With 12 weeks remaining before Election Day, it's still far too soon to say with any confidence how many key contests will turn out, but a pattern is nevertheless clear: the Republican base is helping set up the Senate matchups Democrats want.
In Indiana, Dems far preferred to run against Richard Mourdock than Dick Lugar, and GOP voters obliged. In Missouri, Dems hoped Republicans would nominate Todd Akin, and they did. Even Nebraska's race is probably more competitive after Deb Fischer won her GOP primary.
And in Connecticut, Democrats preferred not to face Chris Shays, and as of last night, they won't.
Linda McMahon, the former CEO of wrestling juggernaut WWE, once again won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, crushing former Congressman Christopher Shays by a 3-to-1 ratio. [...]
McMahon praised Shays but said her victory proves voters want a business leader over a career politician. It's an argument she already has been making against Rep. Chris Murphy, the Democratic nominee, who has spent his career in government, first in Hartford and now in Washington.
Shays was the moderate former congressman running against McMahon, the conservative wrestling executive, who ran for the Senate two years ago and lost by 12 points in a cycle that heavily favored Republicans. Thanks to her vast fortune and the GOP base's distaste for moderation, the results weren't close.
This is, of course, exactly what Democrats hoped would happen. Indeed, we've seen this dynamic before -- in 2010, Dems were able to maintain their majority in the Senate thanks in large part to Republican primary voters rejecting more electable candidates in Nevada, Delaware, and Colorado. In 2012, it's quite possible Democrats will hold onto their majority once more because the GOP base didn't learn any lessons from the last cycle.
There were plenty of other interesting results last night -- Tricia mentioned several of them earlier -- but there was one other primary that stood out for me. Did you hear about Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.)?
Stearns is generally considered one of the nuttier members of the House Republican caucus, questioning the legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate, endorsing presidential impeachment for no particular reason, and leading strange witch hunts against Planned Parenthood and Solyndra.
And as of last night, Stearns apparently won't be back next year.
The big story from Tuesday's House primaries is the apparent defeat of GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns, who trailed veterinarian Ted Yoho by 829 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Stearns refused to concede late Tuesday night, saying he was awaiting the certified results and the Associated Press had not called the race as of early Wednesday morning.
So who is Ted Yoho, the man who pulled off one of the most unexpected upsets of the primary season? A 57-year-old veterinarian, a National Rifle Association member and a political newcomer with tea party support.
Yoho is also the candidate who ran this rather colorful ad during the primaries.