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Activists Targeted Political Moderates

Lieberman and Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.) fell to outside efforts and more-partisan rivals.

August 10, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Republican, Democrat. House, Senate. White, black.

Primary voters did not discriminate Tuesday, dispensing defeat to Sen. Joe Lieberman and two House members in an unusually strong, single-night repudiation of incumbents.

"The winds of change are blowing," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, an Illinois Democrat.

"I don't see it as an antiincumbent move," said Vice President Dick Cheney, adding that the night's other election losers, Reps. Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.) and Cynthia A. McKinney (D-Ga.) don't involve "national ramifications."

But Schwarz and Lieberman shared a connection that crossed party lines.

Both are moderates in their parties who sought to survive in an era of intense political division. Both were targeted for defeat by activist groups from outside their states, and both fell to rivals offering a harder edge.

"I look at this election as probably a victory for right-to-life, antiabortion, anti-embryonic stem cell groups, but it's a net loss for the Republican Party because it just pushes the party farther to the right," said Schwarz, serving his first term.

He had only one challenger, conservative Tim Walberg, a former minister who had support from the conservative Club for Growth, Michigan Right to Life and groups opposed to President Bush's plan to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

Schwarz was endorsed by Bush, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the National Rifle Assn. Outside groups spent an estimated $3 million combined on the race.

Walberg will face Democratic nominee Sharon Renier, an organic farmer, in the November general election.

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