Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Big Wednesday Morning Rundown

  • More coverage of the DSCC rolling into red terrority and expanding the competitive map.

  • As much as Senate Republicans would prefer it not be an issue in 2008, the Iraq morass is not going anywhere for quite a long while.

  • Maine: Speaking of Iraq, Congressman Tom Allen makes no secret that it will be a major issue against Susan Collins, calling Bush's Iraq War (which Allen opposed from the start) "the worst foreign policy mistake in our nation's history." WMTW also remarks of the Allen-Collins race that it is "shaping up to be the most expensive political campaign in Maine history" so help Congressman Allen out and contribute a few bucks.

  • Virginia: More mixed messages from John Warner on his 2008 electoral plans. He says he's "very interested in staying" but won't make a final decision until late summer. Also, he announced the departure of his Chief of Staff, "a close aide for more than 20 years." I still expect a retirement announcement come September. The most telling signal between now and then will be his Q2 (April-June) fundraising numbers, which will come out in July. If he's actually considering a re-election bid, he ought to have a minimum of $1-2 million dollars raised in Q2, given both his stature as a longtime incumbent and his notorious $500 Q1 take. If his Q2 take is at all underwhelming, it's a very safe bet that he'll be making a retirement announcement.

  • Alaska: Ted Stevens throws his son under the bus. When asked about recent developments in the VECO corruption scandal that has ensnared his son, state senator Ben Stevens, Ted effectively offers a 'No comment.' No "my son is a terrific man and an ethical legislator." Just "I will make no further comment." One heckuva dad, that Ted Stevens is.

  • Nebraska: Is Chuck Hagel losing NE-GOP institutional support to Jon Bruning? The Lincoln Journal Star notes that GOP Rep. Adrian Smith's name is "conspicuously absent" from a long list of fundraiser hosts for Hagel, a list which includes the names of Nebraska's other two GOP Congressmen. Commented Smith of Hagel and Bruning, "Both gentlemen are friends of mine." With Bruning running to the right of Hagel in a NE-GOP primary, Hagel will have to rely heavily on his friends. It's a perilous signal for Hagel when some of those friends plan on remaining neutral.

  • West Virginia: The Herald-Mail reports that GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is expected to formally announce for re-election to the House, forgoing a Senate challenge to popular Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller. Not a surprise, but just another failed recruitment effort by the NRSC.

  • Kentucky: Maybe Mitch McConnell is just opposed to any plan to fund the troops that might actually hold the Bush Administration accountable for producing any results or meeting any benchmarks.

  • Louisiana: Remember GOP Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne who was losing to the "highly vulnerable" Senator Mary Landrieu by a margin of 53-38 in polling. Well, Daily Kingfish catches Dardenne using what Kingfish suggests is a racially-charged code word.

  • Oregon: Blue Oregon's John Doty profiles State Senator Alan Bates as a possible challenger to Gordon Smith, suggesting Bates has bipartisan appeal and an attractive resume.


    Blogger NOVA said...

    That list of tiers from Roll Call was interesting. Wonder who the party is recruiting for Kansas? I know Sebelius would be the dream candidate, but it's far more realistic to expect a 2010 run for Brownback's open seat. Also, who are some possibilities to challenge McConnell? Chandler, like Sebelius, has always seemed for likely to go for a 2010 run - any statewide Dems looking good for the 08 run? We all know the names being thrown around for North Carolina, Texas, and Andrew Rice seems to be the guy for Oklahoma, but I was just curious who the Party was looking at in Kansas and Kentucky. That other tier (Virginia, New Mexico, Mississippi, Nebraska, Idaho) seems to be a list of possible retirements.

    12:57 PM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger Dave said...

    I have a different take than you on the Smith situation with Hagel. I think Bruning's going to find a lot of trouble if folks like Smith feel obliged to remain neutral. Bruning is going to be facing a hell of a lot of institutional support for Hagel on the other side.

    As it is right now, the only prominent elected Republicans other than Bruning who aren't hosts of the Hagel fundraiser are Smith and State Treasurer Shane Osborn, who no doubt ruffled some feathers in the state party by challenging Johanns' appointee for the State Treasurer's job. (And, according to one commenter at my blog, he shared an office with Bruning and Tom Osborne in 2006).

    1:06 PM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    The DSCC can "target" whoever the hell it wants, but saying that they're targets and putting up a candidate and the resources that makes the NRSC and GOP incumbents in those states do anything but yawn are two completely different things.

    The Dardenne "controversy" is one of the most ridiculous stretches I've ever seen before. Talk about a non-issue.

    Speaking of Louisiana, would it kill you to be consistent when you talk about poll numbers? A relatively unknown Secretary of State (who isn't even the #1 choice to run) polls within 15 points of the incumbent, and that compells you to put "seemingly vulnerable" in quotation marks, as if she's not. But in Maine, a sitting Congressman who is widely regarded as the strongest possile candidate polls 25 points out of the incumbent, yet Susan Collins is referred to as "extremely vulnerable".

    Odd, to say the least.

    1:17 PM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - Re: Maine vs. Louisiana, it's not odd or inconsistent.

    In Louisiana, Dardenne is a statewide office-holder (as much as you'd like to think nobody has ever heard of him), and Landrieu is supposed to be the most vulnerable Democrat in recent history. Not to mention, many Democratic voters were displaced due to Hurricane Katrina. One would expect that Landrieu would barely be able to even hope for a statistical dead heat. The fact that she is up 15 points is fairly remarkable, all things considered.

    Meanwhile, in Maine, Tom Allen is not a statewide officeholder and Susan Collins does enjoy relatively high approval ratings in the low-70's. Given that his starting point is not far off the 2002 election result, it ain't a terrible square one.

    You might not agree with my analysis, but it is not inconsistent.

    Also, va blogger, I'd urge you to take a glance at dave's comment above yours. He manages to offer an opinion that disagrees with mine while both offering a unique and insightful perspective and managing to not sound like a condescending ass. You should take notes, va blogger.

    3:21 PM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger Blue South said...

    dave- are you saying that all the "institutional" people who arent supporting Hagel are already on the out? That would make sense to me.

    4:04 PM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I don't think no one has heard of Jay Dardenne; I think two-thirds of the state has heard of him, and far less knows enough about him to form an opinion about him.

    I don't know why you would expect Landrieu to be in a statistical dead heat when she's the incumbent, Dardenne is a largely unknown quantity, and its a long, long way to Election Day.

    The fact of the matter is that Jay Dardenne is not the number one pick to run for the seat (he's not even number two, if you count Bobby Jindal). Yet, in Maine, someone who is universally considered the strongest possible choice starts off losing in his own Congressional district, where any argument about being a statewide office-holder fly out of the window.

    Comparing this poll to the results of 2002 is a pretty dumb way of trying to minimize how disappointing it has to be to have your dream candidate be down by that much.

    Its just mind-boggling how you can, with a straight-face, say that Mary Landrieu is less vulnerable, when she only has a 15-point lead on a third choice candidate, than Susan Collins, who has a 25-point lead on the best possible candidate. But its your blog. You maintain the right to twist the facts to paint whatever picture you think is most pleasing to look at.

    4:40 PM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger mainefem said...

    It's mostly a reflection of the economy (and esp. outrageous gas & heating prices up here in ME--people are totally outraged), folks.

    shrub polls @a whopping 20% (if you can entrust Critical Insight's latest poll).

    Tom will do just fine (yes, CD#2 will be difficult-the majority of Mainiacs are unenrolled & it's an older more conservative demographic cohort group).

    ...who also need prescriptions, so who knows how they'll vote?

    However, Mainiacs might not survive the economic fallout until Nov., 2008 (which, could help Tom, in the long haul).

    3:40 PM, May 14, 2007  

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