Do contributions to the other side really matter in a primary?

It happens every cycle: a candidate gets tripped up by revelations of a campaign contribution to the other party. Sometimes it hurts – that’s one of the reasons Lewis Eisenberg dropped his bid for U.S. Senate in 2000 – and sometimes it doesn’t matter at all – like Jon Corzine’s donations to some Republicans when he was the Goldman Sachs Chairman. And Anne Evans Estabrook’s contributions to Democrats like Robert Menendez and Linda Stender does not appear to bother Republican leaders considering her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

So with news that Lockheed Martin executive Christopher Myers is mulling a bid for Congress in the third district (where is close friend, Jim Saxton, is retiring) came the obligatory check of his previous campaign contributions. They are mostly to Republicans like Saxton (and to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign), but earlier this year he did write a $500 personal check to Frank Lautenberg’s campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Does it matter?

Do contributions to the other side really matter in a primary?