Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Morning Miscellany

  • Texas: Digby has John "Box Turtle" Cornyn playing verbal gymnastics to defend Karl Rove yesterday morning, and Burnt Orange Report has Cornyn missing the facts on what "supporting the troops" really entails. Meanwhile, Capitol Annex offers its rundown of Democrats who they believe can beat Cornyn in 2008, including Houston Mayor Bill White, who has garnered much speculation, and State Rep. Rick Noriega, for whom a draft effort is underway.

  • Nebraska: The Lincoln Journal-Star looks at how state AG Jon Bruning's possibly premature Senate exploratory committee could fracture the NE-GOP while Chuck Hagel's plans are unclear.

  • Minnesota: MN Blue questions Smilin' Norm Coleman's continued milquetoast mumbling on Alberto Gonzales and the U.S. Attorney firing scandal.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Can you explain to me how Bruning's entry could fracture the Nebraska GOP, and back it up using the story that you posted?

    1:25 PM, March 19, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - I will assume you didn't bother to read the article, or you wouldn't be asking that.

    The article says:

    Hagel loyalists in the Republican ranks are going to hold tight, one would guess.

    Bruning loyalists will step forward behind their man.

    And what will Republicans who are angry with Hagel for opposing President Bush on Iraq do?

    Judging by letters to the editor, telephone messages and anecdotal evidence, there are a lot of them out there. They are upset, and they are energized.

    Do the anti-Hagels put their hopes, and money, with Bruning? Help him build a sturdy campaign vehicle? Implore him to run? Coalesce into their own organization, whether Bruning’s a candidate or not?

    I would assume that the staff of the Lincoln Journal-Star understands the nuances of the NE-GOP better than either of us. And the article's author indicates that there are "Hagel loyalists," "Bruning loyalists," "anti-Hagels" and others. And these free-floating groupings may translate into more clear cut factions as Hagel waits on announcing clear plans and Bruning moves forward anyway, leaving the NE-GOP fractured into these possible factions.

    How is that not perfectly clear (assuming you actually read the article)?

    1:43 PM, March 19, 2007  
    Blogger The Big E said...


    Thanks for linking to me. I've also got a Norm Coleman Weasel Meter:

    I'll be tracking every waffle, lie, evasion and flip-flop until November 2008.

    The Big E

    5:06 PM, March 19, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Yes, I read the article. And while I understand that these different so-called "factions" exist, what's missing is a forum in which they're in opposition against each other.

    There are three possible outcomes here:

    1) Chuck Hagel runs for re-election. In this case, Bruning steps down, and any primary opposition would be minor and easily dealt away with.

    2) Chuck Hagel retires and Mike Johanns runs for the seat. Again, Bruning would step down and Johanns would presumably clear the field.

    3) Chuck Hagel and Mike Johanns both pass on the race, so Bruning is in. Its unlikely that Fortenberry or Terry would leave their Congressional seat for a tough primary, and any challenge by Ricketts or Stenberg would be futile.

    In any scenario, whoever is the Republican nominee for Senate would have the overwhelming support of the NE GOP, despite the existence of these "factions". The reason I asked the question is because I don't believe that the presence of factions equals a "fractured" state party. You may disagree.

    9:10 PM, March 19, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Why on earth are those the only three possible outcomes?

    Why on earth do you think Bruning would happily step aside for Johanns?

    Bruning has started the exploratory committee while Hagel is undecided about plans, though he has said he is raising money for a possible 2008 re-election bid. Bruning is moving forward with preparations anyway. While Bruning would begrudgingly step aside for Hagel, there is no way he steps aside for Johanns.

    If Hagel wants to run for re-election, the NE-GOP will be unified behind him (for the most part - the article does mention an anti-Hagel faction). But, if Hagel retires from the Senate, and both Bruning and Johanns want the seat, we could see another nasty primary. Bruning doesn't strike me as the type to play nice.

    12:39 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    There is "no way" he steps aside for Johanns? He is a 38-year-old Attorney General who wants a future in state politics. The quickest way to ruin that is to challenge a former Governor who had an 81% approval rating when he left office in a Senate primary. Why would Bruning step down in favor of Johanns? Because Johanns would mop the floor with him. It wouldn't be a contest, in the slightest. And Bruning knows better than to enter a primary that would 1) deliver a humiliating loss, and 2) earn him the disfavor of the party establishment.

    If Johanns runs, he clears the field. Period.

    2:07 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Another case of "just because you say so doesn't make it so."

    If Bruning is willing to start his exploratory committee in the face of Hagel's protracted decision-making process, he doesn't seem the wait-my-turn type. Bruning wants to go, and it doesn't seem like he'd step aside for Johanns.

    And if there is, as the article suggests, a clear pro-Bruning faction to the "party establishment," then Bruning is plenty emboldened to move forward, even in the face of Johanns, should Hagel retire.

    2:42 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Your petty desire to see a fractured Nebraska GOP doesn't create a fractured Nebraska GOP. Bruning has nothing to gain in a primary fight against Johanns. Any objective analysis of the situation would agree. Its not terribly surprising that you can't rise to the occasion.

    3:21 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger said: "Bruning has nothing to gain in a primary fight against Johanns."


    How about, oh, I dunno, the Republican Senate nomination!?!

    I think Bruning has something to gain if he has the ego or hubris to think he can win - and that seems to be the case.

    3:30 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    A 38-year-old AG going up against one of the most popular Governors in Nebraska history, and you think Bruning would stand a chance? Johanns' favorability rating is currently above Bruning's name ID. He wouldn't stand a chance.

    4:40 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Do I think Bruning stands a chance against Johanns? I dunno. But Bruning probably thinks Bruning stands a chance. And that's what matters.

    4:57 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Why would Bruning, all of 38-years-old, who has only been a politician for the last 10, risk his political career in a long-shot primary against one of the most popular figures in Nebraska? Especially when he still has another two years on his current term as AG?

    I will grant you that theoretically its possible that Bruning would stay in the race against Johanns, but every ounce of common sense says that it wouldn't happen. And even if it did happen, Johanns would enjoy so much overwhelming support that there would still not be a fracture in the Nebraska GOP.

    5:32 PM, March 20, 2007  
    Blogger Dave said...

    Va Blogger, you are absolutely clueless when it comes to Nebraska politics. Take a minute to read up at any one of our Nebraska blogs:

    Since I know you're partial to right-wing blogs that engage in nothing but ad hominem attacks, I'll give you one of those, too:

    You'll find one thing in common among all of our analyses. Jon Bruning is not a friend of Johanns, Heineman, Hagel, or any of the GOP establishment. He is running for Senate. He has been running for Senate since at least October, when he was running television ads in an unopposed race for AG. If Hagel is not running, it is absolutely certain that Bruning will be running for Senate. He won't drop out so Hagel's favored candidate can run. Not a chance.

    3:43 PM, March 21, 2007  

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