Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Items

  • How desperate is the NRSC for fundraising dollars? They're scalping Hannah Montana tickets:

    Disney's Hannah Montana strutted through Washington last week, and it wasn't just the show's teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus who hit pay dirt. So did the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group that funds GOP Senate candidates. A few weeks before the hottest show of the year arrived, the committee alerted donors that it had some choice seats. The catch: Winners had to raise or pony up $10,000. "I love my daughter, but," jokes one donor. A committee spokesperson says the seats were great, and the final take was in the ballpark of $100,000. "NRSC hearts Hannah Montana!"
    I didn't realize John Ensign was such a big Hannah Montana fan.

  • Arkansas: The AR-GOP Chairman concedes that Republicans likely won't have an opponent for Senator Mark Pryor. Even the Green Party has a Senate challenger; but the Arkansas Republican Party, fresh off of a terrible 2006 cycle for them, has nobody.

  • Kansas: Businessman and 2008 Democratic Senate candidate Greg Orman has his campaign website up and running, and it's an impressively thorough start. As a reminder, from a July post, here's my five reasons a Democrat can win the Senate seat in Kansas.

  • South Dakota: Senator Tim Johnson took in more than $700,000 in Q4, bringing his cash-on-hand to $2.4 million, a pretty massive figure for the Mount Rushmore State.

  • Maine: This video is outstanding and demonstrates whose interests Susan Collins really represents (HT: TMB):

  • Kentucky: The non-partisan Survey USA has gauged Mitch McConnell's approval in recent months as ranging from 44% to 51%. And, in September, the non-partisan Lexington Herald-Leader put McConnell's approve-disapprove at a lousy 47-44. Yet McConnell's own pollster laughably insists that McConnell's approval is over sixty percent. (And you thought the NRSC scalping Hannah Montana tickets was funny!)

    In other Kentucky news, word is that businessman Greg Fischer will join Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne in a 2008 Democratic Senate primary, and that Fischer will announce next week. Assuming that the candidates run a positive primary campaign focused on criticizing McConnell's record, a primary should be very helpful in raising their profiles statewide. Also, a terrific new DSCC piece highlights Mitch McConnell's cozy relationship with Big Oil.

  • Texas: Rick Noriega not only has a clear vision of how he will defeat John Cornyn and improve the lives of Texans, but he also has a sense of humor:

    Democratic Senate candidate Rick Noriega, warning that two aides to Republican Sen. John Cornyn were lurking in the audience, attacked Cornyn Thursday for a series of votes that he said hurt Texans. ...

    "I hope by the end of my presentation you'll agree to vote for me as well," Noriega said to the Cornyn employees, to laughs and applause.
    I wonder if the Cornyn employees were campaign staffers or taxpayer-funded district office staffers.

  • New Mexico: With his Presidential bid behind him, Governor Bill Richardson is committed to working toward a victory for Congressman Tom Udall in the 2008 Senate race.

  • New Jersey: Republican Senate candidate Murray Sabrin has earned the endorsement of presidential candidate Ron Paul.

  • Nebraska: Here's more fuel for speculation about a Scott Kleeb 2008 Senate bid.

  • Democrats in Michigan: Vote for Mitt!


    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    Two things:

    1) How much in dire need are you in order to sell Hannah Montana tickets at $20,000 a ticket. Hell, I don't even think Billy Ray Cyrus would pay that much.

    2) I wanted to go up to New Hampshire and put up a bunch of Mitt Romney '08 signs. Why? Because, as a Democrat, I do NOT want to face John McCain in the general election. He's the only Republican I fear could beat us.

    1:34 PM, January 11, 2008  
    Blogger Jeff Versteeg said...

    I've noticed that in your coverage of the 2008 Senate race in Texas, you have neglected to mention Ray McMurrey, who is a serious challenger to Rick Noriega in the democratic primary. Ray is the only progressive in the race, whereas Noriega is more of a traditional corporate candidate (former lobbyist, takes money from lobbyists, works for an energy company, etc.). McMurrey also spoke at yesterday's event, and is campaigning hard all over the state for democratic votes. He has also challenged Noriega to a debate, but Noriega has thus far shied away from the challenge.

    I urge your readers to check out Ray McMurrey's web page,, where his platform is laid out for everyone to see. Texas voters need to know that there is a progressive choice in this primary!

    2:16 PM, January 11, 2008  
    Blogger Rob Millette said...

    The only thing serious about McMurrey is that he's seriously derainged if he thinks he has a chance of winning the general election.

    Though I'll admit your dead on, Democrats do have a choice in Texas. They can vote to have a chance for a contested general election by making Noriega the nominee, or they can nominate a candidate in Mcmurrey that while he'd fit right in here in Massachusetts, doesn't have a prayer of even making this race competetive.

    If Democrats want to have Cornyn win by 40%, vote McMurrey, if you want atleast a small chance at victory, vote Noreiga.

    7:28 PM, January 11, 2008  
    Blogger Hokie Guru said...

    Anthony, John McCain is a status quo candidate on Iraq... Democrats and most independents feel a change is in order.

    12:38 AM, January 12, 2008  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    Hokie: I hope you're right, but it's pretty obvious McCain will give us real problems the others won't. Tidbit for pessimists: Under AZ law, Gov Neapolitano would have to appoint a Republican to fill out the remainder of McCain's term if he became President. (He's up in 2010, at which point AZ observers widely assume she'll run herself.) So there's no bright side.

    1:44 AM, January 12, 2008  
    Blogger Ari said...

    I'm with Anthony and The Sleep on this one. McCain is the Republican I fear the most-- remember, most Americans are not political geeks like us. They don't pay attention. They have a general idea that McCain is a moderate. We know that's wrong, but it's going to be one hell of a battle to convince the public to let go of that myth. So, we are right to attempt to drum up support for Romney in Michigan. He needs to stay in the race and give McCain a run for his money . . . literally!

    10:23 AM, January 12, 2008  
    Blogger KELL said...

    Back to the discussion of the US Senate Race in 2008 (exception being the AZ-Sen seat that may be vacated by a McCain resignation to run for Prez or for sure if he wins)...There needs to be a concentration on winning not only VA and NM (easiest wins for DEMs), but also on NH & CO (next easiest), holding Louisiana, and then putting the charge on Minnesota & Oregon. I'd love to be heading into the 2010 election with a 57-43, an election that again the GOP has to defend more seats. I couldn't figure out why Allen gave up his safe US House seat to run against Collins, so I hope he knows something I don't. Not sure where it can go from there for the DEMs in 2008.

    1:11 PM, January 12, 2008  
    Blogger Ari said...

    I'll tell you where it can go from there, Kell-- let's assume we have a galvanizer at the top of the ticket (read: Obama, not Hillary). And lets say he picks a truly dynamic VP like, say, Gov. Schweitzer of Montana. They go campaigning, and, unlike 2004, when down-ballot candidates had to run away from that "Mass-uh-chew-sits librul" (and ended up losing anyway,) our Senate candidates from Maine to Oregon will welcome the presence of Obama and Schweitzer. In the best case scenario, we sweep all the contested seats, as Tom Allen, Jeff Merkley, the Udall cousins, Mark Warner, Jeanne Shaheen (who will have to eat a significant amount of crow if Obama is the nominee, but, hey, that's politics,) and even that lightning rod of controversy known as Al Franken all ride the coattails of a popular national ticket.

    This strategy, of course, assumes that McCain is not the Republican nominee. I still think there's a chance that he can be derailed, as the Republican coalition is quite fractured. So, assuming that we end up running against Romney or one of the others, this scenario could very well play out. That would leave us with a 58-seat majority . . .

    "But we'd still be two seats short of filibuster-proof," you say. To which I respond, "Fear not. A Democratic President can fix that with a wave of his hand." And by that, I mean that he names Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe to the Cabinet. And voila! Those Senate seats open up, and, since Maine and Pennsylvania both have Democratic governors, the Senate replacements will be Dems, putting us right at the magic 60!

    Yeah, I know, it's an overly optimistic projection. I don't think it'll turn out quite so well for us . . . but, hey, a girl can dream, can't she? And, you never know. After all, winning six seats in '06 seemed like an incredible long shot, especially with states as ostensibly red as Virginia and Montana in the equation. And look-- we did it!

    6:58 PM, January 12, 2008  

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