WaPo's Cillizza offers his latest edition of the Senate Line. He rightly highlights the dearth of strong Republican challengers to Democratic incumbents, something I discussed on Wednesday on MyDD. Highlights included Oregon shooting up from 7 to 5, with Speaker Jeff Merkley's entry into the race, and Virginia shooting up from 6 to 4, with John Warner's impending retirement looking more and more likely. The highlight of the list, though, was Alaska, Ted Stevens (R-VECO), and Stevens' throng of investigations making their debut at the ten-spot.
South Dakota: Senator Tim Johnson will be making his first public appearance since his brain hemorrhage on August 28 in Sioux Falls to thank South Dakotans for their ongoing support. Good luck, Senator Johnson!
Maine: Wow. Susan Collins really hasn't missed an opportunity to embarrass herself this week. The latest includes the Collins Senate office caught editing Collins' Wikipedia entry to appear more moderate and politically palatable. Sounds like the Collins Senate office is using Senate resources for political purposes. But that's not too shocking given that Collins' taxpayer-funded Chief of Staff is quarterbacking her political scuffles. Oh, and that video tracker that the Collins camp was all up-in-arms about? Well, the video of the interaction between Collins and the tracker is online, and it is actually incredibly friendly and very respectful and polite, serving only to make the Collins camp look like they remarkably overreacted. Further, Collins concedes that her blog is poorly trafficked and is now limiting who can comment on it. Technology is no friend of the Collins camp. Perhaps Susan Collins should have taken the unthinkable step of actually keeping her promise to Maine voters and announced her Senate retirement after two terms.
Mississippi: We have perhaps the clearest signal yet that Republican Thad Cochran plans on running for re-election, short of a personal announcement from Cochran himself. Rep. Chip Pickering, long-considered Cochran's understudy should he retire, announced that he will be retiring from the House for a job on K Street. If Cochran was planning on announcing a retirement this year, Pickering would likely know and likely stick around in the House while running for Senate. He may yet run for Senate in the future, when either Cochran or Trent Lott do retire, but that probably won't be 2008. Stu Rothenberg concurs.
Louisiana: Though Senator Mary Landrieu is supposed to be the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent, CQPolitics asks, "Then why does Mary Landrieu look fairly secure thus far?" The answer, of course, is that her likely opponent will be a statewide officeholder seeking re-election in 2007. Though, CQPolitics notes, while Landrieu does face demographic challenges due to Katrina-related displacement of traditionally Democratic New Orleans-area voters, Landrieu has substantially more cash-on-hand than she did at this point in her last re-election cycle. Meanwhile, Republican Secretary of State and possible 2008 Senate candidate Jay Dardenne is out of the ICU and beginning physical therapy following back and pelvic surgery as a result of the car accident that occurred when Dardenne's automobile drifted between lanes, hit another car, and lost control. We wish Dardenne a comfortable and speedy recovery.
New Mexico: Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias is writing a book about his time as a U.S. Attorney and the ensuing scandal when he and several other U.S. Attorneys were fired for not being "loyal Bushies." No word on the expected release date of the book. But wouldn't it be ironic, considering that some believe that Republican interests wanted Iglesias to expedite certain investigations to give Republicans a political boost for Election Day 2006, leading to the whole scandal in New Mexico in the first place, if Iglesias' book came out shortly before Election Day 2008 and hurt Pajamas Pete Domenici's election chances by rightfully impugning his role in the scandal? Meanwhile, is GOP Rep. Heather Wilson preparing for a possible Domenici retirement?
Minnesota: A new DSCC poll shows that Smilin' Norm Coleman's "approval rating has sunk to 41 percent, with only 37 percent of Minnesotans saying they would vote to re-elect him while 49% would vote for someone else." (HT: MN Publius) Those numbers are very close to the non-partisan Survey USA poll results showing Coleman at a dismal 43-48. How long before Smilin' Norm is Frownin' Norm?
Texas: Through the prism of State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega's 2008 Senate campaign, North Texas Liberal offers that Republicans support the troops, unless they're running for office. Also, lest anyone be confused, John Cornyn is not "fiscally responsible."
New Hampshire: Sprintin' John Sununu is hanging his hopes on the "mantra that 2008 can’t possibly be as bad for [New Hampshire Republicans] as 2006." Pretty dim hope, especially since all indications so far point to 2008 being as bad as or worse than 2006 for the NH-GOP.
Oregon: Radio personality Jeff Golden will not be a 2008 Senate candidate.