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THE RACE: Losses by incumbents a danger sign for Obama, but may hold message for Romney too
Voters are unhappy and many are mad.
That sentiment is a clear danger sign for President Barack Obama, but also something both major parties and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney must take into account.
It can't be happy news to the president's re-election team that a felon serving time in a Texas penitentiary, Keith Judd, won four in ten votes against Obama in Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic primary.
It showed there are parts of the nation where Obama is unpopular even among Democrats.
After the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, incumbents are an endangered species across Europe and in the United States.
The latest U.S. casualty was Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. A 35-year veteran of the Senate and leading expert on foreign policy. He was felled by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who was backed by tea-party groups who claimed Lugar wasn't conservative enough and worked too much with Democrats.
After his defeat, Lugar decried "groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it."
Although Romney is challenging an incumbent president, Lugar's ouster showed there is still a strong conservative backlash within the Republican party.
Romney, like Lugar, was known for reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats when he was governor of Massachusetts.
While Romney has a sure lock on the GOP nomination, the circumstances of Lugar's defeat might make it harder for him to reach out to independents and even Democrats in the general election without alienating factions of his own party in the current atmosphere of increasing partisanship.
Speaking at an oilfield services company in Fort Lupton, Colo. on Wednesday, Romney kept boring in on Obama, saying "the president's policies are shaped by a perspective that's old and outdated."
Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tomraum. For more AP political coverage, look for the 2012 Presidential Race in AP Mobile's Big Stories section. Also follow https://twitter.com/APCampaign and AP journalists covering the campaign: https://twitter.com/AP/ap-campaign-2012.