Senate Republicans are threatening a permanent filibuster on Iraq votes. Is that any different from the perpetual obstructionism Republicans have offered thus far? Meanwhile, the LA Times has a terrific piece today on how Iraq may be the political death knell for Republicans, focusing on the Collins-Sununu-Coleman-Smith quadrangle of loserdom.
Louisiana: David Vitter claims that the stories of his visiting New Orleans brothels are not true, even after admitting his being a client of the D.C. Madam. Given his record of lying in public forums about visits with specific prostitutes, why should Vitter be believed? Hmmm, maybe if he actually answered a few questions from the media...
New Jersey: Blue Jersey astutely rips possible Republican Senate candidate Joe Pennacchio for seeming rather quick to forgive terrorist acts. In other news, Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, with his bulging campaign account, is trying to set himself up as Senator Frank Lautenberg's heir apparent.
Kentucky: And the coverage of Mitch McConnell's absence of leadership continues.
Alabama: Bush rubber stamp Jeff Sessions raised just over $1.5 million in Q2, bringing his cash-on-hand to just over $3.1 million.
South Dakota: USD Dems highlight word from Tom Daschle that Senator Tim Johnson will be back to work in September and look at the dynamics of the 2008 Senate race in the Mount Rushmore State.
WaPo's Cillizza has a fun post on "Fundraising Winners and Losers." Among the Winners:
Tom Allen: Allen, who is challenging Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) next November, raised $1.1 million and ended the quarter within $600,000 cash on hand. Collecting that sort of money is no easy task in a state as small as Maine; Allen's impressive total speaks to both his dedication to the race as well as the high level of interest from national Democratic donors. ...Among the Losers:
Jon Bruning: Running a primary against an incumbent is never easy even when that incumbent is viewed as skeptically by the base of the party as Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) is in Nebraska. So the $728,000 that Bruning, the state's attorney general, collected over the past three months for his challenge of Hagel is quite impressive. Most neutral Republicans believe Hagel will not seek re-election, a development that could actually work against Bruning as national Republicans may well turn to former Gov. Mike Johanns as their preferred candidate. ...
Al Franken: He's good enough, he's smart enough and gosh darnit Al Franken can raise money. The comedian turned Minnesota Senate candidate raised a whopping $1.9 million between April 1 and June 30 -- outraising incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) by $300,000 or so. Franken's detractors insist his contributions come largely from out-of-state donors but in our experience voters don't seem to care where campaign cash originates. ...
Tom Davis: The northern Virginia Republican continues to hoover up huge sums of cash as he waits for a decision by Sen. John Warner (R) on his political future. In the last three months, Davis raised $402,000, bringing his cycle-to-date fundraising to a whopping $2.75 million. He ended June with more than $1 million in the bank. Davis' relentless fundraising is likely aimed at scaring off potential primary challengers if the seat comes open. But, with former Gov. Jim Gilmore's (R) departure from the presidential race over the weekend, a clear primary field for Davis' looks increasingly unlikely.
Tom Latham/Denny Rehberg/Richard Baker: The real loser here may well be the National Republican Senatorial Committee who had mentioned all three of these Republican House members as potential 2008 Senate candidates. None raised more than $200,000 between April 1 and June 30 and all three trail their would-be Democratic opponents badly in cash on hand. Add it all up and what do you get? Three men not running for Senate in 2008.It's reassuring to see Cillizza highlighting the failures of the NRSC. Meanwhile, Bruning's and Davis' hauls only further speculation about Hagel and Warner retirements. And Allen and Franken are demonstrating that they can be financially competitive against their respective incumbent Republican opponents, even before the assistance of the DSCC, whose financial resources already dwarf the NRSC's. Senate Republicans should be getting more worried by the day.
John Cornyn: Cornyn's massive fundraising haul -- $2.1 million raised, $5.4 million on hand -- doesn't seem the sort of showing to put him in the loser category. What lands him a spot here is attorney Mikal Watts' (D) willingness to spend his own money on a campaign. Watts gave himself $3.8 million in the last quarter and raised another $1.1 million, ending June with $4.9 million on hand. Watts has said that if he wins the Democratic primary, he will spend an additional $6.2 million of his own money. Cornyn is still an overwhelming favorite but Watts' deep pockets make this a far more involved race than most people would have guessed a few months ago.