Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Items

  • The DSCC announced its "Roadblock Republicans": Mitch McConnell, John Sununu, Susan Collins, Norm Coleman, Gordon Smith, and Elizabeth Dole take the dishonor. And check out Roadblock

  • Kentucky: Tough news for Democrats as both state Attorney General Greg Stumbo and state Auditor Crit Luallen indicate that they are unlikely to run for Senate in 2008 and knock off Mitch McConnell. Neither categorically ruled out a bid, but both gave indications that we should not expect a Senate bid. The silver lining is that attorney and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne appears ready to move forward with a Senate bid of his own. An October poll by the Lexington Herald-Leader saw Horne only 11 points behind McConnell to start and holding McConnell to under 50.

    Speaking of McConnell, he provides us with the disgustingly insensitive quote of the day, referring to our courageous soldiers in Iraq:

    Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers.
    As Greg Sargent says:

    It's hard to read this as anything but belittling the importance of the deaths of troops because they're "professional soldiers." What McConnell is basically saying here is, "hey, they signed up for this."

    Maybe someone should get clarification from McConnell on this.
    You know that if a Democrat made the statement McConnell did, Republicans would be foaming at the mouth calling for apologies and censures and resignations.

  • Texas: Recent polling (by a Democratic pollster) found that Bush-rubber-stamp John Cornyn suffers from a 40% favorable opinion rating, a 36% job approval rating, and a 31% re-elect rating. Terrible numbers for the Box Turtle, which are actually beginning to seem like his par for the course.

  • Colorado: Boss Dick Wadhams and Backwards Bob Schaffer got their Christmas wish of County Commissioner Wayne Wolf being pushed out dropping out of the Republican Senate primary.

  • Fans of the recent NBA ad campaign and critics of the Republican Party will find this new YouTube video hilarious (HT: Cliff Schecter):


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    So with Luallen and Stumbo out, let's take a look at our updated list of DSCC recruitment failures:

    Artur Davis
    Ron Sparks
    Jim Marshall
    Cathy Cox
    Thurbert Baker
    Kathy Sebelius
    Jim Slattery
    Ben Chandler
    Crit Luallen
    Greg Stumbo?
    R.T. Rybak
    Betty McCollum
    Bob Kerrey
    Mike Fahey
    Mike Easley
    Beverly Perdue
    Richard Moore
    Roy Cooper
    Brad Miller
    Grier Martin
    Brad Henry
    Drew Edmundson
    John Kitzhaber
    Peter DeFazio
    Earl Blumenauer
    Harold Ford
    Mike McWherter
    Bob Tuke

    Are we really supposed to believe in the hype of Chuck Schumer?

    2:52 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Eric In Manassas said...

    va blogger,

    While I don't believe in any hype of Schumer (most of his hype comes from himself) you can hardly argue that the DSCC hasn't been successful at recruiting top tier candidates thus far, especially compared to the NRSC.

    Let's Compare:
    DSCC Top Tier Candidates:
    Tom Udall
    Mark Udall
    Jeanne Shaheen
    Mark Warner
    Tom Allen

    NRSC Top Tier Candidates:
    Mike Johanns

    The list doesn't look a whole lot better for the NRSC when you compare second tier candidates either.

    3:06 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    Really VA,

    Honestly now, for pure ability in leading their respective committees you would have us believe that you'd pick Ensign over Schumer?

    How can Stumbo and Crit both be Schumer failures? The list you've provided is about as insightful as Neal's posts.

    What counts is not how many people Schumer asks or even how many say no but how many top shelf people say yes.

    So where is Ensign's Warner, Shaheen, or even Udall? Last I checked Rounds was still a no and the best that Ensign has been able to recruit is a state treasurer who was a Democrat until a couple of months ago. Not bad I guess but not even in the same league popular former governors like Shaheen and Warner.

    Who do you think Ensign's biggest recruit is so far? And do you think Ensign has a more or less success (that is getting actual candidates with a chance to win) than Schumer? Who are Ensign's first tier recriuts (Governor's, represenatitive's in small states, etc)?

    3:13 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    NRSC recruitment failures
    Mike Huckabee
    Mike Castle
    Jim Edgar
    Terry Branstad
    Tom Latham
    Mitt Romney
    Paul Cellucci
    John Engler
    Candace Miller
    Dennis Rehberg
    Marc Racicot
    Tom Kean
    Christine Todd Whitman
    Don Carcieri
    Mike Rounds
    Tom Davis
    Betty Ireland
    Shelly Moore Capito

    3:14 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    My Bad,

    Eric is right I had totally forgotten about Johanns - he counts as first tier. I don't think there are any other first tier recruits though are there.

    And NE was pretty red in any event so I do not think Johanns is nearly as big a deal as Warner who is likely to flip a Senate Seat while Johanns is likely to hold a Seat.

    3:16 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you can go through the phone book and list every human being not running for Senate if you want. (I'll help you out: You forgot Phil Bredesen and Dave Freudenthal.)

    It's dreaming to think we'll get every single candidate on our wish list. That said, talking Mark Warner into running is a coup. Getting Tom Udall to run is a coup. Shaheen getting in a coup.

    I'm thrilled with the job Schumer is doing at the DSCC - and that's even before discussing fundraising.

    Rybak/McCollum aren't recruiting "failures" if Franken/Ciresi are already neck-and-neck with Coleman, and the same goes for Oregon pretty soon.

    Yeah, Sebelius, Freudenthal, Easley, and Bredesen would be terrific. The Governors didn't want to run. (Wait for Sebelius in '10) Oh well. We can dwell or we can move on.

    That said, do you really want to compare the recruiting successes of the NRSC to those of the DSCC?

    The DSCC has:
    Mark Warner
    Jeanne Shaheen
    Tom Udall
    Mark Udall
    Tom Allen
    Franken/Ciresi (dead heat a year out)
    Former Congressman Larry LaRocco
    House Speaker Jeff Merkley
    possibly Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (we'll know in the Spring)
    and more
    and not one single incumbent Democratic Senator retired

    The NRSC has:
    Ag Sec Johanns (just to hold the Hagel seat)
    Former Rep. Schaffer (just to hold the Allard seat)
    Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (just to hold the Craig seat)
    Treasurer Kennedy
    The Reps. in NM (who will lose to Udall AND lose their House seats, so a fairly Pyrrhic recruiting victory)
    Jim Gilmore (I'm laughing while typing)

    Seriously, va blogger, with the exception of Treasurer Kennedy in Louisiana, name one single HIGH PROFILE Republican challenger to a Democratic incumbent Senator.

    Name one.


    3:28 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

    As a resident of the Commonwealth of KY, I am deeply saddened by the failure to get Crit Luallen to take on McConnell. I will support Andrew Horne, whom I like, but by waiting this long we have given moneybags McConnell a huge head start.

    Also, Horne is virtually unknown outside Louisville/Jefferson County and the rest of the Commonwealth is suspicious of Louisville. By contrast, Crit Luallen is well known, extremely well liked and has a history of winning campaigns against people with more money. She had a much bigger chance against McConnell than does Horne. But McConnell's numbers are weaker than ever before, so I hope Horne can take him.

    4:11 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    Davis and Sparks are waiting until 2010 when Shelby retires.
    Marshall,Cox,Baker are waiting until 2010 when their is a possible open seat- Isakson is likely to run for Governor
    Sebelius and Slattery are waiting until 2010 when Brownback retires.
    Same goes with Chandler,Luallen,Stumbo- Bunning is an easier target- Open Seat.
    Easley,Perdue,Moore,Millar,Martin are waiting until 2010 to challenge Burr- who is more vulnerable than DOle.
    Henry,Edmundson wants to wait until 2010 to challenge Coburn

    5:05 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    MWW - For Horne to only be down 11 points on McConnell with considerably less name ID shows that Horne has a great deal of upside.

    5:06 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Where did I try to argue that John Ensigh was doing a better job?

    And S2G, these aren't just random names plucked out of a phone book. These are all people who were recruitment targets, and who turned down Schumer's "magic touch".

    Neal, your guesses about future candidates is worse than your random lists of rankings. Don't even bother.

    5:26 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Joe said...

    Honestly, vablogger, I give you credit most of the time for at least holding your own. But really, the best you can do is basically, "I'm not saying Schumer isn't better than Ensign; I'm just saying he isn't magic"?

    That's pretty pitiful.

    As others have already said, it's not about the candidates you don't get - it's about the ones you do get. And that list looks an awful lot stronger on the DSCC side than on the NRSC side.

    5:52 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...


    If we are not to compare Schumer to Ensign to determine if he is doing a good job what standard do you suggest?

    6:30 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I'm just saying, people slobber all over Schumer because they think he's an electoral genius and a master recruiter. The list I posted proves otherwise. Races in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee are completely off the map but had potential not to be. And races like Oregon and Kentucky are far longer shots than they could've been.

    11:38 PM, December 07, 2007  
    Blogger Eric In Manassas said...

    va blogger,

    Well, Schumer still has had substantial success. But is he a genius? No, of course not. But overall he's been pretty good for the DSCC and a marked improvement over his predecessors. I think you'd agree with that. Over the last decade and a half we haven't had much success in winning elections, so there is a tendency to overhype Schumer's achievements.

    Now on to the meat of your post:

    "Races in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee are completely off the map but had potential not to be. And races like Oregon and Kentucky are far longer shots than they could've been."

    The first point I want to make here is that most of those races SHOULD have been off the table regardless, the fact that they were on it shows just how bad a position the Republicans are in right now. Now, a couple of comments I'd like to make in response.

    North Carolina: I hate to agree with you but we should have a lot stronger competition here than a State Senator. The Democrats have a fairly deep bench in North Carolina, but unfortunately we've had people choose to go after each other in the Governor's race. I'm not sure if Easley is done with politics or biding his time for the (presumably) easier task against Bill Burr.

    Nebraska: I'm not sure if we ever could won this. If Kerrey had gotten in and Johanns had stayed out we'd certainly have the advantage, but even with Kerrey in I couldn't have put this much better than a toss-up, especially considering that it's a presidential year. I'm willing to bet Kerrey did some internal polling against Johanns and didn't find it to his liking. Disappointing that we didn't have a competive race here, but not a big disappointment really.

    Kansas: I think it's pretty clear here that everyone is just waiting for Brownback's seat to free up. Roberts is entrenched, why waste energy against him when an open seat will free up in a couple years?

    Oregon: Yeah it's disappointing that we don't have a stronger bench, but Merkley should at least in theory be a pretty strong contender. It remains to be seen if that's true or not.

    Kentucky: Yeah, with both Luallen and Stumbo out this race looks a lot less competitive then it did last week.

    Still, the DSCC has a likely takover in Virginia, leans takeovers in New Hampshire and New Mexico. We have strong chances in Colorado and Minnesota. We've got an outside shot in Maine and if Begich gets in and Stevens stays in an outside shot at Alaska. That's a lot better map than the DSCC has had since. well about ever. In in '06 the only seat we looked likely to pick up at this point was Casey in Pennsylvania. Of the seats we ended up winning the only ones that were truly big wins were in Pennsylvania and Ohio. So I'd say the Democrats Senate chances are in terrific shape at this point in time.

    12:38 AM, December 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    With the number of Republican seats up, it would be almost impossible for Democrats not to be well-positioned for pickups.

    I agree with you somewhat that Alamaba didn't have much potential to be competitive anyways (even with Ron Sparks running). My point was that Sparks was heavily courted, then said no.

    11:09 AM, December 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Sparks saying no had NOTHING to do with Schumer and you know it. Sparks, being very smart, knew he couldn't win if there was a tough primary between him and Figures, and Figures wasn't willing to step aside even though Sparks was arguably the stronger candidate having already won statewide twice, so Sparks is keeping his powder dry for 2010. Nothing to do with Schumer. Thanks for playing though.

    2:28 PM, December 08, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Its Schumer's job to recruit people to run for office. He couldn't convine Sparks to do it. End of story. Its a recruitment failure.

    Mike Rounds isn't running because he doesn't want to campaign against someone he knows well who is recovering from a serious health condition. That's not John Ensign's fault, but its still a recruitment failure.

    3:27 PM, December 08, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Ah, when a Democrat doesn't run, for any reason, it's Schumer's fault. But when a Republican doesn't run, for any reason, it's NOT Ensign's fault. Got it.

    4:19 PM, December 08, 2007  
    Blogger Josh I said...

    Love the logic.

    I'm a Red Sox fan. I think Theo Epstein is a great GM. He's traded for a bunch of great players (including Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell) and signed or resigned a bunch of terrific free agents (Varitek, Schilling, Matsuzaka, Okijima, Lowell, etc.)

    If VA BLOGGER were a baseball analyst, he'd look at all of the people Theo HASN'T signed or traded for.
    -- Alex Rodriguez
    -- Torii Hunter
    -- Jimmy Rollins
    -- CC Sabathia
    -- Fausto Carmona
    -- Jake Peavy
    -- Vlad Guerrero
    -- Magglio Ordonez

    Dismal failure. Not that he'd comparing him to any of the other GM's out there... just that he's saying that he's not so magical. After all, look at all of the players he hasn't gotten.

    Schumer was head of the DSCC that took back the Senate in a year NO ONE expectd them too, with strong recuitment and good strategic decisions. He's going to gain seats in 2008. So any anaylsis of why he wasn't able to convince Al Gore to run against Lamar or Jimmy Carter to challenge Saxby is, in my view, pretty pointless.

    4:28 PM, December 08, 2007  
    Blogger Peter said...

    Recruitments aside, anyone want to discuss the financial disparities between the two organizations spearheaded by Schumer and Ensign?



    2:56 PM, December 09, 2007  

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