Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Monday, January 14, 2008

Enormous Monday Night Round-Up

  • Mississippi: A Hinds County Circuit judge invalidated Republican Gov. Haley Barbour's gambit at waiting until November to hold the special election following the resignation of Trent Lott. The judge declared that the special election must occur within 90 days of December 20, 2007, or by March 19, 2008. So much for Barbour's attempt to undercut the law and give fellow Republican Roger Wicker close to a full year of faux-incumbency. While being the appropriate course of action, it has the added benefit of enhancing Democratic prospects at the seat, in the person of either former Governor Ronnie Musgrove or former Congressman Ronnie Shows.

  • Oregon: Speaker Jeff Merkley released his Q4-2007 fundraising take, $619,000, with over half a million dollars on hand. The sum roughly triples the Q4 take of primary opponent Steve Novick, who released his first television ad. Also, four primary debates have been confirmed: January 22 and March 7, to which all Democratic primary candidates are invited; and April 5 (sponsored by the League of Women Voters) and April 15 (sponosred by KGW and The Oregonian), for which the hosts will determine who to invite. The primary is on May 20.

  • Maine: Stuart W. Bowen Jr. is the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. His office is under investigation by "the FBI and three other entities for waste and mismanagement." So, of course, he's gallivanting around Maine with Susan Collins, whose record on Iraq oversight is absolutely atrocious and well beyond shameful. Bowen and Collins are quite possibly two of the most responsible people in government for all of the waste, mismanagement, war profiteering, and lack of oversight in Iraq, so they should naturally hang out together. Be sure to check out this powerful YouTube video on the topic.

  • Oklahoma: Compare Andrew Rice's story with Jim Inhofe's record. First, Rice's story, from an e-mail to supporters:

    Our 11-month old son Parker was hospitalized here in Oklahoma City for three days last November with pneumonia. He received excellent care and, like most youngsters his age, he has rebounded very quickly from what was a scary time for all of us. But, that is only half the story.

    One month later we learned that our health insurance company was refusing to pay the $10,000 hospital bill because they said our baby Parker had a "pre-existing condition." I'm not kidding. When we argued that baseless reason away, they changed their excuse to "improper notification" by the treating physician, and said it was not a big deal because the hospital would just "write it off." They don't think it is a "big deal" to avoid providing the coverage we pay them for every month, and instead have the Oklahoma taxpayer foot the bill. That tells you something about how they see the world.

    Not until they learned that Apple is a physician did the insurance company bureaucrats finally admit they had made a mistake and agreed to pay the legitimate claim.
    An 11-month-old with a "pre-existing condition." The insurance companies can be truly unbelievable. And what is Jim Inhofe's record on health care?

    James Inhofe on Health Care
    Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Nov 2007)
    Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Apr 2007)
    Voted YES on limiting medical liability lawsuits to $250,000. (May 2006)
    Voted NO on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D. (Feb 2006)
    Voted NO on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics. (Nov 2005)
    Voted NO on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005)
    Voted YES on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada. (Jul 2002)
    Voted NO on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages. (Jun 2001)
    Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001)
    Voted NO on including prescription drugs under Medicare. (Jun 2000)
    Voted YES on limiting self-employment health deduction. (Jul 1999)
    Voted NO on increasing tobacco restrictions. (Jun 1998)
    Voted YES on Medicare means-testing. (Jun 1997)
    Voted NO on blocking medical savings acounts. (Apr 1996)
    Rated 0% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Overall, Inhofe has one of the most hideous records in the history of the U.S. Senate when it comes to health care. Seriously, who do you trust to look out for families more? Rice or Inhofe?

  • Minnesota: More evidence that Norm Coleman is a disingenuous opportunist. Party unity score by year: 2003 92%, 2004 91%, 2005 77%, 2006 77%, 2007 64%. The closer Coleman gets to his election year, the more he tries to distance himself from his Republican Party affiliation. Meanwhile, Al Franken has released his first two TV ads, "Mrs. Molin" and "I'm Running." "Mrs. Molin" is one of the most clever introductory spots I've seen in a while.

  • North Carolina: Businessman Jim Neal's 2008 Senate campaign had a Q4-2007 take of $210,000, less than 40% of State Senator Kay Hagan's Q4 take of $561,000. Elizabeth Dole is reporting a Q4 take of about $1.1 million.

  • Tennessee: While attorney Kevin Doherty continues to ponder a 2008 Senate bid, activist Chris Lugo, formerly of the Green Party and described by TennViews as "the Dennis Kucinich of Tennessee politics," is entering the race as a Democrat.

  • Massachusetts: I would love it if Jim Ogonowski ran for Senate in Massachusetts. He has just enough cachet from his Congressional defeat to possibly tempt the NRSC into dropping a few bucks into the Bay State.

  • About four out of every five Americans want to change course from the George W. Bush path. I don't think that bodes well for Republicans running for office in 2008.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    9:58 PM, January 14, 2008  
    Blogger Ben said...

    Nice summaries!

    In terms of Oregon, I think it's important that we choose the right candidate to take on big-money Gordon Smith. For me, that's Jeff Merkley. He's a progressive's progressive, with the right combination of values, experience, and tenacity. He's got (and is getting) the money. And he's got the grassroots support to make it happen.

    11:42 AM, January 15, 2008  
    Blogger Sarah Lane said...

    It should also be noted that Jeff Merkley raised more than any other Dem challenger in Oregon's history. What's even better about this, is that he is a strong progressive. I back Merkley because I know he'll by the type of fighting Dem we desperately need in Congress.

    12:04 PM, January 15, 2008  
    Blogger bdunn said...

    Jeff Merkley's fundraising numbers are fantastic and clearly indicative of someone who is building a big grassroots campaign to take on Gordon Smith. Merkley got contributions from 2009 individual donors, including 1230 Oregonians, both impressive numbers. He's clearly the right track to throw Smith overboard in November.

    1:22 PM, January 15, 2008  
    Blogger Kevin said...

    Agree with Ben. Considering the kind of money that Sen. Smith has amassed and continues to amass, it's going to take a significant sum to compete with him. For all of his good qualities, Steve Novick simply hasn't demonstrated the capacity to compete with Smith. Jeff Merkley clearly has.

    3:50 PM, January 15, 2008  

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