Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Guru's Graph of the Day and Other Bites

Some enjoyable reading for you:

  • New Mexico: The New York Times editorial page today includes the Guru's favorite paragraph of the day:

    Americans often suspect that their political leaders are arrogant and out of touch. But even then it is nearly impossible to fathom what self-delusion could have convinced Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico that he had a right to call a federal prosecutor at home and question him about a politically sensitive investigation.
    Delusional enough to stroll around the U.S. Senate office buildings in his pajamas? Joking aside, Domenici obviously acted improperly. The only questions are if he acted unethically by Senate standards or unlawfully by legal standards. Maybe New Mexico needs some fresh representation in the Senate that isn't as "arrogant" as Pajamas Pete Domenici is considered by some to be.

  • Maine: Stuart Rothenberg takes a thorough look at the strengths of the candidates and the dynamics at play in the potential Collins-Allen match-up, noting that national political trends may prove more fundamental to this race than state politics:

    Democrats no doubt will attack Collins for supporting the Bush agenda, as well as for breaking a two-term pledge. ...

    Though it is early, Collins’ electoral fate seems tied to whether Maine voters see her reelection as a referendum on Bush and the Iraq War or as a referendum on Collins herself. Since she has been able to run far ahead of other GOP candidates in the past, and since Bush won’t be the party standard-bearer during the 2008 general election, Collins begins with the edge.
    My only real disagreement with Rothenberg's analysis (other than that he overstates Chellie Pingree's 2002 challenge to Collins, in my humble opinion) is: even if 2008 isn't a referendum on Bush, it may still be a referendum on Iraq; and if John McCain is the GOP's 2008 standard bearer and Presidential nominee, and he is the loudest pro-escalation voice, and Collins has tied herself closely to him, it can still weigh her down more than Rothenberg suggests - all of which remains to be seen.

    Two-Faced Susan obviously has high approvals, so she shouldn't be underestimated; but, the fact that a potential Allen-Collins showdown is getting as much press as it is is a testament to Allen's strength as a contender and Collins' surprising potential vulnerability despite her approval rating. If Allen does get in, it will be one of the most interesting and most closely followed races of the cycle, to be sure.

  • South Dakota: Minnesota Public Radio offers more new coverage of Senator Tim Johnson's ongoing recovery, including more good news from Senator Kent Conrad.


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