By Michael Bryan
If Kelly loses the CD8 Special - and polling and early returns suggest it will be a close race, which could be turned by a few hundred crossover GOP votes - then Kelly is damaged goods: a two-time loser with self-inflected wounds from his on-the-record loose talk. The field would be reset for CD 2's primary, and ready for a comeback by Col. McSally, who surged strongly in the last weeks of the CD 8 GOP primary.
It makes very good sense for McSally to wish to face an incumbent Democrat, rather than an incumbent Republican. So much sense, that rumor of a whisper campaign of quiet encouragement for Republicans to support Barber - for now - are very credible. Many in the GOP see Kelly as a light-weight, undisciplined, bomb- thrower who will prove unable to keep the CD8/2 seat, even if he wins the first round. Six months of media scrutiny as incumbent presents far too much risk of the kind of embarrassing performances Kelly is inclined to. Better by far that he fail now and open the way to a candidate who has proven much more careful and on-message, and whose resume is better suited to long-term success in Congress.
All of which begs the question: should Dems support Kelly to stave off a McSally rally in the CD 2 primary, preventing the GOP from fielding a much stronger candidate in the CD 8 General?
Nah. I would rather pluck out my own eyes with a cocktail skewer than recommend such thing...