Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Rundown

  • New Hampshire: Popular former Governor Jeanne Shaheen will enter the 2008 Senate race:

    Shaheen issued a statement from the Harvard Institute of Politics, where she has served as director since 2005 and from which she has resigned. She will discuss her plans at her home in Madbury on Sunday afternoon.

    “I have stepped have down from my position at the Kennedy School of Government because we have major problems facing this country,” she said in the statement, “and there is an urgent need for real change in Washington.

    “We have proven in New Hampshire that we can work together to get things done. I want to take that common sense approach to Washington and help this country move in the right direction,” Shaheen said.
    This gives Democrats their second huge recruiting splash this week, following the entry into the Virginia Senate race of popular former Governor Mark Warner. A July poll by the University of New Hampshire had Shaheen beating John Sununu by 16 points, 54-38; and, a July poll by the Concord Monitor had Shaheen beating Sununu by an even wider 22 points, 56-34. Currently, three Democrats are officially in the race: Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, activist Katrina Swett, and former astronaut Jay Buckey. Buckey reiterated in a message to supporters that he will remain in the primary regardless of Shaheen's entry. The Hill reports that Swett is expected to remain in the race, while Marchand's plans could go either way based on recent comments.

  • Maine: Responding to Bush's Iraq speech, Susan Collins knows that her re-election cycle is up:

    "The whole premise of the surge, as the president advocated it in January, was to buy time for political reforms, and that didn't happen. To continue with the same strategy that failed to produce the results that the president and everyone hoped for just doesn't make sense."
    Susan, real leaders came to that conclusion a long time ago. Meanwhile, you have continued to enable Bush's Iraq War at every turn. Tom Allen and Olympia Snowe are actually working to bring an end to the war while you hide in the back of the room. Please send a message to Susan Collins by contributing to Tom Allen's Senate campaign.

  • Nebraska: An internal poll on a possible Republican Senate primary from the Bruning camp shows state Attorney General Jon Bruning 9 points behind former Governor Mike Johanns, 39-30. Bruning is touting this as evidence that Johanns isn't the heavyweight he is made out to be and that Bruning can run competitively in a primary against him. Fine by me. Let them bruise it out and soften each other up to face the Democrat. With Mark Warner and now Jeanne Shaheen jumping in, will former Senator Bob Kerrey be far behind?

  • Oregon: It is shaping up like independent candidate John Frohnmayer may play spoiler to Democrats more than Gordon Smith. First, he calls for George W. Bush's impeachment, then numbers come out:

    That assessment reflected the results of a survey released last month by Portland pollster Mike Riley. It found Frohnmayer had 7 percent support, with 10 percent coming from Democrats and 5 percent from Republicans.
    The call for Bush's impeachment sets off the conspiracy theorist in me that Frohnmayer is a GOP plant whose goal is to shave as much support from the Democrat as possible, helping Gordon Smith. But, yeah, just a conspiracy theory... for now!

  • South Dakota: Even conservative bloggers like Democrats' chances to retain South Dakota's Senate seat.

  • Virginia: Similarly, conservative bloggers are declaring Mark Warner "the next Senator from Virginia."

  • Looking at those comments about South Dakota and Virginia, I decided to take a look at conservative blog RedState's Senate Outlook. For Democratic incumbents, they declare Louisiana "Likely Competitive," South Dakota "Potentially Competitive," and the rest "Safe." No complaints. For Republican-held seats, they see Virginia and New Hampshire as "Gone," Colorado and Minnesota as "Competitive," Nebraska and Oregon as "Likely Competitive," Alaska, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina and New Mexico as "Potentially Competitive," and the rest as "Safe." Very sober outlook - sure there are a handful I think are more competitive than they give credit for, but not an unreasonable outlook for a conservative blog. RedState concludes with "In short, I think 47 Republican seats is the best we can hope for." I will say that, come the beginning of the 2009-2010 cycle, Republicans will hold fewer than 47 Senate seats.

  • Senate Democrats should see their ethics reform legislation become law in the next twenty-four hours, unless George W. Bush feels unexpectedly emboldened to veto the ethics reform package.


    Blogger NMC said...

    I find it a little hard to believe that Frohnmayer will actually take Democratic votes from the Democrat, at least based on his position on things like Iraq. If you are a Democrat opposed to the war, why would you actually case a vote for a third-party candidate you know can't win and might throw the election to the Republican rather than a Democrat who ALSO agrees with your view and who can win. The potential threat would be among independents, but even there the same logic seems to apply. People who want to end the war will very likely cast a vote they believe might actually end the war. I CAN imagine a lot of anti-war Republicans who don't believe Smith will ever really break with the party but who can't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat. As for impeachment, is that really a vote-determining issue -- are there a lot of Democrats who would say, I really need to throw my vote away to send a message that the Democratic candidate may be anti-Bush but is just not anti-Bush enough? As for conspiracies, if I were a Republican and I wanted to throw the election, I would do what Republicans do everywhere else: give money to the Green party, a party genetically engineered to peel votes away on the left without taking any votes away from your own guy, rather than supporting some centrist Republican whose impact is hard to predict.

    4:11 PM, September 14, 2007  
    Blogger Max said...

    I'm curious to hear who you see to be the young hopefuls rising through the ranks on both sides of the aisle. Beyond '08 these individuals are the future of Both the House and the Senate. Who will design policy once all the old white men are dead and forgotten?

    12:48 PM, September 15, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Who are you asking?

    1:22 PM, September 15, 2007  

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