Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dems in NH; GOP on Iraq

A few Friday morning bites:

  • New Hampshire: The flood gates have apparently only just opened with Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand saying he will run for Senate in 2008 to challenge Republican John Sununu. Katrina Swett, a Democratic congressional candidate in 2002 and the daughter of long-serving California Representative Tom Lantos and the wife of former New Hampshire Representative Dick Swett, describes herself as "98 percent in." Further, "Stonyfield Yogurt chief executive Gary Hirshberg, a long-time Democratic activist and fundraiser, says he is seriously weighing a run for the U.S. Senate against Republican John Sununu." It looks like there will be one heck of a spirited primary in New Hampshire, allowing Democrats to dominate the press spend months bashing Sununu's record.

  • Colorado: Earlier, this blog highlighted that Wayne Allard says he has made up his mind between retirement and a re-election bid, but is keeping the decision a secret for now. Well, the Washington Times has another sign that Allard may be planning for retirement:

    An informal survey by The Washington Times yesterday, for instance, found nine Senate Republicans who have "doubts" about Mr. Bush's proposal, and seven who reject it. Eleven other senators expressed conditional support.

    Twenty-one Republican senators offered unqualified support. Only Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, did not respond to requests for comment. [Emphasis added.]
    Now why wouldn't he be in a rush to go on the record?

  • Speaking of Iraq, Chris Bowers at MyDD highlights members of the GOP critical of Bush's escalation plan, and notes that it is "amazing how many of the Republicans voicing 'concerns' have dicey re-election prospects in 2008: Sununu, Collins, Smith, and Coleman." Sununu, Collins, Smith, and Coleman should all have to wear a scarlet "O" around their necks for "opportunist." Hopefully, their respective constituencies will call them on their blatant political opportunism come Election Day 2008.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What do you think about a potential Dem primary in NH?

    5:47 PM, January 12, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    What makes you think that a "spirited" primary will focus, at all, on Sununu's record? If anything, a primary takes attention away from the incumbent.

    For example:

    -In 2006 MT Senate Primary, the central focus between John Morrison and Jon Tester was 1) who would be better equipped to face Burns, a statewide office holder or a State Senator, and 2) John Morrison's ethically-questionable investigation of a firm owned by his ex-wife's new husband.

    -Chuck Schumer pulled out all of the stops to avoid a primary in Ohio between Paul Hackett and Sherrod Brown because he knew how bloody that would get. Instead, he pressured Hackett's financial backers to get out, forcing Hackett out of the race, and allowed Brown to turn his focus on DeWine.

    -In Rhode Island, before SoS Matt Brown dropped out, the focus was on both primaries, and had little to do with any perspective Democrat versus Republican match-up.

    -Harris Miller and Jim Webb went back and forth on everything under the sun, from affirmative action to allegations of anti-Semitism to whether Webb was a true Democrat or not. And from the moment Webb got in the race in February to the June primary, George Allen recieved a pass.

    And these are just examples of Democrats. I disagree that a spirited primary puts the focus on Sununu's record, especially since Marchand, Swett, and Hirshberg are not well-known figures (unlike Lynch or Shaheen). These three (and any other candidate who jumps in, like Gottesberg or Burling) are going to have to try and define themselves before one of their opponents defines them negatively, and that will surely be the focus of the primary. Sununu's name will come up from time to time, but a competitive primary never puts pressure on the incumbent.

    KDJ, as for what may happen in the primary, I think Marchand looks the strongest and stands to gain the most endorsements from important state officials (and the de facto endorsement of 2008 candidates attached to those officials), but Hirshberg's ability to self-fund can turn a primary on its head, as shown in Tennessee (Bob Corker) and Nebraska (Pete Ricketts) last year, when those two candidates effectively bought themselves a primary victory.

    11:48 AM, January 13, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    The state closest to New Hampshire with a significant primary in 2006 was Massachusetts and its Democratic gubernatorial primary between Clinton administration official and now-Governor Deval Patrick, state Attorney General Tom Reilly, and businessman Chris Gabrieli.

    While a handful of shots were taken at each other during the primary, the vast brunt of the rhetoric was aimed at Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the GOP nominee for Governor. What it caused was months of attacks on the Republican that went fairly unresponded-to, as she tried to stay out of the way. She took political shots left and right but could not shape the debate.

    Of course, this would only work if the Republican is fairly politically neutered, but this may very well be the case with Sununu. If his popularity continues to languish, then a Democratic primary (so long as it's free of negative ads at each other!) will just keep Sununu from shaping the debate and push him into a corner.

    1:16 AM, January 16, 2007  

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