Sometimes 9/11/01 feels like just a couple years ago; sometimes it feels like a decade ago.
Virginia: In case popular former Governor Mark Warner sees fit to enter the 2008 Senate race, there will be some good news awaiting him. Rasmussen Reports polled him against GOP Rep. Tom Davis and former Gov. Jim Gilmore. Warner thrashes both: Warner beats Davis 57-30; and Warner beats Gilmore 54-34. But Davis is only well-known to his Congressional district, while Warner was known statewide. And Gilmore has been out of the Virginia political spotlight for longer than Warner has. Both good points. And I don't think either matters. Why? Look at their approve-disapprove ratings: Warner 68-28; Gilmore 49-42; and, Davis 43-35. Though Warner dominates both Republicans here, too, my bigger point is that over 90% of Virginians have an opinion of Gilmore and almost 80% of Virginians have an opinion of Davis. While opinions can change, the vast majority of opinions are already formed. If Mark Warner enters the race, it is a likely Democratic pick-up.
Minnesota: Back in March, Rasmussen Reports found that Smilin' Norm Coleman led the recently-announced Al Franken by 10 points, 46-36. Well, fast forward to this month. Rasmussen sees that Franken has cut the lead in half while Coleman has stagnated. Coleman only leads Franken 46-41 now. Coleman also only leads Mike Ciresi 46-42. What's also very notable is how Franken's approval has shot up. In March, he stood at 39-46. Now, he's at 46-47. Clearly, he has to get those disapprovals down. But undecideds on Franken are obviously finding him favorable for his approval to go from 39 to 46. A very good sign of things to come.
New Hampshire: Is the Kennedy School of Government looking for a new director? In other words, is popular former Governor Jeanne Shaheen leaving her role their for some new endeavor? What ever could that be?
Idaho: The Idaho Statesman is reporting that Gov. Butch Otter will appoint a replacement for Larry Craig who will run in 2008 rather than a placeholder:
Gov. Butch Otter has decided against naming a “placeholder” to replace U.S. Sen. Larry Craig and said he’ll instead choose a candidate who will seek a full term in the Senate in the next election. ...Anybody who wants the seat and isn't appointed might run in a 2008 primary anyway, not considering a one-year appointee as much of an incumbent, and only then running with a chip on his/her shoulder, making for a more contentious primary, which we may yet see in Wyoming for the Barrasso seat. Risch must still be the favorite, but Otter is naming an awful lot of potential primary opponents next year for the eventual appointee.
Otter has named several possible successors, including Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, state Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, former state Sen. Dane Watkins and former Lt. Gov. David Leroy. Otter’s decision not to go with a placeholder, however, would seem to eliminate Leroy, who said Thursday that he’d consider an interim appointment but plans to support Risch for Senate in the 2008 election.
Hanian said the governor has no timetable in mind for making his decision.
Colorado: The CO-GOP is getting unduly (or, perhaps, duly) nervous about the effects of Backwards Bob Schaffer's new primary challenger.
Nebraska: Republican Gov. Dave Heineman says that "he 'fully expects' former Gov. Mike Johanns to run" for the Senate seat Chuck Hagel is vacating. Meanwhile, former Senator Bob Kerrey continues toward a campaign. WaPo's Cillizza compares the different styles that may be on display in an NE-GOP Senate primary: the "charismatic/brash" Jon Bruning vs. the "quieter, steady" Johanns. For what it's worth, I formally predict a Kerrey-Johanns general election clash of the Nebraska titans.
Oklahoma: State Senator Andrew Rice continues to rack up positive local press as he travels around the state in his bid to unseat Jim "In Denial" Inhofe. Meanwhile, State Senator Kenneth Corn announced that he is no longer considering a 2008 Senate bid. So it looks like it will be Rice-Inhofe barring any surprises. Give Senator Rice a hand by sending his campaign a few bucks.
South Dakota: Senator Tim Johnson wastes no time being right on regarding Iraq and the Petraeus report. It's good to have you back at work, Senator Johnson!
Kentucky: Another ominous sign for Mitch McConnell: two Kentucky State Representatives, previously Republican, are switching Parties to register as Democrats. How ominous is it? Well, let's look at what McConnell himself said two years ago when one Democratic State Rep. switched to the GOP: "We're here today to celebrate a really important development in the Kentucky Republican Party." A really important development, indeed.
New Jersey: Republican assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio has formed a Senate exploratory committee as he considers a challenge to Senator Frank Lautenberg. Pennacchio joins potential primary opponent Anne Evans Estabrook, who formed an exploratory committee in July.
Louisiana: Prostitute-lovin' David Vitter's situation is going to get worse for him as one of his call girls, Wendy Cortez, passed a lie detector test and will today discuss details of their four-month relationship in 1999 while Vitter was a state legislator and married with children. Care to get out in front of the story, David?
Maybe I'm being oversensitive (anybody with better knowledge of State Department communications procedures, feel free to speak up), but does it seem inappropriate that a State Department online newspaper (I suppose it's an online paper - again, clarification would be appreciated) is writing articles about political Parties' campaign committees?