Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Thursday, October 04, 2007

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.

    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.
    Help keep it going by contributing to Rice via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page.

  • 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.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    It should be noted that Osborne was endorsed by Bruning in the '06 Gubernatorial primary, which was a schism between the establishment (Heineman, Johanns) and rogue (Bruning, Osborne). So its not a circular firing squad as much as its Bruning and Osborne continuing on the same path that they started last year.

    3:09 PM, October 04, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Rogue? Are they on the lam or something?

    No comment on everything happening in New Mexico?

    3:48 PM, October 04, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    You know what I mean.

    And check SSP for my NM comments. I think Wilson is a great candidate who keeps the race a toss-up or better for the GOP.

    4:10 PM, October 04, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    You think Wilson is a great candidate who will keep the race competitive? Not knowing who the Democratic opponent will be, I can't argue about "competitivity" but how about basic "viability". Domenici got involved in the US Attorney scandal and his approval took a nosedive. Wilson is involved in the exact same scandal in the exact same way. You don't think the scandal has had or could have a similar effect on her? Is she immune to exactly what happened to Domenici's approvals?

    4:40 PM, October 04, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    Here's my take on New Mexico

    District 1:
    Heather Wilson: Spent 4.9 million dollars; won 50% of the vote, barely edging opponent Patricia Madrid, who spent 3.3 million.

    With the massive divide in fundraising (1.6 million) it is clear that this district is left leaning. I would guess 50-55D to 45-50R.

    District 2:
    Steve Pearce spent 1.2 million; winning 60% of the vote, outspending his opponent Albert Kissling, who spent .18 million (Outspent 6-1) I would guess if you take the money advantage away, this district would split 50-55R to 45-50D.

    District 3:
    Tom Udall spent 400k; winning 75% of the vote against opponent Ronald Dolin who spent 23k. Take away the money advantage, I'm guessing the district would split 55-60D to 40-45R

    If you guys want me to do this with the 2004 elections, I could dig up the numbers, which might help figure out the shift having a presidential election does.

    6:50 PM, October 04, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    Latest reports say Udall's out. Doesn't want to give up his seat on Appropriations. Richardson's campaign is insisting he's not interested either, but then they would say that wouldn't they? Still, this is starting to look like Oregon all over again -- a could-have-been gimme that we can still win but will have to fight for.

    9:55 PM, October 04, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...,1299,DRMN_15_5714621,00.html

    Udall and Schaffer tied, 36%-35%.

    10:58 PM, October 04, 2007  
    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    36% - 35%? Is everyone else going to a third party, or are they all undecided? Seems odd that that many people would be undecided, considering they knew who the candidates would be for some time now.

    8:46 AM, October 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Undecided. While we have known for a while who the candidates are going to be, most people haven't started to pay attention yet, and because of that they don't know who Udall or Schaffer are, or if they do they don't know much about them. Remember, they each only represent(ed) one-seventh of the state, so name ID isn't guaranteed for them. Futhermore, many people, especially in a purple state like Colorado, simply haven't made up their mind yet.

    Every poll is different and from the results, it seems as if this poll doesn't push leaners, which leads to more undecideds. That's not neccesarily a better or worse way to conduct a poll. On the plus side, its probably a more accurate depiction of where the race is at this far out; on the minus side, people that might be leaning to one candidate or another are simply labelled undecided.

    9:25 AM, October 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    S2G-- you asked about my thoughts.

    With Wilson it, it seems unlikely that Pearce would jump in, though it remains a possibility. Wilson is a strong candidate, though the U.S. Attorneys story might get some play early in the campaign.

    With Udall and Richardson declining, the choices seem to be Patricia Madrid, Marty Chavez, and Diana Denish. Denish is already in the process of running for Governor, and early polling gives her a pretty good lock on the nomination, so I find it personally unlikely that she'd change course and run for the Senate. Chavez also seems interested in being Governor, but given the uphill battle, he may choose for the Senate. However, with his personal baggage and with Wilson in the race, he may just decide to run for re-election. And Patricia Madrid is another option, but given the results of NM-01 in 2006, I would welcome her entry.

    If its Wilson vs. Madrid or Wilson vs. Chavez, the race is lean GOP. If its Wilson vs. Denish, we'll see how it plays out. If its Wilson vs. anyone else (including Don Wiviott), then its Likely GOP or better.

    9:45 AM, October 05, 2007  
    Blogger keyth955 said...

    Jane Kidd Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia needs to make a move in regards to finding a candidate soon so he or she can start raising money. Josh Lanier is a native of Statesboro which is located in John Barrow (D) 12th district. He says he is a not a career politician, but he would make a great candidate too having worked for late sen. Herman Talmadge (D). Vernon Jones was campaigning in middle Georgia yesterday which is critical for him if he wants to win the nomination & general election. Unless Jim Marshall (D-GA) jumps into the senate race now that Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis (D) is going to challenge him for the 8th district seat Jane Kidd needs to get going & find a candidate before it's too late.

    10:49 AM, October 05, 2007  
    Blogger Taniel said...

    Udall has announced he will not run... and Udall is in a complete toss-up according to a new poll out today!

    7:50 PM, October 05, 2007  

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