Seven-term Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., became the latest Congressional casualty in a primary season fraught with anti-incumbent furor early Wednesday morning.
State Sen. Hansen Clarke (D) upset Kilpatrick in a stunner to secure the Democratic nomination in Michigan's 13th Congressional district. Kilpatrick became the fourth House member to lose their primary this year. Primary voters have already shown Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., Bob Inglis R-S.C., and Parker Griffith, R-Ala., the door. Incumbent Sens. Bob Bennett R-Utah, and Arlen Specter D-Pa., also lost their primaries.
Kilpatrick narrowly survived a 2008 primary, winning by just four points in a three-way contest.
But Kilpatrick's surname appeared to be a strike against her this time. Her son is Kwame Kilpatrick, the former flamboyant mayor of Detroit. The younger Kilpatrick is now jailed after violating his probation on state felony charges. Authorities had charged him with perjury and obstruction of justice before he resigned. A federal grand jury indicted then indicted the former mayor in June for allegedly misusing campaign dollars.
The Congresswoman declined to testify before the grand jury earlier this year and has remained mum about her son's case. She dismissed suggestions that his legal problems could impact her own campaign.
Clarke has served in the Michigan legislature since 1990 when he won election to the Michigan House. He moved to the state Senate in 2002. In 2005, he unsuccessfully challenged Kwame Kilpatrick in Detroit's mayoral election.
Her defeat is the latest blow in a string of bad news for the CBC. Last week, a House panel outlined a slate of 13 alleged ethics violations committed by Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., the CBC's second-most senior member. A House committee will try Rangel on those charges next month. And Monday, a similar panel alleged that Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., also broke House rules by trying to curry favor with federal regulators for a bank in which her husband served on the board and owned stock. Waters has asked for a September forum as well.Hansen Clarke is the son of an African-American mother and a father from Bangladesh. He holds a law degree from Georgetown and formerly served as Chief of Staff to Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Kilpatrick appeared to edge Clarke in the city of Detroit. But Clarke's vote total overwhelmed her in the suburbs.
He'll face Republican nominee John Hauler and Green Party candidate George Corsetti in the fall.
Political handicappers expect the seat to remain in Democratic hands.