The Associated Press has a new piece circulating focusing on Senate Republican retirements and scandals damaging their expectations for 2008. In it, NRSC Chairman John Ensign gives a very sad summary of the state of Senate Republican affairs:
"If you scratch the surface, things don't look necessarily that good," he said. "But when you get below the surface, things aren't nearly as bad as what they could be.""Things aren't nearly as bad as what they could be." I suppose aliens could come to earth and take back to their home planet every Republican Senator from a state with a Democratic Governor... that would be worse for Senate Republicans than the current 2008 outlook. But, suffice it to say, things are pretty bad for the Senate GOP. U.S. News & World Report agrees.
The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, heralded as "the single largest investment in student aid since the GI Bill," passed the Senate overwhelmingly, by a vote of 79-12. The 12 Senators who opposed making college more affordable were, of course, all Republicans, including Lindsey Graham, Chuck Hagel, Jim Inhofe, and ringleader Mitch McConnell. The DSCC highlights McConnell's opposition despite the bill having the potential to help tens of thousands of Kentucky families.
Oregon: Former NEA Chairman John Frohnmayer is expected to enter the 2008 OR-Sen race as an independent candidate. It is unclear who his candidacy would harm more, Republican Gordon Smith or the eventual Democratic nominee, but accurately refering to Frohnmayer as a George Bush appointee and the brother of Republican former state Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer is a good start. Meanwhile, one of the Democrats prominently listed on Gordon Smith's "Democrats for Smith" site, State Representative Debbie Boone, is heaping praise on Democratic Senate candidate Speaker Jeff Merkley. How long before Boone has her name removed from the Dems for Smith list? Also, expect the sources of Gordon Smith's campaign bankroll to become an issue in the race.
Virginia: GOP Rep. Tom Davis, ostensibly preparing for a Senate bid, hired Republican adviser Chris LaCivita, whose claims to fame include advising and producing commercials for the notorious Swift Boat Veterans and serving as direct supervisor to the man responsible for the infamous New Hampshire phone jamming scandal. Quite the shady resume - and he's now Tom Davis' adviser. Meanwhile, former Governor Jim Gilmore is hustling for Republican candidates for Virginia's state Legislature, trying to curry grassroots favor for his own possible Senate bid. If a Davis-Gilmore 2008 Republican Senate primary occurs, it will be ugly.
Tennessee: Businessman and gubernatorial son Mike McWherter is making the rounds and sounding more like a Senate candidate ready to take on Lamar Alexander.
North Carolina: Another Republican trashes Elizabeth Dole.
Nebraska: With Chuck Hagel's retirement announcement expected tomorrow, the Lincoln Journal Star asks "Can any Republican not named Chuck Hagel win a Senate seat in Nebraska?" as it notes Republicans' recent record in NE-Sen races:
Hagel’s decision not to seek re-election next year leaves Republicans heading into 2008 without their only winning Senate candidate since Carl Curtis claimed his last term in 1972.Former Senator Bob Kerrey's decision on a possible Senate race is expected soon. He could certainly keep Democrats' streak going; though, if he declines, Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey's phone will be ringing off the hook.
Since then, Democrats have won 9 of 11 Senate races and snared seats opened by the retirement of incumbent senators three of four times. The only GOP victories were scored by Hagel in 1996 and 2002.
I wonder how all those Republicans calling for Larry Craig's resignation and touting his ouster as an illustration of Republicans enhancing their image on corruption and scandal will feel about one of Jack Abramoff's best buddies, GOP Rep. John Doolittle, running for re-election. I mean, it has been almost five months since the FBI searched Doolittle's home as part of their Abramoff-related investigation - I'm sure everyone in Doolittle's district has already forgotten.