Team Obama has picked favorites for races in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York. Local party figures say that undermines democracy – and is not the national party's job.
To an unusual degree, the Obama White House is getting involved in 2010 Senate races, attempting to shape primary contests in defiance of local party activists and before voters have even begun to focus on their potential choices.
In Pennsylvania, the White House and other Democratic leaders had made clear to Sen. Arlen Specter (D) that, were he to switch to their party, which he did in April, they would back him in the primary.
In Illinois, top White House officials have made no secret that they would like to see state Attorney General Lisa Madigan run for Senate. If she agrees, the betting goes, she would clear the Democratic field – including the incumbent, Roland Burris, who was appointed to the seat by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and therefore is serving under a cloud.
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