Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A mixed bag for moderates

Yesterday's primaries were a mixed bag for moderates.

In the most closely watched race Sen. Lincoln Chafee defeated a conservative challenger backed by the Club for Growth, guaranteeing that a moderate will be elected no matter who wins in November.

But in Arizona, conservative Randy Graf won the primary battle to replace retiring moderate Republican Jim Kolbe, defeating moderate Steve Huffman, who was endorsed by Kolbe and backed by national Republicans. Graf will face Democrat Gabrielle Gifford in November. This could mean the seat could go Democrat, which is good in the sense that the GOP deserves to lose a lot of seats this year. But I don't know enough about Gifford's politics to say whether electing her would be a good thing for moderates.

In Vermont, the House's lone independent, Bernie Sanders, is trying to become the Senate's lone independent to replace Jim Jeffords, the Senate's current lone independent. I note this for the "independent" angle; Sanders, whose views are rather socialist, is not exactly a moderate.

You'll note one thing about all these races: they are defensive ones, attempting to keep a moderate seat moderate. Such battles are necessary, but we're not going to elect more moderates until we get off the defensive and start putting gerrymandered "safe seats" into contention.

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