We’ve all heard the moan of regret. “I fought the law and the law won.” But occasionally the underdog wins. Real Clear Politics describes the outcome of a primary battle in an all-Republican district between 20 year incumbent Don Manzullo and 34-year old challenger Adam Kinzinger. Although the news coverage highlights Eric Cantor’s endorsement of Kinzinger, Real Clear politics notes another factor.
Kinzinger wasn’t the only one going after Manzullo. The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a Texas-based super PAC targeting incumbents in both parties, poured over $200,000 into the race.
The Campaign for Primary Responsibility. That would be none other than the “shadowy” PAC which Politico describes as making incumbents “shake in their boots”. Politico writes, “the Campaign for Primary Accountability is hoping to rack up two more victories on Tuesday by ousting incumbent Illinois Reps. Donald Manzullo, a Republican, and Jesse Jackson Jr., a Democrat.”
Well one down, one to go.
The stated mission of the Houston-based super PAC is simple: to oust congressional incumbents on both sides of the aisle.
“We step in as equalizers so that there can actually be a competitive election, so that — God forbid — members of Congress have to face the voters in a competitive environment,” said super PAC spokesman Curtis Ellis.
Politico believed that Manzullo was locked in a “tight race” but that Jackson was safe. “In the Illinois primary, Jackson is expected to easily deflect the challenge from former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, but Manzullo is locked in a tight race with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, and the super PAC’s ads could help tilt the scales.” They did.
The evil genius behind the campaign on incumbents is a man whose name some Belmont Club commenters may be familiar with. “The Campaign for Primary Accountability raked in $1.8 million by the end of January, according to its most recent campaign finance report. Much of that — about $775,000 — came from the group’s founder, Leo Linbeck III, a wealthy construction tycoon based in Houston.”
And the super PAC plans to keep up the pressure on incumbents throughout the primary season.
After the Illinois race, it’s hoping to fuel upsets in April of Pennsylvania Reps. Tim Murphy — a Republican who’s running against tea party favorite Evan Feinberg — and Blue Dog Democrat Tim Holden, who’s running against attorney Matt Cartwright.
Now a swallow does not a summer make. But there is a sea-change in the air. As ABC News put it, “Congress Hits a New Low in Approval; Obama Opens Election Year Under 50%”. People are sick and tired of Washington. Unless things change it will one day be the case of “I fought City Hall and City Hall Lost”. The times really are a-changing and not always in the way they were supposed to.