Intraparty feuds spice up midterms

By Eugene Tinklepaugh

Rocky Mount Telegram

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In an interesting analysis, The Associated Press delves into a political trend that's influencing some primary races. At the heart of the push? You guessed it: the conservative-leaning Tea Party.

Essentially, an ongoing feud in the Republican Party pitting conservatives against moderates has the potential to not only shape the GOP primaries, but also extend beyond the midterms to the 2012 presidential race. No more middle-of-the-road candidates under the Republicans' big tent means moderate and independent voters might have to go looking elsewhere when they vote in November – and in 2012. Where will they turn? Well, what other option would they have?

North Carolina gets a mention in the AP's party-purifying analysis as an example of the feud also being waged within the Democratic ranks.

"A labor group angry at moderate House Democrats over their health care votes has formed a third party although they are struggling to get candidates on the ballot," the AP reports.

To put that into context, the group – State Employees' Association of North Carolina – is upset at the state's elected Democrats who voted against health care reform; namely, U.S. Reps. Larry Kissell, Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre.

The group has formed the political party North Carolina First and is in the process of obtaining 85,000 signatures from registered voters, which it must do by June 1 to be able to put a candidate on the ballot for the midterm. So far the party hasn't said if it has any candidates. But if successful, Democratic insiders say that surely will siphon votes from the incumbents, which only would help the respective Republican challengers in those races.

So what it looks like from here is conservative Republicans might actually be helping liberals this November and liberal Democrats appear bound and determined to help the conservatives. Is your head spinning, yet?

If this push away from the middle continues, does that set the stage for a third party to fill the void? Tell us what you think. Is it time to mix it up by introducing a third party, or is this just part of the political game in a wacky primary season?

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