Whirlwind Thursday Rundown
New Mexico: It appears that WaPo's Cillizza broke the story yesterday that Pete Domenici will announce later today that he will retire from the Senate at the end of this term. The actual announcement will occur in Albuquerque and is scheduled for 4pm Mountain Time. This is, of course, massive. It is not terribly shocking, however, given that the aging Domenici has been embroiled in scandal and has seen a major decline in approval as a result, plummeting from 68% last November all the way down to 41% this month. Nevertheless, it was appearing more and more unlikely that a top tier Democrat would enter the race against Domenici; but, with him retiring, I think we can expect more well-known names to give a 2008 Senate bid careful consideration.
Names like Congressman Tom Udall, Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish, former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid, and Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez will pop up a lot. And, whether or not the rumors are warranted, current Presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will see a great deal of speculation. On the Republican side, the top two names will be Congresspeople Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce. Word is that Wilson will announce a Senate bid in the very near future. Keep in mind, though, that Wilson is embroiled in the same scandal as Domenici, possibly damaging her chances. Meanwhile, the far-right conservative Pearce, while electable for his district, is probably too far to the right of mainstream New Mexico. Netroots heavy hitters have already started a Draft Tom Udall effort - I happen to agree that he would be the strongest Democratic candidate. If Udall were to enter, the race would immediately become a Toss-Up, if not Lean Democratic Pick-Up.
New Hampshire: The latest University of New Hampshire poll has popular former Governor Jeanne Shaheen beating Sprintin' John Sununu by the same 54-38 margin that she was beating him by in UNH's July poll. The poll also puts Shaheen's favorable-unfavorable at 56-25 and Sununu's at an abysmal 40-37.
Idaho: The Minnesota judge hearing Larry Craig's appeal denied the motion to withdraw the guilty plea. Unless there are some more legal tricks up Craig's sleeve, that is pretty much that. The ball is now in Craig's court regarding an announcement about whether or not he'll resign.
Minnesota: Remember how Al Franken outraised incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in Q2? Well, it happened again in Q3 as Franken took about $1.9 million compared with Coleman's $1.7 million. And remember that, of Coleman's take, about $1 million of it came from the George W. Bush fundraiser alone. Not looking good for Coleman.
Kansas: Six-term former Congressman Jim Slattery will be coming to a decision in the very near future about challenging Pat Roberts. Here is a link to my profile of Slattery from a few weeks back. I really think that Roberts is vulnerable and that Kansas has a chance to be truly competitive, so I sincerely hope that Slattery jumps in.
Oklahoma: State Senator Andrew Rice appears to be raising funds at a healthy clip as he gets his campaign to unseat Jim "In Denial" Inhofe off the ground:
State Senator Andrew Rice, D-OKC, has raised more than $310,000 from over 1,000 donors in the 60 days since he launched his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma, according to preliminary figures released by his campaign today.Help keep it going by contributing to Rice via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page.
With 11 days to go before the official financial reporting deadline at the Federal Election Commission, Rice said he feels good about far surpassing his initial goal to raise $200,000 by the end of the third quarter, Sept. 30.
Colorado: Backwards Bob Schaffer's possible corruption/conflict of interest scandal remains a top local story. Given all of the real estate the NRSC will have to defend, I wonder if they will even bother sending money to Colorado to help Schaffer.
Nebraska: It will be entertaining to watch the NE-GOP engage in the metaphorical "circular firing squad." Republican former Congressman Tom Osborne takes a swing at Mike Johanns for ditching his job before the completion of the Farm Bill.
North Carolina: Democratic fundraiser Jim Neal is close to announcing a challenge to Elizabeth Dole.
Georgia: Businessman, Vietnam veteran and former staffer to U.S. Senator Herman Talmadge (D-GA) Josh Lanier is considering a Senate challenge to Shameless Saxby Chambliss.
This is hilarious.
This is even more hilarious.