It happened. It’s hard to believe, but it actually happened. An incumbent was defeated in his party’s primary by a challenger.
The last time it happened the incumbent was wearing a monitoring bracelet on his ankle so the feds could keep tabs on him. Yes, it is a bit tough to hit the campaign trail when you’re a convicted felon.
This time, the defeated incumbent was 10-term Rep. Matthew Martinez of California. A local columnist says Martinez was a “dull, plodding back-bencher . . . the kind of politician who makes me wonder if term limits aren’t such a bad idea.” Now voters have sent him packing.
Some may say that an incumbent losing at the polls shows we don’t need term limits. Well, if an incumbent being defeated every time Halley’s comet meanders by the earth is your idea of a vibrant democracy, maybe so.
Turns out Martinez lost his seat precisely because of term limits on the state level. This incumbent congressman was defeated by state Assemblywoman Hilda Solis, herself an incumbent. But unlike so many incumbents, Solis didn’t enjoy a lock on her seat. In term-limited California, no one can stay in the Assembly for more than 6 years or in the Senate for more than eight.
Thanks to term limits, more challenges are being made to incumbents. Term limitsÂ are livening up campaigns not only state and local races where limits are the law but also for those pampered professional politicians in Congress. Every little bit helps.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.