Quick Hit Adam Doster Wednesday February 3rd, 2010, 11:08am

Kirk, Coal Country, And Cap-And-Trade

On his blog this morning, Politico's Ben Smith notes that Mark Kirk ran about 20 points below his statewide average in some of the leading coal-producing counties, losing votes to a low-performing southern Illinois-based candidate. He quotes this observation from colleague Charlie Mahtesian: "But the bottom line here is that Kirk’s cap -and-trade vote mattered." Mahtesian is probably right that the vote played some role, but it seems like one heckuva jump to assert that deeply conservative voters from Southern Illinois coal country would have accepted a pro-choice Republican even if he had not flipped to their side on cap-and-trade. Extrapolating anything of national significance from that small data set, especially considering its comes from a low-turnout GOP primary, seems foolish.

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