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More spin on Tim Burns

Here, from one of my conversations with strategists who tried to elect Tim Burns in PA-12, is perhaps the best spin on how the party's loss in a Cook Political Report-rated R+1 district is not a sign that Republicans will underperform in November.

So: 45,777 people voted in the Republican primary in PA-12, choosing Burns to run again in November. And 82,695 people voted in the Democratic primary, choosing Mark Critz. But in the special, Critz won 71,684 votes and Burns won 59,476 votes. The positive way to look at this: Burns won, and Critz lost, around 17 percent of Democratic votes.

Not much, but that and the "Sestak effect" (Democrats coming out in the surprisingly hot Senate race) are what some Republicans are hanging their hats on right now as they explain why they can march through other conservative-leaning districts in November.

One other sub-story: Republicans are annoyed that Burns's fealty to some conservative stances, like the Fair Tax (which would replace the income tax with a national sales tax) and the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose all tax increases, became fodder for Democratic attack ads. As they build an army of candidates who, in many cases, are powered by the tea party movement and running to the right, it's an ongoing concern.

By David Weigel  |  May 19, 2010; 11:41 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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