Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Afternoon Round-Up

  • Mitch McConnell blames "the numbers" for the "rather slim" chances of Republicans winning back the Senate majority (rather than, perhaps, the quality of the candidates or the issues at hand):

    “There’s no question that if you just look at the numbers, we have a daunting task,” McConnell said at a Wednesday news conference on the eve of the year-end congressional adjournment. “I think the chances of you all calling me the majority leader a year from now are rather slim because of the number situation.”

    Out of 35 Senate seats up for reelection in 2008, 23 belong to Republicans, and Democrats either are leading or competitive in four of the five open seats in which no appointed incumbent is seeking reelection.

    McConnell said Republicans have a “good chance of staying roughly where we are” with 49 GOP senators. But even if their minority slips to 45, 46 or 47 members, he said, “Senate Republicans will be able to have an impact on public policy.”
    What if their minority slips below 45? And when McConnell says that the Senate GOP has a "good chance of staying roughly where we are," how broadly is he defining "roughly"?

  • North Carolina: Daily Kos has released its latest in a string of polls conducted by Research 2000 on 2008 Senate races. It found Elizabeth Dole still hovering below 50%, as she led State Senator Kay Hagan 46-39 and businessman Jim Neal 47-37. The poll also put Dole's favorable-unfavorable at an unintimidating 46-38, with Hagan's at 39-23 and Neal's at 34-27. As Kos notes:

    Just a seven-point deficit by Hagan, and a 10-point one for Neal, both of them keeping Dole under 50? With the low name ID of the two Democrats, what these results say is that North Carolina voters aren't sold on a second term for Dole, and are willing to give the Democrat a good look. No matter who emerges from the Democratic primary, this is going to be a real race.
  • Kentucky: It appears that state Attorney General Greg Stumbo will run to return to the state Legislature. So, while businessmen Charlie Owen and Greg Fischer continue to ponder a 2008 Senate bid, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne appears the likeliest candidate to carry the Democratic banner against Mitch McConnell. Be sure to watch Horne's three-minute introductory video if you haven't already - it's phenomenal.

  • Yesterday, I mentioned that the Mitch McConnell Republican Senate minority is now officially the most filibustering, most obstructionist Senate minority in history. The Campaign for America's Future put out a report (in PDF format) listing every single Republican filibuster, as well as every Bush veto and veto threat, chronicling this historic Republican obstructionism.


    Blogger NewRed said...

    The folks over at RepublicanSenate have brought up another possible open Senate seat on the Democratic side now that a growing number of Senate Dems want to throw Robert "Klansman" Byrd out of the Appropriations committee chairmanship. That loss to such a prideful man, caused by his own party colleges who think he is too old and decrepit to do the job, could very well lead to his early retirement next year. According to state law, that could mean a special election in November 2008. An open (or quasi-open) seat in a presidential election year would be competitive in such a relatively conservative state.

    3:16 PM, December 19, 2007  
    Blogger Peter said...

    Relatively conservative?

    Perhaps in presidential elections but they have 2/3 Democratic representatives and two Democratic senators.

    Anyways, I think Mitch probably has 2 pretty big reasons why he won't be the majority leader next year. You do the guesswork.

    In my mind, he and the other Republican senators (Lieberman as well) who still support this murderous status quo in Iraq are war criminals.

    10:48 PM, December 19, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    They have two Democratic Senators, but they've both been statewide office-holders since the 1960s, before WV completed its switch to the Republican Party. They're both holdovers from the previous generation.

    8:13 AM, December 20, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    WV has a Democratic Governor and Democratic Attorney General are they also holdovers from the 60s?

    Besides Ireland do the Republicans have ANY elected statewide officials? Besides Moore-Capito do the Republicans have ANYONE on their bench in WV?

    9:55 AM, December 20, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    If Byrd were to resign-
    Nick Rahall would be the front runner for the Byrd seat.

    10:03 AM, December 20, 2007  
    Blogger Ajax the Greater said...

    Va Blogger, Rockefeller was elected to the US Senate in 1985.

    newred, whereas a single solitary dem more than 6 decades ago had an affiliation with an overtly republican organization like the KKK, and has repudiated it time and time and time again as the biggest mistake in his life, your party today continues to be the party of racists, bigots and homophobes, and wears such a tag proudly.

    let's not get into the basics of David Duke, or Coors, or Mellon-Scaife or your boy George Allen, or one of hundreds of other basic examples of republicans appealing to the most vile and racist portion of their base pretty consistently.

    how else do you explain Bob Jones university, and the sendoff for Lott in the senate by your radical rightwing senators, the man who said that our country would have been a better place if racist piece of garbage Strom Thurmond had been elected president?

    how about this, I'll propose a compromise position:

    not all republicans are racists and bigots, but a majority of racists and bigots are republicans.

    11:57 AM, December 20, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    JC-- Rockefeller was elected West Virginia Secretary of State in 1968, and elected Governor in 1976.

    As far as the bench is concerned, Capito and Ireland are certainly at the top. I would also consider Hiram Lewis and Sen. John Hall to be second- or third-tier candidates.

    12:06 PM, December 20, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    VA -- I never challenged your statment that both D senators in WV have careers that date back to the 60's. I do challenge your assertion that WV has "completed its switch" to the Republican column. If that were the case surely the Rs could win a state wide office other than secretary of state.

    Do you also consider Manchin, McGraw, Gainer, Douglass, and Perdue to be 60's holdovers and if not what exactly is the basis of your statement that West Virginia has switched to become a red state?

    1:45 PM, December 20, 2007  

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