Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Tea Party movement...(UPDATED THROUGHOUT THE EVENING)

10th (and final) UPDATE of my evening: 10:22 p.m. EDT: Sen. Specter concedes the election. After thanking various people, he said very little. "It's been a great privilege to serve the people of Pennsylvania," Sen. Specter said. "I'll be working very, very hard for the people of the Commonwealth in the coming months" until his term is over.

And that was it. You can read much into what he said. And what he didn't say.

9th UPDATE: 10:17 p.m. EDT: Kaboom! The Associated Press has called the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate race for Sestak. The way the results from the districts had been coming in, this is not a surprise.

8th UPDATE: 10:00 p.m. EDT: Sestak is pulling ahead. Granted there are about 50% of all precincts reporting, but Sestak's lead has swollen to almost 25,000 votes, and that gives him an approximate lead of 52% to 48%. The fat lady is starting to warm up. Quickly.

7th UPDATE: 9:55 p.m. EDT: Here's a stunner -- 15 of the 73 Republicans elected to the House of Representatives in 1994 have had a scandal attached to them. (Now, let's also acknowledge that Democrats have not been saints over the past 16 years, but 15 of 73 from one party?)

6th UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. EDT: As expected, the race in Pennsylvania to decide the Democratic Party's Senate nominee is going to move deep into the night. An early lead for Specter, probably indicative of Philadelphia-area precincts being among the first to report, has evaporated. Sen. Specter and Rep. Sestak have been running at a near 50-50 vote percentage over the past 45 minutes, and this is indicative of what the final pre-election polls had reported.

My impression over the past week or so was that voters were talking about Specter, but those words cut both ways. "He's done so much for us" was one general theme, while the other was more blunt: "It's time for him to go."

Granted, I overheard these comments and interviewed no one. Moreover, I was in one part of the state -- southwestern Pennsylvania -- which is not Specter's home turf. (It's not Sestak's either, in case you were wondering.)

My opinion, and it's only my opinion, is that Sestak will win tonight.

5th UPDATE: 9:13 p.m. EDT: No surprise here: The AP is calling the Pennsylvania Republican Senate race for Pat Toomey. No way the Democratic race between Sestak and Specter can be called at this hour. It's almost 50-50.

4th UPDATE: 8:55 p.m. EDT: If you are interested in following the election returns from Pennsylvania, use this link.

3rd UPDATE: 8:30 p.m. EDT: Of course tonight is not the best time to assess the Tea Party movement and whether it has any chance to sustain itself into the November elections and beyond. But without a true leader and without being a true "party," it still has tapped into an anti-incumbent attitude, and what has happened in Utah, Florida and Kentucky has to be attributed on a significant level to what it has done.

Its furor also has caught the attention of the media, though not all journalists are enamored with it.

2nd UPDATE: 8:25 p.m. EDT: Politico notes that Kentucky's McConnell is not prepared to give up his Minority Leader spot without a real fight.

1st UPDATE: 8:18 p.m. EDT: The Washington Post notes that Paul's win in the Kentucky Republican Senate primary reflects more than just the Tea Party movement.

ORIGINAL POST:...has made its most significant political statement so far.

Rand Paul, the son of the heartthrob of the Libertarian Party -- Ron Paul, has won the Republican Party's U.S. Senate nomination in Kentucky. Mr. Paul's victory comes just a couple of weeks after the Tea Party movement unseated long-time Utah Senator Bob Bennett in that state's Republican primary process.

Paul's victory is a potential blow to Kentucky's other senator, Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate Minority Leader. He was a strong supporter of Trey Greyson, the state's Secretary of State.

Let's also acknowledge that the Tea Party movement led to Charlie Crist abandoning the Republican Party in Florida. Crist, the state's former governor, says he'll run for the Senate as an independent.

In Pennsylvania the Tea Party movement has not made its mark, but the anti-incumbent attitude that has fueled it could be seen in the Keystone State tonight. Long-time senator Arlen Specter is in danger of not winning the Democratic Party's nomination. Rep. Joe Sestak and Sen. Specter were running neck and neck as the final weekend polls came out.

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