Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tuesday Rundown

  • Stu Rothenberg has his most recent 2008 Senate Ratings up. Now eleven Democratic seats, including South Dakota's Senator Tim Johnson, are all rated as "Currently Safe" with only Senator Mary Landrieu outside of this safest category. Meanwhile, Virginia is "Lean Takeover," while Colorado, New Mexico, and New Hampshire are all rated "Toss-Up." Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, and Gordon Smith cling to a "Narrow Advantage for Incumbent Party" rating, while Nebraska's open seat, Elizabeth Dole, Mitch McConnell, and Ted Stevens are also outside of the "Currently Safe" rating.

  • Minnesota: A new Rasmussen poll sees Republican Norm Coleman narrowly up on Al Franken 49-42 and on Mike Ciresi 46-43. Coupled with the recent Survey USA numbers putting Coleman and the Democrats in a statistical dead heat, it's clear that MN-Sen has become pretty much neck-and-neck with a year to go.

  • Oregon: This is a partisan poll (read: grain of salt) but the DSCC-commissioned poll by Grove Insight finds that only 5% of Oregonians considered Gordon Smith "excellent" and only 28% consider him "good." Right now, only 30% would vote to re-elect, while 25% would consider someone else, and 16% would vote to replace. Ugly numbers for Smith. Meanwhile, Gordon Smith is abusing his Congressional franking privilege to communicate with constituents, sending out blatantly political campaign mailers. (HT: Blue Oregon)

  • Maine: Maine Republicans stuck it to Democratic Congressman Tom Allen when it came to light that disgraced fundraiser Norman Hsu contributed $1,000 to Allen. Once the Allen camp was aware of the contribution, Allen promptly returned the contribution. Well, I wonder what the ME-GOP's reaction will be now that it has come to light that Republican Bush rubber stamp Susan Collins has taken money from cocaine dealer and tax cheat Philip Martin. If you're curious, you can call the ME-GOP HQ at (207) 622-6247 and ask them what they think of Collins' questionable contribution, and you can call Collins' campaign HQ at (207) 221-9330 to ask if she will return the coke dealer and tax cheat's contribution or if she'll keep it.

  • Alaska: While it is pretty clear that Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich will take his time in announcing his decision on a 2008 Senate race, he is sounding more and more like a candidate.

  • Texas: George W. Bush's approval in his nominal home state of Texas was last clocked at 41% and his disapproval at 57%. Well, Bush will be returning to Texas to raise money for his rubber stamp John Cornyn. Counter that fundraiser by contributing to State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega. Also, Noriega is Democracy for America's first endorsed Senate candidate of the 2008 cycle.

  • Illinois: Candidate filing for the 2008 Senate race has wrapped in Illinois. Senator Richard Durbin is the only Democrat running. The Republican candidates who filed are political unknown Steve Sauerberg, electoral loser Andy Martin, 77-year-old-I-think previous Senate candidate Norm Hill, and trucker Mike Psak. Nope, I don't see Alan Keyes in the mix.

  • Georgia: Tondee's Tavern continues it's Democratic Senate candidate Q&A series with Dale Cardwell.

  • Kentucky: I think it is a pretty glaring weakness for Mitch McConnell that the reprehensible stooges over at the KY-GOP have to stoop to such vile, probably-illegal stunts on the lead-up to Election Day. You can listen to the robocall at The Bridge. I hope the perpetrators are appropriately prosecuted. Meanwhile, more graft and handouts to cronies from Mitch McConnell.


    Blogger Neal said...

    Why is LA being labeled a Tossup.
    Their has not been any polling data showing Landrieu in danger of losing- and no GOP candidate has entered the race. I would rank LA as Narrow Incumbent Advantage similar to Collins-ME and Smith-OR.

    Rothenberg ranks MN as a Narrow Incumbent Advantage- MN should be labeled as a Tossup considered the polling show a Neck and Neck Race with either Democratic rivals- Franken/Ciresi.

    Rothenberg ranks NH as a Tossup- This should move to Lean Takeover collumn. Sununu trails Shaheen by a significant margin.

    CO and NM are tossups- I could argue CO and NM can be also rated on the Lean Takeover column. Both are open Seats- Both States are Battleground States- Democrats have strong candidates in CO and NM. While the Republicans have weak candidates in CO and NM.

    In VA and NH- The Democratic Nominees are the 800lb Gorillas. Both are popular former Governors. The Republican Nominees are a Weak Partisan Incumbent-NH or a Controversial Former Governor-VA.

    In CO- The Democratic Nominee is a Popular Congressman from the Denver-Boulder Area. The Republican Nominee- is a Former Conservative Congressman from Rural East Colorado. This is a race between Liberalism and Conservativism.

    In NM- The Democratic Nominee is either a Popular Congressman from Northern NM and a former State AG. or a Moderate Mayor from ABQ. The Republican Nominee is a Controversial Congresswoman from Central NM or a Conservative Congressman from Southern NM.

    In CO and NM- The race has more to do with the weakness of the Republican candidates then the Strengths of the Democratic candidate. In CO- Democrats have a SuperStar Canidate Mark Udall. In NM- Democrats are waiting for a SuperStar Canididate- Tom Udall.

    In ME and LA-
    ME is a Blue State with a Red State Senator- Sue Collins- The Democratic Challenger is a Popular Congressman from Portland- Tom Allen. Allen is a top tier Challenger.
    LA is a Red State with a Blue State Senator- Mary Landrieu- The Potential Republican Challenger is a State Treasurer- John Kennedy. Kennedy is a Top Tier Contender.

    In MN and OR- The Republican Incumbents are weak- But the Democratic Challengers have yet to prove themselves.

    The easy pickup for Democrats are

    The Tossups are
    OR- Possible Upset

    Incumbent Retention

    2:41 PM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger Andrew said...

    Neal: I agree with your analysis, unfortunately ME is lean gop. Although the last couple of polls show a race going from a 23 to 20 to 17 point lead for Collins. Hopefully this trend will continue.

    I keep hoping a few other southern races in addition to VA become races as well (KY, TN, TX or NC).

    6:41 PM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger Shaun said...

    The KY robo call will go no where in terms of legal prosecution.

    A new non-partisan, non-profit org has started a Political 'do not call' registry to combat all political calls, including robo.

    More at:


    Shaun Dakin
    The National Political Do Not Contact Registry

    9:05 PM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Neal, Landrieu has a top-tier opponent: State Treasurer John Kennedy. She is considered a toss-up because she has never won re-election convincingly, and this cycle she'll be up against a solid opponent (unlike '02 and '96), and the demographics of the state are trending in the Republicans' favor.

    As for polling, I've only heard rumors that Landrieu is polling under 50% and within single digits of Kennedy.

    2:41 AM, November 07, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you seem to be forgetting that the national mood favored Republicans considerably in '02 while, in '08, the mood seems to be favoring Democrats considerably. Oh, and Treasurer Kennedy hasn't announced yet - or even dropped the hints that an announcement is coming soon. Oh, and the last time Treasurer Kennedy ran for Senate, he got pretty trampled. Just sayin'.

    9:09 AM, November 07, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    I think LA and ME are comparable to each other.

    The Incumbents represent states that are opposite to their party affiliation. They are faced or potentially facing top tier challengers. However- Like Collins- ME- Landrieu is somewhat popular in LA- Their is no reason for ousting Landrieu.

    12:07 PM, November 07, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    S2G-- Why would Kennedy announce anything for 2008 before the Nov. 17th elections in 2007? The hints that he's dropped that he's running are the fact that he switched parties and has been meeting with national leaders. And though the mood may not be as favorable, Louisiana is more Republican than it was in 2002, and Kennedy is a far superior candidate to Terrell.

    Neal, there is no comparison, especially in popularity, between Collins and Landrieu. The last SurveyUSA poll had Collins at 73%, Landrieu in the 50s. And given Landrieu's unconvincing victories in 2002 and 1996, and Collins' relatively robust victories in those same years, no one could possibly objectively conclude that they're "in the same position".

    Instead of wasting time trying to figure out which state LA is comparable to, look at the facts on the ground. That's how you reach the conclusion that Landrieu is vulnerable, and the seat is a "toss-up", at best, for Democrats.

    12:22 PM, November 07, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you keep repeating yourself (hoping that repetition will turn opinion into fact, I suppose), but I now have to ask: on what do you base the assertion that Treasurer Kennedy is a "far superior" opponent for Senator Landrieu than Suzy Haik Terrell was? His Treasurer title makes him, in my opinion, a stronger opponent - but where do you get far superior? His 1991 loss in the Attorney General race? The fact that he had no opponent in his 2003 or 2007 Treasurer re-election bids, so there's no measure of how good a campaigner he currently is? His distant third place finish in the 2004 Senate race? Seriously, on what do you base the assertion that Treasurer Kennedy is "far superior" to Terrell as an opponent to Senator Landrieu?

    12:34 PM, November 07, 2007  

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