WASHINGTON — This was supposed to be the wrong year for Washington insiders. But no point telling that to Republican Senate candidates such as Roy Blunt and Dan Coats.
Blunt is a longtime member of Congress from Missouri who led the Republican House shoulder-to-shoulder with the disgraced Tom DeLay, the ex-Texas lawmaker considered by some to be the very symbol of Republican hubris and overreach. Blunt voted for the massive Medicare expansion plan in 2003 and the Wall Street bailout in 2008.
Coats is a former Indiana senator-turned-ambassador. And as a former lobbyist, he's a walking example of Washington's revolving-door culture.
But both are poised to be elected to the Senate this week in relatively uncompetitive races, taking full advantage of voter discontent with the Democrats in power.
The two could not be further from the "citizen-legislator" persona cultivated by such Republicans as Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, who famously declared "I'm you" in a campaign ad.
Blunt and Coats aren't alone in a GOP field that also includes Rob Portman, a former congressman and U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush, who is expected to be Ohio's next senator; and Pat Toomey, a former congressman locked in a tight Senate race in Pennsylvania.
Also running are John Boozman, a congressman for a decade in Arkansas, who is considered likely to defeat Democrat Blanche Lincoln this week and take her Senate seat; and Steve Chabot from Cincinnati, a former seven-term member of Congress seen as likely to reclaim his old post from Rep. Steve Driehaus.