News / USA

US Voters Reject Incumbents of Both Parties

Multimedia

Audio
Cindy Saine

American voters appear to have taken out their anger and frustration at Washington, D.C, voting for the challenger over the incumbent in three of four major congressional races across the country.  Analysts say this is likely to be a very tough year for current officeholders in the November congressional elections.

Democratic Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania saw his 30-year Senate career come crashing to an end Tuesday night, losing to Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak in a Democratic primary vote.

Specter had been a Republican senator up until last year, when he switched to the Democratic Party, with the backing of President Barack Obama.  His challenger, Joe Sestak, broadcast blistering TV ads saying Specter had switched parties because he was worried about saving one job - his own.   Congressman Sestak savored his victory late Tuesday.

"Too many career politicians are a bit too concerned with keeping their jobs, rather than serving the public, rather than helping people," said Sestak.  "This is what democracy looks like.  A win for the people over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington, D.C."

Sestak will now face Republican candidate Pat Toomey in the November election for this key senate seat.

In Arkansas, centrist Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln failed to win a majority of votes in the primary against a left-leaning challenger, and is headed to a June run-off for her party's nomination.

David Hawkings is managing editor of Congressional Quarterly Weekly, one of the leading print and online news media covering Congress.  Hawkings agrees that there is an unmistakable and prevailing anti-incumbent mood in the country.

"It is going to be a big anti-incumbent year, and a big anti-Washington year, and what is still left a little bit up in the air after last night is how much that anti-incumbent wave, how disproportionately that anti-incumbent wave, will wash over the Democrats," said Hawkings.  "Or whether it is really even a wave."

Hawkings says Democrats say there is no upcoming Republican "wave" which will sweep scores of them from office, pointing to a special election for the U.S. House seat for the late Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania.  Long-time Murtha aide and Democrat Mark Critz won that seat Tuesday in a conservative district that voted for Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

There was another anti-incumbent slap in the face for establishment Republicans in Kentucky.  Rand Paul, a grassroots conservative activist candidate, running under the "Tea Party" banner, scored a blowout win over the hand-picked Republican establishment candidate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson.  Rand Paul, the son of libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul, issues this warning in his victory speech.

"I have a message, a message from the Tea Party, [a] message that is loud and clear and does not mince words.  We have come to take our government back," said Paul.

David Hawkings said the victory shows that the Tea Party is a force to be reckoned with.

"It is a clear sign that the Tea Party movement has some lasting staying power, that is has an ability to galvanize disaffected voters, and not only did Rand Paul win in Kentucky, but a Tea Party candidate won in a House race in Louisville, [Kentucky] defeating another establishment candidate," said Hawkings.

But Hawkings said the Tea Party victories could actually turn out to be a disadvantage for Republicans in the November general elections, because Tea Party candidates tend to be viewed as too far to the right ideologically by moderate voters.

"It is an age-old problem in politics, where in general in American politics, the candidate who appeals most to the most fervent members of the party wins the primary and then often has a very difficult time appealing to the broader electorate," added Hawkings.

The party that controls the White House historically loses congressional seats in a new president's first mid-term elections.  The question for President Obama and Democrats is how many seats they will lose.  Republicans would need a 40-seat gain in November to take back majority control in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hawkings and other analysts caution political observers not to read too much into Tuesday's results, because there are still more than five months to go until the November elections.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs