Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Gigantic Saturday Round-Up

  • The Sunlight Foundation offers highlights from the Senate Ethics Committee's recent annual report. The Sunlight Foundation concludes that, since 16 alleged violations resulted in a preliminary hearing, and 11 alleged violations were dismissed for lack of substantial merit, there must be 5 investigations still underway. Who might those five investigations be looking into? There are several options.

  • Wyoming: A spokeswoman for Republican Mike Enzi confirms that he is currently undecided about a 2008 Senate re-election bid! No timeline for a decision is offered, but Wyoming's filing deadline isn't until May 30. It might encourage him toward retirement if a prominent Democrat stepped into the race, forcing Enzi to hustle more on campaigning and fundraising.

  • Idaho: Building on the strength of Democrat Larry LaRocco having closed 2007 with more cash-on-hand than any Republican Senate candidate from Idaho, including Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, an e-mail I just received announced a fundraiser for later this month in support of Larry LaRocco's campaign, to be hosted by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin and Senator Barbara Boxer. Coupled with LaRocco's hustle via his "Working for the Senate" campaign, we're going to see a truly competitive U.S. Senate race in Idaho.

    Meanwhile, Larry Craig is still pouring money into his legal defense. I'm sure he'd appreciate it if his best buddy Jim Risch helped him out financially, the way several Republicans are doing for GOP Rep. John Doolittle. Maybe the Idaho media should ask if Risch has any plans to help Craig out.

  • New Mexico: Joe Monahan reports in his February 1 post:

    Heather is going to need every dime she raises and then some if an insider poll has the race right. The survey, apparently commissioned by the state GOP and taken among 500 likely NM GOP voters on January 13th, shows Wilson trailing Pearce 38% to 33% with the rest undecided. The poll was taken just before Pearce went up with his big TV buy which is still airing in the key ABQ market.
    The Republican primary will be a slugfest that will leave the eventual nominee penniless when face to face with Democratic Congressman Tom Udall.

  • Maine: From a press release from Tom Allen's Senate campaign (emphasis added by me):

    Exxon Mobil today reported making "corporate history" with its reports of the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company, according to CNN. The oil giant earned an astonishing $1,300 per second in 2007. Other companies have also reported impressive profits, according to media reports.

    "It is past time we stopped subsidizing Big Oil and we started putting hard-working Mainers first," Allen said. "Big Oil doesn't deserve tax breaks - Mainers do. Taxpayers are paying for the windfall of the Cheney Energy Bill, which I opposed and Susan Collins supported. That bill gave $14 billion in tax breaks and incentives to the oil and gas industry. Meanwhile, Maine consumers, our environment and our national security all suffer because of our addiction to foreign oil and our giveaways to the industry."
    Susan Collins is in the pocket of Big Oil and the Bush administration. Tom Allen is an independent voice for Maine families. Period.

  • Mississippi: Could the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) be breaking the law by inappropriately coordinating with the Americans Taxpayer Alliance (ATA) in support of Republican Roger Wicker? It's not entirely clear, but what is certain is the ATA's history of deceptive tactics:

    In October 2002, the ATA funded automated telemarketing messages that flashed "Win $100,000 Cash" on the caller ID displays of Missouri residents' telephones. Those who answered their phones then heard a recording asking them to thank Jim Talent for working to cut taxes. Talent, a former Republican congressman, was challenging incumbent Democrat Jean Carnahan to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate. (ATA said the win-cash message was inadvertent.)
    Sounds like the type of company the NRSC would keep.

  • Kentucky: The Louisville Courier-Journal highlights yet another failure of Mitch McConnell's:

    Even though Kentucky has more mines than any other state, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning have not taken a lead role in fighting for miner safety, as Mr. Byrd has throughout his entire career.
    I'm going to go out on a limb that if McConnell has to choose between miner safety or protecting the financial interests of mine owners, he isn't going to side with the miners.

  • Alaska: Pulling an Al Gore at the Oscars, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich teases us about his hopefully forthcoming Senate campaign announcement.

  • Louisiana: In a recent campaign e-mail, Senator Mary Landrieu informs:

    Last fall, with the help of supporters like you, I joined with my fellow members of Louisiana's Congressional Delegation in leading the fight to override the President's veto of the Water Resources and Development Act. This bill authorizes over $7 billion in funding to restore wetlands and rebuild levees, critical flood control measures that will help protect us from future hurricanes.

    We also closed a major Hurricane Katrina and Rita recovery funding gap when I was able to secure $3 billion for our state's housing rebuilding program, money that will go to Louisiana citizens in the form of grants to rebuild their communities. Securing this needed funding was critical not only to Louisiana homeowners who suffered housing devastation but to the fiscal health of our entire state and to the future of our economy.
    With Louisiana Congressmen Richard Baker resigning and Jim McCrery retiring, with Bobby Jindal having left for the Governor's office, with Congressman Bill Jefferson under investigation, and with junior Senator David Vitter a freshman and a philanderer, Senator Mary Landrieu's seniority is more valuable and more critically necessary to Louisiana than ever.

    And, speaking of the prostitute-aficionado Vitter, former Governor Kathleen Blanco is already fielding calls urging her to challenge Vitter for Senate in 2010. Blanco does note that Vitter's scandal "embarrassed the state" of Louisiana. Something to keep an eye on.

  • Minnesota: KARE-11 Minneapolis previews Tuesday's Minnesota caucuses, at which delegates will be elected for the state Democratic convention, at which a nominee will be chosen to take down Smilin' Norm Coleman.

  • Pennsylvania: Will MSNBC's Chris Matthews run in 2010 for the Senate seat currently held by Arlen Specter? At age 28, he did run for Congress as a Democrat in Pennsylvania back in 1974. But I'm guessing it's just idle chit-chat. On a side-note, Arlen Specter really is a time-wasting yutz sometimes.

  • Holy cow. Ron Paul raised more in Q4-2007 than Mitt Romney and John McCain combined!

  • On the Democratic side, Barack Obama seems to have all the momentum, but will it be enough to overtake Hillary Clinton's lead in the albeit-narrowing polls?


    Blogger Ari said...

    It's probably a bit soon to speculate about 2010. With that being said, I would put money on Specter not running for re-election. He has had health problems, and may want to retire. Besides, President Obama (may it happen!) would be well-advised to name Specter to the Cabinet as one of the token Republicans. Specter can then end his career as a statesman.

    If that happens, I would guess that Ed Rendell will name Joe Hoeffel to the vacant senate seat-- a much preferable option to that awful chauvinist blowhard Chris Matthews!

    5:01 PM, February 02, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wouldn't it be great to have a Presidential candidate who could help push some of the candidates in "red" states over the top? How many people showed up to see Barack Obama in Idaho - 13,000??? Larry LaRocco could benefit a great deal from an Obama candidacy over Hillary as the nominee.

    10:32 AM, February 03, 2008  
    Blogger Beth said...

    re: what Ari said...
    you're right one but I think there's another PA name that goes in the mix and is a rumored Senatorial candidate...Allyson Schwartz. Bottom line is we gave the conservative branch of the Democratic party their guy in Casey...I personally would love to see a real progressive like Hoeffel in the run...and I wouldn't be unhappy if Pennacchio jumped in again either

    1:45 PM, February 03, 2008  

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