Five Things We Learned About the Midterms

Political Management expert Lara Brown analyzes congressional races.

Lara Brown
The primaries have been a boost to the Republican establishment, says political management program director Lara Brown.
May 23, 2014

By James Irwin

Six states held primary races Tuesday, providing an unofficial kickoff to the general campaign season for the 2014 midterm elections. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) handily beat tea party challenger Matt Bevin. A crowded race in Georgia slimmed down to two candidates in a runoff for the Republican nomination. And in Pennsylvania, a Clinton in-law fell short of reclaiming a seat she lost nearly 20 years ago.

It was a good night for the Republican Party and incumbents, said Lara Brown, political management program director and associate professor in the Graduate School of Political Management.

George Washington Today sat down with Dr. Brown to discuss Tuesday’s results and how they affect the midterm races.

What we learned:

Mitch McConnell has a lot of momentum heading into the general election (1:03)

“What you also saw from the various groups that supported [Matt] Bevin was strong words of support for Mitch McConnell’s race. They really turned around and essentially said ‘this is a general election fight now.’”

The tea party and Ross Perot have something in common (1:32)

“Third parties or factions within a political party, when they make the kind of noise that the tea party did in 2010, what you always see is they change the coalitional makeup of the party itself.”

The Georgia runoff may come down to a candidate who isn’t on the ballot (3:33)

“Had Karen Handel won a spot in the runoff, it would have been very clear where tea party Republicans would have gone. Now with [David] Perdue and [Jack] Kingston it’s going to be something of an open question as to how they come out and align. I would be watching where Handel decides to throw her support.”

Two Democratic women have a chance in red states, but the president isn’t helping (4:19)

“We see presidential approval in [Kentucky and Georgia] is very low. Obama is running lower than his national average in those states, and it may be a very tough climb for both [Michelle] Nunn and [Alison Lundergan] Grimes to prevail.”

Marjorie Margolies’ loss could point to a larger issue for the Clintons (5:37)

“Now that she’s lost there are some questions about how ready is the country, or at least Pennsylvania, for Hillary? … It really does raise a question as to how much the Clinton magic will be able to reignite in the future.”

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