Lee Fisher and Robin Carnahan may be among the hidden winners of tonight's Republican primary for Governor in Texas.
A year ago at this time we found Kay Bailey Hutchison with a 25 point lead in the polls over Rick Perry. Now the main question is whether Hutchison will go ahead and lose outright tonight, or get blown out in an April runoff. It's been quite a precipitous fall for her.
There's no doubt that her Washington ties are a big part of the problem. Last month we asked likely primary voters whether they trusted Austin or DC politicians more to deal with the state's problems- Austin won out by a 78/3 margin...we never see that kind of imbalance on anything in our polling.
Hutchison's fall shows the perils of being a Washington politician in 2010, and Democrats are lucky to have two open Senate races this year in Missouri and Ohio where they have a candidate who's been successful in state government running against a Republican who's a consummate Washington insider. Roy Blunt and Rob Portman have the early poll leads but it could be a very different story come November once their roles in the Washington culture that voters despise have been fully communicated.
Those races will be a good measure of whether this is solely an anti-Democratic year, or more broadly an anti-Washington establishment year that will cause insiders of both parties some trouble at the polls.