Blanche Lincoln’s loss was immediately called in Arkansas. John Boozman gave the second pickup for Republicans of the night, though two others were held off. John Raese has lost to Joe Manchin in West Virginia, and Linda McMahon lost to Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut. Republicans held Georgia, New Hampshire and North Carolina Senate seats, the latter two thought to be a race at one point.
Blanche Lincoln was the recipient of lots of money in a primary where she narrowly held off Bill Halter. Progressives who donated heavily to Halter were told in that race that they were wasting their time and their money. But Lincoln was nowhere the entire race, and got smoked tonight. There was almost no chance that she would ever pull that seat out. Exactly who engaged in a pointless exercise, then?
To say that Lincoln was a casualty of the “liberal base” in Arkansas neglects the fact that she was right where she wanted to be. She had a hard-right candidate to her right and a candidate to her left in the primary. I hear Lawrence O’Donnell gloating that the liberal base “took her out,” tsk-tsking liberals who opposed her, but this is exactly how she ran her entire Senate career, and exactly how she wanted to run – right down the middle. She was rewarded by losing miserably.
The message here is not that you shouldn’t run primaries – it’s that you should run candidates with a chance in hell of winning general elections.