The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

Congressman Todd Akin won the Missouri Senate Primary in an upset after “support” from that state’s Democrats.

This is what happens when state politics intersects with national. After an ad blitz declaring him the most conservative contender for Missouri’s Senate seat, Representative Todd Akin scored an upset in the Republican primary last night, defeating Tea Party favorite John Brunner and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman. The catch? The ads were paid for by McCaskill allies, hoping that Aki would prove the easiest opponent in the general. She got her wish, insofar as Akin won, but it remains to be seen whether this will be an ultimately successful maneuver. (n.b.- In 2002, California Governor Gray Davis made a similar move, running attack ads agains moderate Republican Richard Riordan. The gambit paid off, and Davis was reelected, though we all know what happened next.) [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

The California GOP’s troubles are well-documented, but now there’s a new challenge to the party: The Libertarian Party. Already the state’s fastest-growing party, 93,657 registered voters, the party opened a headquarters in Sacramento in July and is focusing on expanding its reach in California, including efforts to “identify, expose, combat, and defeat the opponents of liberty in the political arena”. Facing massive budget shortfalls, the CA Republican Party has been downsizing in recent months and even considered closing its headquarters in Sacramento. [Sacramento Bee]

Staying in the Midwest, Illinois will remain the only US state with two former governors in prison. Republican George Ryan was denied his request for early release on a 6.5 year prison sentence for corruption. Imprisoned in late 2006 for manipulating contracts in return for trips and gifts, Ryan’s sentence ends next year. He was allowed to leave prison on multiple occasions last year to be with his wife as she was dying of cancer. [New York Times]


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