In today’s paper, I look at eight primaries in which the 2008 bailout vote will loom large. The bailout got plenty of play as a campaign issue following Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-Texas) primary loss to Gov. Rick Perry, but plenty of people seem to be missing the point. Part of this is because the issue is going to be applied on a case-by-case basis, with both parties having races where it will help and hurt them. That’s made it a difficult issue for the national parties to go after, because so many of each party’s members voted for or against it. Instead, the Democrats have used TARP as a jumping off point to criticize Republicans who voted against the Democratic-led banking reform bill in December. They also landed a hit on former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) over the weekend for criticizing the bailout while, according to lobbying disclosures, having lobbied on it for Chrysler's parent company. Once individual campaigns get off the ground a little bit more, though, expect a heavy dose of the bailout from here on-out.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) face their first big tests today, when Colorado holds the first stage of its lengthy primary process – the precinct caucuses. Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is riding high after a poll Tuesday showed him trailing just 40-34 among the general electorate. Norton, meanwhile, has been losing straw poll after straw poll to GOP primary opponent and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. Both Bennet and Norton could make big statements, or they could experience significant setbacks. These will be some of the most closely watched precinct caucuses in a while.
Health care vulnerables update
-Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas) was a no last time, and he’ll be
a no this time, pledging to vote against the Senate bill and a reconciliation
-Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) was a yes last time. She tells to AP: "There's no decision yet on what the process is going to be, there's nothing back from the CBO, there's no commitment yet from the Senate that they can get 51 votes, and there's no bill to show me what it's in it. So until those things get resolved I'm staying uncommitted."
Correction: This post initially stated that Titus was a 'no' vote in November.