Personal issues could turn several races

It’s October, so naturally it’s time for some surprises. A series of personal scandals, released in the last few days, could determine the outcome of several high-profile races:

  • In Colorado, the Senate race has been roiled by an old rape case that came into Ken Buck’s office when he was a prosecutor. A left-wing group has found and dragged out the victim to attack Buck for not prosecuting: Buck says the case was too weak to produce a guilty verdict, and that other prosecutors agreed with this decision. The ploy may hurt Buck. It may also backfire.
  • In Florida, the razor-thin margin in the governor’s race could turn on a story like this one — about Democrat Alex Sink licensing felons to sell insurance.
  • In Illinois, embattled incumbent Pat Quinn, D, accuses his challenger of being a puppy killer. Literally.
  • In OH-6, court papers have been found stating that Rep. Charlie Wilson, D, admitted to beating his wife in a deposition.
  • In TN-4, Republican challenger Scott DesJarlais — well, you really have to see it, it’s bad. The candidate maintains it was “proven” untrue. The NRCC feels he’s viable and plans to spend money on him anyway.
  • Republicans’ chances in OH-13 have already been destroyed by a lawsuit against GOP challenger Tom Ganley, accusing him of sexual assault.

Personal scandals will only turn a handful of races — they rarely take on the broad significance of the 2006 Mark Foley sex scandal, or the 1992 House banking scandal — but it’s a lesson for parties and candidates. The other guys are going to throw everything at you, and they’ll surely embellish much of it. If you can’t withstand scrutiny, you have no business running for office.

Beltway Confidentialelection 2010US

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