WASHINGTON -- The candidate who on Tuesday won the special election in a Pennsylvania congressional district is right-to-life and pro-gun. He accused his opponent of wanting heavier taxes. He said he would have voted against Barack Obama's health care plan and promised to vote against cap-and-trade legislation, which is a tax increase supposedly somehow related to turning down the planet's thermostat. This candidate, Mark Critz, is a Democrat.
And that just about exhausts the good news for Democrats on a surreal Tuesday when their presumptive candidate for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut -- the state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal -- chose to hold a news conference at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall to discuss why he had falsely said he fought in a foreign war. National Democrats may try to find a less damaged candidate for Connecticut, but first they may have to do that in Illinois.
Their candidate to hold the Senate seat Obama held, Alexi Giannoulias, has a problem: The failure of the bank owned by his family -- it made loans to Tony Rezko, the convicted developer who helped Obama with a 2006 property transaction -- may cost taxpayers many millions. Proving his credentials as a disciple of the president, Giannoulias blamed the bank's failure on George W. Bush.
Illinois Democrats have already had to replace the colorful fellow they nominated for lieutenant governor. Five days after the primary, in a bar, during the Super Bowl, South Side pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen wept as he bowed out beneath a cloud of controversies about a 2005 arrest for domestic battery against a former girlfriend -- he was accused of holding a knife to her throat -- and complaints of spousal abuse and revelations of steroid use.
If Democrats lose Obama's former seat, as they are almost certain to lose Joe Biden's in Delaware, and as they may lose the Nevada seat currently held by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, they will achieve a negative hat trick in November, losing all three of the so-called "trophy contests." Democrats and, not amazingly, many commentators say Republicans are the ones with the worries because they are nominating strange and extreme candidates. Their Exhibit A is Rand Paul, winner of Kentucky's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.
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