Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ruminations in Alabama and Idaho

  • Alabama: Sack Sessions gives us a two-fer today. The Tuscaloosa News notes that Jeff Sessions was all too helpful to Karl Rove in seeking a replacement U.S. Attorney and parroting White House talking points:

    Earlier this month, it was disclosed that an e-mail message from the White House urged the Justice Department to call Sessions to give him information about appointing a former aide to Republican strategist Karl Rove as an interim U.S. attorney in Arkansas to replace one of the fired officials.

    “WH political reached out to Sen. Sessions and requested that he ask helpful questions to make clear that Tim Griffin is qualified to serve,” a January 2007 e-mail message read.

    Sessions said last week that he doesn’t recall speaking with anyone at the White House about Griffin before a Feb. 6 hearing. But the record shows that at that hearing, Sessions covered all of the highlights on Griffin in a Republican “talking points” document on the nominee and praised his resume — just as the White House and Justice Department apparently requested, on the evidence of the e-mails.

    That may be just coincidence, though failure to recall is a far cry from a flat denial.
    Let's hope Mr. Sessions' memory improves a bit in the near future. Also, the Huntsville Times sees Commissioner Ron Sparks talking the talk of a likely Senate candidate.

  • Idaho: Red State Rebels pontificates further on Idaho's current lack of Congressional clout and how Larry LaRocco can change that.

  • Personal note: While Senate races in Alabama and Idaho will no doubt be significantly uphill battles, just the fact that there may very well be fiercely challenged, legit races in these deep red states is a tremendous sign of how 2008 appears to be shaping up and how traditional battleground states like New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maine, and Oregon will be all-the-more vulnerable for the GOP.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I disagree that an uphill battle for the Democrats in Alabama and Idaho makes other GOP incumbents more vulnerable.

    12:02 PM, April 24, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Why do you disagree, if you don't mind me asking?

    If both LaRocco and Sparks (assuming Sparks enters the race) never pull within 10 points of their GOP opponents and the NRSC never has to spend any money or personnel or resources in those states, then, yeah, it doesn't have an impact on NH, OR, MN, or ME.

    However, if the NRSC or RNC has to spend even $1 in Alabama or Idaho, then that's $1 that isn't available to spend in NH, OR, MN, or ME. It reduces the resources available for those four battleground states and does therefore make them more vulnerable.

    (Parties reversed, same goes for a state like New Jersey. I expect Lautenberg will win re-election barring some wildly unforeseen event. But, if the NJ-GOP fields even a so-so challenger, it may eat up resources and attention that could go to our challengers in other battleground states.)

    1:07 PM, April 24, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Because I think that Idaho and Alabama are cheap enough media markets, and that Sessions and Craig/Risch are well-off enough, to be able to put down even a moderate-to-touch challenge (no matter how "fierce" one believes their opponent to be) completely on their own.

    Idaho is one of the cheapest media markets in the country, and Sessions already has close to two million CoH. I don't foresee any situation where either of them will have to ask the NRSC or the RNC for help.

    Speaking on a more general principle, I also believe that there is a plateau in terms of the effectiveness of money. For instance, in New Hampshire, it would make a difference whether the NRSC invested zero million or one million dollars, or two million or three million dollars. That million dollar difference would have an effect. I don't believe that it would make a difference if the NRSC spent $19 million, instead of $20. That is, after a certain point, you reach a maximum amount of effect that money can have in a race. Rick Santorum could have spent $100 million in Pennsylvania and still would have lost.

    So I don't neccesarily buy the argument that a dollar spent in Alabama is a dollar that isn't spent in Minnesota, and therefore harms Norm Coleman's chances. If the NRSC invests, say, $25 million in every battleground state, I would argue that they've pretty much exhausted all of the trappings that money can buy in a race. Anything that's spare after that plateau is reached, then, wouldn't matter if it was spent in those states, or spent on a second or third tier race.

    2:21 PM, April 24, 2007  
    Blogger Ryan Anderson said...

    I don't know about you, guru, but I'm a proud Democrat and I don't feel the need to apologize for my optimism -starry-eyed and irrational though it may be. Our party better reflects the interests of people everywhere, and I have faith in even the reddest of the red staters to pick the right candidate with the right message. Idaho? Yeah. Alabama? Yeah. Why the hell not?

    If you don't see it my way, whatever. I'm not some disinterested observer. I'm passionate about my party, and nothing's gonna keep me from cheering on a good Democrat running for anything anywhere.

    7:13 PM, April 24, 2007  

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