Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not a Target

  • Alaska: As the FBI continues to investigate Ted Stevens' home improvements, it is highlighted that Stevens is "not a target" of the investigation. TPM diligently highlights that Republicans Rep. John Doolittle and former Sen. Conrad Burns were also "not a target" before they were, in fact a target. TPM makes the point that the "not a target" designation is more a "heads up - you could soon be a target" alert rather than an exoneration.

    Think Progress notes that the Bush administration apparently went to some lengths to keep Stevens out of the process of selecting a U.S. Attorney for Alaska and that Stevens was "furious" about it. Could it be that even Bush thought Stevens was too sullied to participate in the U.S. Attorney process, a process that we all know was hardly a model of appropriateness. It will be riveting to see where this takes Stevens and if it impacts his re-election bid likelihood. (Somebody should give Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich a ring. Now might be a good time to form a Senate exploratory committee to put Stevens on notice and under pressure if the investigation heat escalates.)

  • CQPolitics continues its Senate series with Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, and New Jersey, the four "Democrat Favored" states by their measure. In the Guru's opinion, Arkansas and Iowa are both very safe. Mark Pryor raised more for his Senate re-election bid in Q1 than former Gov. Mike Huckabee raised for his Presidential campaign. And the IA-GOP bench is slim with Senator Harkin having left in his wake several GOP Congressmen who have vied for the seat and lost. Unless one of Iowa's GOP Congressmen want to sacrifice their House seats as a Senate martyr, both of these two states should move from "Democrat Favored" to "Safe Democratic" in the coming months.

    The NJ-GOP Senate primary will not feature former Governors Christine Todd Whitman or Tom Kean Sr. or former Senate candidate Tom Kean Jr. or Congressman Mike Ferguson or U.S. Attorney Chris Christie. Instead, it will likely be between real estate developer Anne Evans Estabrook and conservative state assemblyman Michael Doherty. While Lautenberg could defeat either, with Estabrook's ability to self-finance and Doherty being considered one of the most conservative members of the NJ state Legislature, I'd prefer Doherty as the candidate. However, even with Estabrook's self-financing, this would only be a third tier race.

    As for Montana, while Rehberg apparently preps for a (tough) House re-election bid and Racicot remains silent, Baucus is quite safe. If Rehberg or Racicot got in, it would become a second tier race or higher. However, neither have indicated any interest. Barring unexpected competition, these four seats should remain safe for the incumbents.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Very thoughtful analysis all around. Those of us from NJ are ready to watch Senator Lautenberg demolish any of his third-tier challengers.

    3:13 PM, May 31, 2007  

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