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Republican primaries are the best entertainment you can find this summer.
First Eric Cantor loses in a monumental upset. Then black Democrats save Thad Cochrane’s hide. Then two former Democrats running for Wake County DA fight over who’s the best Republican. And now Phil Berger Jr. loses big despite outspending his opponent big, plus getting help from every lobbyist, superPAC and special interest his father could line up.
You can almost feel the ripples of glee running through the Democratic Party, the Republican House leadership and the Governor’s Mansion.
How we love to see the mighty fall.
Carter knows far more about this race than I do, but I refuse to let ignorance stand in the way of analysis.
John Davis wrote that the winner, Mark Walker, “fanned the flames of resentment of super PAC attack ads run against him and two other Guilford County candidates during April and May, and tied Berger to Washington and Raleigh political insiders wielding outside money.”
So maybe it was a backlash against big outside money and negative attacks.
Or maybe it was just geography. As Davis noted, Guilford County, Walker’s home, has 43 percent of the district’s voters and Berger’s home of Rockingham, only 12 percent.
Or maybe it was resentment at Berger Sr. flaunting his power in the legislature – and fighting with a Republican Governor.
Or maybe nobody knew who Phil Berger Sr. is.
Or maybe you should never underestimate the power of a Baptist minister’s organization in a low-turnout primary.
Or maybe Allen Johnson at the Greensboro News & Record got it: “The Berger Jr. campaign may have turned off some voters by holding too firmly to Dad’s coattails and not running on his own merits. But I’m betting also that Berger Jr. failed to connect on personal level with voters. That they didn’t find him engaging or likable. He seemed in a hurry at times to get on with his anointment…. Berger (Sr.) is a master at wielding his influence through the sheer force of his grip. But that kind of politics will get you only so far. It helps if people like you, too.”
(By the way, great headline on Johnson’s piece: “The son doesn’t rise: Why did Berger Jr. lose?”)
In the end, I think my wise young friend, consultant Nation Hahn, nailed the essential lesson: “Seems like Berger Jr’s loss should cause Renee (Ellmers) some heartburn. Another establishment candidate going down. Walker was really a joke, but he was in the same vein as Brat in VA. Gadfly, who organized, and who tapped in to the incredible anger sweeping the country.”


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2 comments on “Phil Cantor Jr.?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know him personaly but to call him a joke, might be a bit too much. But you may be onto something with that Gadfly comment, we elected a Gadfly president the same way. He turned out to be a joke. That’s why I reserve judgment.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your post is so full of “maybe”-analysis, it’s pathetic. Maybe my aunt would be my uncle, Gary, if she had testicles. C’mon, man. You hate it that the conservatives in North Carolina are seeing the establishment GOP for what they are (for a change) and because Walker is a dedicated Christian conservative Teaparty-type, it makes problems for the U.S. House AND for the NC liberals in their efforts. This is true because the 6th District in NC is decidedly “safe-republican”. You know it, I know it, the press knows it. I’m sure the Greensboro paper will be all over Walker and I’m sure much of the liberal media in our neck of the woods here in the 6th district will be very careful not to show much in the way of positives for Walker. I’m betting Walker’s opponent will eventually play the “woman card” because that’s all she’s really got. But, this man has proven not to need much other than truth and his commitment to what the majority of we voters in the 6th District believe in. I know liberals/progressives will trash/bash him for his christianity and I’ve already heard the rhetoric from his opponent saying: “all he’s interested in is abortion and contraception”. I’ve heard his opponent go to the “radical fringe” card so many times it’s ridiculous. She’ll be told what phrases to use and she’ll use every kind of skewed data she and her cohorts can muster up to make Mark Walker totally something he’s not. But, alas, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to work. I am betting once the democratic apparatus sees that Walker will win this through their interior polling (not polls that the media sources throw out there), she’s going to lose money and support. She’s a loser, Walker is a winner…and he’s also a solid conservative/constitutionalist republican, which is kryptonite to how things are currently in our U.S. House. I’m loving this….more than I can ever say. Eat your heart out…spew all the rhetoric and spin and innuendo you want to here on the TAP front page against Walker. We know the deal, my man.

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