Crossposted at DemocraticDiva.com
The filing deadline for partisan Arizona candidates has arrived and it appears that most of the GOP lawmakers who joined with the Democrats to approve the Medicaid expansion will not, after all, face serious primary threats as punishment for their votes. Which doesn’t surprise me at all since I’ve been paying attention to GOP primary voter behavior for several years now and have observed that it is rare for those voters to sacrifice incumbents in races that Dems could possibly win.
AZ Capitol Times seems to be clued in to this reality, as they reported Tuesday:
Though Arizona’s legislative primaries are months away, some lawmakers and lobbyists look to this week’s results as a bellwether of the state’s upcoming elections, a development that marks a drastic change in the narrative following the 2013 regular session.
A handful of Republican lawmakers were considered “dead in the water” last summer for the sin of breaking with the bulk of their caucus and voting in favor of expanding Medicaid in Arizona. The promise of primary challenges from within their own party loomed over the end of session, as Tea Partiers and some far-right factions of the GOP swore retribution.
It seems the opposite has come true. As the state gets closer to the August primary elections, the remaining Medicaid expansion Republicans are no longer considered likely to get booted from office. In some legislative districts, more conservative candidates are even facing challenges from more “pragmatic Republicans,” lobbyist Barry Aarons noted.
Ben Giles got it right about the primaries but the Midterm Super Tuesday results of last week are a bellwether of exactly jack shit besides an annoying talking point that is being pounded relentlessly. Incumbent “establishment” Republicans won because their primary voters are perfectly happy with their votes and obstruction of the Kenyan Usurper. Why would Kentucky GOP primary voters ditch Mitch McConnell for some nobody who could lose to Allison Grimes? It’s really not more complicated than that but the Chamber of Commerce crowd needs to claim it as their hard-fought victory over the so-called “Tea Party” (which was simply a rebranding of the GOP base and is very reliably pro-business) so you’ll forget how complicit they were in pulling the GOP to the far right for the past few decades.
Business types in Arizona are also eager to claim credit (where none is due) for the completely unsuprising (if you were paying attention) lack of GOP Medicaid expansion-punishing primaries this year.
Railbirds credit time and money for changing the narrative.
The purge called for last summer likely won’t occur in August, said lobbyist Barrett Marson.
“Time heals a lot of wounds,” Marson said. “The prospect in June 2013 of moderates surviving primary challenges, the general consensus was these guys are dead in the water. A year later, you’ve seen some significant fundraising from these moderates. And quite frankly, they’re conservative, but one vote makes them a moderate.”
Marson primarily credits the Medicaid expansion-Republicans’ fundraising advantage for boosting their re-election prospects.
Even some Republicans who were considered weakened and susceptible to a challenge before they voted in favor of Medicaid expansion may now have been bolstered by their controversial vote.
Of course, they cannot take the blame for anything, ever, as you can see here:
Tea Party candidates, once boosted to elected office by a robust Clean Elections system that left them on equal footing with traditionally-funded candidates, are now less and less viable in the face of a law that allows contributions up to $4,000, Marson said.
Barrett Marson is completely full of it here. The Tea Party wasn’t even a thing until 2009 and 2010 Clean candidates were blocked from getting matching funds. Pretty much every Republican at the time was either identifying as TP or was acting really friendly with the movement, irrespective of how their campaigns were funded (and most were tradition). The 2012 election resulted in exactly 17 out of 90 legislators having run clean and 10 of those are Democrats. We are not being “saved” from the Tea Party with a massive increase in allowable campaign contributions. The Tea Party is simply getting increasingly unpopular. There’s no evidence that the GOP is becoming more moderate, especially when guys like Andy Tobin are now in the “establishment” category.