So, Rep. Alan Mollohan was defeated in a Democratic primary yesterday. He was the second incumbent to lose in the past week (Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah having been defeated last Tuesday) and to many pundits is a canary in the 2010 election coal mine. This is probably true, but let’s not forget that Mollohan has been embroiled in an earmark-related corruption scandal going back as far as 2006. We can take the Sunlight DeLorean back four years to read what my colleagues and I were writing back then. Or check out this excellent write-up on Mollohan’s Open Congress Wiki page.
Now, you may be asking, well, why this year if his scandal problems began back in 2006? That gave two election cycles for Mollohan to be defeated and that was before the FBI wrapped up their investigation with no indictments or further activity. Despite having voted for a wide margin for both John McCain and George W. Bush in the last two elections Mollohan’s (soon-to-be-former) district is a conservative Democratic district at the congressional level. Mollohan previously faced not-so-credible Republican opposition in 2006 and 2008, both Democratic sweep years. This was the first time the scandal-plagued lawmaker faced real opposition within his party. With a long-running scandal and anti-incumbent fever Mollohan was bound to lose. The American people are, as my colleague Bill Allison likes to say, the only ethics committee we need.