Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Round-Up

  • WaPo's Cillizza's latest monthly Senate Line is up, and the events of recent weeks have certainly jumbled the order of the Line a bit. With the entries of popular former Governors Mark Warner (VA) and Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Virginia and New Hampshire appear locked at 1 & 2 for quite some time. Alaska also shifts up from 10 to 9 as Ted Stevens gets deeper into hot water. And, with Tim Johnson's return to duty, South Dakota drops to the 10-spot. The question now is how long will it be before South Dakota slips off the list entirely, in favor of Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, or Texas.

  • The Economist offers its thoughts on the 2008 Senate races:

    The Republicans are lagging badly in the race to raise money and recruit candidates. ...

    And that is before you start to factor in the sex and ethics scandals. ...

    The Democrats' already sunny prospects have brightened still further with a trio of retirements ...

    The Democrats have also succeeded in recruiting prominent candidates to take on Republican incumbents.
    Sounds about right to me.

  • Nebraska: Looks like Mike Johanns is no friend of farmers:

    Mike Johanns, a man who has called the new farm bill a bull’s-eye on farmers’ backs, could have a hard time winning over Nebraska farmers if he decides to run for Congress. ...

    But during his tenure as Agriculture secretary, Johanns has had to tout the White House’s pro-trade stance on farm policy, one that would require significant cuts to subsidies.

    Johanns will have to distance himself from the administration to get the rural vote next year, said Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs.

    “He has advocated aggressively for cutting trade-distorting farm payments to facilitate a new trade agreement,” Hassebrook said. “That will cause some concern among farm voters — especially the farmers who are swing voters.” ...

    Nebraska’s Democratic Senator Ben Nelson said Johanns will have to explain why he has opposed a permanent disaster fund to help farmers who lose crops to flood, fire and drought — something very important to the state’s constituents.
    Along with irresponsibly ditching his Agriculture Secretary role before the farm bill was complete, Johanns certainly will have a lot to answer for to Nebraska's farmers. Meanwhile, NYTimes blogger Jeff Zeleny says that former Senator Bob Kerrey is leaning against a 2008 Senate run, and that we should know by the end of next week or even as soon as later today.

  • Maine: Atrios reminds us how disingenuous on Iraq Susan Collins is, as back in March she called for "significant results" by Fall. Well, Fall is here on Sunday. So where are the significant results? (Oh, and baseless claims of progress by the Bush administration don't qualify as "results.") Further, Collins Watch comes through with yet another astute observation about Susan Collins:

    Over at Susan's blog the junior senator recaps what she calls a "busy week in Washington." And indeed it was.

    And yet somehow, her 545 word post manages to skip both the failure of the Webb amendment and her unconscionable--and much-discussed--vote against restoring habeas corpus.

    I wonder why she'd skip right over the week's two most important events...
    Yeah, I wonder why Collins wouldn't highlight her votes against more rest for the troops and restoring habeas corpus.

  • Colorado: Backwards Bob Schaffer's Republican primary opposition, County Commissioner Wayne Wolf, is hustling and making the rounds. Maybe Schaffer's GOP nomination isn't quite the forgone conclusion.

  • New Hampshire: Katrina Swett is leaving the Senate race today and backing popular former Governor Jeanne Shaheen.

  • Kos reminds us that George Macaca Allen, Corrupt Conrad Burns, Rick Santorum, and Jim Talent were all on the League of Conservation Voters' Dirty Dozen list last year, and all were knocked out of office last year. Can't wait for their next list!


    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    I had a nightmare last night. I dreamt that we only picked up nine house seats and one senate seat. It was terrible. On of my favorite House members lost reelection (as unlikely as that is).

    9:33 PM, September 21, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    I think the trouble is we've got ourselves believing that we're on our way to a 60 seat majority. It's good to have goals, but the way is paved with a lot of tough states and a lot of entrenched incumbents. If we picked up VA, NH, CO (all Bush 2000 states) and lost nothing, and picked up a few seats in the House off retirements, that in itself should, historically, be considered a great outcome. I'm not saying we won't do better, I'm just saying we shouldn't be slitting our wrists if we don't.

    10:57 PM, September 21, 2007  
    Blogger demomoke said...

    As much as I would love to see a 60-seat majority for us, I don't know if it will happen in '08.

    I think Virginia and New Hampshire are in the bag right now. A half-step below them is Colorado. A half-step below CO are Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon.

    Those are our best chances at taking seats from Republicans, and if we won all of them without loss, we would be up to 57.

    Now, having 57 senators (the largest Senate Democratic caucus since 1993), would be great. Passing a Democratic agenda through Congress would be a lot easier, and we would probably have the support of three moderate Republicans on at least the most popular, common-sense things.

    After the six previously mentioned races, though, one has to start depending on the retirements of long-tenured Republican incumbents to find extra seats. The ones that stand out, for various reasons, are Alaska, New Mexico, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

    If we were to somehow take all four of those, we would have room to lose Louisiana, which will be our biggest liability, and still have the magic 60.

    But the possibility of Democrats taking all the Senate seats in such presidentially ruby-red states as Alaska, Kentucky, and North Carolina is very small. Sadly, this is the same reason I think that my home state of Kansas will once again reelect Pat Roberts, even if Jim Slattery, a hell of a nice guy who would make a great senator, decided to make a run.

    12:40 PM, September 23, 2007  

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