The biggest story out of Tuesday's election results in North Carolina was not anything related to the US Senate race, but the surprisingly weak performances by Larry Kissell and Heath Shuler in their primaries. Kissell received 63% and Shuler only 62% against candidates who did not have the resources to mount really serious campaigns.
The poor performances by Kissell and Shuler and where they did poorly- the most liberal parts of their districts- are a clear indication that there is significant unhappiness with them on the left. The question now is how that unhappiness will manifest itself this fall.
There are three things I can see happening with that group of voters in November:
1) They could just leave the House race part of their ballot blank when they go to vote.
2) They could support candidates of the SEIU backed 'North Carolina First' party, which will presumably provide voters a choice to the left of Kissell and Shuler.
3) They may have gotten the protest vote out of their systems in the primary and could still vote for Kissell and Shuler in the general election when the consequences of not doing so could result in the election of a conservative Republican to Congress.
It's way too early to know how any of this will play itself out. But after seeing Tuesday's results I think the SEIU effort has more of a potential to really make an impact this fall than I did before. And I think Kissell and Shuler have to find a way to make at least some amends with the liberals in their party or there could be consequences for them further down the road.