WaPo's Cillizza offers his latest Senate line. A pattern is forming. Spots 1 through 9 consist of Democratic-held seats in South Dakota and Louisiana (rightly so - both are top 10 vulnerable seats overall) as well as seven Republican-held seats: CO, NH, ME, MN, OR, VA and NM. And then I gripe about the 10-spot. This week, ostensibly for partisan-balance, Cillizza has traded Iowa for Montana, offering that GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg has yet to give a firm "No" regarding a Senate challenge to Max Baucus. Regardless, I still argue that North Carolina is more vulnerable than Iowa or Montana, and that state AG Roy Cooper, for instance, is more likely to beat freshman Liddy Dole if he got in than Denny Rehberg is to beat Max Baucus if he got in. Que será, será.
BooMan offers his summation of 2008 Senate races in the 21 GOP-held seats and the top two Dem vulnerabilities, Louisiana & South Dakota. His assessments are reasonable in most spots, a little rosy in a few (like Alaska), and surprising in a few (like Alabama, where he doesn't mention Sparksmania).
New Mexico: NM-FBIHOP has the goods on former U.S. Attorney John Kelly considering a challenge to Pajamas Pete Domenici. That would present one heck of a dynamic as Domenici's role in the Attorney Purge scandal is apparently responsible for the precipitous drop in his approval rating.
New Hampshire: At her gubernatorial portrait unveiling, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen played coy about a possible entry into the 2008 Senate race:
Shaheen's husband, Bill, a lawyer and prominent Democratic activist, admired the painting from several angles. "You get a sense that she's there," he said. "It's absolutely beautiful." He was coy about the possibility of his wife challenging U.S. Sen. John Sununu in 2008, grinning as he said she "hasn't made up her mind." While the current bench of Democrats in New Hampshire is impressive, Governor Shaheen's entry into the race would be massive. Polling already has her significantly ahead of Sprintin' John Sununu, a case of buyers' remorse in the Granite State. Indeed, something to keep an eye on.
In 2002, Shaheen retired as governor after six years to run against Sununu, then a U.S. representative, for Senate but lost in a close race. The suggestion from Lynch that she might try again drew a standing ovation from many Democrats in the crowd. But the former governor preferred to talk about other subjects yesterday.
"You know, I haven't decided," she said quickly, ending the sentence with a slight, tight-lipped smile - just like in the portrait behind her.
Montana: Countering Cillizza's contention that Montana is a top ten Senate race, CQPolitics offers this article looking at the MT-GOP's lack of options, with GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg "resisting GOP efforts to draft him into the race."
Oregon: State Senator Alan Bates puts the timeline on which he'd decide on a possible Senate challenge to Gordon Smith at "a few weeks after the end of the legislative session, sometime this summer."
Minnesota: Al Franken announced the endorsement of the steelworkers union.
Massachusetts: The Gloucester Daily Times and Associated Press report on a possible primary challenge to Senator John Kerry in the form of Gloucester attorney and former city councilor Edward O'Reilly, whose main beef with Senator Kerry appears to be his 2002 vote to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. I suppose Senator Kerry's Set a Deadline effort isn't enough atonement for O'Reilly. We'll see if his bid gains any traction in the months ahead.
Bush supports the troops?!? Can that be when he "strongly opposes" a meager raise in pay for soldiers and a meager raise in benefits for war widows? Really grotesque.