Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ted Stevens' No Good, Very Bad Day and Other News

  • Alaska: It looks like Ted Stevens is getting a bit testy. When asked for comment about the ongoing FBI, IRS, and Department of Interior investigations into his dealings, Stevens angrily lashed out at a CNN reporter. In a new twist on the situation, it appears that a clerk on the Senate Commerce Committee has been handling Stevens' personal bookkeeping was questioned about Stevens' dealings. Sound bizarre enough? Meanwhile, the scandal-plagued Stevens has the audacity to threaten to put a hold on, ironically, the major ethics reform legislation landing in the Senate soon. Given the number of questionable earkmarks secured by Stevens, I'm not shocked. Why might Stevens risk his job and reputation just to secure earmarks for some cronies? Expensive wine, perhaps. Even some conservatives are calling for Stevens' head:

    Meanwhile, conservative commentators called on the Republican leader to take a hard line against Stevens as well. Larry Kudlow, writing on The National Review’s blog, cited White House political adviser Karl Rove’s assessment that corruption was the main driver of the party’s 2006 defeat.

    “So this Stevens business has to be swept away,” Kudlow said. “The GOP should not defend him if he is guilty. Just clean house.”
    WaPo's Cillizza offers a comprehensive recap of the political implications, and MyDD's Singer offers even more encouragement for Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich to enter the 2008 Senate race - allow me to offer an unqualified "Ditto!"

  • Oregon: Oregon state House Speaker Jeff Merkley is officially in the race to replace Gordon Smith. Merkley's campaign website is up, with a message aimed at Smith:

    I'm running for U.S. Senate because I believe we need to make some big changes in our country. And I believe George Bush and Gordon Smith are leading us in the wrong direction. ...

    Oregon needs a new Senator who will work with our senior Senator, Ron Wyden -- not against him -- to solve the problems Oregonians care about.

    We must restore sanity to America's foreign policy, and regain the respect our nation has lost because of the tragic mistakes George Bush and Gordon Smith have made in Iraq. It's time to bring our military men and women home to their families.

    Congress should pass a commonsense plan to ensure that all Americans -- young and old, rich and poor -- receive quality health care.

    You can count on me to help launch a strong federal effort to make the switch to clean, renewable energy, and halt our headlong rush toward destructive climate change.

    Oregon needs a new U.S. Senator who will bring a real passion to the job. A passion for tax fairness, public education and for helping ordinary, everyday Oregonians achieve their aspirations and make their dreams come true. ...

    Gordon Smith is part of the problem in Washington. He promised to be our Senator, but he's working for big corporations and wealthy lobbyists instead. And make no mistake: Gordon Smith and his special-interest friends will raise millions of dollars to hide his record and confuse Oregon voters.

    But I will fight for ordinary working families, not multi-millionaires.
    Sounds like a strong message that will resonate with voters. Good luck, Speaker Merkley! Meanwhile, State Senator Alan Bates announced that he will not be pursuing the Democratic Senate nomination.

  • Texas: State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega has an inspiring new web ad up chronicling his service to Texas and to America.

  • New Hampshire: John Sununu has a plan to decimate social security. I think that's a bad thing, but maybe it sounds better to New Hampshire voters.

  • Virginia: If/when John Warner announces his Senate retirement, might Virginia's GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling challenge GOP Rep. Tom Davis for the Senate nomination, leading to a high-powered (and probably expensive) primary battle? And could that primary battle divide the VA-GOP between the righties and the far-righties?

  • Poll finding of the day:

    In a poll across seven Republican-held U.S. Senate seats, the named U.S. Senators had a vote to re-elect of only 37% and were garnering only 44% of the vote against a generic challenger.


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