Election 2010

Democrats look to benefit from GOP civil war!

on . Posted in Election 2010

WASHINGTON - August 25, 2010 - A Republican civil war is raging, with righter-than-thou conservatives dominating ever more primaries in a fight for the party's soul; and the Democrats hope to benefit.

The latest examples of conservative insurgents' clout came Tuesday at opposite ends of the country. In Florida, political newcomer Rick Scott beat longtime congressman and state Attorney General Bill McCollum for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. In Alaska, Tea Party activists and Sarah Palin pushed Senator Lisa Murkowski to the brink of defeat, depending on absentee ballot counts in her race against outsider Joe Miller.

The GOP is likely to survive its bitter intraparty battles in such states as Alaska and Utah, even if voters oust veteran senators in both. But Tea Party-backed candidates might be a godsend to desperate Democrats elsewhere - in Nevada, Florida and perhaps Kentucky, where the Democrats portray GOP nominees as too extreme for their states.

If Murkowski joins Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) as a victim of party activists who demand ideological purity, other Republicans are still likely to win in November, though Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) would have to deal with more maverick members who are loath to compromise; and the conservative insurgency is hardly all-powerful, as Senator John McCain proved by easily winning renomination in Arizona despite a challenge from the right by J.D. Hayworth.

The Republican Party's chief danger lies in battleground states such as Florida and Nevada, where great opportunities might slip away. Illegitimate President Barack Obama and his Democrats see a silver lining amid political troubles driven by high unemployment and a continuing economic Depression.

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