Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another Giant Wednesday Rundown

  • Maine: Susan Collins is manufacturing yet another dishonest attack against a political opponent, trying to pervert Congressman Tom Allen's 98% voting record, one of the highest in the House, into something lackluster, when it is actually a terrific attendance record (probably because Collins wants to tout her 100% voting record without having to defend the substance of her votes that put her far to the right of mainstream Maine).

    This dishonest attack is similar to two instances: the Collins camp whining about the Maine Democratic Party having a staffer record her public appearances, a political activity so common, Collins' own Party's campaign leaders suggest she does the same thing; and, Collins' campaign working with a reporter to portray a political opponent's very typical opposition research effort as a seedy witch-hunt. Basically, Collins just dishonestly manufactures controversy.

    Susan Collins promised voters she'd only serve two terms, but she is breaking her promise and running for a third term. Susan Collins claims to want to bring an end to Bush's Iraq War but continues to vote in favor of endless war while Tom Allen and Olympia Snowe work to bring the troops home safely. Susan Collins claims to support the troops, but the conditions that led to the Walter Reed scandal happened under her nose as Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. And Susan Collins claims to be pro-choice but supports anti-choice ideologues for Supreme Court seats. Collins is a pathological liar. And she hopes her lies will propel her to a third term.

  • New Mexico: I know I mentioned this last night, but, wow, if Pete Domenici's approve-disapprove next month is anywhere near this month's atrocious 41-54, he could find himself in much more electoral trouble than really anybody thought.

  • Minnesota: Al Franken offers an outstanding op-ed in the Star Tribune today:

    It is, of course, ridiculous that the United States Senate spent a day debating and voting on a resolution condemning an advertisement while our troops remained in Iraq, fighting a war with no end. And it's doubly ridiculous that Coleman, of all people, is still playing politics with this issue. ...

    As I go around the state, I don't hear a whole lot about ads in the New York Times. What I do hear is that Minnesotans want this war to end, and that if this president won't end it, they want the Senate to force him to end it.
    Smilin' Norm Coleman and his 46-45 approve-disapprove are in for a very bumpy election cycle.

  • Idaho: Today is Larry Craig's day in court, though legal experts pretty uniformly suggest that Craig should not expect to have his guilty plea rescinded. But now Craig is being cagey about whether or not he'll resign even if his guilty plea is not overturned. I think Craig should stick it out in order to send a message to a Senate Republican caucus that would throw him under a bus while welcoming back prostitute-lovin' David Vitter with thunderous applause. Meanwhile, Democratic Senate candidate Larry LaRocco has General Wesley Clark in his corner.

  • Montana: Republican former state legislator Bob Keenan is meeting with GOP bigwigs about a possible challenge to popular Senator Max Baucus. Currently, the Republican in the race is a disgraced current state legislator Mike Lange.

  • Kentucky: Via DMKY, we see the Courier-Journal's David Hawpe calling out Mitch McConnell for his "utter hypocrisy" and "selective outrage" over the ad, asking "Where were the Republicans in the U.S. Senate when a 2002 GOP television ad trashed Democrat Max Cleland, who lost both arms and a leg in a Vietnam grenade blast? ... Where was the GOP outcry against that smear?" The answer is that there was no outcry because Republicans in the Senate only care about the troops and veterans when it serves their partisan political purposes.

  • Virginia: Smear tactics and baseless innuendos are all the Virginia Republican Party has left - they are clearly quite desperate. (FYI: Link contains strong language.)

  • Oregon: In light of Gordon Smith's company's third fine for polluting a nearby creek, the Oregon Democratic Party highlights Smith's terrible environmental record as a Senator, including a "lifetime score of just 26 percent from the League of Conservation Voters."

  • Tennessee: Another indication that businessman and gubernatorial son Mike McWherter intends to challenge Lamar Alexander: was registered a few months ago, just in case.

  • New Hampshire: Today begins popular former Governor Jeanne Shaheen's official campaign appearances. It will provide great opportunities to remind voters why they elected her to the Governor's office three consecutive times.

  • The NRSC is, almost comically, willing to exploit any opportunity to raise a buck.

  • Could the Republican's Senate campaign committee Chair be responsible for obstructing legislation to enhance campaign finance disclosure? I'm shocked! Shocked!

  • Bill O'Reilly is a racist and a hypocrite, and was accused of sexual harrassment. Just FYI.


    Blogger NewRed said...

    I'm not sure how the criticisms of Allen's voting record can be considered dishonest. He missed 129 votes and at least 19 of those were missed to attend a fund-raiser out of state. Collins has not missed any votes, ever. Now, whether she voted correctly is another matter entirely, but she has managed to make all the votes and still raise money for her campaigns. That's just factual information. Nothing dishonest about it. It would only be dishonest if she were also missing votes. If Allen wants to argue to voters that making 98% of the votes should be good enough, or that making the right votes on the right bills should allow him to miss others at his choosing, well, that's up to him. That defense may work since most states would be happy to have a Senator that shows up for 98% of the votes.
    Collins' criticism of having an Allen campaign tagger on the campaign trail or being subject to invasive opposition research may sound silly but is hardly dishonest. Apparently, those tactics have not been used to this degree in Maine Senate races before. Does Allen want to be known as the candidate that is bringing typical Washington campaign tactics to Maine? It doesn't look like it bothers him, or some of the state's newspapers. Whether it will bother voters remains to be seen.
    Actually, those two issues together could be used to show Allen as more of an average Washington insider than Collins. Missing votes for fund-raisers, using typical negative campaign tactics; those would be difficult for him to defend but with the Iraq war hanging over the election and Collins resistance to legislate strategic change it may not matter.
    Has anyone seen a poll on this race recently?

    5:34 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger NewRed said...

    These ridiculously sleazy campaigns of innuendoes and rumors MUST STOP. If the VA GOP has to stoop this low, they might as well just concede the race now. This just goes to show that there are still too many Republican "operatives" in the state and national parties that JUST DON'T GET IT. The GOP campaigns should be about smaller, more competent, more ethical/transparent government, and fixing our foreign policy. In one word: REFORM. That's what the American people want and that's what the party should be (and used to be) based on. Anything else is a waste of time, money, and will only further damage the GOP brand.
    VA Blogger, have you heard anything about this?

    6:40 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I saw it on Raising Kaine, but by the time I saw it, apparently the RPV had taken it down. I don't know anything about it beyond that.

    7:35 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger NewRed said...

    From the comments on Raising Kaine you can get the basics of what the ad was implying. What's your take on it? Also, based on what you know of Davis and Gilmore, which do you think would run the cleaner campaign and which do you think would give Warner the more competitive race?

    7:44 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger youngbuckbear said...

    I love, LOVE, seeing attacks like the ones currently going after Tom Allen and Mark Warner.

    Republicans, it should have been clear that in 2006 that fear and smear wasn't going to work anymore, and yet you're still exhaling the same old vapor.

    NRSC is down in funding, recruitment, and the polls. Don't stop guys, don't ever stop.

    8:42 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    Kos reported today on a Hays Research poll of Sen Stevens approval (which SUSA apparently didn't do). They give an option for neutral. His approve/neutral/disapprove was 40/19/38. I would classify that as potentially vulnerable, even ignoring his ever-deepening legal woes.

    10:46 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    Actually now that I look at those numbers -- 19% neutral? 19%?? How is anyone in Alaska neutral about Ted Stevens? Didn't he first get elected in 1902? That HAS to be people who don't like the guy but can't bring themselves to say it.

    10:51 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    I'm sure Tom "I vote with the Christian Coalition 70% of the time" Davis loves the ad.

    11:59 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Newred, I obviously disagree with running it, but the fact that it was taken down so quickly might indicate that it didn't go through the proper channels of approval before it got posted. Probably someone who made it for fun and thought it'd be funny to post it. Hopefully got fired for it, too.

    Without a doubt, Tom Davis would give Warner a more competitive race. If Jim Gilmore is the nominee, it won't be a contest. As for who would run a cleaner campaign, its tough to be sure, but Jim Gilmore is very much a good ol' boy, in the same mold as George Allen, Jerry Kilgore, and Mark Earley, so if that's any indication, then he'll run a dirty campaign as soon as its clear he can't win otherwise, which will be very early on.

    YBB--Every campaign, Republican or Democrat, will use what you refer to as "fear and smear"--telling people that bad things will happen if they elect their opponent, and saying other bad things about their opponent otherwise.

    11:59 PM, September 26, 2007  

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