Enormous Thursday Night Rundown
CQPolitics closes its look at the 2008 Senate races with the seven seats that they rank "Safe Republican." Those seven are Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Most of those, while likely Republican, are not entirely "safe."
In Alaska, Ted Stevens is getting more embroiled in scandal, with the FBI looking into his home remodeling. In Idaho, the GOP has no idea who their candidate will be (I would bet on a Larry Craig retirement), while Larry LaRocco's campaign is getting into gear. In Kansas, Pat Roberts' unimpressive approval rating begs for a challenge in a state more willing to vote Democratic lately. In Kentucky, McConnell may face viable potential primary and general election challengers. In Mississippi, should Thad Cochran retire, Democratic former state AG Mike Moore would be ready to jump in. (For the record, I would bet on Cochran running for another term - my deciding factor is his fundraising vs. GOP understudy Rep. Chip Pickering's.) Nebraska is anyone's guess with Chuck Hagel maybe in, maybe out, and with state AG Jon Bruning running far-right, with a couple very viable Democratic options considering a bid. Mike Enzi, however, is very safe, with any viable Democratic challenger more likely to oppose the person appointed to fill the late Craig Thomas' term than Enzi (and with few viable Wyoming Democrats to go around). In a nutshell, even among "safe" Republican-held seats, there is plenty of room for Democratic competition and expanding the playing field.
Statistic of the day: Americans who identify as or lean Democratic outnumber those who identify as or lean Republican by a whopping margin of 54-36. (HT: TPM)
South Carolina: Lindsey Graham is really losing it over immigration reform, flipping out over a proposed amendment by Senator Barack Obama. But it makes sense that Graham is sweating it. Vote for the immigration reform and his base will be mad at him and xenophobic right-wingers will be even madder, perhaps even leading to a primary challenge. But vote against it and his corporate backers who like the cheap labor that undocumented immigrants provide will be displeased with him. Damned if he does; damned if he doesn't.
Georgia: Tondee's Tavern comes through on its promise of a newly announced Senate candidate today: Rand Knight, accomplished ecologist. Given the salience of global climate change, renewable energy, and other environmental and energy issues, an ecologist would no doubt add quite a bit to the debate. TT even approves of Knight's positions on the issues!
Texas: Attorney Mikal Watts is going toe-to-toe, dollar-for-dollar with John Cornyn, loaning his campaign fund $3.8 million to match Cornyn's bankroll (and probably scare off potential primary challengers). Meanwhile, State Representative Rick Noriega continues to consider a bid, saying "Cornyn's rubber stamp," not campaign economics, will be the compelling factor.
Nebraska: State AG Jon Bruning is officially in. UNO Dems offers a variety of reactions. The best reaction may be this one-two punch from former Senator (and possible candidate) Bob Kerrey:
And if former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey ultimately should decide to enter the Senate race, Bruning said, “his record would be so easy to assail.” ...A very good point from Kerrey. Maybe a reporter should ask Bruning, "You say you're running because Hagel hasn't supported Bush in Iraq, but then you take a shot at Hagel for supporting Bush on immigration. What gives?"
“It seems hypocritical [for Bruning] to whack [Chuck Hagel] for not supporting the president on Iraq and whack him for supporting the president on immigration.”
New Hampshire: Professor and former astronaut Jay Buckey has opened a campaign office and hired a campaign manager. I guess that means he plans on making the Jay Buckey campaign official. Meanwhile, Sprintin' John Sununu is committed to killing any chance for stem cell research. I suppose Sununu supports Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease over his own constituents. On another note, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is taking the appropriate approach regarding a draft effort in support of former Governor Jeanne Shaheen.
Alaska: How corrupt exactly would you say Ted Stevens is?
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) wants to make sure an earmark left over from 2005 gets to the right oil company – the one that employs his son, former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens.A conspiracy is not a conspiracy if it is right out in the open.
Minnesota: Another name in the mix for the Democratic Senate primary: St. Thomas University professor and former Congressional candidate Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. (HT: MN Publius)
Iowa: Iowa Independent picks up on this tidbit that GOP Rep. Tom Latham has not ruled out a challenge to Senator Tom Harkin. I strongly doubt that Latham would give up his fairly safe House seat for a Senate shot, but that can't stop one from speculating.
Wyoming: While I can't imagine that Lynne Cheney would actually make the short list of potential appointees to fill out the remainder of the late Craig Thomas' term, if she does, then this is what we could be getting.
Alabama: The Alabama netroots is displaying passionate support for Commissioner Ron Sparks.
North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole spews out a midnight flip-flop to help kill immigration reform; for, as Blue NC puts it, "of course to Liddy Dole, nothing is better than anything."
Rising Hegemon makes a simple request that should be honored.
This John Edwards quote really sums it up: "Today, we know two unequivocal truths about the results of Bush's approach -- there are more terrorists and we have fewer allies."