Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday Items

  • Maine: Not only did John McCain overwhelmingly lose the Maine caucuses to Mitt Romney, but he barely edged out Ron Paul. Given that Susan Collins is McCain's state co-Chair, it certainly doesn't bode well for her ability to get out the vote.

  • Kentucky: DMKY's Terri Whitehouse highlights the Louisville Courier-Journal pointing out that, while Mitch McConnell brags about the funding he brings home to Kentucky, the oil companies Mitch secures tax credits for are enjoying massive record profits while Kentucky families are holding the bag for high gas prices. Thanks a lot Mitch!

  • Oregon: Republican Gordon Smith takes more heat for carrying the Bush administration's water on FISA. In other news, Democratic Speaker Jeff Merkley held an insightful liveblog session on Daily Kos yesterday, which spent several hours in the Recommended Diaries section. The answer to a question I got to squeeze in to Merkley demonstrates his effectiveness with grassroots organizing and with turning campaign ideals into legislative realities:

    GURU: Both in defying the odds to win enough seats to put Democrats back in the majority in the Oregon House and in passing legislation that made the 2007 Oregon legislative session the most progressive in three decades, what role did grassroots outreach play? How effectively in both the elections and in the fight to pass legislation did community organizations and legislators/candidates work together?

    MERKLEY: Our success in taking seven seats in two cycles to end sixteen years of GOP control was completely the product of grassroots activity.

    We built the best grassroots canvassing/door knocking/telephoning operation that Oregon has ever seen. In five key seats we had enormous success in coordinating volunteers from many partner organizations. From unions, from education advocacy groups and from other progressive organizations.

    During the session we succeeded in passing our entire Roadmap for Oregon and Opportunity because the plan was rooted in the issues that we heard on the doorsteps. We kept in touch with the public during the legislative process.

    Our philosphy is captured by the phrase, "Run. Govern. Run." That is, campaign on the things you believe in and then legislate to make the things you believe in happen.
    Merkley doesn't make idle promises on the campaign trail - he has a record of turning campaign ideals into legislative realities.

  • Oklahoma: Jim "In Denial" Inhofe is either a joke or a lunatic. Either way, I don't want him as a member of the U.S. Senate. Support Andrew Rice!

  • Idaho: This weekend, Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke in Boise. Event planners expected 8,000 attendees. 14,000 showed up. It demonstrates not only the potential of Senator Obama but also Idaho Democrats and Larry LaRocco's Senate campaign.

  • New Hampshire: An outfit with ties to the 2002 New Hampshire Republican phone jamming scandal continues to support John Sununu in his 2008 Senate race. Does Sununu really want to remind Granite State voters of his corrupt buddies?

  • Nebraska: Republican businessman Pat Flynn continues to be a thorn in the side of Republican quitter Mike Johanns.

  • Georgia: Vietnam vet and former Senate staffer Josh Lanier is hustling for good local press in his underdog bid against Vietnam dodger Spineless Saxby Chambliss.

  • Conservative pundit Pat Buchanan implies that suicide is a preferable option to a John McCain presidency.

  • Who I'm supporting for President has gone through a very long and winding path - a very long one - but, on Super Tuesday, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama. Maybe I'm just jealous that I never got to vote for John F. Kennedy. Maybe I'm brushing away the scars of cynicism just long enough to embrace, just for a moment while in the voting booth, the transformative politics of hope. Maybe I just think he matches up better against the Republican candidates or provides longer coattails for downballot Democrats for Congress. But, whatever the reason, I'm voting Obama.


    Blogger Political Realm said...

    Flynn may be a thorn, but he's not much of one for Mike Johanns. Nebraska is one big lost opportunity for Democrats, though I think Johanns would have been favored regardless of the opponent.

    4:52 PM, February 03, 2008  
    Blogger Ari said...

    Guru, in terms of your reasons for voting for Obama . . . how about "all of the above?"

    But, getting back to the senate races . . . have there been any recent polls out of New Hampshire? I worry about that race. Let's face it; Jeanne Shaheen is not exactly the most dynamic candidate we could have run. I'm still disappointed that she jumped in, and that Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand dropped out.

    Moving up the coast . . . that's good news that Susan Collins can't motivate the masses. The question remains . . . can Tom Allen? I certainly hope so. He needs to come off a little less reserved in his ads. He's got all the substance, but he needs to give it a little emotional heft. That brings me back to Obama; why is he such a compelling candidate? I mean, his ideas are not THAT different from the other Democrats who have run this year (the biggest difference, of course, being the vote to authorize the Iraq war). His power as a candidate stems entirely from the fact that he knows how to connect with people. Remember, people vote with their guts, not their brains. If more of our down-ticket candidates follow Obama's example, we'll grow our majority, big time!

    11:02 AM, February 04, 2008  

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