Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bringing It On

  • Today is the fourth anniversary of George W. Bush's idiotic declaration. Since that day, well over 3,000 American troops have been killed in Iraq.

  • The Washington Post offers a "Senate Recruitment Derby" piece looking at "Good bets" for strong challengers in New Hampshire and Oregon, "Long shots" in Texas and Kentucky, "Going, going..." in North Carolina, and "Retirement wild cards" in Virginia and Nebraska. Nothing surprising in WaPo's assessments, though I continue to hold that Dole can be vulnerable even against a challenger not from the Easley-Miller-Cooper top-tier.

  • Louisiana: According to Bob "Count Chocula" Novak, the Republicans may have their challenger to Senator Mary Landrieu:

    John N. Kennedy, Louisiana's conservative Democratic state treasurer, is expected to change parties and run against Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu as a Republican at the urging of White House aide Karl Rove, despite harassment from the Democratic-controlled state legislature.
    So Treasurer Kennedy shall forever be tagged as "Karl Rove's boy." Last November, Bush's disapproval in Louisiana was already over 50%. I wonder what it is now. I wonder what Karl Rove's is?! I hope Rove comes to Louisiana frequently and fundraises for Treasurer Kennedy - it should be as effective as Joe Lieberman fundraising for Susan Collins.

  • Kentucky: "Count Chocula" Novak offers up more harsh words, this time from an unnamed Republican Senator on Mitch McConnell's lack of leadership during the immigration reform debate:

    I asked one of the few conservative Republican senators who stuck with President Bush on immigration to assess how Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell handled the issue. Asking not to be quoted by name, he replied: "If this were a war, Sen. McConnell should be relieved of command for dereliction of duty." Not only did the minority leader end up voting against an immigration bill that he said was better than the 2006 version he supported, he abandoned his post, staying off the floor during final stages of the debate.
    A stinging rebuke.

  • Montana: Popular Democratic incumbent Senator Max Baucus continues to enjoy high approval marks from his constituents:

    U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, Rep. Denny Rehberg and Gov. Brian Schweitzer enjoy high job-approval ratings and are strong favorites to be re-elected if the ballots were cast now, a new Gazette State Poll shows. ...

    Baucus, a Democrat, leads the pack with a positive job-approval score of 67 percent, followed by Schweitzer, also a Democrat, at 64 percent and Rehberg, a Republican, at 61 percent. ...

    The poll showed 60 percent favored re-electing Baucus to a sixth six-year term in the Senate, while 31 percent favored replacing him with a Republican. Nine percent were undecided. Baucus' lone opponent so far is former state House Majority Leader Michael Lange, R-Billings. ...

    By party, 97 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents and 34 percent of Republicans said they would vote to re-elect Baucus. It found that 57 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 2 percent of Democrats would vote to oust Baucus for a Republican.
    GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg also gets high marks, almost as high as Baucus, but the only heads-up polling between the two gives Baucus the narrow edge. Further, over one-third of Republicans would vote to re-elect Baucus - boy, howdy. And who do the Republicans have? Disgraced Mike Lange.

  • Oregon: Randy Stapilus of the Ridenbaugh Press offers a terrific rundown of the potential Democratic challengers to Gordon Smith, and he seems particularly intrigued by Paul Evans, the former Monmouth Mayor who is also an Oregon Air National Guard Major who has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. (HT: Blue Oregon) Meanwhile, announced candidate Steve Novick begins to staff up.

  • Texas: Democrat Mikal Watts indicates that he is willing to self-fund up to $10 million to take down John Cornyn. Also, BOR offers an update from the Draft Noriega camp.

  • Maine: Collins Watch wonders why Susan Collins isn't using much stronger language on the legality issues surrounding Bush's domestic surveillance program.

  • Minnesota: MN Blue offers its edition of the Mike Ciresi interview.

  • Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that the work must get done before vacation. Wow, responsible Senate leadership.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Why would Kennedy be known as "Rove's boy"? He's in his second term in a statewide office, and has run for two other statewide offices before. He's served under Governors of two parties, and has made a name for himself in Louisiana politics. Surely his nearly 20 years in Louisiana politics would give him more of a reputation than the (gasp!) shock that the National Republican Party would seek to recruit him.

    If Warner gets into the Virginia race, would he be called "Schumer's boy"? I wonder what the liberal, ultra-partisan New Yorker's approval rating is in Virginia.

    12:41 PM, July 02, 2007  
    Blogger Scott said...

    The Guru can respond to the "Rove's boy" question - but I'm guessing it's because Rove's been pursuing Kennedy for months (at least).

    And speaking of that, Novak's not exactly the best source in the world for state-level political news. This story/possibility has been talked about all year, and while it might very well happen, it probably makes sense to wait until Kennedy actually does make this move (which he hasn't for months despite an immense amount of pressure) before making too much out of the possibility.

    12:50 PM, July 02, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Novak is reporting a leak from Vitter's camp, though, which ups the credibility of it. This is the first story out there saying "he's preparing to make a bid", versus "he's being courted to make a bid", so its definately a step in the right direction.

    As far as "Rove's boy", being sought after doesn't mean he's in anyone's pocket, and the voters of Louisiana have 20 years of history to judge him on, not a few months.

    12:55 PM, July 02, 2007  
    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    Downplay it all you want, but if the story is true and Kennedy is the challenger, the Democrats may actually lose a seat next year. Kennedy is tough, and Democrats are fading in Louisiania.

    12:03 AM, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger Scott said...

    Sure, he's one of the Republicans' best possible candidates, and the GOP is on the rise there - I'm just saying that until this moves beyond being a rumor one shouldn't overplay it.

    And even if he does run, that doesn't mean Landrieu is necessarily sunk. Kennedy only got 15% in his Senate race in 2004 (versus 51% for David Vitter and 29% for Chris John).

    9:22 AM, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    He was a conservative Democrat who split the vote. Moderates and Republicans who in other circumstance may have voted for Kennedy went for Vitter. Thanks to the new rules, he won't be splitting votes with anyone; it'll just be Kennedy vs. Landrieu (provided he wins the nomination).

    9:54 AM, July 03, 2007  

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