Two high-profile, veteran lawmakers — one from the left side of the aisle and the other from the right — overcame primary challengers Tuesday. One had a much easier time than the other.
In Harlem, Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel “survived the toughest reelection fight of his career, overcoming health and ethics troubles to extend his four-decade run in the House with a win in the New York primary” as Politico writes. Rangel won by single digits over state Sen. Andriano Espaillat. Rangel is 82. He won, as WNYC says, despite facing “a spirited challenge in a newly redrawn district.”
And in Utah, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch “easily beat his primary opponent Tuesday night, thwarting a challenge from the right and a threat from conservative groups to end his 36 years in the Senate,” The Hill reports. Hatch is 78.
Oklahoma Republican Rep. John Sullivan, who has served five terms in the House, didn’t do as well as Rangel or Hatch. He was upset in his primary by John Bridenstine, a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve who appealed to Tea Party conservatives, as the Tulsa World writes.
The liberal leaning Daily Beast thinks the Hatch and Rangel means the “anti-incumbent wave” may have crested and reflects “the strength of the establishment and the power of financial advantage.”
The Corner, from the conservative National Review, says it was “a good night to be an incumbent.” Hatch won, it says, because “he was ready. Following Utah senator Bob Bennett’s 2010 defeat, Hatch spent two years courting tea-party conservatives and voting with them.” Rangel won because he “pointed to his long tenure (as he does every cycle) and used the endorsement of Governor Andrew Cuomo to stop the coup.”