Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Rundown

  • CQPolitics labels Senate Republicans' uphill climb as "daunting," as they rank Senate races with no real surprises.

  • Louisiana: Newly-Republican state Treasurer John N. Kennedy has taken the first steps toward a 2008 Senate challenge to Senator Mary Landrieu, he announced yesterday by e-mail and via a message on his circa 1997 Geocities website. Kennedy also cites a Zogby poll he commissioned that shows him leading Landrieu 45-38. This poll is my Giant-Grain-of-Salt pick of the week. No doubt non-partisan polls will come out in the Louisiana media in the coming weeks and months to give a clearer sense of where this race stands. Of course, this is a top-tier race, Republicans' only real Senate pick-up opportunity; but, until non-partisan polls show a neck-and-neck race, this still Leans Dem as opposed to being seen as a Toss-Up. At present, Senator Landrieu has a $3.3 million bankroll; meanwhile, according to the FEC, Treasurer Kennedy has $37,500 in debt.

    To start, I'd suggest the media ask two questions of Treasurer Kennedy:

    First, Kennedy has demonstrated incredibly mercurial career goals, always seeming willing to better-deal his constituents for the next gig down the line. As Landrieu adviser Norma Jane Sabiston reminds us: "John Kennedy, the first candidate in the Republican primary field, ran ads just four weeks ago saying 'the job's not done' and asking for Louisianians' support to 'continue to be your state treasurer.'" Why should Louisiana voters offer him a six-year job when he never seems happy to complete his four-year jobs?

    Second, in response to his willingness to offer Halliburton no-bid contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he said: "Well, in an emergency situation, you do what you have to do to get the job done." Similar to allowing Halliburton's no-bid contracts as "doing what you have to do to get the job done," would Kennedy also support extreme and illegal measures such as waterboarding and other torture, warrantless wiretapping, and suspending habeas corpus "to get the job done" against terrorism?

  • Kansas: Former Congressman Jim Slattery confirms that he will not run for Senate in 2008. Hopefully we'll have more details on businessman Greg Orman soon.

  • Colorado: I think it's safe to say that Bob Schaffer and the CO-GOP are fresh out of ideas.

  • New Jersey: CQPolitics looks at Republican Anne Evans Estabrook, possible opponent to Senator Frank Lautenberg. In the words of Stu Rothenberg, "Republicans [have] no reason for even a shred of optimism" in a campaign against Senator Frank Lautenberg.

  • Virginia: Delegate Chris Saxman is getting closer to challenging Jim Gilmore in the GOP primary.

  • New Mexico: Democracy for New Mexico has some great video up from Congressman Tom Udall's announcement event.

  • Chris Rock is one of the sharpest social commentators of our day.

  • Thursday, November 29, 2007

    Thursday Tidbits

  • Political Insider declares that: "The 2008 U.S. Senate picture is looking ever more dismal for Republicans." Dismal, indeed.

  • New Mexico: Congressman Tom Udall is formally announcing his entry into the 2008 Senate race today. Demonstrating his electoral strength, Udall is kicking off his announcement tour right in primary opponent Martin Chavez' backyard, at the National Hispanic Center in Albuquerque. In related news, I received a campaign e-mail from Jim Hannan this morning announcing that he is formally ending his Senate candidacy and "enthusiastically" endorsing Tom Udall for Senate. Meanwhile, the Santa Fe New Mexican slams Martin Chavez' dishonesty and calls Tom Udall "a profile in courage."

  • Kansas: Blue Tide Rising is reporting that former Congressman Jim Slattery will not challenge Pat Roberts in 2008, but that businessman Greg Orman will run for the Senate seat. Stay tuned for developments.

  • Virginia: Another Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Robert Marshall, is reportedly considering a primary challenge to Jim Gilmore. That Anybody-but-Gilmore movement among the VA-GOP seems to be growing.

  • Texas: State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega may have a primary challenger in the person of high school social studies teacher Ray McMurrey. McMurrey has a website up, but I noticed one curious thing. On the front page of the site, there is a sentence: "I am running as a Democrat for the United States Senate" - however, if you click on the Biography page, the title of the page (not the headline on the page, but the title of the file, in the blue bar at the top of the web browser) says "Ray McMurrey - Independent for US Senate 2008" so I'm not sure how strong his Party affiliation might be.

  • Mississippi: By discussing job opportunities outside of the Senate, is Trent Lott already in violation of Senate Ethics policies? Also, more unweighted approve-disapprove numbers are out on Mississippi Senate could-be's: Former Rep. Chip Pickering (R) 64-14-3; former Governor Ray Mabus (D) 28-54-20 (adds up to 102?); Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck (R) 51-35-13; State Senator Charles Ross (R) 26-27-48. Gov. Mabus' negatives seem too high to be viable. Also, it's unsurprising that State Senator Ross would have high unknowns. While Rep. Pickering has good numbers, he's also pretty much boxed himself in. Solid numbers for Lt. Gov. Tuck suggest that she could be formidable.

  • Nebraska: If businessman Tony Raimondo is going to switch Parties to run for Senate as a Democrat in 2008, he has to do so by December 7.

  • Oregon: If you live in Oregon, consider yourself encouraged to join the statewide Hold Gordon Smith Accountable Day this Wednesday, December 5.

  • Mike Bloomberg and Chuck Hagel had another meal together. Crank up that rumor mill!

  • ActBlue gets the New York Times treatment. Take a read!

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Wednesday Items

  • Kentucky: I know I've asked this before, but does Mitch McConnell associate with anybody who hasn't been convicted of some crime? First, McConnell himself carries with him significant ethical controversies. Then, McConnell cozies up to scandal-plagued Ernie Fletcher. Then, McConnell makes a convicted sexual harrasser the star of his campaign ads. And now, McConnell is taking big fat $1,000 checks from a disgraced businessman, Bob Asher, convicted of bribery with the intent to buy off government contracts. Will Mitch return the $1,000 contribution of convicted briber Bob Asher? Call his office at 202-224-2541 and ask. It might just be one contribution, but it's also the latest in a long line of instances in which Mitch McConnell demonstrates that respect for the law is no obstacle to winning respect from McConnell.

  • Mississippi: A new netroots effort to generate enthusiasm for a Senate campaign for former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore has begun, Also, more Democrats' names, in addition to Moore and former Governor Ronnie Musgrove, are being bandied about as possible Senate candidates, including former Congressman Mike Espy, State Representative Erik Fleming and former Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson.

  • Minnesota: MN Blue has all the details from another terrific MN-Dems Senate primary debate.

  • Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    Tuesday Night Round-Up

  • In the Senate GOP's game of leadership musical chairs, it looks like Jon Kyl has locked up Trent Lott's Republican Whip position, opening up his Conference Chairman position (the #3 spot in the hierarchy), for which it appears Kay Bailey Hutchison, Lamar Alexander and Richard Burr will all run. Hutchison has already indicated that she may retire from the Senate before the end of her term so that she can run for Governor in 2010. Nevertheless, she is currently the Republican Policy Committee Chair (the #4 spot in the hierarchy), so she may have the inside track.

    If Lamar Alexander makes a big push for the Conference Chairman position and loses to Hutchison, it will be a major embarrassment for him, as Alexander was also outvoted in last-minute maneuvering for the Whip spot leading up to the start of the current Legislative session. Jim DeMint and John Cornyn may also be in the scrum for leadership roles.

  • Mississippi: Unweighted favorable-unfavorable poll numbers are out for some of the would-be Senate candidates: Former state Attorney General Mike Moore (D) 48-34-19; former Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) 39-46-15; Rep. Roger Wicker (R) 39-13-48; Mississippi state Supreme Court Justice James Graves (R) 16-19-65. It is unsurprising to see Rep. Wicker (only well-known in his own Congressional district) and Justice Graves (how many voters really know their state Supreme Court Justices?) with high unknowns. The approval ratings at present certainly suggest that former AG Moore would be a stronger candidate than former Gov. Musgrove. Expect more numbers soon. As Kos comments, "Weird that they didn't poll [former Rep. Chip] Pickering..." It's only getting weirder, as Pickering's father, retired federal Judge Charles Pickering, is now being mentioned as a possibility.

    Meanwhile, Mississippi's top law enforcement official, state Attorney General Jim Hood, will keep a close eye on GOP Gov. Haley Barbour's scheduling of the special election, and will pursue legal action if he feels Barbour is bending the law. What is the actual law at hand? (Emphasis added by me.)

    If a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from Mississippi by death, resignation or otherwise, the Governor shall, within ten (10) days after receiving official notice of such vacancy, issue his proclamation for an election to be held in the state to elect a Senator to fill such unexpired term as may remain, provided the unexpired term is more than twelve (12) months and the election shall be held within ninety (90) days from the time the proclamation is issued and the returns of such election shall be certified to the Governor in the manner set out above for regular elections, unless the vacancy shall occur in a year that there shall be held a general state or congressional election, in which event the Governor's proclamation shall designate the general election day as the time for electing a Senator, and the vacancy shall be filled by appointment as hereinafter provided.
    Do you notice the only word I emphasized? "Shall." Barbour is saying that, since Mississippi had its state election earlier this month, in the 2007 calendar year, he can bump the special election to Election Day 2008. Barbour's partisan goal, of course, is to give the appointee a year as the Senate "incumbent" to give the Republican a leg up on the Democrat come election time. However, legal experts, like state Attorney General Jim Hood, might suggest that the letter of the law indicates that, since "shall" is future tense, 2007 is no longer a year in which "there 'shall' be held a general state or congressional election" because the election has come and gone. 2007 is a year in which there was a state election, but it is no longer a year in which there shall be a state election - meaning that the special election has to be scheduled within 90 days from the time of proclamation. A little hard to follow, maybe, but that is the letter of the law, for you strict constructionists out there. With Lott planning on resigning before the end of 2007 in order to duck 2008's more stringent lobbying restrictions, expect the scheduling of the special election to result in a legal battle, over "shall."

  • Tennessee: Democratic businessman and gubernatorial son Mike McWherter has withdrawn from consideration for the 2008 Senate race. (HT: TennViews) So who's up next for the Democrats?

    With McWherter out, state Democratic Party spokesman Wade Munday told CQ Politics that the attentions of party officials have returned to Bob Tuke — a Vietnam veteran and former state Democratic chairman — and Nashville lawyer Kevin Doherty. Both Democrats had previously indicated an interest in running for Senate but deferred to McWherter.
    It looks like Tuke is ready to go. He would have deferred to McWherter, but had been enthusiastic about the possibility of a Senate challenge to Alexander. If I had to guess, I'd expect a Tuke announcement will come in the next couple weeks.

  • Idaho: Check out the must-have holiday gift this season!

  • Virginia: Remember when Senator John Warner, the most powerful Republican in Virginia, criticized the Virginia Republican Party for its "distressing" "rigidity"? Well, I guess the VA-GOP didn't hear him because they're now making Republican voters sign a loyalty oath!

  • Tuesday Quick Hits

  • Mississippi: Both former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore and former Governor Ronnie Musgrove say that a decision will come soon regarding a campaign for the Senate seat from which Trent Lott is resigning. Perhaps they are waiting on the kerfuffle over the scheduling of a special election to be resolved, a decision that would determine if we see a 90-day campaign or a year-long campaign. WaPo's Cillizza also notes that, in addition to Moore and Musgrove, Democratic former Rep. Ronnie Shows is mentioned as a possible candidate while current state Attorney General Jim Hood won't be a candidate; additionally, state Treasurer Tate Reeves joins GOP Rep. Roger Wicker on the oft-mentioned Republicans list.

  • Idaho: 43rd State Blues has video up of Larry LaRocco's speech at the recent Ada County JFK Banquet, where he discusses his campaign trail to the Senate and Idaho's need for a change in direction. It's worth a watch; LaRocco is one of the most comfortable and natural stump speakers I've seen in a while.

  • Minnesota: Also in the video vault, MN Publius has up footage of a recent rally of Veterans for Al Franken, featuring former Senator Bob Kerrey. Again, very worth watching. Franken is sharp and acerbic and has the audience rapt by a powerful message.

  • Oregon: Speaker Jeff Merkley takes a progressive, powerful stand in favor of the right to privacy and the freedom of choice.

  • Nebraska: New Nebraska Network gives us a two-fer. First, Kyle Michaelis hears the drum beat from Tony Raimondo for a Senate campaign (as a Democrat) getting louder. (FYI: Draft Kleeb!) Second, Ryan Anderson looks at how Scott Kleeb may already be winning the race-within-a-race over the message framing and media narratives of the 2008 Senate race.

  • Monday, November 26, 2007

    November Senate Approval Numbers from Survey USA

    SUSA is up with their November numbers.


    Norm Coleman11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/077/24/076/19/0711/22/06

    Coleman managed to blink above the 50% danger line this month, but not by much; hardly enough to wipe away the "vulnerable" designation.

    Mitch McConnell11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/077/24/076/19/0711/22/06

    As has been remarked on the blog already, these are the worst numbers of McConnell's career and his first net negative approval rating. Good times.

    Pat Roberts11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/077/24/076/19/0711/22/06

    After nudging back up into the high-50's, Roberts is treading perilously close to the 50% danger line.

    Jeff Sessions11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/077/24/076/19/0711/22/06

    I hate to say it, but Jeff Sessions is looking quite safe.

    Gordon Smith11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/077/24/076/19/0711/22/06

    As with Coleman, Smith managed to blink above the 50% danger line this month, but, again, not by much; still very vulnerable.


    Tom Harkin11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/077/24/076/19/0711/22/06

    Harkin is looking just comfortable enough for me to say something snarky like, "I hope Tom Latham does challenge Harkin, just to open up Latham's House seat!"

    John Kerry11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/077/24/076/19/0711/22/06

    C'mon, NRSC! Kerry is soooo vulnerable. Go for it!

    Monday Round-Up

  • Jon Kyl, Lamar Alexander, and possibly Jim DeMint are all interested in Trent Lott's soon-to-be-vacant leadership post. Compound this with the possibility that Mitch McConnell loses in 2008, and the Senate GOP could even further resemble a chicken with its head cut off.

  • Mississippi: Yup, expect a controversy over the scheduling of the special election to replace Trent Lott as Republican Haley Barbour is already attempting to fudge Mississippi election law.

  • Kentucky: An interview with possible Senate candidate Lt. Col. Andrew Horne is up on BlueGrassRoots, and it concludes with the intimation that he would defer to state Auditor Crit Luallen if she ran for Senate and that he would run if Luallen doesn't.

  • Oklahoma: The usually very conservative Oklahoman offers a terrific profile of State Senator Andrew Rice. Definitely worth a read. Better news is, sources tell me, that a fundraiser with Andrew Rice is in the works featuring Senators Jon Tester and Blanche Lincoln, indicating that national Democrats are committed to providing the resources necessary to make Oklahoma as competitive as possible. A very good sign. Help bolster the good news by contributing to Rice's campaign to oust Jim "In Denial" Inhofe.

  • Nebraska: The Draft Kleeb pledge drive is making very impressive headway early on.

  • South Carolina: Lindsey Graham says: "I think history will judge the surge as probably the most successful counterinsurgency military operation in history." Then I guess we can expect that political reconciliation in Iraq to be right around the corner, huh?

  • Texas: John Cornyn loves suckling at that corporate teat.

  • Larry Flynt says that we can expect another Senate Republican sex scandal in the near future. We'll keep a look-out.

  • Ron Paul has secured the most unique endorsement of the Presidential race so far.

  • MS-Sen Update: Immediate Aftermath of Lott's Resignation Announcement

  • Mississippi: Trent Lott has made it official. He will be resigning his Senate seat. Mississippi's GOP Gov. Haley Barbour has called for a special election on Election Day 2008, saying that he would make an interim appointment within ten days of Lott's actual resignation date; he also ruled himself out as a candidate.

    However, there is a legal question about the timing of everything. Lott has to resign before the end of the 2007 calendar year to avoid the new ethics restrictions on lobbying. But, if Lott resigns before the end of the calendar year, Mississippi state law seems to indicate that a special election would be mandated within 90-days of the resignation. However, the special can be held on Election Day '08 if Lott doesn't resign until the 2008 calendar year - but then he'd be subject to the lobbying ethics restrictions that he's rushing out of the Senate to avoid. Expect debate over the resolution of this legal question and, with it, the timing of any appointments or special elections.

    So who might Barbour appoint, and who might run in the special election?


    Unless there is news from Barbour to the contrary, we can expect that whoever Barbour appoints will run for the Senate seat in the 2008 special election. While the conventional wisdom points to now-former Rep. Chip Pickering, this may not be the case:

    For Republicans, no one in the know seems to believe that Rep. Chip Pickering will be Barbour's choice to fill the vacancy. With Barbour not interested, Rep. Roger Wicker could well be the GOP pick. Wicker has held the 1st district since 1994 and ended September with $569,000 in the bank.
    Remember that, earlier this year, Pickering left the House for the K Street lobbying piggy bank (perhaps upon learning that Thad Cochran intended to run for re-election, meaning an open Senate seat wasn't in the cards for 2008... at that time). But the public reason Pickering disingenuously rattled off was to allow for more family time. Since a Senate race and possible return to the Legislative branch just a few months after retiring for more family time would make Pickering seem like, well, a flat-out liar, he is in a pickle. So, is Rep. Wicker the guy? Other Republincans mentioned include "businessman Jim Barksdale, who headed a commission to lead the recovery after Hurricane Katrina, and outgoing Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, who was term-limited in the 2007 election." Stay tuned.


    Though the Democrats have a short bench, the two biggest names appear to be interested. WaPo's Cillizza informs us:

    For Democrats, the Fix has learned that former state Attorney General Mike Moore -- Democrats' dream candidate -- is indeed interested in the contest and is considering a race. If Moore ran, he would likely clear the field. If not, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is the most oft-mentioned candidate. Rep. Gene Taylor (D) did not return a call seeking comment on his interest in a Senate bid but most national strategists believe he is a long shot. Former Rep. Mike Espy is also mentioned on the Democratic side but not considered a likely candidate.
    Stu Rothenberg adds that former Governor Musgrove is "seriously considering running." So, who would make a better nominee for the Democrats? The easiest metric to point to is how their last statewide election went. Moore capped off his four-terms as Mississippi Attorney General with a 64-36 victory over his Republican opponent, winning the vast majority of counties. Also, back in 2002, Moore's approve-disapprove was clocked at a whopping 65-18. Musgrove, however, lost his first re-election bid to Barbour by a 53-47 62-38 [Oops!] margin. A cursory look based solely on these electoral results would suggest that Moore would be the much stronger candidate.

    No doubt that more (Moore?) speculation and announcements will come during the week, so, again, stay tuned!

  • BREAKING: Trent Lott to Resign Before the End of 2007

  • Mississippi: This is just breaking within the last hour. Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi will resign before the end of 2007. CNN cites as the reason: "Lott intends to join the private sector." But can't Lott serve out his term and then "join the private sector"? What gives? MSNBC pins it down:

    While the exactly reason Lott is stepping down before he finishes his term is unknown, the general speculation is that a quick departure immunizes Lott against tougher restrictions in a new lobbying law that takes effect at the end of the year. That law would require Senators to wait two-years before entering the lucrative world of lobbying Congress.
    The K Street Gravy Train. Makes sense as reports are saying that there are no health issues, and there are also no new scandals (that we know of). And this must not have been a decision made as of the beginning of 2007, as Trent Lott stepped up to and beat Lamar Alexander for the Republican Whip spot (which dealt a bit of an embarrassment to Alexander). So, as Jerome says, Lott's "gettin while the gettin's still good." The Politico nails down expectations for an appointment and subsequent 2008 Senate race:

    Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), who announced his retirement from the House earlier this year, would be a leading candidate for the Senate seat in the special election. One official said Pickering will run for sure. Another possible GOP contender for the seat would be Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

    On the Democratic side, former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore has been mentioned as a strong statewide candidate in an otherwise heavily Republican state.
    Remember that, only about two weeks ago, Mississippi's other Senator, Republican Thad Cochran, announced that he would run for re-election in 2008, diminishing expectations that popular former state Attorney General Mike Moore would enter the race. Well, this announcement makes for a whole new ballgame. Expect developments and announcements (including something official from Lott himself) in the coming hours and days.

  • Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Sunday Briefs

  • Virginia: The Washington Post obliterates Republican Jim Gilmore. I don't even know which passage to highlight. Read the whole thing.

  • Alaska: Ted Stevens must be thrilled that even more media outlets are covering the institutional political corruption in Alaska. If Alaskans don't like their state being portrayed as a hotbed of political corruption, they ought to send a clear message by voting Ted Stevens out of office. (FYI: Retire Ted!)

  • New Mexico: The New York Times offers a recap of the domino effect created by Pete Domenici's retirement, including quotes from New Mexico blogger Joe Monahan.

  • South Carolina: One of Lindsey Graham's primary opponents, RNC member Buddy Witherspoon, has a history of affiliation with white supremacist organizations. How will this affect the dynamics of the SC-GOP primary? I honestly don't know.

  • Saturday, November 24, 2007

    Saturday Very Quick Hits

  • Kentucky: DMKY's Gunterman takes restrained delight in the scenario of Kentuckians wanting political change more than ever while Mitch McConnell presents himself as Mr. Status Quo. Simple high school math: if Kentuckians want change, and Mitch McConnell represents the opposite of change, then Kentuckians must not want Mitch McConnell. (Hey, the polls agree with that assessment!)

  • Nebraska: The Draft Scott Kleeb movement has begun a volunteer pledge drive, which has gained earned media in local outlets. The founder of, Mike Nellis, also makes the case in the media for Kleeb being the answer to Nebraska's leadership vacuum.

  • In other Nebraska-related pontificating, All Spin Zone wonders if McCook, Nebraska, is the conservative canary in the coal mine.

  • Friday, November 23, 2007

    Friday Items

  • Idaho: Speaking extemporaneously, I fully agree with mcjoan's thought that it is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that Senator Larry Craig decides to up and run for re-election, either out of spite to the Republicans who threw him under the bus or out of a sense that he still could win re-nomination. The former reason is predicated simply on how pissed off he is. The latter is predicated on how many people enter the Republican primary. If GOP Lt. Gov. Jim Risch is the only big name in the race, then it may be a moot point for Craig; but, if a few credible names enter the primary and splinter the vote a few ways, such that 35-40% of the vote could win the primary, I certainly wouldn't be shocked if Craig went for it. At this point, he doesn't have much left to lose. Meanwhile, Republican rancher Rex Rammell has officially entered the GOP primary and has a major bone to pick with Jim Risch, so expect some sparks to fly there.

  • Nebraska: Stu Rothenberg offers an uneven look at Scott Kleeb's chances in a possible 2008 Senate bid, highlighting all of the reasons he and Democrats would have momentum, only to say that none of it really means anything. He points out that Democrats have won nine of the past eleven NE-Sen races and nine of the past fifteen NE-Gov races, but also notes that all eighteen victories were for the same four Democrats. Then, he notes that "2006 and 2008 are very different years" when lessening the meaning of Kleeb's strong '06 Congressional showing, and uses election results from as far back as, I'm not kidding, 1974 to demonstrate the overrated value of Kleeb's '06 showing. Of course, Kleeb would be an underdog to Mike Johanns. I'm not debating that. I just find it very uneven that Rothenberg would seemingly discount Kleeb's '06 result because 2008 is a "very different" year, but he finds results from the mid-70's awfully relevant. While '08 will be a Presidential election year, I think most observers would agree that 2008 will prove to be very similar to 2006 in terms of national trends and key issues. (By the way, Draft Kleeb!)

  • Virginia: Republican Jim Gilmore has many, many flaws. But, I will give him some credit: he is hilarious!

  • North Carolina: The OLF siting issue in North Carolina is one of the major local issues that doesn't get national press, but could have a major impact on the NC-Sen race. And Elizabeth Dole just keeps looking terrible on it.

  • Republican Tennessee Senator Bob Corker is "underwhelmed" by George W. Bush's "depth" and "complexity" on Iraq. So are we all, Corky.

  • Well, this is the latest contemptible lack of disclosure from the Bush administration.

  • Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Have a Happy Thanksgiving everybody! (And a hat tip to Rhode Island's Future for the cartoon.)

  • MyDD's Singer has October estimates up for the DSCC's and the NRSC's respective fundraising takes; and, again, the DSCC edges the NRSC $3.1 million to $2.9 million. October cash-on-hand-minus-debt for the DSCC stands at $20.9 million, compared to the NRSC's $9.5 million, a more than two-to-one advantage for the DSCC.

  • Alaska: It continues to look bad for ol' Ted Stevens:

    Only 44 percent of Alaska voters said they approved of Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens’ performance in office, while 38 percent disapprove. Stevens has been a stalwart in Alaska politics since he was first elected in 1968, and the six-point net approval rating is one of his lowest-ever levels of support.
  • Virginia: Are the VA-GOP and conservative establishment preparing to throw former Governor Jim Gilmore under the bus in favor of fresh-faced Chris Saxman? If Gilmore's poll numbers continue to look this atrocious, the powers-that-be in the GOP might be happy with anything else.

  • Would it have been the worst thing in the world to have named one of the turkeys "Scooter"?

  • Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Wednesday Night Round-Up

  • Following yesterday's estimation by Cook Political Report Senior Editor Jennifer Duffy "that Democrats will score a net gain of between three and six Senate seats next November," the new Evans-Novak Political Report offers the expectation that Democrats are poised to pick up four Senate seats.

  • New Mexico: Congressman Tom Udall confirms that Governor Bill Richardson told him that Richardson will definitely not run for Senate.

  • Alabama: Jeff Sessions holds a large 62-30 lead over State Senator Vivian Figures in recent Rasmussen Reports polling. This is unsurprising not only because of Alabama's Republican bent but also because of Figures' campaign's relative (and troubling) silence. It leaves us wondering what could have been with a Ron Sparks for Senate campaign.

  • Louisiana: Bummer. Prostitute-lovin' David Vitter will be able to weasel out of testifying in the DC Madam trial. This will continue his streak of honestly answering zero questions in public about his scandal since his pseudo-press conference.

  • What's the difference between Mitt Romney and a used car salesman? Yeah, I don't know either. Man, those stunned reactions look awfully over-rehearsed.

  • Wednesday Early Morning Briefs

  • Cook Political Report Senior Editor Jennifer Duffy says: "Democrats will score a net gain of between three and six Senate seats next November." Barring shocking news in South Dakota at this point, Louisiana continues to be the only conceivable point of offense for Republicans. Meanwhile, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, and now New Mexico are looking like safe, strong pick-up opportunities for Democrats, rapidly making three the bare minimum pick-up estimate in the conventional wisdom.

    With polls trending the Democrats' way in Minnesota and Oregon, as well, a pick-up estimate of five may become the new conventional wisdom bare minimum in a few months. And, should Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich enter the Alaska race, Mitch McConnell's record-low poll numbers continue, and Tom Allen close the gap on Susan Collins over the next several months (as well as Treasurer John N. Kennedy or whoever the Republicans put up against Senator Mary Landrieu not gain traction), well, you get the picture. (And those are all very reasonable scenarios before getting into the North Carolinas, Texases, Oklahomas, Nebraskas, Tennessees and Idahos of the world.)

  • Nebraska: State Attorney General Jon Bruning has officially withdrawn from the 2008 Senate race and gotten behind chronic quitter Mike Johanns. NNN's Michaelis wonders why:

    Who can say what promises are being made behind the scenes - support in 2012, fund-raising help, a single Johanns term? Maybe it's as simple as the vindictive Heineman-Johanns machine promising not to focus its undivided attention on Bruning's political destruction.
    The GOP primary now stands between presumptive nominee Johanns and major underdog businessman Pat Flynn. Hopefully, Flynn can muster some persistent ankle biting. The question now arises as to whether Johanns' clearer path to the nomination will discourage Scott Kleeb from giving the race a go. (Draft Kleeb!) Or will Republican-turned-question-mark businessman Tony Raimondo jump into the Democratic fray as rumors suggest?

  • Kentucky: Amid Mitch McConnell's historic low approvals, DMKY's Sonka looks at the difference in McConnell's approve-disapprove among independents from October-November 2006 and October-Novemebr 2007. Among independents over the last year, McConnell has plummetted from an approve-disapprove of low 60s-low 30s to low 40s-mid 40s! McConnell has a net negative approval of six points among independents this month, standing at 40-46. And the good times roll.

  • Good for Chris Dodd!

  • Good for Desmond Tutu!

  • Looks like Conservapedia is coming out of the closet.

  • Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Tuesday Round-Up

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell is facing his worst approval ratings ever:

    This month, for the first time, McConnell has a negative Net Job Approval — Minus 3. His approval rating is at 44%, the lowest since tracking began in May of 2005, and his disapproval is at an all-time high of 47%.
    McConnell's approval has even been steadily declining among Republicans over the last few months. Kos, tongue in cheek, wonders why:

    So what's dragging him down? Is it his endemic corruption? Or is it his leadership of the hated GOP Senate caucus? Perhaps it's his inexplicable war on SCHIP. Or could it be his cheerleading for the failed war in Iraq? Maybe it's his local electoral failures -- first, in seeing his handpicked candidate go down in flames in the GOP gubernatorial primary, or maybe seeing him cozy up to the hated, unpopular, and ultimately ousted for Republican governor Ernie Fletcher.
    All of the above.

  • New Mexico: New Survey USA polling is out and Congressman Tom Udall is kicking butt! Udall is winning his primary by 30 points and beating both Republican Congresscritters by about 15 points apiece. NM-FBIHOP and MyDD offer further breakdown of the numbers by demographics.

  • Nebraska: The rumors are circulating that state Attorney General Jon Bruning will soon withdraw from the GOP's 2008 Senate primary, leaving chronic quitter Mike Johanns as the unquestionably presumptive nominee.

  • Virginia: Sure, I think Jim Gilmore is flopping right out of the gate. But I'm not the only one. Even conservatives think Gilmore is awful. Conservative Ramesh Ponnuru says, "I am amazed that this man was ever elected to anything." Perhaps Gilmore should be increasingly worried about Chris Saxman, who could not-impossibly upset Gilmore next year.

  • Louisiana: MyDD's Singer picks up on some good omens for Senator Mary Landrieu from the recent state legislative elections. Overall, Republicans picked up a couple seats, but Democrats retained the majority in both houses. So what are the especially good omens? Republicans had the winds in their favor more prominently than some realize.

    Not only has Hurricane Katrina-related displacement negatively impacted Democrats in Louisiana more than Republicans, but "Democrats lost over half their incumbents due to term limits" and "Republican groups seeking the majority outspent Democrats two-to-one." While Louisiana is nominally shifting redder, for Republicans to have so many Democratic-held open seats to pursue and a 2-to-1 outside spending advantage and still not make more significant gains, it can definitely be taken as a sign that Senator Landrieu is less vulnerable than she is made out to be by some.

    It doesn't hurt that Landrieu also enjoys a campaign fund of over $3 million and an approval rating clocked as high as 67% earlier this year.

  • Idaho: Larry LaRocco has a terrific new ad up. Help LaRocco afford lots more ads by contributing to his campaign!

  • Oregon: The Oregon College Democrats are not to be messed with. Meanwhile, Gordon Smith continues unabated with his unflinching record of double-talk on Iraq. Separately, House Speaker Jeff Merkley scored the endorsement of Oregon AFSCME, which represents 22,000 workers.

  • West Virginia: Happy birthday, Senator Byrd!

  • This is one of the most objectionable things I've read in a long while.

  • Check out VetVoice!

  • Monday, November 19, 2007

    VA-Sen: Jim Gilmore Looks Terrible Right Out of the Gate

    To help kick off his Senate, um, campaign, Jim Gilmore released an announcement video:

    MyDD's Beeton dubbed the video the "Worst. Announcement. Video. Ever." Although I haven't seen every single announcement video ever, I'm inclined to agree. Beeton touches on some of Gilmore's video's style issues: "Gilmore's video is dark, the camera is static and Gilmore looks shifty, uncomfortable and bored." Very true. Now, let's run through the actual text of Gilmore's announcement video, every single cringe-worthy sentence.

    These are challenging times for our country. We're threated by terrorism, concerned about a difficult war, stuck in traffic,
    Holy cow! Did Gilmore actually list "traffic" as the number three challenge for our country behind terrorism and Bush's Iraq War (which he only refers to as "a difficult war" without using the word "Iraq")? The traffic in Virginia must be really bad. Like, terrorism bad.

    dissatisfied with how our children are educated, and too often our culture seems more interested in the latest doings of tabloid celebrities than the debates that could decide our country's future.
    Damn Virginia voters caring more about Paris Hilton than the real issues. Good for Jim Gilmore for taking a stand against against those particular Virginia voters.

    Of course serious problems and crises are nothing new for America. But today I'm sorry to say we also find too often that our leaders just aren't up to the challenge. America has a lot of work to do and doesn't have the right leaders to do it.
    Our leaders "aren't up to the task" and we don't have "the right leaders"??? Well, who are Virginia's leaders? President Bush, whose job Gilmore unsuccessfully tried to get. Virginia's senior Senator John Warner, whose job Gilmore is unsuccessfully trying to get. These are Virginia's leaders. Is Gilmore saying John Warner isn't "up to the task"? Is Gilmore bashing John Warner? If not, to which "leaders" is Gilmore referring?

    It would be easy to be disheartened; but, you know something, there are a lot of causes for hope, too. We're the greatest country in the world, not because of our politicians, but because of our people
    Our people who are "more interested in the latest doings of tabloid celebrities" than real issues? Are these the people you're proud of, Jim? I thought those people represented a challenge for our country. Maybe there are different people.

    and our great institutions. And, as far as I can see, our institutions are very much intact and can be built upon. These institutions instill in every American a sense of fair play, a desire for equal justice, economic opportunity, and a deep love for a land of liberty called the United States of America.
    OK, now what does all of that have to do with you, Jim?

    We haven't lost what's down deep in all of us and what really keeps us together despite all the problems that seem to have descended on us of late. The kind of leaders we need would build on these strengths rather than add to our troubles.
    I see Gilmore's platform now! "Strengths good; troubles bad; vote Gilmore!" It's a winner!

    I'm running for the United States Senate from Virginia because I want to be one of those leaders who call on the spirit that's common in all of us
    You want to be one of those leaders? You're not already one of those leaders? Cuz, bad news, Jimmy, Mark Warner is already one of those leaders. No training necessary.

    and use it to restore our country for the benefit of our people and in the eyes of the world.
    Did something happen to the perception of the United States "in the eyes of the world"? Who let that happen? It was probably one of those fake leaders who Gilmore says isn't "up to the task."

    I'm a veteran, having served our country in Army Counterintelligence
    No joke here. Thank you for your military service.

    and I'm a former law enforcement official. I can offer Virginians unparalleled experience and a strong and steady hand in the Senate. I was Governor of Virginia when our nation was struck on September the 11th and I helped Virginia deal with the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon.
    Ummm, Jim, just physically being there the moment an attack happened is not a qualification. It's really sickening when Bush or Giuliani or, now, Gilmore say "I was there when it happened, so I'm qualified."

    It was a time of great challenge. It was also a time when Virginia and America came together to work for the common good.
    Do we not work together for the common good anymore? Has the nation become polarized? How -Rove- did -Bush- that -Cheney- happen?

    That's the type of leadership we need today to address the vital issues facing the citizens of our Commonwealth.
    Vital issues, like the horrible traffic I hear so much about.

    Issues like national security, transportation, education, and immigration. On all these issues, our leaders have let us down and we badly need new hands at the wheel. And in the last year, we've unfortunately seen that these failures are not just unique to one political Party.
    Again with the leaders letting us down. How bad of a Senator does Jim Gilmore think John Warner is? Or is he referring to another leader for Virginia? Jim, clue us in. Oh, and if Gilmore is looking for a policy advisor on immigration, I know a guy who might have some advice for him.

    It's time for a change.
    If it's time for a "change," why would Virginians want the same old guy who already failed in Virginia, like, a decade ago and who is of the same political Party as the current retiring Senator? Jim, how is that change? (Jim caught on; "change" is a word that tests well, so he uses it even though he'll change nothing whatsoever. Nothing.)

    We could do better and we have to. [Cue schmaltzy music.] Virginia's legacy of solid principles and values is ingrained in me. Family, patriotism, justice, free enterprise, defense of our nation.
    Is a never-ending supply of pablum a Virginia value too?

    These are Virginia values, the ideals of my youth, and the hope of our future.
    I hear Jim is also pro-strength and anti-troubles! He's our guy!

    I'm not going to be about labels and "us against them."
    Yeah, that's because, lately, your label sucks in Virginia as the election results clearly illustrate!

    I'm about applying these great principles for the good of Virginia and the good of the nation. That's who I am and that's why I'm running, to represent Virginians, all of them, in the United States Senate.
    I'm pretty sure Gilmore refers to Virginians as "all of them" instead of something inclusive like "all of us" - a real man of the people that Gilmore is.

    Compare all of this with Mark Warner's bright, upbeat video that actually lists actual accomplishments as Governor:

    We started up with a deficit, but we ended with a surplus. Virginia was named the best managed state in America. We were named the best place to do business and the best place for a child to learn.
    The choice is clear, even if Jim Gilmore's rationale for running isn't. (By the way, if Gilmore thinks he can get through the campaign without using the words "Bush," "Iraq," or "Republican," like he tries to do in this video, he has another thing coming.)

    Monday Items

  • Virginia: Failed former Gov. Jim Gilmore officially - yawn - enters the 2008 Senate race. If Gilmore's goal is to pay off the remaining debt from his short-lived Presidential campaign, he may very well be successful. If his goal is to become a U.S. Senator, I'm thinking he'll fall well short. The DSCC offers a thorough look at Gilmore's record of fiscal mismanagement. Meanwhile, Gilmore may face a primary challenger yet, in the person of businessman and state delegate Chris Saxman.

  • Nebraska: Nebraskan bloggers in the know are spotlighting rumors that a possible Republican Senate candidate, businessman Tony Raimondo, may find himself being wooed to run for the seat as a Democrat. The natural follow-up question is: Why not just get an actual Democrat to run? In other news, Don Walton churns out an idea worthy of the rumor mill, should Scott Kleeb decline: "Maybe Diane Nelson could be the Democratic Senate surprise, listed on the ballot as Mrs. Ben Nelson."

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell nicknamed himself "The Grim Reaper." Write your own punchlines.

  • Minnesota: Al Franken is rolling along with endorsements from AFSCME and the firefighters' union.

  • North Carolina: Public Policy Polling looks at relationships between the issues voters care about in the NC-Sen race and the candidate they support.

  • Massachusetts: Could failed Republican Congressional candidate Jim Ogonowski be considering a 2008 Senate challenge to Senator John Kerry? Ogonowski was defeated in a special election (i.e. he had all the Republican muscle behind him, undistracted) by a Democrat running a less-than-stellar campaign. I can't fathom how he'd do any better statewide against Kerry. But the MA-GOP has to field someone, I suppose.

  • New Mexico: Joe Monahan looks at the role GOP Rep. Steve Pearce's personal wealth could play in his Senate primary against GOP Rep. Heather Wilson, and also sees Pete Domenici possibly lending Wilson a helping hand.

  • The DSCC's massive fundraising advantage over the NRSC is about to get even stronger.

  • Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Weekend Rundown

  • WaPo's Cillizza has his Senate Line up for November. Still 9 Republicans and only one Democrat (Mary Landrieu still at 5), as Virginia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Colorado retain the top four spots, and Minnesota, Oregon, Maine, and Alaska hold spots six through nine. But the 10-spot changes from Nebraska to Kentucky, with Mitch McConnell making his first appearance on the list. Welcome, Mitch!

  • New Mexico: Congressman Tom Udall has officially filed to run for Senate. Game on.

  • Alaska: Ted Stevens continues to lurch slowly toward insanity.

  • Nebraska: Republicans blame Mike Johanns for the failure of the Farm Bill, too.

  • Idaho: GOP Lt. Gov. Jim Risch is replacing Senator Larry "Wide Stance" Craig as Mitt Romney's state chairman in Idaho. Does Risch really want to set up these parallels between him and Craig?

  • New Hampshire: Sprintin' John Sununu is not a fiscal conservative. He is, however, a hypocrite regarding fiscal conservatism. Also, the Guru wishes Blue Hampshire a happy birthday!

  • Louisiana: Campaign Diaries takes a look at the state legislative runoffs to see if there are any clues regarding Senator Mary Landrieu's re-election chances. Democrats lost a few seats in the state Legislature, but retained the majority. The verdict: no big clues.

  • Oregon: A correction from the Guru is in order. I've had businesswoman Eileen Brady listed as "considering" a Senate race for quite a while now, not having noticed that she has endorsed Jeff Merkley for Senate.

  • North Dakota: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture nominee Ed Schafer says he has no intentions of challenging Senator Byron Dorgan in 2010. Of course, GOP Gov. John Hoeven, who is up for re-election in 2008, remains a likely challenger, though "Democrats have tried to extract a promise that he'll serve out his gubernatorial term."

  • Are you curious about the journalistic depth of Fox News?

  • Friday, November 16, 2007

    Friday Round-Up

  • Democrats are trying to secure funding for our troops, but the funding is blocked by Republicans who won't allow any form of oversight against their best pal Dubya. I suppose Republican Senators hate the troops or something.

  • Alaska: I know I've mentioned it before, but check out for all the background on Ted Stevens' corrupt dealings. It really is a terrific site.

  • Oregon: Speaker Jeff Merkley will hold a liveblog tomorrow, Saturday, starting at 2:00pm Pacific (i.e. 5:00pm Eastern).

  • Maine: The latest issue on which Susan Collins is demonstrating her trademark hypocrisy: out-of-state money. In fact, she's incredibly hypocritical about it. (For instance, only 30% of Collins' funds have actually come from Maine!)

  • Nebraska: Daily Kos commissioned a Research 2000 poll to get baseline numbers should Scott Kleeb enter the race. The results saw: Johanns-Kleeb at 59-28 and Bruning-Kleeb at 55-29. Clearly, Kleeb would have an uphill climb. The saving grace is that, while both Johanns and Bruning are well known from their respective tenures as statewide officials, 63% of Nebraskans don't know Kleeb, unsurprising given that his claim to fame has been a very strong showing in one very conservative Congressional district. But, those that do know Kleeb overwhelmingly approve of him, at a 28-9 (or more than 3-to-1) approval rate. Basically, if Kleeb had the hustle to raise his name ID, he could make this a competitive race. I think Kleeb has that hustle. By the way, Draft Kleeb!

    Meanwhile, professional quitter Mike Johanns has as his legacy as Agriculture Secretary a failed farm bill, perhaps in part because he quit his job before the bill was finished. You see, Democrats were ready to move forward with the bill, wanting to get it done to help farmers in Nebraska and across America. But Republicans filibustered it "over unrelated amendments that Republicans wanted to add." Republicans killed the farm bill for 2007 and quitter Mike Johanns let it happen.

  • New Mexico: I wonder what Dick Cheney's approval is in New Mexico. I wonder that because Cheney is Heather Wilson's most recent ATM machine. Funny enough, Wilson wasn't even able to raise off of Cheney anything close to what other Republican Congresscritters get from him. Cheney will also host a fundraiser for Republican Steve Pearce in January.

  • Alabama: It's good to finally see State Senator Vivian Figures out there campaigning.

  • South Carolina: Word to the wise: it might just be easier never to trust anything Lindsey Graham says.

  • North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole continues to fail real North Carolinians on local issues.

  • Nathan Gonzales at The Rothenberg Political Report takes a historical look at Senators who lost their first Senate bid, only to subsequently win, a pattern that popular former Governors and former & current Senate candidates Jeanne Shaheen and Mark Warner are currently following.

  • The 2008 edition of Netroots Nation, nee Yearly Kos, will place in Austin, Texas, July 17-20.

  • Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Thursday Insights

  • MyDD's Singer offers some perspective:

    it's nevertheless extremely telling that the best bit of campaign news received by Senate Republicans in recent weeks and months is that the party won't have to worry about Mississippi. That's right, Mississippi, a state in which the Democrats haven't won a Senate election in close to 20 years, a state that George W. Bush carried with 60 percent of the vote in 2004.
    Kinda sets the tone for the national Senate picture.

  • Speaking of the national Senate picture, given the DSCC's massive fundraising edge over the NRSC and "immensely popular congressman" Tom Udall entering New Mexico's 2008 Senate race, the Evans-Novak Political Report now expects four currently-Republican-held seats to flip Democratic next year.

  • Maine: The choice in Maine is stark and clear. Susan Collins continues to support the Bush policy of endless war in Iraq. Meanwhile, Tom Allen reiterates his support for a firm withdrawal deadline. Choices don't get much clearer than that.

  • New Hampshire: The latest issue on which Sprintin' John Sununu lacks leadership: the sub-prime mortgage crisis and predatory lending.

  • Nebraska: Local media are encouraging Scott Kleeb to run for Senate in 2008.

  • Oregon: Gordon Smith: partisan attack dog.

  • Louisiana: Prostitute-lovin' David Vitter has been subpoenaed in the D.C. Madam case. Perhaps now he'll actually answer some questions.

  • Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Wednesday Rundown

  • Swing State Project introduces a cool new feature: Sortable Congressional Filing Deadlines & Primary Dates Calendar

  • Mississippi: Despite last-minute clues to the contrary, Thad Cochran announced that he will run for re-election to the Senate in 2008.

  • Kentucky: Democratic Dr. Michael Cassaro officially entered the 2008 Senate race. And state Attorney General Greg Stumbo said a decision would come by mid-December as to whether his Senate exploratory effort would become a full-fledged campaign. The article included that state Auditor Crit Luallen is "not close to deciding whether to enter the Senate race."

  • Nebraska: Scott Kleeb is getting closer to a decision.

  • South Dakota: Republican Joel "Einstein" Dykstra gives us a good laugh.

  • Virginia: Republican Jim Gilmore gives us another good laugh.

  • Alaska: WaPo offers the latest recap of Alaska's public corruption scandals, co-starring Ted Stevens.

  • South Carolina: Lindsey Graham's newest primary opponent, Republican National Committee member Buddy Witherspoon, has a live website and a checkered past. Meanwhile, something is bizarrely wrong with this article from The Hill. The sixth paragraph begins:

    Recent polls show Graham is popular among the entire electorate, including Democrats...
    However, the eleventh paragraph reads:

    A June InsiderAdvantage poll showed his disapproval rating higher among Republicans (46 percent) than Democrats (30 percent), while his approval among both was in the low 30s. The poll was conducted soon after Graham took ownership of the immigration bill — a severely unpopular position in the state, according to the poll.
    The article means no other poll results whatsoever. So how does Aaron Blake, who wrote the article, figure that "recent polls show Graham is popular" with anybody? Sloppy. Very sloppy. I'll remind Aaron Blake that this recent poll says:

    More than 45 percent of likely Republican voters surveyed said they would consider voting for someone else in the 2008 GOP primary. Only 41 percent of GOP voters said they would be more likely to vote for Graham again.
    And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to back this up. While unseating Graham is indeed a very uphill task, one thing is for sure; polls do not show that "Graham is popular among the entire electorate."

  • From the "You Must Be Kidding Me" file. Somewhere, Bill Maher's head is exploding.

  • Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Tuesday Items

  • South Carolina: "Arch-conservative" RNC member Buddy Witherspoon will announce this week that he will challenge Lindsey Graham to a Senate primary in 2008 and will focus his campaign on illegal immigration, the central issue on which Graham has seen his base of support erode.

  • Nebraska: Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey will definitely not run for Senate in 2008. All eyes now turn to Scott Kleeb. Draft Kleeb!

  • Maine: Collins Watch takes a biting look at how Susan Collins is only now beginning to pay lip service to the kind of oversight responsibilities and open contracting processes that she didn't bother to fight for during her years as Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell's ad has been enhanced:

    Mitch McConnell's ad, co-starring a convicted sexual harrasser

    The parody enhancement of the ad

  • Monday, November 12, 2007

    Monday (Very) Quick Hits

  • Tennessee: Does this mean that businessman and gubernatorial son Mike McWherter is definitely in the 2008 Senate race? (Thanks for the heads up, Tom.)

    Georgia: I'll say it again: Not a day goes by where I don't hope that war hero and former Senator Max Cleland will reconsider and run for Senate against Spineless Saxby Chambliss.

  • Kentucky: Draft Crit is steamrolling! Meanwhile, DMKY offers a collection of press from the weekend, including this gem on Mitch McConnell from the Louisville Courier-Journal quoting Larry Sabato:

    "But if I were Mitch McConnell, I'd be very nervous. Because there's a Democratic trend in his state, a new Democratic governor who's going to try to get him, and he is the representative of George Bush and the Iraq war in Kentucky. Good luck!"

  • Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Have a Contemplative Veterans Day

  • New Mexico: Congressman Tom Udall will definitely run for Senate in 2008, according to his Chief of Staff. A formal announcement will come over Thanksgiving recess. If these poll numbers hold up, Udall is in very solid shape againt either Republican, be it the ethically-compromised Heather Wilson or the far-right-wing Steve Pearce. By any respectable measure, New Mexico now becomes at least a "Toss Up," if not a "Lean Democrat." In response to Udall's entry, businessman Don Wiviott has departed the Senate race to run for Udall's House seat. Jim Hannan is also expected to defer to Udall and withdraw from the race. Meanwhile, an internal poll sees Udall crushing Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez 50-30 (note: link is PDF) in a Democratic primary. By the way, kudos to the folks at Draft Udall. Of course, countless factors go into an individual's decision to run or not run for political office - but efforts like these must encourage individuals to run, letting them know vocal support is out there.

  • Nebraska: Just a few days after it looked "unlikely" that Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey would run for Senate in 2008, it is now looking like a distinctly more likely possibility with an announcement coming as soon as this week. Fingers crossed!

  • Kentucky: The Bridge offers us a three-fer. As the Draft Crit Luallen and Draft Andrew Horne movements pick up steam, Dr. Michael Cassaro enters the Democratic primary.

  • North Carolina: Do-Nothing Elizabeth Dole gone digital.

  • Georgia: Not a day goes by where I don't hope that war hero and former Senator Max Cleland will reconsider and run for Senate against Spineless Saxby Chambliss.

  • Tom Delay is an idiot.

  • Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms (HT: WVB)

  • Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Saturday Quick Hits

  • Kentucky: The star of Mitch McConnell's new ads, Alben Barkley II, was convicted of sexual harrassment back in 1981 while Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner. Two thoughts. First, the parallels to McConnell's support for the corrupt Ernie Fletcher abound. (Does McConnell, who himself is no poster boy for ethics, hang out with anybody who hasn't been indicted or who doesn't abuse the power of his political office?) Second, will McConnell pull the ads starring a convicted sexual harrasser? Ask Mitch's office: 202-224-2541.

  • New Mexico: Yet another sign that Congressman Tom Udall will enter the 2008 Senate race. With all these hints popping up, can we expect a Udall announcement in the very near future?

  • Oregon: With Veterans Day coming up, remember that Gordon Smith has a terrible record on veterans.

  • New Jersey: I've said it before and I'll say it again, Senator Frank Lautenberg is one of the hardest working members of the Senate. (HT: Blue Jersey)

  • Texas: Senator John Kerry was on Burnt Orange Report backing Rick Noriega!

  • Friday, November 09, 2007

    Unusually Large Friday Rundown

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell's first ads are up, and McConnell is so desperate, he's running on Democrat Alben Barkley's record! I'm not joking. As DMKY's Sonka points out:

    And I can’t wait for the Club for Growth to see this ad!!! This is a love letter to pork and federal government spending through earmarks. Calling Senator Forgy!!!
    Speaking of Larry Forgy, The Hill has some interesting commentary on his likelihood of entering the 2008 Senate race:

    But that could soon change for McConnell, with opponents lining up not only on the Democratic side but from an angry Republican-turned-Independent as well.

    Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Forgy has made no secret of his anger over what he sees as McConnell’s role in dividing the state party by throwing Fletcher under the bus at the onset of his administration’s scandals and backing former Rep. Anne Northup in the GOP primary last spring. He believes this led to Fletcher’s defeat this week. ...

    But Forgy is furious, and he told The Hill Thursday he is not ruling out an independent bid to unseat McConnell, though he insists he doesn’t want to be a spoiler.

    Forgy, who was the party’s nominee for governor in 1995, said he is “pretty sore” at McConnell and the state party for what he sees as their betrayal of Fletcher.

    “The only difference between that and cannibals is that cannibals normally don’t eat their friends,” Forgy said.
    A Larry Forgy primary challenge would force McConnell to spend money and weaken him for the general election against the Democrat. A Larry Forgy independent bid in the general election could mean curtains for McConnell! Running as an independent would make the Club for Growth no less likely to financially back Forgy - in fact, it could make them more likely since the CfG would probably like to back non-Republican candidates who share their philosophies, to extend their cred. I wholeheartedly support Forgy's decision to run as an independent, should it come to fruition.

  • New Mexico: (Rumor alert!) Rumor has it that Congressman Tom Udall has decided to run for Senate in 2008, and it's only a matter of time until he announces.

  • Oregon: Speaker Jeff Merkley is using a phenomenal tactic against Gordon Smith, evidencing Smith's double-speak to Republicans.

  • Mississippi: Republican Thad Cochran says an announcement is coming regarding his 2008 electoral plans in "a few weeks." (HT: TPM) But could Cochran be facing health problems? I only ask because of some of the quotes in the aforelinked article (emphasis added by me):

    "I certainly hope he does not retire," said Paul Mize Sr., a longtime Tupelo friend and confidante. Mize said Cochran is healthy, active and enormously helpful to Mississippi's interests in Congress.

    Former Cochran chief staff counseI, Brad Prewitt, an attorney and business consultant in Tupelo, said he hopes Cochran runs, adding, "He is logically, mentally a well-organized man. I think he is weighing all the factors about what to do with the rest of his time."
    Is there any reason to think Cochran isn't "healthy" or "mentally well-organized"? Is this a case of "methinks thou doth protest too much"? We'll see. Oh, and this article also contains the dumbest sentence I've seen in a while: "Support for a sixth Cochran term is widespread among his Mississippi backers." Thanks, NE-Miss Daily Journal, support for Cochran is widespread among his backers. Basically, the newspaper dedicated column space to say that Cochran's supporters support him. Man, oh man...

  • Virginia: Another sign the Old Dominion is turning blue: the elder statesman of the VA-GOP is criticizing the VA-GOP.

  • Nebraska: Draft Scott Kleeb has been re-launched. Check it out!

  • Arizona: MyDD's Singer offers another look at a 2010 Senate bid by popular Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano. Polling has Governor Napolitano handily beating Republican John McCain 47-36.

  • Ohio: In another look ahead to 2010, Bush administration official Rob Portman may be considering a run for Senate then if George Voinovich retires. I think a Voinovich retirement in 2010 is more than likely for several reasons: 1) he will be 74 on Election Day 2010; 2) his lackluster approval is around the 50% mark (last clocked at 48-44); 3) the OH-GOP's stench of corruption still lingers as an electoral anchor; and, 4) he saw what happened to Mike DeWine - why would he want to end his career on an electoral loss?

  • Rudy Giuliani won't say if, as President, he'd pardon his good buddy, the recently-indicted Bernie Kerik, saying, "It wouldn’t be fair to ask that question at this point." Well, Rudy, it's perfectly fair to ask that question at this point; and, I think everybody should work under the assumption that Rudy would pardon Bernie until Rudy says otherwise.

  • Al Gore is really cool.