Dems hold Giffords seat

Former aide Ron Barber wins by 6; liberal donors abandon Obama; and other top Wednesday stories

Topics: 2012 Elections, Gabrielle Giffords,

Super Tuesday Part 2: Voters went to polls in seven states yesterday, here’s what you need to know:

* Ron Barber, the shot former aide to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, won the special election to keep Giffords’ 8th Congressional District seat blue with a comfortable 6-point margin. Giffords appeared on the stage at the victory party last night to congratulate him. But they’ll have to do it all over again in November, when Barber will again challenge Republican Jesse Kelly for a chance of winning a full two-year term.

* In Maine, voters chose nominees to face off for retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s seat. Democrats picked state Sen. Cynthia Dill, while Republicans chose Secretary of State Charlie Summers. Both are expected to lose in November to independent Angus King, a popular former governor.

* In Virginia, former Sen. George Allen won the Republican nomination to try to win back the seat he lost with a racist slur six years ago.

* In North Dakota, voters rejected Measure 3, a referendum that proponents said would preserve religious freedom, but critics said could open the door to “legalize child abuse, domestic violence and the marriage of men to 12-year-old girls” as it would prevent the state from enforcing any law that “burdens” a religious person. Voters in the state also voted to dump the controversial “Fighting Sioux” nickname of the state’s university.



Obama loses donors on the left, right and Wall Street: An analysis by Stanford political scientist Adam Bonica finds that Barack Obama’s 2008 donors who have not given again this year are “disproportionately centrists and very liberal Democrats, while regular Democrats have stuck by the president,” BuzzFeed’s Rebecca Elliott reports. Bonica speculated that this has to do with the fact that Obama had little track record four years ago, so people projected what they wanted onto him. Now, ”2008 donors who were most likely to give again in 2012 are those with ideological scores most similar to Obama’s,” Bonica said.

And while Obama did well with financial sector donors in 2008, Mitt Romney is dramatically out-raising him on Wall Street this year, $37.1 million to $4.8 million when the candidate’s respective super PACs are included, Politico’s Abby Phillips and Ken Vogel report. And among the largest donors to Romney are 19 donors who gave to Obama in 2008. Their feelings seem to be hurt by Obama’s “class warfare” rhetoric.

Norquist line breaking: Fresh off a drubbing from former Gov. Jeb Bush, anti-tax enforcer Grover Norquist suffered another major defection yesterday when Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and close ally of John McCain, told ABC News that Republicans should consider eliminating loopholes in the tax code, something that violates Norquist’s “pledge.” “When you eliminate a deduction, it’s OK with me to use some of that money to get us out of debt. That’s where I disagree with the pledge,” Graham told ABC’s Jon Karl.  ”And if I’m willing to do that as a Republican, I’ve crossed a rubicon,” said Graham.

Florida’s voter purging began with five-minute chat: Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is under pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice for launching an effort to purge voters from the rolls and is facing a national campaign from progressive activists charging him with voter suppression, but judging by the way his effort began, he may be in over his head. The Miami Herald reports that Scott embarked on his purging effort after the newly inaugurated governor had a five-minute conversation with the secretary of state and learned that voting is by “honor system.” Of course, deaths by lightning strikes and UFO sightings are more common than voter fraud, but a year-and-half later, hundreds or thousands of people may lose their right to vote thanks to that rap session in January of 2011.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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