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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

 

How the righteous have fallen

by Tom Sullivan


Photo by Sascha Wenninger via Creative Commons.

While most eyes are focused on today's Democratic presidential primary in California, other presidential contests are going on in New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico. But the down-ticket races have their own drama. Roll Call highlights congressional primaries in New Jersey, Iowa, California, and North Carolina.

North Carolina held its presidential primary on March 15, but because a federal court threw out the 2011 Republican congressional redistricting map in February, the state's congressional primaries using newly redrawn districts were postponed until today. (The district I voted in in March is not the same one I vote in today.) There is a primary today for candidates for the state supreme court as well. Because in February, a three-judge superior court panel disallowed the state's new retention election process for supreme court races, re-opening that contest, which will be held today. State legislative redistricting is still being reviewed in the courts.

One casualty of the congressional redraw in North Carolina is Republican U.S. congresswoman and former T-party darling Renee Elmers:

North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican elected in 2010 with tea party support, has been pummeled by outside groups on the right upset with some of her legislative actions on spending, immigration and abortion.

In a stroke of political bad luck, redistricting pitted her in a member-on-member primary against Rep. George Holding, the son of a wealthy banking family with plenty of resources at his disposal.

Holding currently represents the 13th District. But because the new district was shifted across the state, he decided to challenge Ellmers in the newly redrawn 2nd District, which includes territory he currently represents. (He actually lives in the nearby 4th District).

Ellmers got a late boost over the weekend with an endorsement from Donald Trump, who recorded a robocall on her behalf. Ellmers is the first congressional candidate the presumptive GOP nominee has endorsed.
We'll find out later if Trump knows how to pick winners as he says he does.

At Slate, Jamelle Bouie writes:
Unfortunately for Ellmers, her right flank is fully mobilized against her—in a Republican primary, that’s enough to lose. And if she does, it will reverberate throughout the GOP landscape, a warning to any conservative lawmaker who decides they were elected to accomplish something and serve their constituents, not act as a mindless vote for ideology. Which makes this relatively low-key primary in North Carolina extremely relevant to national politics.

More than most, Ellmers’ fight for re-election is illustrative of major trends in the Republican Party; trends that led to a succession of needless standoffs over routine government funding; trends that sacrificed conservative policy victories for affective rage against Obama; and trends that have culminated in the most dysfunctional and ill-prepared nominee to ever grace the presidential stage.
The problem with ideological purity is you can never be pure enough.