As November Approaches, Party Disunity in the States

We're well into primary season, and that means it's time for parties to heal their divides from competitive intra-party fights, with voters having chosen many of their nominees and with some bruising primaries having come to a close.

But that's not happening everywhere. Taking a look at Senate races in particular, Republicans and Democrats appear less than unified in a handful of states.

  • In Connecticut, Republican Rob Simmons offered a categorical endorsement of primary victor Linda McMahon, telling supporters he would of course support a Republican nominee, then later told a reporter that he "didn't say" he'd vote for her.

  • In Florida, Democrats are still facing an awkward primary between Rep. Kendrick Meek and billionaire Jeff Greene, who is openly opposed by the President Obama and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. D.C. Democrats who had put their stock in Meek weren't pleased with Greene's sudden entrance into the race, and hard feelings seem to go beyond the constructive process of nominee selection. Obama visited Miami on Wednesday, and Meek was there to greet him when he landed; Greene wasn't. The president will headline a fundraiser for Meek before he leaves town.

  • In Washington, Republicans woke up Wednesday with Dino Rossi as their nominee in the state's Senate race, having knocked former NFL tight end Clint Didier out in Tuesday's open primary. Didier carries the backing of Sarah Palin and Ron Paul, two significant figures in the Tea Party movement. Didier reportedly may endorse Rossi soon (he wants to see Rossi sign a pledge not to raise taxes), but he issued a statement to supporters that encouraged their discernment beyond the party label next to a candidate's name as it thanked them for their votes.

  • In Pennsylvania, after Rep. Joe Sestak ended the long political career of Sen. Arlen Specter in a heated Democratic primary, there have been no signs (to my knowledge) that Specter will campaign on Sestak's behalf.

  • In Nevada, the state GOP planned a "unity dinner" to bring Republicans together after Sharron Angle defeated former frontrunner Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian in the multi-way primary. Tarkanian showed up; Lowden didn't. Tarkanian explained to the Daily Caller: "I went and did it, but Sue didn't show up for it. She wouldn't do it."

  • An unlikely bright spot: Colorado, where Democrats pulled off a unity rally two days after a contentious primary in which Sen. Michael Bennet (disclosure: he's the brother of Atlantic editor James Bennet) defeated Andrew Romanoff. Bennet had enjoyed the backing of the White House, and the race looked like a threat to party unity in the state. But Romanoff appeared on stage with Bennet after his loss, offering his endorsement with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine looking on.