If you are a political junkie then today is your Christmas Eve. For tonight marks the beginning of the primary season.
The war that we will be watching closely is the one being waged within the Republican Party between Party moderates and the Tea Party Patriots. The Republicans have a very good chance at winning control of the senate. The question is whether they can set aside their internal bickering to nominate candidates who have snowballs chance in hell of defeating weak Democrat incumbents.
You may recall that in 2010 the Tea Party managed to place into nomination a host of misfits that allowed weak Democrat incumbents to hold their seats. Todd “legitimate rape” Akin comes to mind. Akin was such a flawed candidate that incumbent Claire McCaskill anonymously ran television ads promoting Akins candidacy in the primary. A weakened McCaskill understood that Akin was the only Republican that she had a chance to beat in the general. Akin won the Republican nomination and McCaskill beat him by 15 points in the general.
Tonight all eyes will be on North Carolina where incumbent Democrat Senator Kay Hagen is in real trouble. The Republican moderates want to nominate state House speaker Thom Tillis. A seasoned political veteran, Republicans believe Tillis gives them the best chance to unseat the weakened Hagen. Tillis has won the support of the NRA, Jeb Bush, Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney. Local Tea Partiers have other ideas. They favor the more conservative Greg Bannon or Mark Harris. Bannon has stated publically that the Supreme Court has no authority under the Constitution and that the right to bear arms includes the right to own nuclear weapons. Will Bannon be this year’s Akin?
Will moderate Republicans reign in the Tea Party bunch and take control of the Senate? Or will the radicals on the right once again propel Democrats to victory?
“Tis the season!”
Let the festivities begin!