It’s time for the traditional end-of-year reminiscences of 2014, with plenty of best-and-worst lists for political people. I’ll fish in with a few lowlights of the political year.
1) Worst primary campaign: there were too many underwhelming primary campaigns to count, much less list, but you’d have to include on any list the early-favorite Tea Party candidates for the Senate in Georgia, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, who finished fourth and fifth; Milton Wolf of Nebraska, whose own issues kept him from taking advantage of an incredibly vulnerable Sen. Pat Roberts; and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell of Alaska, who managed to lose both Establishment and Tea Party support to finish third in a U.S. Senate primary. Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii deserves Honorable Mention status for losing his re-election primary by an astounding 66/31 margin.
2) Worst general election campaign: Again, there are plenty of competitors, but Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land managed to make her Senate candidacy non-viable down the stretch; Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby self-destructed with repeated personal problems and gaffes; Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony Brown squandered a huge lead to lose in a heavily Democratic state; and Ohio Democratic gubernatorial nominee Michael Fitzgerald’s campaign completely imploded just as he should have been making a move.
3) Worst candidate moment: There’s a hands-down “winner” here: Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley’s comments to Texas trial lawyers urging them to keep an “Iowa farmer,” the much-revered Chuck Grassley, from taking over the Judiciary Committee.
We’ll have some more positive memories next week.