Incumbents Fight for Their Political Lives

A poll out this weekend finds that just 35 percent of Americans surveyed say the country is heading in the right direction - the lowest rating since a week before President Obama took office. Only 36 percent say they want their own member of Congress re-elected.

Those feelings do not bode well for incumbents seeking re-election this year, as CBS News correspondent Tony Guida reports.

Arlen Specter, once a prince of the senate, is fighting for his political life in Pennsylvania.

"I need another term in office to bring these 125,000 jobs to this region," Specter recently said.

Specter logged 30 years as a Republican senator before switching out of the party that seemed ready to dump him.

Anti-Incumbent Feeling Fuels Midterm Primaries

His opponent, two-term congressman and retired navy admiral Joe Sestak, hammers Specter for longevity and for the party flip-flop.

"Arlen Specter changed parties to save one job: his," Sestak recently quipped.

Another incumbent in trouble - Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln - is looking for a third senate term and facing a tough primary Tuesday against two opponents.

"If you send the same people back to Washington, you are guaranteed to get the same result," said one of those opponents, Arkansas Gov. Bill Halter.

Incumbents have been falling hard recently. just last weekend, Utah Republicans knocked out three-term senator Robert Bennett; he'd been targeted by the tea party. A few days later, West Virginia democrats ousted Alan Mollohan, a 14-term incumbent.

The chance to mint a new congressman comes up Tuesday in southwestern Pennsylvania - a special election to replace veteran democrat John Murtha, who died. The Republican party has spent about a million dollars on behalf of Tim Burns.

Democrats have matched that spending, and on Sunday imported former president Bill Clinton to boost democrat Mark Critz.

All the polling ahead of these Tuesday races reveals an angry electorate. That's hardly surprising in a mid-term election year, but for the depth of voter frustration. They seem eager to turn out anyone whose address is the nation's capitol.
  • CBSNews

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter