Rep. Dave Obey saw the writing on the wall.
Despite his stature as a political institution, he was facing an electorate that has soured not only on liberal policies that he has championed, but also on the concept of incumbency.
More important, his opponent was young, telegenic, and media-savvy – the perfect counter – and, more important, was drawing attention from beyond the district. This is the second big story for Sean Duffy in a week, the first being his victory in Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s PAC endorsement contest. Clearly, Duffy would have money and support coming from outside the district from a Republican infrastructure eager to find a fresh new face.
Despite the fact that he looked like a long shot on May 4, Duffy’s campaign had the chance to follow a similar arc to Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. Running against a senior ideologue from the other party, Duffy could have tightened the polls gradually over the summer and been in position to score a big upset with a late push of volunteers and money from across the country – think online money bombs and remote get-out-the-vote call centers.
All politics are still local – but when the right candidate uses the right technology, a whole lot of people can become local.