Our colleague Alex Altman files this story from the Commonwealth. Freshman Democrat Tom Perriello, a loyal party warrior who stuck his neck out on health reform, cap-and-trade, etc. despite the deep purples and reds of his district, faces an uphill re-election battle. With the GOP eager to capitalize, a crowded field and Tea Party intensity are making things interesting:
Seven Republicans are running for the chance to unseat Perriello. Nearly all of them are unburdened by the baggage of a political past, enlivened by a wheezing economy, buoyed by the Tea Party movement and incensed by Washington’s profligacy. They are targeting the 56% of Americans who believe the federal government poses an immediate threat to their freedom, according to a recent CNN poll, and tapping into renewed fears about the country’s direction. If Republicans can harness that passion, 2010 is likely to be good for the GOP. But if the party mishandles it, the excitement could backfire.