Michigan Should Be Safe - Senators Running for President Might Be Less So
A couple of items today:Michigan: Incumbent Democratic Senator Carl Levin is officially running for re-election. This seat should be very safe. Freshman Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow just won her first re-election bid by a wide 57-41 margin. Both Stabenow and Levin enjoy net approvals in Michigan in the 18 to 20 point ballpark. And unlike the freshman Stabenow, Levin is an accomplished Senate veteran who won his 2002 re-election by a huge 61-38 margin and will also take the Chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee in January. This seat should be very safe.
The Associated Press offers an interesting read on how difficult it can be running for President as a Senator. With as many as nine Senators currently considering Presidential bids (Democrats Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Kerry, and Barack Obama, and Republicans Sam Brownback, Chuck Hagel, and John McCain), this is indeed relevant.
Again, three of those Senators are up for re-election in 2008: Biden, Hagel, and Kerry. If all three gave up Senate re-election bids to run, Kerry's Massachusetts seat would likely stay in Democratic hands and Hagel's Nebraska seat would likely stay in Republican hands. Biden's Delaware seat could be a tighter race if Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Castle got in against a Democrat, however popular. With these three Senators having more to lose with a run than a Senator not up for re-election, expect them to take more time in deciding whether or not to move from a probably "exploratory committee" to an all-out campaign. (I know, Biden has said he's "in" for a while now, but let's wait till the machinery is really chugging.)