Today's discussion at BlueNC about whether Heath Shuler is progressive enough to be deserving of a Democratic nomination for the Senate next year reminded me of the report we wrote about how voters define themselves ideologically within their parties last year. Among Democrats in North Carolina 35% are liberals, 46% are moderates, and 19% are conservatives.
What are the implications of that?
It means that for liberal voters to keep someone from being nominated they would have to be pretty universally supportive of another candidate or candidates. And since we showed yesterday that Mike McIntyre and Heath Shuler are actually pretty popular with liberal Democrats at this point that doesn't seem a likely scenario.
It also means that if McIntyre or Shuler decides to make the race and has the support of the DSCC the chances of them not winning the nomination are pretty small. They each have plenty of money already and if they have institutional support behind them fundraising for any other candidates is going to be a tough proposition.
I'm not saying that's a good thing- I think Democrats would be best off next year with a candidate who can run against the Washington establishment- but that is how I see it playing out if a sitting member of Congress agrees to run.