Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Open Thread: 4/19/07

I would love to get more of your feedback. Any adjustments or augmentations you'd suggest for the blog? Races you've been particularly interested in? Fun facts you'd like to share? Two quick hits to get your mind running:

  • The Blue State has a great live blog going of the Alberto Gonzales hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Notable entry: "12:42: According to reporters, Gonzales has said the words 'I can't recall' nearly 55 times."

  • Nebraska: More thoughts on Jon Bruning, whose exploratory committee website looks just about ready for the real deal. I can't wait to see polling breaking down moderate support versus conservative support between Hagel and Bruning because I would imagine that this will create some bad blood toward Bruning among independent voters and maybe even moderate Republicans who might support Hagel but oppose Bush and his mismanagement in Iraq. Let's say Hagel does retire and Bruning is the GOP nominee. If the Democrats manage to put up a credible-to-strong Democrat like former Senator Bob Kerrey or Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, moderate voters who might have defaulted Republican could be very turned off by Bruning and cast a vote for the Democrat. A dynamic to look forward to.

  • What's on your mind?

  • 24 Comments:

    Blogger Blue South said...

    Udall is in
    http://www.coloradoconfidential.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1835
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/4/19/115248/978

    1:50 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    2:38 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Speaking of hypothetical situations, if Mark Pryor in Arkansas goes streaking in a drunken stupor, it might turn off indepedents who would normally default to Democrat, creating an interesting dynamic.

    Speaking of Mike Fahey, though, it looks like he's running for re-election as Mayor.

    QUOTE:

    Mike Fahey began revving up his political money machine this week in the strongest signal yet that he intends to seek an unprecedented third term as Omaha's mayor.

    ...

    Fahey, however, left himself an out to run for the U.S. Senate in the event that Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel does not seek re-election. Fahey said his final decision won't come until the end of the year.

    But if he were to make a decision today, the 63-year-old mayor said, he would run for another four-year term.

    ...

    Under federal campaign finance law, Fahey would not be able to use the funds in his re-election account to mount a Senate race.

    END QUOTE

    So Fahey is holding fundraisers for a campaign account that can't be used to run for Senate, and is more inclined to run for re-election than for Senate.

    2:41 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger Dave said...

    va blogger -

    Since you're not in any Democratic circles in Nebraska, you wouldn't know, but here you go:

    Mike Fahey is strongly considering a run for Senate, but he will likely only run if Hagel is not running. If he does not run for Senate, he will run for reelection. He's getting pushed hard by Nelson, Schumer, Reid, and just about every Democrat he meets lately to run for the Senate seat.

    He's hedging his bets for the mayor's race. Can't run for reelection if he doesn't have any cash to do it.

    4:32 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I think Fahey realizes that his chances are much, much better at winning re-election than beating either Hagel or Bruning (or Johanns, if he decides he wants to be a Senator).

    4:39 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Let me suggest an answer to va blogger's likely follow-up question, "Well then why is Fahey raising money for Mayor instead of Senate if he's so interested in a Senate race and it takes more money to run a Senate campaign than a Mayor campaign?"

    Fahey knows there are very few people that are known commodities that could even run a credible, much less competitive, race against Hagel/Bruning/Johanns/etc. - maybe just himself, Bob Kerrey and maybe Scott Kleeb. So it's not like there is a rush to have to jump out in front of the crowd. However, there are probably a number of municipal officials and others who would be very interested in the Mayor's office if Fahey gave it up.

    So it makes perfect sense that he would focus on Mayor fundraising before Senate fundraising - he wants to keep possible Mayor challengers at bay until he has made up his mind for sure. Perfectly logical.

    4:40 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Wow - a whole 7 minutes between when dave posted a comment (4:32pm) and when va blogger responded (4:39pm). va blogger, you really must have very little to do with your time besides check this blog incessantly. Should we have a "Suggest a hobby for va blogger" open thread?

    4:43 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I checked the blog this afternoon at 2:30ish, then again at 4:30ish. It wouldn't have mattered if Dave posted his comment seven minutes before me or two hours before me.

    We'll also leave out the fact that I seldom check your blog at night or on weekends, but I'll let you continue to flatter yourself when I'm really just bored at work. The phrase "nothing better to do" actually rings true from time to time.

    5:04 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Must ring true every seven minutes, I guess...

    9:23 PM, April 19, 2007  
    Blogger Sean said...

    Since you asked, an acceptance of reality might be a good place to start. I know you have the blog to be a cheerleader for the Democrats, and that's fair enough, but getting excited about something like a possible Craig retirement is going too far. You know as well as anyone that the Democrats won't take that seat, and you lose quite a bit of credibility when you suggest otherwise. That's just one example. Republicans only have a snowball's chance in Hell of taking four Dem seats, and only two good chances. The Dems have more targets, but most GOP seats are safe. The sooner you acknowledge that, the easier it will be for people to take you seriously.

    4:04 AM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Its been past seven minutes, so I can feel free to respond now. (In reality, I'm at work again, but why let facts get in the way?)

    The article, and I, don't conclude that Fahey is more inclined to run for re-election just becaues of the fundraising. There's also the quote where he says, "If I had to make up my mind right now, I'd run for re-election". That, in addition to the fundraising, and in addition to the fact that Fahey wouldn't have a chance in a statewide race against Hagel, Johanns, or Bruning, is why I think Fahey is more inclined to run for re-election.

    I noticed that you used the link I provided in your latest update, but you skipped any news about Fahey raising funds for an account that can't be used for a Senate race, and skipped any news of his current preference to run for re-election. All you said is that he'd make up his mind later this year. Why did you leave out the rest of that pertinent information? It can't be for economy of language; you dedicated a whole post to the laughable notion that Coleman would get a primary challenge.

    10:34 AM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    sean - a couple things:

    1) I don't think LaRocco-Craig or LaRocco-Risch would be a first tier race. I don't think it would be a second tier race. But I do think LaRocco is a credible candidate who has won congressional races in Idaho before. It's (on my five tier scale) a third tier race in my mind right now. If this makes me lose credibility to you, oh well. Believe me, I'm over it. But I'm not ready to just write off Senate races more than 18 months before Election Day. I think Senators Tester and Webb would agree with that viewpoint.

    2) You said that the GOP has "two good chances" to take Dem seats. Besides Louisiana, which were you referring to? South Dakota where Johnson's popularity is huge and Gov. Rounds has yet to indicate that he even plans on pulling the trigger on a race? Iowa? Arkansas? Montana?

    va blogger - how many times did you check the blog, sitting on your hands, waiting until enough time had gone by for you to respond?

    As for my brevity with Fahey's statement, I thought I made it overwhelmingly clear in this very comment string to anybody that can read as to why his fundraising focus is what it is:

    QUOTE
    Fahey knows there are very few people that are known commodities that could even run a credible, much less competitive, race against Hagel/Bruning/Johanns/etc. - maybe just himself, Bob Kerrey and maybe Scott Kleeb. So it's not like there is a rush to have to jump out in front of the crowd. However, there are probably a number of municipal officials and others who would be very interested in the Mayor's office if Fahey gave it up.

    So it makes perfect sense that he would focus on Mayor fundraising before Senate fundraising - he wants to keep possible Mayor challengers at bay until he has made up his mind for sure. Perfectly logical.
    UNQUOTE

    And I noticed you said "Fahey wouldn't have a chance in a statewide race against Hagel, Johanns, or Bruning" - you didn't precede that with "I think" or "I believe" - you presented it as a statement of fact, so I presume you have some polling data to back up your claim with?

    As for my Coleman post about a primary challenger, yeah, I made no bones about it being wishful thinking. But, once again, this isn't CNN, it's my blog! If you don't like the content, I beg you, don't read it. Or, please, please, please start your own blog that I can't wait to not read. But stop whining about it. (Though, as for the notion of Coleman getting a primary challenger - is it any more "laughable" than Gordon Smith getting a primary challenger?)

    10:58 AM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Sean said...

    guru, the second race to which I was referring was South Dakota. Gov. Rounds is highly popular as well, and there has been no indication of him opting out of (or into) a bid against Johnson. You can say that it's out of respect for Johnson or an attempt not to appear crass that Rounds has not made an announcement, or even commented on his plans, since Decemeber. If he had done so, you and every other Democrat would be flipping out about him playing politics while Johnson continues to recover. If you want to overlook the race, all the better, but you'll be pretty lonely in doing so.

    12:23 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    How long until you figure out that Tester and Webb won because they were up against Conrad Burns and George Allen, and not because the red states they were running were ready to elect a Democrat?

    True or false-- without "macaca" and a shitty October, Jim Webb would still be writing books.

    True or false-- without Burns extensive ties to Jack Abramoff, Jon Tester would still be in the State Senate.

    Until you explain how Larry Craig has done something as fundamentally wrong as either of those two, then comparing Idaho '08 to MT or VA '06 is just asinine.

    And I like how you don't want to write off Idaho as a pick-up opportunity, but you're more than willing to write off South Dakota.

    If you read my comment, or the article, at all, the fundraising aspect is just a small part of the speculation around Fahey running for re-election. The other, bigger part is Fahey saying, "If I had to choose right now, I'd run for re-election". Funny how that didn't meet your standards for publishing on the front page, but the most minute speculation about a Democrat running or a Republican retiring does.

    12:29 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    sean - I'm not overlooking South Dakota, but I'm not ceding it. Gov. Rounds didn't make noise about entering the race even before Johnson's medical incident. And looking at the political reality of the situation, assuming Johnson continues his recovery as well as has been reported, how can you see Rounds getting in and campaigning against him? Meanwhile, Johnson beat Thune (barely, but he did), and Rounds is further to the right than Thune, so it will be harder for Rounds to capture independent voters (voters that otherwise approve of both Johnson and Rounds) than it was for Thune. I'm not overlooking SD, but I'm not overhyping it either.

    12:36 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you said "And I like how you don't want to write off Idaho as a pick-up opportunity, but you're more than willing to write off South Dakota."

    When did I write off South Dakota?

    Was it when I ranked South Dakota the second most vulnerable Democratic seat in the 2008 election and a first tier race? va blogger, do you ever get tired of lying and just making stuff up to fit your ridiculous arguments? (And please try to limit your gratuitous profanity.)

    12:41 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    You said that the GOP has "two good chances" to take Dem seats. Besides Louisiana, which were you referring to? South Dakota where Johnson's popularity is huge and Gov. Rounds has yet to indicate that he even plans on pulling the trigger on a race? Iowa? Arkansas? Montana?

    You seem pretty sure of yourself there. Reading your blog, its almost as if you think the Democrats have a better chance winning in Idaho than the Republicans do in South Dakota.

    And I apologize about my language. I didn't realize your mother read your blog.

    12:46 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - I was just asking sean which state he was referring to. I didn't want to misrepresent his comments the way you're happy to misrepresent others' comments.

    12:48 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Let's go for the straight-foward approach then: which is a better pick-up opportunity? Idaho for the Democrats, or South Dakota for the Republicans?

    12:51 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    South Dakota.

    Both SD and Idaho have lots of nuances. But you don't care about that (or just can't process the complexities). You want as short an answer as possible for your apparently reduced attention span. So, there you go.

    1:00 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I just wanted to see if your answer would be consistent with your reporting. You've done everything possible to downplay Johnson's vulnerability, while done everything to maximize the liberal blogosphere's perception that there is any chance of a pick-up in Idaho.

    1:23 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Three big problems with your comment:

    1) I don't downplay Johnson's vulnerability - I continuously highlighted his life-threatening brain hemorrhage; I ranked him the second overall most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. I have never neglected South Dakota's Presidential election redness. So, wrong, va blogger.

    2) As for Idaho, I present a credible Democrat and an unclear scenario on the GOP side. These are facts. Do you disagree? There is a chance for a Dem pick-up in Idaho. It's not a big chance by any means, nor have I presented it as such. But it is a chance. Heck, just the possibility of a marginally competitive race in Idaho is a success, forcing the GOP and NRSC to potentially spend money in states like Idaho. If that doesn't fit into your simplistic take on national politics, tough.

    3) Do you still not get what goes on here? I don't "report" - I "opine" on stuff I find interesting. The Washington Post and CNN report. I just comment on it.

    2:08 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    1) You constantly refer to him as extremely popular, which is no biggie, but you never refer to his probable opponent, Mike Rounds, who has the same popularity, the same way. Instead, you call him "ultra-conservative", as if to indicate that he would have a hard time getting elected by a state that has already elected him twice.

    And you continually note how well other Senators are raising funds for Johnson, while crassly expecting Republicans not to follow suit.

    You can't possibly try to deny that you constantly, every single day, spin news so its favorable for Democrats and unfavorable for Republicans.

    And what do you mean by "credible" Democrat? One who has a chance to win? No, I don't think there is a credible Democrat in Idaho. And "unclear" GOP situation? Sure, but whether Craig runs (which he likely will) or he retires and Risch runs, they will win. Let's not pretend that a incumbent who isn't sure of running again and a successor ready to take over if neccesary is a chaotic situation.

    Idaho is a cheap media market and is a huge GOP stronghold. Even with LaRocco in the race, the Republican candidate won't have to spend that much money to win, and the NRSC isn't going to have to invest any money in the state.

    2:53 PM, April 20, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Do you even bother to stick to facts, va blogger?

    -Mike Rounds is now Tim Johnson's "probable" opponent? Based on what? Your hopes and dreams? Keep fabricating things. It makes you seem credible.

    -Other Senators ARE raising funds for Johnson. Republicans have not followed suit. I'm only going on actual facts that have happened in the real world.

    -One definition of a "credible" Democrat is one that has actually won Congressional races in the state. I know it's hard for you to fathom with your simplistic take on national politics, but Democrats can win in red states and Republicans can win in blue states.

    -An incumbent not running and an heir-apparent taking over isn't a chaotic situation. I agree. But how about when one possible candidate is trying to muscle out the incumbent - which may be the case in both Idaho with Risch-Craig and in Nebraska with Bruning-Hagel - that could create some bad blood within the party establishment and deflate or fragment the base. Or, since that plays against your simple Idaho = Red = GOP wins mentality on politics, can you not handle that?

    3:03 PM, April 20, 2007  

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