Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Republicans in Arkansas

  • Arkansas: The Hill looks at unsubstantiated rumors that former Gov. Mike Huckabee might consider abandoning his Presidential bid for a Senate challenge to popular Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor. The article also highlights the NRSC's difficulty in recruiting potential candidates:

    Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s (D-Ark.) 2004 opponent, former state legislator Jim Holt, took 44 percent against her in a presidential year despite spending less than $150,000 on the race. He called a repeat bid a “slim possibility” and said he would need to be promised $8 million to $10 million to finance it.

    Banking executive J. French Hill, an appointee of the first President Bush, and 2006 lieutenant governor candidate Chuck Banks have been in talks with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), as has fourth-term Rep. John Boozman, the only Republican in the Arkansas delegation.

    Boozman’s chief of staff, Matt Sagely, however, said Friday that Boozman has “zero interest” in the job and completely ruled it out: “He considers himself lucky to be in the 3rd congressional district … That’s about as far as it goes as far as running for another office in Arkansas.”
    So the NRSC is doing a poor job on candidate recruitment, and they're not doing much on the fundraising or press fronts. Gotta like our prospects as the 2007-2008 campaign season gets underway. As for the Huckabee rumor, it seems to be just that, rumor. (And Lt. Gov. "candidate" Chuck Banks lost the GOP primary 56-25 to a state senator, in case you were wondering who the AR-GOP was going to rest its hopes for a resurgence on.)


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    While 56% isn't a bad approval rating, I wouldn't call Pryor a "popular" incumbent. According to Survey USA, there are 48 senators with approval ratings above him (as of mid-November). That seems pretty run-of-the-mill to me, which fits Pryor's profile as a quiet, unassuming, average Senator. His decent approval rating can be attributed to the same thing that got him elected: being the son of a popular state politician. While this gives him an edge, he's by no means unbeatable. In the meantime, let's leave monikers like "popular" to Senators who deserve it, like Susan Collins.

    And the NRSC has done a lot better than the DSCC in recruiting thus far this cycle. Of course, I would argue (as I have before) that its far too early to judge the performance of either organization. But since you seem intent on casting aside common sense and rationality, playing your game, the NRSC is in better shape. Look at the amount of people who have said no to Schumer: Kitzhaber, Lynch, Sheheen, Easley, Henry, Boren, Davis, Ryback, Meeker... And the people who haven't said no yet, but aren't likely to run: Knowles, Sebelius, Chandler, Ford, Mark Warner... You don't have candidates in states where you should, like North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. And the many of the candidates that are running, Mark Udall, Al Franken, decided to do so independetly of the DSCC. All they really have to their credit thus far in the cycle is the possibility of Tom Allen and a few second-tier candidates in New Hampshire.

    Like I said, its far too early in the cycle to be handing out judgements of performance, but if you insist on doing so, any fair look at the recruiting by the DSCC will conclude that its been an utter disappointment.

    10:01 AM, February 28, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you said "And the NRSC has done a lot better than the DSCC in recruiting thus far this cycle."

    Who has the NRSC recruited to run against a Democratic incumbent? Anybody?

    10:08 AM, February 28, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Castle is considering a bid in Deleware, Latham and King are considering bids in Iowa, Baker is strongly considering a bid in Louisiana, Rehberg is considering a bid in Montana, Anne Estabrook is running in New Jersey while Bill Baroni considers a run, and Mike Rounds is considering a run in South Dakota.

    While most people aren't running yet, no one has told the NRSC "no" like the legions of top-tier Democrats who have opted out of 2008.

    Realistically if you look at the map, only five seats are in play: LA, SD, MT, IA, and AR. If Biden retires and Castle runs in DE, that's six. If we're able to get Baker, Rounds, Rehberg, King, Huckabee, and Castle as candidates, that's batting 1.000.

    11:42 AM, February 28, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    You're kidding, right?

    Castle is always "considering a bid" - means nothing. And there have been indications that he wouldn't challenge Biden heads-up.

    Huckabee is off running for President - just because the NRSC made a phone call does not represent a successful recruiting effort.

    Rehberg has not expressed interest. Again, just cuz the NRSC picks up the phone doesn't make for a successful recruitment.

    Latham and King are both flawed candidates for statewide races, not to mention that Harkin has left a trail of defeated GOP Congressmen in his wake term after term. Also, neither have committed to a race. No success recruiting even these B-level candidates.

    Rounds has only been rumored to want to run if Tim Johnson does not run for re-election, and even then he'd likely have to face the very popular At-Large Rep. Herseth - and, even then, he still hasn't publicly committed to anything. No successful recruitment yet.

    And Louisiana is the #1 target, so of course feelers are out everywhere to anybody with an R next to their name.

    Meanwhile, your No's are skewed or inaccurate. Are you sure Mark Warner isn't going to run? Have Mike Easley and Kathleen Sebelius given a definitive no or just a "not in my plans at this time" (like most Governors who are hoping to be considered for the Veepstakes)? In Alaska, the DSCC isn't working Tony Knowles - they're allegedly talking to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. In Oregon, where Kitzhaber has not shown interest, our bench is very deep. Same with Minnesota and New Hampshire.

    And, as a point of reference, Jim Webb's formal announcement wasn't until March 26th of his election year - so lots of time to cement recruiting.

    So where are the NRSC's actual successes again?

    2:26 PM, February 28, 2007  

    Post a Comment

    << Home