Soon enough we'll get to the general election implications of Bill Sali's win of the Republican primary for the 1st U.S. House district. Those, and what it says about the first district itself.
For the moment, though, let's reflect on the primary results as such, and for both Republicans and Democrats some prevailing trends suggest themselves.
Generally speaking, this primary was good for hard-line social conservatives. Sali was Exhibit A: He posited the race explicitly as himself - defined as a sort of purist conservative - against Sheila Sorensen, loosely defined as a moderate or liberal or something equally unsavory. His final appeal is that the winner will be him or her, and true conservatives would know what to do. The religious conservative front certainly did, from the appeals on the anti-abortion front to the Alan Keys event in Kootenai County last weekend. Sali's win was part of an organized effort, and it should be no surprise that the effort bore fruit elsewhere too. Our suspicion (voiced in this space) was that just such support would allow Sali to outrun the indicators of polls.
There were other exhibits of this too, on Tuesday night. Phil Hart, hardcorne on the tax and social front in the Panhandle was challenged by the veteran legislator, Wayne Meyer, he beat two years ago; the win then seemed almost a fluke, attendant in part to Meyer's not paying enough attention. Hart's smackdown of Meyer this time shows that nothing fluky was involved. In Gem County, Kathy Skippen's loss to Steven Thayne was another takedown of a relative centrist in the House Republican caucus by a candidate far to the right. (more…)