Remember politics? Voting? Elections? Those strange rituals so beloved by our ancestors in the Before Times. Well, there were a bunch of them going on Tuesday, more than anytime since Super Tuesday, which I believe occurred shortly after the Council of Trent. Nine states, plus the embattled District of Columbia, are holding one kind of election or the other. Valerie Plame, a victim of the previous Republican Worst President of All Time, is running in a Democratic congressional primary in New Mexico, which is interesting in and of itself. (It’s a three-way contest, and Plame is not the favorite.) In another congressional district in that state, the Republican primary has turned into a knife fight. From Politico:
Republican Yvette Herrell, a conservative former state legislator who lost to Torres Small in 2018, is back for a rematch. But most national Republicans think the GOP would be better off with new blood, identifying businesswoman Claire Chase as a top recruit. The Chase-Herrell primary has turned into one of the most bitter contests on the 2020 electoral map. Last month, Chase accused Herrell of a “despicable, untrue and deeply personal attack” after a military veteran said Herrell told him that Chase had cheated on her first husband when he was deployed overseas. (Herrell denies that exchange took place, and Chase says she met her current husband after she was divorced.)
In Montana, Congressman Greg Gianforte, the goon who assaulted reporter Ben Jacobs a couple of years ago, is running in a GOP gubernatorial primary against the state’s attorney general, and all decent people hope Gianforte loses by 150 percent of the vote. But the real action is in Iowa, where the Democrats see targets of opportunity in my old friend, Congressman Steve King, and my more recent friend, Senator Joni Ernst. There are five Democrats fighting to oppose Ernst in the fall, with Theresa Greenfield, an Iowa businessperson, the favorite despite the fact that her last campaign for anything crashed in an embarrassing fashion back in 2018. From the Des Moines Register:
In a full-page ad in the Des Moines Sunday Register, Noah Wasserman said he falsified signatures in required petition documents that Greenfield and other Iowa candidates were required to submit to get on the ballot. The ad was the first time Wasserman has publicly commented on the incident. The incident is well-known; back in March 2018, Greenfield abruptly withdrew her petition signatures shortly before the deadline and announced that her campaign manager had faked signatures. Greenfield said she immediately fired Wasserman, though at the time she did not share his name. Greenfield attempted, with the help of staff on other Democratic campaigns, to collect new signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. She ended up coming short, ending her election bid.
This time, Greenfield has lined up a juggernaut of Washington establishment Democratic support, which may or may not ultimately be to her benefit.
Greenfield is still the odds-on favorite on Tuesday. But she needs to clear 35 percent to clinch the nomination. Otherwise the nomination fight heads to a party convention, where delegates might be torn between Greenfield’s national support and some raw feelings on the ground about the party’s intervention in the primary.
Meanwhile, in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District, the state and national GOPs are trying once again to pry the albatross that is Steve King off the party’s neck. Remarkably, after our little chat on MSNBC, King went on to be even more of an obvious white supremacist, so much so that the Republican caucus in the House stripped him of his committee assignments. In their attempt to unload him this time around, the Republicans are being characteristically chickenshit.
King’s strongest challenger on Tuesday is state Sen. Randy Feenstra, who has adopted the party’s line on the incumbent. He has cited King’s lack of legislative effectiveness — Republicans booted the congressman from all his committee assignments after he appeared to defend the terms “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” in a New York Times interview — without directly condemning him.
Yes, the biggest problem with King is not that he’s a raving racist loon, it’s that he’s a raving racist loon who can’t bring home the pork. The biggest problem with the Republican Party is that it’s still trying to finesse this question, because too much of its base wants the hate as much as the bacon.
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