Idaho held a primary yesterday to pick candidates for the November election. It didn’t go well for the GOP.
Top national GOP recruit Vaughn Ward on Tuesday lost his primary in Idaho after a series of missteps by his campaign, throwing the Republican Party’s chances in doubt against top-targeted Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho).
Ward was trailing state Rep. Raul Labrador (R) 48 to 39 percent, with 90 percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press called the race for Labrador early Wednesday.
Ward becomes the latest establishment favorite to go down in defeat, although his loss will more likely be chalked up to his campaign’s myriad gaffes.
He was one of the first 10 candidates named to the final stage of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) Young Guns program for its top 2010 hopefuls this cycle. Over the past month, however, his campaign has fallen victim to multiple charges of plagiarism, revelations that he didn’t vote in the 2008 presidential election and a slip-up in which he said (in front of his Puerto Rican-born opponent) that Puerto Rico is a country (hint: it’s not).
This is the gentleman who, at a campaign rally in January, lifted whole passages from a speech given by then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention in 2004. Mr. Ward also had the backing of former half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
The track record of the RNC so far in backing losers is pretty good. Their guy in Kentucky, Trey Grayson, lost to Rand Paul; Charlie Crist was driven out of the party by Marco Rubio (and now the RNC is acting like they never heard of Mr. Crist), and then there was the famous NY23 where Dede Scozzafava got submarined by teabagger Doug Hoffman and ended up throwing the election to Democrat Bill Owens.
The RNC will do their best to put a happy face on this, and I suppose they could say that at least they dodged a bullet by not having a klutz as Mr. Ward on the ticket. But it sure makes you wonder how thin the choices must be if he was the best they could find… and he still lost.