Here's what it means for Republican Heather Wilson in New Mexico, summed up by one local observer:
"Imagine a three-legged stool and you saw one of the legs off," said politics blogger Joe Monahan ofjoemonahan.com. "It's major. That stool is gonna hit the ground and she's gonna have to pick up the pieces from here and regroup. This could really have an impact on her fundraising around the nation and in New Mexico."
Wilson got two other blows this week. First, Jon Barrie, a tea party conservative running on the Independent American ticket, won his fight to get his name on the ballot in November, eroding support Wilson needs to beat Democrat Martin Heinrich. On the heels of all this, Roll Call is shifting the race from tossup to leaning Democratic. The cite "a string of new polling" showing Heinrich "expanding his lead beyond the margin of error."
There might still be some independent and Super PAC expenditures for Wilson, so the attacks on Heinrich aren't going to dry up. But as the NRSC goes, likely to go as well is really big money from other groups. Two months out, nothing is a given, but how much more fun is it going to be to work to get Martin Heinrich elected now?
The icing on that cake is Republicans worried enough about North Dakota to dump that $3 million there. That'll buy a lot of ad time in North Dakota, and reflects a pretty damned serious concern for the state. The battle for the Senate is looking harder and harder for Republicans to win, for all Mitch McConnell's happy talk.
Not only can Democrats defend the Senate, but progressives can upgrade the Senate, with candidates like these:
- Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts
- Chris Murphy in Connecticut
- Mazie Hirono in Hawaii
- Martin Heinrich in New Mexico
- Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin
So let's celebrate Heather Wilson's bad news. Because it means we're winning.