Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Midnight Miscellany

  • Maine: Turn Maine Blue highlights John McCain, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, taking personal responsibility and apologizing for his lack of action and oversight leading up to the Walter Reed revelations, and asking when Susan Collins, a former Chair fellow member of the Committee and former Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, will do likewise. If she had any integrity, she would have offered her apologies and taken responsibility immediately. Unfortunately, there is no telling when an apology might come from Two-Faced Susan. [Corrections in italics - see comments.]

  • New Hampshire: The Politico kind of misses the mark in assessing the NH-Sen race. First, the article notes:

    But Sununu did get a recent piece of good news: an endorsement last week by the Club for Growth, which traditionally doesn't endorse incumbents.
    As Dean at Blue Hampshire appropriately notes of the CfG endorsement:

    through their very endorsement, they utterly destroy any semblance of Sununu's "moderate" persona.
    In a state like New Hampshire that is moving to the left, the last thing Sununu needs is the endorsement of a prominent far-right-wing group that is known for running super-conservatives in primaries against moderate Republicans (like Toomey vs. Specter in 2004 and Laffey vs. Chafee in 2006).

    Then, the Politico article notes:

    Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand also has announced his bid. At 33, he's barely eligible to run for the Senate. Despite his youth, he touts his experience managing statewide campaigns and serving in an executive capacity as mayor.
    Mayor Marchand's age might not be considered so relatively notable if the article mentioned the fact that Sununu is currently the youngest member of the U.S. Senate himself.

    And, finally, and perhaps most importantly, the article offers the following characterization early in the piece: "Democrats are scrambling to field a first-tier opponent for Sununu." "Scrambling?" Hardly. While Gov. Lynch would walk to the Senate seat given his astronomical approvals, it's not like the NH-Dem bench is hurting. Mayor Marchand, Katrina Swett, a few well-known state senators, and a professor/former astronaut are all possibilities to face a weak Sununu in the general election. With Sununu's approvals where they are, and NH trending bluer and bluer, any of these accomplished Democrats could beat Sununu.

  • New Jersey: Courtesy of Blue Jersey, Senator Frank Lautenberg's approvals have shot up to almost approaching comfortable range (or, for NJ politics, extremely comfortable range), at 53-25 approve-disapprove.

  • Nebraska: That upcoming Hagel news I referenced earlier will be announced Monday at 10am. I can't wait!

  • New Mexico: NYTimes/CQPolitics takes a broad stroke look at Pajamas Pete Domenici going from strong incumbent to scandal epicenter.

  • Louisiana: Kos looks at Mary Landrieu's unexpectedly solid position in recent polling, citing the Guru in his post for the first time.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Its astonishing that you can come to the conclusion that the Politico--whose writers and editors have more combined years of experience than you've been alive--missed the mark, simply because they reached a different opinion than yours. Perhaps is because the purpose of the Politico is to report political news, while the purpose of your blog is to spin any story to paint a rosy picture. When you're hindered by the burden of objectivity, it often results in a story that's closer to reality. That's a burden that you've never known, however.

    Re: Lautenberg, one poll is a spike, more than one poll makes a trend. We'll see if any other poll gives him an approval rating of over 50%--something he hasn't enjoyed in quite some time. It should also be noted that different polls use different methodologies, so you can't compare the results of one poll to the results of another, especially given their differences. The most recent SurveyUSA poll puts Lautenberg at 39-45, with 16% not responding or saying "I don't know". The poll you posted has 22% who didn't respond or said "I don't know". That right there indicates that the polls were conducted differently, and therefore aren't easily comparable. A better way to look at his trend would be to compare Lautenberg's approval rating to previous FDU polls.

    8:53 AM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger the zoom said...

    Lautenberg is in know trouble as of now, the republicans have no strung candidate and its almost impossible to belief that a republican should win in NJ especially with the governors approval at 55%

    But, if Rudy should be the republican nominee, the republicans might be able to compete in NJ. Time will tell…

    9:43 AM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger the zoom said...

    Guru, please read the latest article from Stuart Rotenberg about Susan Collins.

    9:48 AM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    New Jersey isn't going to be competitive this cycle. The only candidate who could put up a strong campaign would be Whitman, and its doubtful she's interested. Kean would be a decent candidate, but if he can't beat the corrupt Menendez, he won't be able to top Lautenberg. Bill Baroni could do a lot to energize the party in the state, but not enough to win. And Chris Christie will be an excellent statewide candidate if and when he decides to run, especially with his extensive record of fighting corruption, but New Jerseyans seem to prefer corruption to integrity, so the major issue the GOP has against the Democrats is neutralized.

    9:56 AM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Re: The Collins article

    Knowing the Guru, he's likely to say that Stu Rothenberg is wrong, and doesn't fully appreciate Maine's distaste for 72% Collins--sorry, I meant Two-Face Collins. I mean, it doesn't matter that Rothenberg is a widely respected political commentator, and it doesn't matter that he went to college in Maine and thus knows the state very well. Tom Allen is a Democrat. Susan Collins is a Republican. To the "Guru", nothing else matters.

    I'd be surprised if he even includes Rothenberg's article in his next post.

    10:10 AM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - I pointed out exactly what I found fault with in the Politico article and I explained exactly why.

    Instead of just ranting and baselessly criticizing, why don't you do the same and point out exactly what in my post you found fault with? Or, since you disagree with my opinions, you could just call me names or something. That's cool, too.

    As for Lautenberg, you're right - it's one poll - you can count. Hooray. I didn't say, "Hey, Lautenberg's a lock for re-election thanks to this one poll!" I said his approval have "shot up" in this poll. If it is sustained by other polls, then, yeah, rosier picture. But one good poll is a start. I didn't say otherwise, so what are you criticizing? (And you don't even take into account the NJ-effect of politicians getting re-elected in this state with lower-than-average approvals; see Menendez v. Kean in 2006 for the most recent example.)

    the zoom - Thanks for the heads up on the Rothenberg post on Collins - since it only came out early this morning, I hadn't seen it yet. But I will give it a thorough reading - it looks interesting. I appreciate the heads up.

    12:05 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger Marc said...

    I don't like Susan Collins, but she never Chaired Armed Services. She sits on it, so its still worth it to question her on Walter Reed--she was just never the Chair. She chaired Homeland Security.

    12:09 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Marc - Thank you for the correction. That was an oversight by me for which I take full responsibility. I will correct it, I apologize for the mistake, and I thank you for your astuteness.

    Now, if we can only get Susan Collins to be so responsive!

    12:46 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    There's no need to get snippy about it. And there's not much room for me to go point-by-point with your post, since generally speaking, I agree with the points that the Politico made. You countered their points with your opinion, but since their opinion counts exponentially more than yours, then I yield to them.

    But if you insist:

    The CfG's reputation is on fiscal conservatism, which Sununu clearly fits in the mold of (hence their endorsement), and New Hampshire has a strong Libertarian bent. Its also why a candidate you're championing, Steve Marchand, proclaims himself as a fiscal conservative. I think the voters of New Hampshire will take into account the policy advocated by groups like the CfG, and not the political manuevers it makes in other states. After all, policy effects them. Primary candidates in previous years in other states do not.

    And I don't disagree with the Politico's characterization that there is a scramble to find a candidate. There is no denying that Lynch and Sheheen are top-tier candidates, and everybody else is not. The Politico observed that the scramble was for a top-tier candidate, a distinction you apparently missed. In the absence of a candidate who starts at the top-tier, you need a candidate that attracts enough groundswell support that the party coalesces behind, and who has the fundraising muscle to launch themselves to the top-tier. So far, none of the current choices fit that profile. That's not to say they can't in the future, but the Politico's point is that they'd rather start off at that level then have to build someone who is untested statewide up to that level. The NH bench isn't hurting, but its inexperienced, and they're going up against a man who five years ago defeated an incumbent Senator in the primary and the sitting Governor in the general. I wouldn't be so quick to call him "weak", regardless of where his approval ratings are currently at.

    As far as Lautenberg is concerned, you need to calm down a little bit and stop thinking that everything I say is an attack on you. You posted a poll about Lautenberg; I was simply adding to the discussion by posting a little analysis on what the poll actually means. It wasn't a criticism of you. And I fully addressed the point of GOP's bad luck in NJ in another comment.

    12:54 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - So you think that the Club for Growth endorsement, the endorsement of a far-right-wing group, is good for Sununu in left-moving New Hampshire? Seriously? CfG is about replacing moderates with right-wingers - if CfG is behind Sununu, and Sununu touts that, he is effectively saying that he's a CfG-style right-winger, not a moderate. If Sununu wants to take that tack, great.

    And Sununu beat Shaheen five years ago in one of the biggest GOP years since '94. By many indicators, 2008 is going to be a Democratic-leaning year, so Sununu won't have the wind at his back like he did when he narrowly won in '02. Not to mention the fact that his approvals are below 50% himself. And the word I clearly took issue with in the Politico piece was "scrambling" which you seem to ignore. I am of the opinion that it's a misrepresentation. So I pointed that out. I don't think Stu Rothenberg is going to lose any sleep over it.

    1:05 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Yes, I do, for the reasons I pointed out. The CfG isn't a far right-wing group, its a group that's firmly dedicated to fiscal conservatism, regardless of what's politically expedient. You calling them a far-right group doesn't make it so. They've built their reputation on being committed to an almost Libertarian view of fiscal policy, a view that New Hampshire is largely in line with. As I said, the voters are New Hampshire are more likely to be concerned with the policies that the CfG endorse (policies that they agree with) than with candidates they endorsed in previous years in other states.

    Sununu did have the advantage of a strong GOP year, but the fact remains he had to defeat two current statewide officeholders to get the position. My point is only to make sure you don't underestimate him.

    I didn't ignore what you took issue with. I agree that they are scrambling, because they would welcome a top-tier candidate into the race. I'm sure once every strong challenger drops out, they'll embrace Marchand's bid, but the DSCC and the state party is clearly looking for more than the current crop of candidates.

    And Stu Rothenberg doesn't know who you are, nor will he ever care about what you have to say.

    1:25 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Me calling CfG a far-right-wing group doesn't make it so. CfG putting up Toomey in a primary against Specter makes it so. CfG getting behind Laffey and Bill Sali makes it so.

    I'm not underestimating Sununu. I think I'm estimating him. He narrowly won in a big GOP year. Since then his approvals have dropped to under 50% and NH made it clear in 2006 that it has shifted more blue. Not good trends for Sununu. Do you disagree factually or opinion-wise with those three previous sentences?

    Welcoming a "top-tier" challenger isn't "scrambling" in my opinion. They'd be happy if Lynch and his astronomical approval wanted the Senate seat - but they're not scrambling without it.

    How do you know Stu Rothenberg isn't sitting next to me right now as I'm typing this? I'm not saying he is, but you don't know...

    1:37 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger the zoom said...

    I think you would like to hear first hand what Gen. Petraeus has to say about Iraq.
    and follow to his press conference.

    1:45 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    First, its important to note that the Club for Growth doesn't "put up" anybody for office. A challenger decides to run all on their own, and the Club endorses them. Second, the Club's mission statement is to promote fiscal conservatives. I don't expect you to know too much about them, however, since you don't know that Toomey founded the group after his 2004 challenge. If you want to dismiss them as a far-right group, go ahead. But their fiscal policies register with a majority of New Hampshire voters, and already that's a voter base that Steve "I'm fiscally conservative" Marchand is hoping to tap into.

    As far as Sununu's strengths and weaknesses go, you're pointing out his strengths (namely, he defeated two sitting officeholders to win his seat), and you're pointing out weaknesses. I will say, however, its unclear whether 2006 was a spike or the beginning of a trend. 2006 was a bad year for the Republicans (like 2002 was a good year), so its premature to say based on either cycle how the campaign will turn out.

    And the reason I know Rothenberg isn't sitting next to you is because you nearly wet your pants when Kos linked to you.

    2:14 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you said: "I don't expect you to know too much about them, however, since you don't know that Toomey founded the group after his 2004 challenge."

    In real life:

    Club for Growth was "founded in 1999 by Steve Moore, National Review president Dusty Rhodes, Cato Institute president Ed Crane, Richard Gilder, economist and CNBC Kudlow & Cramer co-host Larry Kudlow, and other like-minded pro-growth conservatives."

    Toomey became President of the CfG after they funded his losing primary challenge to Specter.

    So, va blogger, will you admit that you don't "know too much about" the CfG? Or was that a simple mistake?

    3:14 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    No, you're right, I spoke before I looked, and I erred.

    Its still disingenuous to write them off as just a right-wing group while ignoring what policies they endorse. And its dangerous to do so when the policies they endorse are the policies that a majority of New Hampshire voters endorse.

    3:22 PM, March 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Oh, and as for Club for Growth putting up candidates, here's a quick link that took me 5 seconds to look up. Of Bill Sali's Congressional race in 2006, WaPo's Cillizza notes:

    By May 3, Sali had raised $386,000 -- $353,000 of which came from Club donors.

    In addition to funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Sali, the Club also ran two television ads and a radio commercial on his behalf, which cost roughly $149,000 total.

    CfG also put up Adrian Smith in Nebraska - Cillizza notes in the same piece:

    In Nebraska, the Club bundled $323,000 for Smith (he raised $437,000 total) and spent $70,000 on television commercials to boost his candidacy.

    Pretty substantial stuff. Almost as if without CfG's backing all the way, they wouldn't have ran...?

    And CfG was instrumental in encouraging Laffey to challenge Chafee to a primary.

    3:25 PM, March 08, 2007  

    Post a Comment

    << Home