Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tuesday Round-Up

Internet connection issues should be sorted out by tomorrow; in the meantime:

  • South Dakota: On the topic of Senate nicknames, Tim Johnson should be dubbed Senator Badass for his remarkable recovery.

  • Nebraska: Chuck Hagel non-announcement fall-out: GOP would-be successors drool, while Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey offers the most sensible response; The Daily Show mocks Hagel's non-announcement; and, WaPo's Cillizza highlights Hagel's earlier term limits comments and offers the most succinct summary of a Hagel-free Nebraska Senate race:

    Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, who served as Nebraska governor from 1998 until 2005, would be the party's first choice. Rep. Lee Terry, state Attorney General Jon Bruning, former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub and 2006 Senate nominee Pete Ricketts have also voiced varying levels of interest in running but all would likely step aside if Johanns runs.

    The picture is far clearer for Democrats. Omaha Mike Fahey is regarded by many within the party as the only candidate capable of making this race competitive. Fahey said last month that he would consider running for the seat if it came open and has huddled with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) to discuss a bid.
    I guess we'll have to sit and wait for Hagel's next (non-)announcement.

  • Minnesota: A month ago, a SUSA poll came out that showed commentator Al Franken down 20 points on Republican Norm Coleman. I wasn't concerned. Lots of time between now and Election Day, I said. I also said I would have preferred a ten-point deficit at this point. Well, a Rasmussen Reports poll just came out showing, what?, a 10-point deficit. Coleman up 46-36 means: A) a significantly smaller deficit; and B) Coleman is under 50, dangerous for any incumbent. The over-arching point is: there's lots of time left and polls will go up and down. But, clearly, Coleman is tremendously vulnerable. If it's not Franken, it'll be Mike Ciresi or another solid Dem - but Coleman is in bad shape.

  • North Carolina: WaPo's Cillizza asks "How vulnerable is Sen. Dole?" Cillizza notes a GOP poll that has Dole at 63-25 approval-disapproval and a Dem poll that has Dole at 49-46 excellent/good-fair/poor. Which is more accurate? I'd go with the Dems. Because I'm partisan? Nope - because I have more than an ounce of common sense (more than the pollsters offering the 63-25 numbers, anyway). Survey USA has Dole at 52-40 and Dole only garners 45% against Rep. Bob Etheridge and that Dole loses 44-41 in a poll against Governor Mike Easley. In short, anyone who truly believes that more than 60% of North Carolina voters approve of Liddy Dole's job performance should be rapidly treated for their major case of the crazies.

  • New Mexico: CQ Politics takes a look at the political implications of the Domenici scandal and seems to suggest that, if Domenici does not run for re-election, a Rep.-Rep. face-off between Tom Udall (D) and Steve Pearce (R) could result. I would be thrilled with that match-up. Let's see Pearce defend to the voters of New Mexico his votes against raising the minimum wage, implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations, or taking steps to lower prescription drug costs.

  • New Hampshire: MyDD's Singer tears Sprintin' John Sununu up for demonstrating through his votes that he feels "corporate interests should trump homeland security." Juxtapose that with the headline "Mayor's Senate run gains steam" highlighting Mayor Steve Marchand's campaign.


    Blogger NOVA said...

    While I personally do like Franken a lot, I still find myself a little uneasy about the possibility of him being the nominee. Now, if it does end up being a Ciresi/Franken contest, I would choose Franken, but has anyone heard anything about state senators Mee Maou or Tarryl Clark being approached to run? And, if so, would they fare better than the current two that are running?

    11:50 AM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Franken and Ciresi's benefits, name ID and money, are what state legislators lack. I haven't heard anything about Maou or Clark; I have heard about Sen. Becky Loury, Rep. Joe Atkins, and former Sen. Dean Johnson considering bids.

    With Ciresi and Franken in the race, it would be hard for a little-known State Senator to pick up traction. So they probably wouldn't fare better at all. Obviously, Ciresi has a better chance in the general than Franken, given Franken's flaws.

    12:06 PM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger Ari said...

    How about Rep. Betty McCollum? She's got more name-recognition than a state senator. She's a similar candidate to Sen. Klobuchar, who just won resoundingly!

    1:26 PM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger NOVA said...

    Wasn't McCollum pretty much everyone's first choice? I hoped she could've been persuaded, but I'm pretty sure she declined a while back.

    Speaking of lack of name ID, I totally agree w/ what you are saying, but aren't Maou and Clark two of the biggest up-and-comers in the DFL?

    1:40 PM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    McCollum, R.T. Ryback, Freshman Rep. Tim Walz, and Ford Bell have all said no.

    I don't have my finger on the pulse of the DFL, so I can't answer whether those two are up-and-comers. I've never heard of them before, but that doesn't mean anything. The term "up-and-comer" inherently relies a lot upon hype and buzz, so if you heard that these two were up-and-comers, then in all liklihood that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would be quick to warn against over-estimating that as a strength, however. It can lead places, but it can also quickly raise expectations, which results in a much bigger loss if and when those expectations aren't met.

    And to ari, a candidate that's very similar to Sen. Klobuchar is Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner. She'll most likely be more interested in a Congressional race or a '10 GOV race, but some have talked her up as an opponent to Coleman.

    2:32 PM, March 14, 2007  

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