Both establishment and tea party could lose in Nebraska
If state Sen. Deb Fischer pulls an upset in the Nebraska GOP Senate primary today, we will all be treated to a familiar storyline: The Republican Party establishment has been rebuked yet again, it will say, and could pay a price for it in the general election.
Don’t believe it.
Fischer’s win would certainly be an upset — she’s run a meagerly funded campaign and barely registered in the polls for most of the race — but it doesn’t exactly fit the tea party bill.
And the idea that Republicans are enduring a redux of the tea party-dominated 2010 primary season is unfounded at this point.
First of all, unlike 2010, this race is one of relatively few where the party establishment could actually lose.
The proximity of this race to Richard Mourdock’s upset of Sen. Richard Lugar last week in Indiana will lead many to think we’re in another anti-establishment primary season. That’s a mistake
About the only races where we are seeing insurgent candidates challenge establishment favorites are Arizona, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin. Arizona isn’t really a tea party race — Rep. Jeff Flake has both establishment and tea party support — and the GOP isn’t going to lose in Texas. So about the only seats where Republicans could see their chances hurt are in Michigan and Wisconsin.
In every other contested GOP primary — Florida, Missouri and Maine — it’s hard to say just who the establishment candidate is because things are so jumbled.
Republicans, meanwhile, have little or no reason to fear primary upsets in top races in Ohio, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Virginia, Massachusetts and Nevada.
In other words, we’re not going to see the succession of tea party upsets like we did two years ago.
Second, Fischer doesn’t even fit the bill. In fact, of the three candidates in the race, she had the least institutional tea party support.
The most high-profile tea party groups lined up behind her opponents, with
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