival he needed to put on "big boy pants."Reuse content