Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Guru is Moving!

Some exciting news: the Guru is moving!

Check out the new digs at:

Senate Guru

It will have the same thorough content, and even more interactivity.

For those who have been kind enough to link to the Guru's blog in your Blog Rolls, please update appropriately. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your readership. Like Jack Black said in School of Rock, "I'll see you cats on the flip-flop."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Rundown

  • You have kicked butt on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page! Tom Allen has gotten to 20 contributions, Rick Noriega has gotten to 30, and Andrew Rice has gotten to 50! Meanwhile, we're close to two milestones: Larry LaRocco is 3 contributions shy of 40, and the entire page is just $51 shy of the $6,000 mark. Can we get Larry LaRocco just 3 more contributions this weekend? You guys are great! Thank you so much!

  • Stu Rothenberg has updated his 2008 Senate Ratings. And the changes from his November ratings all look good for Democrats. The Virginia seat moves from "Lean Takeover" to "Likely Takeover," New Mexico moves from "Toss-Up" to "Lean Takeover," Minnesota moves from a "Narrow" incumbent advantage to "Toss-Up," and Alaska moves from a "Clear" incumbent advantage to only a "Narrow" one. All Democratic seats remain in "Currently Safe," except for Louisiana, which remains in "Toss-Up."

  • Oklahoma: State Senator Andrew Rice will liveblog on Firedoglake TODAY at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central (in about one hour!). He will, of course, discuss his 2008 Senate bid to oust anachronism Jim "In Denial" Inhofe.

  • Tennessee: It sounds like former Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Bob Tuke will join the 2008 Senate race and probably announce next week:

    It's almost certain that I'll be making an announcement, probably next week, that I'll be running against Senator Lamar Alexander for the Senate and I'm anxious to do it and I think it's important. ...

    It'll have to be a ground game. It will be a ground game. I'm a Marine; I know how to do that. ...

    The principal issue is change and, frankly, the absence of leadership. I've been disappointed, and I think a lot of Tennesseeans have, that Senator Alexander, who certainly has all the ability, has failed to deliver on leadership.
    Tuke will join a Democratic primary alongside former Nashville Mayoral candidate Ken Eaton, former Knox County Clerk Mike Padgett, and former Green Party candidate Chris Lugo.

  • Louisiana: Some big names from Louisiana's business community are coming out in support of the re-election bid of Senator Mary Landrieu:

    Jim Bernhard, CEO of the Shaw Group, and more than 20 other Louisiana business leaders will today join U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., to discuss her success as a champion for Louisiana businesses and to show their support for her reelection later this year.

    The group of leaders endorsing Senator Landrieu will include Harmony Center founder and Baton Rouge Area Chamber board member Collis Temple, Jr., and Louisiana Recovery Authority board member Sean Reilly, COO and President of the Outdoor Division of Lamar Advertising Company.
    Senator Landrieu is demonstrating the broad range of support that will serve her very well in November.

  • Minnesota: If you look up "Norm Coleman" in a thesaurus, "bad for the economy" should be one of the synonyms. Meanwhile, both MN Blue and MNCR wonder why Mike Ciresi kicked $2 million of his own money into his campaign, with MNCR curious if it's a sign that Ciresi might go back on his pledge to have the DFL Convention determine the nominee and might fight on for a primary victory in September.

  • Texas: If John Cornyn is speaking, odds are he's being dishonest.

  • New Hampshire: Sprintin' John Sununu prattles on and on about his love of a regressive flat tax in front of a friendly right-wing crowd.

  • Which is worse for John McCain? His hypocritically close relationship with lobbyists or his close relationship with indicted Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi?

  • Stay tuned for a very big announcement from the Guru tomorrow!

  • Friday, February 22, 2008

    Friday Items

  • I haven't asked in a while; so, if Friday's your pay-day, or if you just want to see Democrats make competitive races out of Republican-held Senate seats that the GOP was hoping it could take for granted, please send a few bucks to worthy Democrats on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. Pretty please!

  • January fundraising numbers are in; and, once again, the DSCC outraises the NRSC. This time, it's $3.95 million to $3.5 million, with a new cash-on-hand differential of $30.48 million to $13.2 million. And the DSCC's debt is down to $1 million.

  • Maine: Uh oh. It looks like the Collins camp doesn't have their excuses straight as to why Susan Collins failed in her oversight duties while Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Susan Collins, back in 2004:

    But Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs committee, says the panel will not be taking any action because Halliburton's contracts in Iraq already face probes by the General Accounting Office, defense auditors and the Pentagon inspector general.
    OK, Collins doesn't want to be duplicative. Sure, it sounds like she's passing the buck, but at least she gives a reason. But, wait! Now in 2008, that Collins is being pressed on her lack of oversight, her Senate chief of staff-slash-political campaign manager (huh?) Steve Abbott says:

    “It was all political,” Abbott said. “It was meant to be a theatrical side show.”
    Hmmm... Were they important hearings that were just being conducted by other offices (the GAO, the Pentegon, etc.) or were they just meant as political theater? As much as Two-Faced Susan might try, she can't have it both ways. Sounds like the Collins camp needs to get their stories straight.

  • Alaska: Despite being under federal investigation for his backlog of scandals, Ted Stevens has officially filed for re-election. His reason for running again? "Extreme environmentalists." People who would like to see an end put to Stevens' peerless brand of brazen appearances of impropriety eagerly await the announcement of Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, who beats Stevens in a hypothetical match-up according to a recent poll.

  • Mississippi: The DSCC catches Senate-appointee Roger Wicker in his latest blatant hypocrisy, this time on student loans to make college education more affordable.

  • Colorado: All-around yutz Dick Wadhams is formalizing his paid staff role with Backwards Bob Schaffer's 2008 Senate campaign. You may remember Wadhams from such greatest hits as George Macaca Allen's 2006 debacle.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell is pretty unabashed about the fact that he's simply trying to bribe Kentucky voters to gain re-election:

    “When you're in the position of (Barkley) or myself, we're in the middle of every issue,” McConnell said. “We all have one vote, but the level of influence is different.”

    He said that can be seen in the amount of federal money Kentucky has seen over the years. From the current budget, McConnell said he's brought $500 million to the Bluegrass State. He also noted that through the tobacco buyout (which McConnell penned), $43 million made its way into Calloway County.
    Forget that McConnell is amid the worst approval ratings of his career and that the majority of Kentuckians think he's ass-backwards on Iraq. Hey, if he can squeeze a little extra pork spending, then Kentuckians should just disregard his record of unparalleled obstructionism and shoddy ethics.

  • Oklahoma: Don't forget: State Senator Andrew Rice will liveblog on Firedoglake tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central. He will, of course, discuss his 2008 Senate bid to oust anachronism Jim "In Denial" Inhofe.

  • North Carolina: Republican Senator Richard Burr provides us with the creepily gushing comment of the day:

    "If you really want to know what Elizabeth Dole is like, she's a rock star," he said. "When you go around with her, it doesn't matter whether they've known her their entire life or whether they meet her for the first time, they get this glow on their face."
    Mr. Burr must only see the faces of the less than 45% of North Carolinians who actually approve of Liddy Dole's job performance.

  • South Dakota: Badlands Blue offers an analysis of why a Steve Kirby challenge to Senator Tim Johnson just doesn't make any sense.

  • Gosh, the supposedly anti-lobbyist "maverick" John McCain employs more lobbyists on his Presidential campaign than many lobbying firms!

  • Thursday, February 21, 2008

    LCV Releases Environmental Scores for 2007

    The League of Conservation Voters released their National Environmental Scorecard for 2007, grading members of Congress on their votes on legislation affecting the environment. A score of 100 reflects a record of voting the pro-environmental way every time on the tracked legislation; a score of zero, of course, reflects a wholly anti-environmental voting record on the tracked legislation. Tracked legislation included bills on CAFE standards, renewable energy, offshore drilling, and much more. So let's go to the scores:

    GOP Senators Running for Re-election2007 Score'03-'04 ScoreDem Senators Running for Re-election2007 Score'03-'04 Score
    Lamar Alexander (TN)33%4%Max Baucus (MT)67%52%
    John Barrasso (WY)33%n/aJoe Biden (DE)67%92%
    Saxby Chambliss (GA)7%0%Richard Durbin (IL)93%88%
    Thad Cochran (MS)0%0%Tom Harkin (IA)87%73%
    Norm Coleman (MN)33%16%Tim Johnson (SD)33%*52%
    Susan Collins (ME)100%64%John Kerry (MA)93%44%**
    John Cornyn (TX)0%4%Mary Landrieu (LA)53%32%
    Elizabeth Dole (NC)7%8%Frank Lautenberg (NJ)93%92%
    Mike Enzi (WY)13%0%Carl Levin (MI)67%88%
    Lindsey Graham (SC)7%8%Mark Pryor (AR)60%48%
    Jim Inhofe (OK)0%4%Jack Reed (RI)93%96%
    Mitch McConnell (KY)7%0%Jay Rockefeller (WV)73%84%
    Pat Roberts (KS)0%0%
    Jeff Sessions (AL)13%4%
    Gordon Smith (OR)73%28%
    Ted Stevens (AK)27%4%
    John Sununu (NH)53%36%
    GOP Senators' Average23.9%11.3%Dem Senators' Average73.3%70.1%
    *missed significant number of votes due to illness - counts in LCV ratings as negative
    **only rating in recent career below 89% - likely an outlier due to many missed votes while running for President

    Current GOP House Members Running for Senate2007 Score'03-'04 ScoreCurrent Dem House Members Running for Senate2007 Score'03-'04 Score
    Steve Pearce (NM)0%3%Tom Allen (ME)100%90%
    Heather Wilson (NM)15%16%Mark Udall (CO)95%100%
    Tom Udall (NM)100%97%

    A few observations become very clear:

    1) Democrats are wildly better than Republicans when it comes to protecting our environment. But reducing overall energy consumption and expanding renewable energy development is not just about protecting our environment. It's also about - catch phrase alert - reducing our dependence on foreign oil, which strengthens our hand (read: reduces the Middle East's leverage against us) in the fight against terrorism.

    1a) In 2007, only three Republicans scored above 35%, and all three were obviously from blue-leaning states (Maine, Oregon, New Hampshire). By contrast, only three Democrats scored below65%, one of whom (Senator Tim Johnson) only scored so low because of many missed votes due to illness.

    1b) Both Republican House members running for Senate are clearly horrible for the environment, while all three Democratic House members running for Senate get A's.

    2) Democrats are far more steady in their positions on environmental/energy policy. The reason I posted each Senator's score from the '03-'04 cycle is that it was the Congress right after their last election - in other words, the Congress furthest from their next election cycle. As such we could compare how they vote when their name is on the ballot versus when it's not. Democratic Senators' average score between 2007 and '03-'04 fluctuated only about 3%, but Republican Senators' average score between 2007 and '03-'04 fluctuated by a much larger amount, nearly 13%!

    2a) Excluding Tim Johnson (many missed votes in 2007 due to illness) and John Kerry (many missed votes in '03-'04 due to Presidential campaign), the largest Democratic fluctuation between '03-'04 and 2007 was 25% (Joe Biden). Excluding John Barrasso (who wasn't in the Senate in '03-'04), there were three Republican Senators with fluctuations of over 25% between these two time periods (Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, Gordon Smith).

    2b) Clearly, Republicans in blue states (i.e. vulnerable Republicans) felt the need to posture themselves as more pro-environment than they really are when the electoral spotlight isn't on them. Note the shifts among these most vulnerable incumbent Republicans:

    Vulnerable Republican2007 Score'03-'04 Score
    Norm Coleman (MN)33%16%
    Susan Collins (ME)100%64%
    Gordon Smith (OR)73%28%
    Ted Stevens (AK)27%4%
    John Sununu (NH)53%36%
    Vulnerable GOP Senators' Average57.2%29.6%

    These most vulnerable Republican Senators nearly doubled their environmental rating scores in a desperate and disingenuous attempt to appear more moderate in their election cycle. Let's hope their Democratic opponents do an effective job of highlighting this obvious election cycle political posturing.

    Thursday Tidbits

  • Virginia: Broken record alert: yet another poll shows popular former Governor Mark Warner with a huge lead over - shall we say - less popular former Governor Jim Gilmore in their 2008 Senate race. Rasmussen Reports' latest numbers show a 20-point lead for Warner with a 57-37 margin.

  • Maine: Senator Frank Lautenberg will hold an endorsement event with Congressman Tom Allen today. Why is this particularly notable? Because Lautenberg was perhaps the most vocal Senator in calling for Susan Collins to hold oversight hearings on Iraq waste and mismanagement while Collins was Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Oversight, hearings that Collins seemingly never got around to holding.

  • Idaho: The 2008 Senate campaign of former Congressman Larry LaRocco offers an update on grassroots outreach, fundraising (including the Jon Tester event), and his new radio ad via a post on the terrific Idaho blog Red State Rebels.

  • New Jersey: Republican Senate candidates Joe Pennacchio and Murray Sabrin are accusing a third Republican candidate, Anne Evans Estabrook, of violating campaign finance law by hiding the amount of money she has put into her own campaign, ostensibly to avoid triggering the "Millionaire's Amendment," which would allow Estabrook's opponent to raise their contribution limits. Love those bloody GOP primaries. (HT: Blue Jersey)

  • Massachusetts: Republican state sen. Scott Brown, who had earlier suggested that he would consider a 2008 Senate challenge to Senator John Kerry, has instead opted to run for re-election to the Massachusetts state Senate.

  • Texas: State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega has released his first TV ad, highlighting his military service, accomplishments in the state Legislature, and some priorities for when he's in the Senate:

  • Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Wednesday Evening Rundown

  • The DSCC has released a scorching new web ad highlighting Republican Senators' own comments on Iraq, illustrating both how wrong GOP Senators have been and how committed they are to the Bush-McCain policy of endless war:

  • Idaho: Republican Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has publicly commented in support of Larry Craig's efforts to clear his name. So why hasn't Republican Senate candidate and Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch done likewise?

  • Oregon: Here's another bad omen for Republican Gordon Smith: the Oregon Republican Party is over a quarter-million dollars in debt, including $35,000 owed to the IRS for "about two years' worth of payroll taxes it failed to pay for its employees." In other news, the Portland Tribune offers a glowing profile of Speaker Jeff Merkley as he juggles a Senate campaign with leading an accomplished state House while enjoying only a one-vote Democratic majority.

  • Nebraska: Rumor has it that Democrat Scott Kleeb will join the 2008 Senate race next week. Fact has it that, on Monday, Kleeb will announce... something.

  • Oklahoma: State Senator Andrew Rice will liveblog on Firedoglake this Saturday at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central. He will, of course, discuss his 2008 Senate bid to oust anachronism Jim "In Denial" Inhofe.

  • North Carolina: Public Policy Polling's latest numbers see Elizabeth Dole's approve-disapprove at a lousy 43-32, but she still manages to cling to the 50% mark against her Democratic challengers, leading State Senator Kay Hagan 50-33 and businessman Jim Neal 50-29. Part of the explanation for the gap between Dole and the Dems is the Dems' lag with key constituencies. Both Democrats have the support of less than 55% of registered Democrats and less than 45% of African-Americans. Meanwhile, Dole has filed the paperwork to make her re-election bid official.

  • New Mexico: Republican Congresscritters Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson matched up in a GOP Senate primary debate yesterday, and the mud flew. Wilson attacked Pearce for a vote against more funding for border patrol agents and a vote for a plan that included the closure of a local Air Force base. Pearce painted Wilson as the big spending, big government type not welcome in real Republican circles. Man, this primary is fun! In other news, Pearce apparently thinks that legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to legalized pedophilia. Class act.

  • Good for Stanford University! Let's hope other fancy-pants universities with huge endowments follow this model and make top-notch educations more affordable.

  • Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Tuesday Night Round-Up

  • Mississippi: Former Congressman Ronnie Shows has withdrawn from the 2008 Senate race to succeed Trent Lott. This clears the way for former Governor Ronnie Musgrove as the Democrat in the race against ethically questionable Republican Senate-appointee Roger Wicker. In his statement, Shows gets behind Musgrove's candidacy:

    Ronnie Musgrove has a long history of working with all Mississippians to bring about change and I believe he is now our best hope to be the Independent Voice this state needs in Washington. I look forward in the coming months to helping Governor Musgrove win this election so Mississippi will have a Senator who will work to end the partisan bickering that prevents Washington from getting anything done.
    This race is expected to be very tight, with one poll showing Musgrove with a lead and another showing Wicker with a lead.

  • Oregon: Political commentator for The Oregonian, Jeff Mapes, reports on new Rasmussen Reports polling numbers on the 2008 Senate race. Both Democrats hold Republican Gordon Smith under 50%, but the gap is in double digits. Smith leads Oregon state House Speaker Jeff Merkley 48-30 and activist Steve Novick 48-35. Mapes doesn't think much can be made of the 5-point difference between Merkley's and Novick's results, but notes that the advantage still lies with Smith.

  • Idaho: Former Congressman Larry LaRocco has released his radio ad taking on Republican Jim Risch's broken promises on taxes, and it is scathing. You can listen to it online or read the text (in PDF).

  • South Dakota: Republicans continue to insist that they will find a top tier opponent for Senator Tim Johnson. With state rep. Joel Dykstra and businessman Sam Kephart looking like absolutely no match whatsoever for Senator Johnson, former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby is reportedly considering a bid. Kirby was last seen finishing a distant third in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2002. A decision from Kirby is expected "by the end of the month." Amongst the other names bandied about is Republican former Gov. Bill Janklow who, some of us may remember, killed a man in 2003. Bottom of the barrel much?

  • Montana: Senator Max Baucus made his 2008 Senate re-election bid official by filing with the Montana Secretary of State's office this morning.

  • Tennessee: Former Knox County Clerk Mike Padgett is jumping into the 2008 Democratic Senate primary race to determine Lamar Alexander's opponent.

  • Tuesday Items

  • Maine: It has now been three weeks since I sent my open e-mail to Susan Collins' communications staff about hearings she held (or didn't hold) during her tenure as Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. I guess I'll just have to send it again and hope for a response.

  • Minnesota: Rasmussen Reports just released a poll showing Al Franken with a narrow 49-46 lead over Smilin' Norm Coleman (and Coleman with a narrow 47-45 lead over Mike Ciresi). This represents an overall ten point gain for Al Franken since Rasmussen's October poll showing Coleman with a 49-42 lead. This is also the second polling operation to see Franken with a narrow lead over Coleman, but Coleman with a narrow lead over Ciresi, following a Minnesota Public Radio poll conducted at the end of January.

  • Louisiana: Despite the support of former Governor Jeb Bush's political machine and an edge in the polls within days of the primary, Mitt Romney managed to lose the Florida Republican primary to John McCain by almost 100,000 votes. Romney's campaign director in Florida was Mandy Fletcher, who is now joining the campaign of recent-Republican state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy. With Fletcher's recent experience in stunning losses, we hope more of the same is brought to Treasurer Kennedy's campaign against Senator Mary Landrieu. Does Fletcher have extensive familiarity with the political landscape of Louisiana, at least? Says Fletcher, "The only two people I know in Louisiana is a guy from high school who works for the Saints and Alan Levine." We'll take that as a "No."

  • Idaho: Serving as another signal that Democrats across the country are committed to a competitive Senate race in Idaho, Montana Senator Jon Tester will be the special guest at a fundraiser in early March for Senate candidate and former Congressman Larry LaRocco. Also, today is the day that LaRocco will unveil his new radio ad criticizing Republican Jim Risch for dishonestly breaking his promise regarding tax increases.

  • New Mexico and Colorado: The Udall boys, Congressman Tom and Mark, get some great press in Outdoors Magazine in a profile that outlines one of the methods by which Democrats have worked to reclaim the Mountain West:

    They've positioned themselves as conservationists, forging alliance with sportsmen and farmers while painting Republicans as tools for mining and gas.
    The Democratic agenda clearly works best for Americans. I fully expect Congressmen Udall to effectively make the case to their respective states in this regard.

  • Tennessee: Former Nashville Mayoral candidate Kenneth Eaton is about to enter the 2008 Senate race against Lamar Alexander. On the Democratic side, only former Green Party member Chris Lugo is in the race, while former Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Bob Tuke continues to consider a bid.

  • Over at Booman Tribune, an analysis is offered as to which Democratic Presidential candidate would offer the longest coattails to Democratic candidates for Senate, based on the Presidential candidates' performances in each state's primary/caucus. If you consider Virginia, New Hampshire, and New Mexico relatively safe Democratic Senate pick-ups, the next five tightest races are Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, and Alaska. Four of those five states have already had their Democratic primary/caucus (Oregon's turn isn't until May 20). All four were won by Barack Obama, and won by a very sizable average margin of over 34% (ranging from 19% in Maine to 49% in Alaska). By this particular metric that BooMan analyzes, Obama stands out as a potentially much more helpful top-of-the-ticket for Democratic candidates for Senate than Hillary Clinton would be.

  • Monday, February 18, 2008

    Monday Miscellany

  • New Hampshire: In true dog-whistle political style, Sprintin' John Sununu makes it abundantly clear that he adheres strictly to the George W. Bush economic policies of tax cuts for the rich and privatizing social security.

  • Idaho: A very good sign for Democrats in the Gem State, including Senate candidate and former Congressman Larry LaRocco: the Idaho Dems are organizing more strongly at the grassroots than at any time in recent history.

  • Charles Barkley for Governor of Alabama in 2014.

  • Booman highlights polls showing Barack Obama matching up better against John McCain than Hillary Clinton does in several key states.

  • With massive recalls recently of goods like children's toys, baby food, pet food, lettuce, spinach, trucks, batteries, and now the largest beef recall in American history, doesn't it make you feel all safe and snuggly to know that John McCain vilifies appropriately regulating the marketplace to maintain consumer safety at every opportunity? In other words, shorter McCain: "Wiretapping law abiding Americans, good. Regulating industries with massive product recalls, bad."

  • Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Real Republican Records

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, state Democratic Parties, and other organizations are making a concerted effort to make sure that voters know the real records of Republicans running for Senate in 2008. Here are some of the best websites chronicling the lackluster records, questionable ethics, and rife hypocrisy of the Republican Party's 2008 Senate candidates.

  • Alaska: Retire Ted unravels the web of scandal spawn by appearance-of-impropriety maven Ted Stevens.

  • Colorado: The Centennial State offers a two-fer, as Bob Schaffer On the Issues highlights Big Oil Bob's attempts to hide his right-wing positions on issues from Colorado voters, while Shifty Schaffer puts a spotlight on Backwards Bob's lies.

  • Kentucky: What's McConnell Hiding? asks a very important (and self-explanatory) question of the Senate's Republican ringleader and Obstructionist-in-Chief.

  • Maine: As its tagline makes clear, Collins Watch is charged with "keeping an eye on Maine's junior Senator," Susan Collins.

  • Mississippi: The Real Wicker highlights the ethically-questionable and all-too-cozy relationship Senate-appointee Roger Wicker has with corporate contributors and lobbyists.

  • New Hampshire: Stop Sununu illustrates how out of touch John Sununu is with Granite State voters and how he looks out for the Bush administration's corporate cronies instead of New Hampshire families.

  • Oregon: Stop Gordon Smith runs through the numerous hypocrisies and election cycle conversions of Gordon Smith, the "Say Anything Senator."

  • Texas: Stop Cornyn brings attention to the shoddy record of Bush-rubber-stamp John Cornyn.

  • Last but not least, Roadblock Republicans offers a thorough analysis of the Senate Republicans' record-breaking pace of obstructionism against a positive agenda of expanding health care, strengthening the economy, and bringing our troops home in a responsible and expedient manner.

    You should bookmark all of these sites and pass the links on to every voter you know!

  • Saturday, February 16, 2008

    Saturday Briefs

  • Idaho: The Democratic candidate for Senate, former Congressman Larry LaRocco, will soon be releasing a new radio ad criticizing the record of Republican Jim Risch. Word is, it will focus on Risch's tough campaign talk against taxes contradicting his record in support of a 20% sales tax increase that applies to all items including groceries, which of course significantly impacts Idaho's families. Meanwhile, with the Senate Ethics Committee's admonishment of Larry Craig making news, the Idaho Democratic Party is urging the state Republican Party to take appropriate action. Republican Jim Risch is going to have to publicly comment on the Craig scandal at some point, or he'll just continue to face questions. Better sooner than later, Jim.

  • Texas: The TX-GOP and Bush-rubber-stamp John Cornyn, devoid of any fresh ideas or positive record to run on, are resorting to more slime as they prepare a Swift Boat-style attack on State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega.

  • Michigan: Republican Rocky Raczkowski, who was creamed by Senator Carl Levin 61-38 in 2002, has decided against a 2008 Senate bid, leaving state rep. Jack Hoogendyk as the Republican's likely sacrificial lamb. (HT: Michigan Liberal)

  • Kansas: Very disappointing news as businessman Greg Orman has withdrawn from the 2008 Senate race. Orman had shown significant promise, particularly by outraising incumbent Republican Pat Roberts in contributions from individuals in Q4-2007, about $450,000 to $350,000. This leaves Lee Jones as the Democrat in the race. In 2004, Jones was defeated soundly by Republican Sam Brownback, 69-28.

  • Oregon: Gordon Smith, the "Say Anything Senator," has been caught in yet another election cycle hypocrisy, this time on health care.

  • South Carolina: Despite earlier rhetoric to the contrary, Lindsey Graham is getting very comfortable with waterboarding.

  • Mississippi: Democratic former State Representative Erik Fleming, who is challenging Thad Cochran this year, shares his thoughts on the race via Mississippi blog Cotton Mouth.

  • Friday, February 15, 2008

    Friday Very Quick Hits

  • Deepest condolences go out to the Northern Illinois University community as they deal with the aftermath of the latest in what sadly feels like a spate of shootings on college campuses.

  • Maine: Best wishes for a full recovery go out to Diana Allen, wife of Congressman Tom Allen, as she responds to her recent diagnosis of breast cancer. Very fortunately, the malignancy was detected in its very early stages by a routine mammogram, leading to a positive prognosis for recovery. Let that be a reminder that early detection is the best defense.

  • Michigan: Republican state rep. Jack Hoogendyk is willing to put himself up as a sacrificial lamb against Senator Carl Levin. Levin last won re-election in 2002 by a 61-38 margin. Nice knowing you, Jack.

  • New Hampshire: The League of Conservation Voters has endorsed popular former Governor Jeanne Shaheen in her 2008 Senate bid. That's hardly a surprise given Republican John Sununu's atrocious record on energy and the environment.

  • Oregon: Gordon Smith and his staff are downright afraid to meet with constituents to discuss issues, even with hunters who are typically considered part of the Republican base. Well, Gordo, there's no hiding on Election Day.

  • Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Happy Valentine's Day

  • NRSC Chair John Ensign is once again publicly chiding Republican Senators for not contributing enough to the NRSC. I guess times must be really tough over at the NRSC. And Ensign must be really concerned about how bad the 2008 Senate race results will make him look.

  • Minnesota: Holy cow. Republican Norm Coleman could face a big-time 2008 Senate primary challenge: former Senator Rod Grams. Commented Grams, "I haven’t said yes; I haven’t said no." With both polls and dollars trending against Coleman, a truly difficult primary could likely prove terminal for his re-election bid. Go Grams! Meanwhile, a new Survey USA poll again sees Coleman and Al Franken neck and neck, but sees Mike Ciresi falling 11 points behind Coleman. Expect the Franken camp to point this poll out to every DFL Convention delegate.

  • Colorado: Rasmussen Reports sees a dead heat in the 2008 Senate race between Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer, though Udall leads among independents by a 43-32 margin.

  • Alaska: Former Unalaska city councilmember Rocky Caldero has withdrawn his candidacy from the 2008 Senate race, and has even pre-endorsed Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich should Begich enter the race.

  • New Mexico: The filing deadline for the Land of Enchantment passed this week and Congressman Tom Udall was the only Democrat to file for Senate. Republican Congresscritters Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson were the only filers for the GOP.

  • Mississippi: Republican Thad Cochran's pork-barrel earmark tally is approaching $1 billion. Couple that with Robert Novak calling ethically-questionable Republican Senate-appointee Roger Wicker "a poster child for an earmark moratorium" and you see a clear earmark addiction among Mississippi Republicans.

  • Arizona: John McCain's Senate office says that he has "no current plans" to resign his Senate seat as he campaigns for President. Note that, if he does resign mid-term, state law requires that the gubernatorial appointment to fill the vacancy until a special election be of the same political Party as the resigning officeholder.

  • The Senate Ethics Committee has issued Republican Larry Craig a "letter of admonition" in response to the events surrounding his airport bathroom arrest. So we know that the Senate Ethics Committee does, in fact, exist. Still, they have a great deal more work to do.

  • Holy cow! Former Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island is endorsing Democratic Senator Barack Obama for President.

  • Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Wednesday Quick Hits

  • North Carolina: A new Survey USA poll on the 2008 Democratic Senate primary sees State Senator Kay Hagan and businessman Jim Neal neck and neck, with over one-third of respondents still undecided.

  • Oregon: Speaker Jeff Merkley has a terrific post up on both The Huffington Post and VetVoice discussing steps our government must take to fulfill its commitment to our veterans.

  • Idaho: Hey, interesting news: Republican Jim Risch is a paranoid liar. Why do I say that? In another recent frantic fundraising appeal, Risch writes:

    Last year in neighboring Montana, conservative Republican U.S. Senator Conrad Burns was defeated in large part due to and [sic] a huge influx of cash from wealthy Democrat [sic] donors in left-wing bastions like New York City, Hollywood, Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco!
    OK, ummm, there are so many things wrong with this. Here are three off the top of my head:
    1) I think Burns' biggest concern wasn't fundraising but his ethically-questionable relationship with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
    2) Money alone wasn't Burns' problem as he outspent Democrat Jon Tester $9.2 million to $5.6 million, and Burns still lost.
    3) Burns also raised more money than Tester from some of those "left-wing bastions". Burns took in $247,076 from New York City and $149,029 from Los Angeles. Tester took in only $150,649 from New York City, and Los Angeles doesn't even appear on Tester's top five "Top Metro Areas," which sees San Francisco coming in fifth at only $12,153. In other words, Tester only took in about 61% that "conservative" Burns did in "left-wing" NYC, and Burns raised at least twelve times as much as Tester did in "left-wing" Los Angeles.

    It's very clear that Republican Jim Risch's entire 2008 Senate campaign is built entirely on fear-mongering against imaginary liberals. I wonder, will Risch swear not to take any campaign contributions from the "left-wing bastions" of "New York City, Hollywood, Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco"? It will be interesting to see how hypocritical Risch is in this area. Heck, through the end of 2007, over 40% of his campaign money came from PACs.

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Tuesday Tidbits

  • New Hampshire: A new Granite State Poll (in PDF format) offers reassuring numbers. The poll clocked Republican John Sununu's approve-disapprove at a languishing 46-35, while popular Democratic former Governor Jeanne Shaheen's approve-disapprove came in at a steady 57-23. The poll found Shaheen beating Sununu 54-37, which is almost identical to the 54-38 findings in both previous Granite State Polls on this race, in July '07 and September '07. Lookin' good. Also, Democrat Jay Buckey is withdrawing from the race, leaving Shaheen unopposed in the primary and focused entirely on Sununu.

  • Kentucky: Ugh. Less than 24 hours after the Guru described Lieutenent Colonel Andrew Horne as "the strongest Democratic challenger to take on Mitch McConnell," Lt. Col. Horne withdraws from the 2008 Senate race, leaving businessman Greg Fischer and former state Secretary of Commerce and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford at the top of the Democratic pack. This is disappointing news.

  • Arkansas: Even with John McCain looking like the presumptive Republican nominee for President, Mike Huckabee reiterates in no uncertain terms that he has no desire to run for Senate in 2008:

    "There is a greater chance that I would dye my hair green and get tattoos all over my body and do a rock tour with Amy Winehouse than there is for the Senate."
    Sounds certain. Tough break for the AR-GOP, who look like they won't even bother to field a candidate against Senator Mark Pryor.

  • Maine: Elections are about choices. Well, here's a difference to choose between: Tom Allen cares about veterans; Susan Collins does not.

  • Minnesota: I have to say, I'm very disappointed in the tone of the attacks Mike Ciresi is lobbing at Al Franken. Not only is it beneath Democratic politics, but it makes you look desperate, Mike. Meanwhile, Franken continues to earn glowing local press.

  • Colorado: Bob Schaffer is the Mitt Romney of Colorado - and, no, that is not a compliment.

  • Oregon: The local media recognizes that a vote for Gordon Smith is a vote to continue the failed policies of George W. Bush.

  • Arizona: House retiree-to-be GOP Rep. John Shadegg is leaving open the possibility of a 2010 Senate bid if John McCain wins the Presidency (or, I suppose, retires). Remember that popular Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano already enjoys a double-digit lead on McCain in a hypothetical 2010 Senate match-up.

  • Ohio: Again, looking ahead to 2010, if I had to put money on it, I'd bet that Republican George Voinovich will retire at the end of his current term. (He'll be 74-years-old on Election Day 2010.) If he does retire, Republican former Congressman and current Bush budget director Rob Portman may be interested in a 2010 Senate bid.

  • The terrific folks over at Roadblock released a hilariously accurate YouTube video:

  • Monday, February 11, 2008

    Monday Rundown

  • Condolences to the family, friends, and constituents of Congressman Tom Lantos.

  • New Mexico: CQPolitics chronicles the many reasons why they moved New Mexico from "No Clear Favorite" to "Leans Democratic," including a 49% to 33% Dem to GOP registration advantage, an impressive lead in the polls for Congressman Tom Udall, and an impressive lead in fundraising for Udall.

  • Alaska: Another week, another Ted Stevens earmark scandal. This time, documents reveal that a $1.6 million earmark Stevens secured in 2005 was tailored to lead to the purchase of property owned by, guess what, a former Ted Stevens aide-turned-lobbyist, Trevor McCabe. And another former Stevens aide-also-turned-lobbyist, Brad Gilman, acted as the "go-between" for the deal. Seriously, at what point will it simply be a crime to work for Ted Stevens? And how many earmark scandals will it take before Stevens loses his seat on the Appropriations Committee?

  • Tennessee: Former Tennessee state Democratic Party Chair Bob Tuke is reconsidering a 2008 Senate bid against Lamar Alexander after having taken himself out of the running. Something to keep an eye on. (HT: GoldnI)

  • Maine: A bad omen for Susan Collins: the turnout at the Maine Democratic caucuses shattered the previous record, 46,000 yesterday compared with just 17,000 in 2004. Maine Democrats are energized! By comparison, reports had Republican caucus turnout at a mere 5,000.

  • New Jersey: Rumors (just rumors for now) have former NJ-GOP Chair and former state sen. Joseph Kyrillos considering an entry into the 2008 GOP Senate primary, further complicating the picture for current candidates businesswoman Anne Evans Estabrook, state sen. Joseph Pennacchio, and professor Murray Sabrin. The more, the merrier! (HT: Blue Jersey)

  • Both Booman and DKos diarist poblano offer thoughtful analyses of Senator Barack Obama's success in states with 2008 Senate races. poblano's focuses more heavily on the most competitive races, while Booman's looks at tougher southern states. Speaking of Senator Obama, he won his second Grammy last night.

  • Today is the second anniversary of the day on which Dick Cheney shot a 78-year-old man in the face. Does Hallmark make an appropriate card?

  • This is hilarious:

  • Sunday, February 10, 2008

    The 2008 Democratic Senate Primary in Kentucky

    Republican Mitch McConnell faces an incredibly tough re-election bid. He suffers from notoriously lagging approval ratings, myriad scandals, and a record of partisan-fueled obstructionism. A majority of Kentuckians disagree with Mitch McConnell on Iraq.

    And, in an environment in which some in government, including George W. Bush and presumptive 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, decry the use and abuse of budget earmarks, McConnell's one selling point to Kentucky is the porkbarrel spending he secures via earmarks - which draws the ire of conservative groups whose support McConnell can no longer count on.

    Democrats also enjoy the momentum generated by the Beshear-Mongiardo ticket's 2007 gubernatorial win over the corrupt administration of Ernie Fletcher, for whom Mitch McConnell went to bat on several occasions.

    In a nutshell, Mitch McConnell is quite vulnerable.

    So who do the Democrats have to take him out? Eight Democrats filed for the Democratic primary before the January 29th filing deadline. I don't mean to be dismissive, but four of the eight names you will probably hear little about: Kenneth Stepp, James Rice, David Wylie, and David Williams (not the same-named Republican president of the Kentucky state senate). I'll certainly do my best to keep readers attuned to significant news from any of these candidates, but I'm not anticipating much.

    A fifth name, Dr. Michael Cassaro, is likely to be an also-ran, as well; although, he is reportedly putting $2 million from his personal wealth into his campaign. While money alone, as you will read later in this analysis, isn't the determining factor, perhaps that will do something to raise his name ID.

    The Democratic primary will likely be dominated by three candidates: former state Secretary of Commerce and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford, businessman Greg Fischer, and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne. Lunsford is best known for his two Democratic primary defeats for Governor; Fischer is best known for his company's invention of the ice & beverage dispenser used by many fast food and other restaurants; Horne is best known for his 2006 Congressional campaign in Kentucky's 3rd district.

    Horne announced in mid-December and Fischer announced in mid-January. Lunsford announced on the last day of filing for the race. Both Horne and Fischer released online videos introducing themselves upon their campaign entrance announcements:

    Both from their videos and their websites (Horne, Fischer), I get the distinct impression that Lt. Col. Horne has a much clearer vision for why he is running for Senate, compared to Fischer.

    Horne’s website has an issues section that touches on the economy, education, health care, Iraq, etc. Fischer’s site has no issues section.

    In his introductory video, Horne discusses his personal, civilian-professional, and military background. He discusses personal motivations, from his wife’s health care battles to a desire to keep jobs from being shipped overseas to Mitch McConnell’s failed leadership. Horne even seems ready right now to take on McConnell in a debate with such zingers as “Senator Mitch McConnell is more than part of the problem; he is the problem,” “Simply put, while Mitch McConnell carries George Bush’s water on Iraq, I carried a rifle in Iraq,” and “This campaign is about you, not the lobbyists and political insiders; Mitch McConnell has forgotten that.”

    In Fischer’s video, he highlights his business background and “outsider” status, but I simply don’t get a sense of what he is passionate about.

    While Fischer has only been in the race a month, Election Day is less than nine months away, and primary day is even sooner – Fischer needs to do a better job of explaining why he’s running. I’m left with the distinct impression that, since Fischer has the capability of self-funding a significant portion of his campaign, he expected that his checkbook would lead him to the Democratic nomination. That will likely not be the case, especially considering Bruce Lunsford (and his ostensibly even larger checkbook) entered the race just before the filing deadline.

    In his two failed gubernatorial bids, Lunsford spent about $14 million, and failed to win the Democratic primary either time. Nevertheless, it appears that Lunsford has the inside track on insider support, reportedly receiving the tacit encouragement of Governor Steve Beshear as well as national Democratic leaders in Washington DC, ostensibly because Lunsford has the most money to put into the race. There are two major flaws in that logic though. First, if Lunsford’s money couldn’t win him a statewide primary in two tries, there’s no overwhelming reason to believe his money will put him over the top in both a primary and a general against an exceedingly well-funded McConnell this time around. Second, depending on how much McConnell’s eventual Democratic opponent loans his campaign, by virtue of the “Millionaire’s Amendment,” McConnell will be able to increase the limits on how much he can take in from his contributors, further increasing his campaign war chest.

    Additional concerns exist with Lunsford’s commitment to Democratic Party ideals. Lunsford has a very long history of political campaign contributions to Republican candidates and committees, including $1,000 to Mitch McConnell in 1993 and another $250 to McConnell in 1999. On top of that, after his failed 2003 gubernatorial primary bid, Lunsford endorsed the Republican nominee over the Democratic nominee – that Republican was corrupt Ernie Fletcher. I don't readily see how Lunsford answers the question from Mitch McConnell, "How is it that you can contribute to my campaign on one day, support my Party and my candidates one day, and then turn on me and my Party the next day?"

    At this stage, Fischer and Lunsford both have as their task at hand to explain how their campaigns represent more than just checkbooks – why they're running and how their campaigns promote Democratic ideals. Of course, McConnell will be well-funded, but that alone does not win campaigns. In 2006, we saw a number of Republican incumbents significantly outspend Democratic challengers in losing efforts. Democrats Claire McCaskill and Jon Tester saw Republicans Jim Talent and Conrad Burns spend twice as much as they did, respectively. George Allen’s spending tripled Jim Webb’s. And Rick Santorum outspent Bob Casey by over $10 million. Those four Republicans lost despite enormous financial advantages.

    This is not an endorsement at this stage, by any means. But, right now, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne appears to be the strongest Democratic challenger to take on Mitch McConnell and question McConnell’s shameful record before the voters of Kentucky. I encourage you to view his campaign introductory video again and visit his website.

    January Senate Approval Numbers from Survey USA

    SUSA is up with their January numbers. For whatever reason, there are no new numbers up for Massachusetts (John Kerry) and Minnesota (Norm Coleman). For December's numbers for them, visit last month's post.


    Mitch McConnell1/22/0812/27/07 11/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/0711/22/06

    McConnell's approval is back under 50% and his disapproval upticks. Ugly numbers like that mean vulnerability, especially considering some of McConnell's worst numbers come among independent voters (a stunningly bad 34-58).

    Pat Roberts1/22/0812/27/0711/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/0711/22/06

    Roberts is really teasing us this month as his approval drops to 51% for the second time in three months. The early fundraising and hustle of Democratic candidate Greg Orman, coupled with Roberts' relatively sagging approval and many other negative marks, make Kansas look like the sleeper pick for a competitive Senate race.

    Jeff Sessions1/22/0812/27/0711/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/0711/22/06

    Sessions enters the really safe zone.

    Gordon Smith1/22/0812/27/0711/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/0711/22/06

    Smith, like McConnell, sees his approval back under 50%, and Smith's disapproval is even back over 40%. Good times.


    Tom Harkin1/22/0812/27/0711/20/0710/18/079/25/078/21/0711/22/06

    I'll once again stick with my November comment: "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!'"

    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Saturday Items

  • Latest Senate Line by WaPo's Cillizza: still 9 Republican-held seats and only 1 Democratic seat, Senator Mary Landrieu's Louisiana seat, which drops down the competitiveness list from 4 to 6. As recent-Republican state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy continues to disappoint with his bumbling mistakes, we'll see how low down the list Louisiana drops in coming months.

  • Kentucky: In an editorial simply titled "Obstructionist," the Louisville Courier-Journal again upbraids Republican Mitch McConnell, this time for obstructing progress on the Senate stimulus bill.

  • Maine: Collins Watch has a thorough analysis of the latest dishonest, desperate, and entirely substance-free attack by Susan Collins on Congressman Tom Allen's 2008 Senate campaign. Susan Collins has a long record of manufacturing bogus controversies - this is just the latest chapter in Collins' thoroughly dishonest history.

  • Montana: A third Republican has joined the 2008 GOP Senate primary race to see who gets whooped by Senator Max Baucus. The race is now between disgraced state rep. Mike Lange, engineering consultant Kirk Bushman, and newcomer Anton Pearson.

  • North Carolina: With more than half of 2008 Democratic Senate primary voters still undecided, State Senator Kay Hagan continues to lead in the polls.

  • Friday, February 08, 2008

    Friday Quick Hits

  • In December, I highlighted how Democratic Senators' own giving to the DSCC far outweighed Republican Senators' giving to the NRSC. Well, that didn't change in December:

    Notable contributions to the DSCC from campaign committees or “leadership PACs” of Democratic senators

    • Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico: $150,000
    • Joseph I. Lieberman* of Connecticut: $100,000
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York: $100,000
    • Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii: $75,000
    • Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland: $50,000
    • Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: $50,000
    • Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota: $25,000
    • Debbie Stabenow of Michigan: $25,000
    • Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii: $25,000
    • Ben Nelson of Nebraska: $25,000

    Notable contributions to the NRSC from campaign committees of Republican senators

    • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky: $50,000
    • Senate Minority Whip Lamar Alexander of Tennessee: $25,000
    • John W. Warner of Virginia: $30,000
    How does this not totally deflate Republican donors? Republican Senators won't match Democratic Senators in giving to their own cause, so why should Republican donors bail them out?

  • Throughout 2007, NRSC fundraising efforts have been dwarfed by the DSCC. So the NRSC, in a conference call with conservative bloggers, announced a new fundraising gimmick:

    “On that line, we are in the next few days going to launch a new online program on the NRSC site called two seats, it is for users to donate money, we want it to become an important portal for our supports, it’s a one stop shop, they can learn more about candidates, as well as they can support them through donations, users can send the candidates slate to their family and friends…”
    A one-stop shop to learn about candidates and contribute online? You mean, like a website? Well, let's keep an open mind. Maybe it will be successful. Look at the Presidential race. In the days since Super Tuesday, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have raised over $7 million and over $6 million, respectively. Republicans answered by attempting an online, one-day money-bomb. With Democrats raised millions, how much would this money-bomb need to be successful? One million? A few hundred thousand? How about $2,646 from 32 donors. That's less than half of the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. It probably shouldn't surprise you that I don't put much stock in Republicans' online fundraising efforts.

  • Tennessee: Attorney Kevin Doherty has decided against a 2008 Senate bid to challenge Republican Lamar Alexander. Rumored candidate attorney Lynn Todd Edgerton has also declined. This leaves activist Chris Lugo's longshot bid as the only Democratic campaign in the race.

  • Thursday, February 07, 2008

    Thursday Round-Up

  • Mississippi: As expected, the Mississippi state Supreme Court, packed with supporters of Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, overturned a lower court's decision and gave Barbour what he wanted, a November date for the special election to succeed Trent Lott. (Props to MS blogger Will Bardwell for being way on top of the story.) While it would have been politically beneficial for Democrats if the election was within 90 days, this isn't a large setback. Why? Amongst other reasons, Republican Roger Wicker has a very ethically-questionable record, highlighted in the new website The Real

  • New Mexico: The latest poll on the 2008 Senate race sees Democrat Tom Udall beating Republican Steve Pearce 53-31 and beating Republican Heather Wilson 58-30. Lookin' good!

  • Minnesota: Al Franken's camp has released data that they themselves recognize as not very scientific, but serve as an indicator that he had a very big day at the caucuses. Meanwhile, both MN Publius and MN Blue remind us that Norm Coleman's support for John McCain wasn't enough to help him beat Mitt Romney in Minnesota, a sign of Coleman's political impotency.

  • Maine: Turn Maine Blue highlights yet another effect of Susan Collins' inability to provide oversight on Iraq while Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

  • Texas: Is there any question that John Cornyn is an obedient and unquestioning rubber stamp for George W. Bush?

  • Massachusetts: How strong of a candidate does the NRSC think Republican Jim Ogonowski can be?

    if Ogonowski can get resources, we really think that he can be a very serious candidate
    Really? Well, I think the NRSC has some resources they can send Ogonowski, if they think that that is the only thing standing in the way of an Ogonowski victory. Or maybe that's just empty talk. C'mon, NRSC. Pony up!

  • Oklahoma: GOP Rep. Mary Fallin, deep down, seems to agree with the sentiment that Jim Inhofe is an anachronism in the Senate.

  • One Republican blogger is skeptical of how committed to Republican ideals NRSC Chair John Ensign is:

    Me: Senator Ensign, you talked before about Republican principles and how fundraising affecting donations due to Republicans not being fiscally Conservative and fallout from the Senate Amnesty bill. Another major part of Republican principles is traditional values and here in New Jersey we have a Senate candidate, Anne Estabrook, who is both Pro-choice and pro-Gay Marriage and yet you donated $1,000 to her. How do you justify that after what you just talked about 5 minutes ago and the party not acting on their Republican principles. There are also 2 other candidates in the race, Murray Sabrin and Joe Pennacchio, and I am hearing that neither one of them been welcomed by the NRSC with open arms like Anne Estabrook has.

    Senator Ensign: It’s important to have a GOP majority in Congress, because that means we get Conservative judges approved. Estabrook is a strong candidate, and moderate Republicans have voted to confirm Conservative judges.

    {Update: While I said $1,000, it was actually $10,000 that Senator Ensign donated to Anne Estabrook’s campaign}

    Please forgive me if I am a little skeptical, but I have trouble believing that she will be on the right side of voting for Conservative judges. She has also has donated to Democrat candidates like Senator Bob Menendez and others. But my bigger concern is the NRSC recognizing that not standing up for Republican principles has hurt them and then they go out and stand behind a liberal Republican. Makes no sense to me.
    Way to rally the troops, Ensign!

  • Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Wednesday Rundown

  • Maine: Susan Collins has a very long history of manufacturing bogus controversies to falsely create a negative view of her political opponents. Back in 1996 during her first Senate bid, Collins worked with a reporter to portray her opponent's very run-of-the-mill opposition research effort as a sleazy dumpster dive for information. Then, last summer, she desperately tried to portray the Maine Democratic Party employing a video tracker as some sort of unorthodox and inappropriate bullying of her (even though Collins' own Party recommends the tactic!). Then, last autumn, Collins tried to make hay out of Congressman Tom Allen having missed a few votes, even though he has a remarkable 98% voting record. (It should be noted that some of the votes Allen missed that Collins and the ME-GOP tried to exploit for political gain were missed because Allen attended a family funeral. We still haven't heard an apology from Collins or the ME-GOP.)

    And now, Collins is trying her latest stunt. She is trying to make hay out of the fact that members have contributed money to Tom Allen and that Allen voted against the resolution condemning for the ad they took out questioning the validity of General Petraeus' status report on Iraq.

    Susan Collins has a record replete with lies, hypocrisies, and kowtowing to the far right wing of her Party. She really is one of the most disingenuous politicians in America. That is not hyperbole. A YouTuber has put together a video inspired by archconservative Rick Santorum calling Collins a "team player." (HT: TMB)

  • Minnesota: Anecdotal evidence is suggesting that Al Franken had a very big day at the DFL caucuses to determine which Democrat will take out Norm Coleman in November.

  • Oregon: It's his election year, so, of course, Republican Gordon Smith is vocally opposing cuts to Medicaid. Problem is, when it's not his election year, Smith has voted to cut $10 billion (with a B) from Medicaid. Smith is as hypocritical as they come.

  • Nebraska: Scott Kleeb says a decision will come on a possible 2008 Senate bid "within the next two weeks."

  • Illinois: Republican Steve Sauerberg won his Party's 2008 Senate nomination to face Senator Richard Durbin in November. One indicator of the race is cash-on-hand at the end of 2007: Durbin $7.3 million, Sauerberg $66,632. Yeah.

  • Mississippi: Roger Wicker must not enjoy being a Senate appointee. He's already missing very important votes. Ironically, one vote dealt with attendance requirements for Senators! It's one thing to miss a handful of votes over the course of a year. It's another thing to miss votes after being sworn in just two weeks ago!

  • Kentucky: Dr. Michael Cassaro is reportedly going to put $2 million of his own money into his 2008 Senate campaign to compete with his higher profile Democratic primary opponents.

  • Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Super Duper Tuesday Quick Hits

    (Hey, there is a little news besides the Presidential race!)

  • Maine: A week ago today, I sent my open e-mail to Susan Collins' press secretary regarding hearings Collins called for as Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. She has yet to reply. I wonder if Collins is this slow in responding to constituent concerns.

  • Minnesota: In addition to the Presidential primaries and caucuses, Minnesota will be picking delegates at their caucuses to go to the state DFL convention. These delegates will determine the Democratic nominee to oust Republican Bush-bot Norm Coleman. If I were a gambler, I'd bet on a big day for Al Franken.

  • Wyoming: Some news from the Wyoming Democratic Party:

    Bill Luckett, communications director for the Wyoming Democratic Party, said a candidate will announce a challenge to Barrasso within weeks. But Luckett said the Democrats will delay deciding to field anyone against Enzi until they know for sure whether the senator is running again.
    Indeed a positive sign, as there are Wyoming Democrats who could be formidable in a 2008 Senate race. Enzi, meanwhile, remains publicly undecided about a re-election bid.

  • WaPo's Cillizza highlights Republicans' continued fundraising woes.

  • Monday, February 04, 2008

    Monday Recap

  • Not only is the DSCC beating the pants off of the NRSC in fundraising, but, in many top tier races, Democratic Senate candidates are beating the pants off of their Republican opponents in fundraising, too. (So, if you're able, contribute a few bucks to some of the tighter races!)

  • Maine: Maybe Susan Collins would be better off running for a leadership role in a PAC outside of Maine. I say this because Collins has taken in twice as much money from PACs as she's taken in from Mainers; and, she's raised more than twice as much money from outside Maine than she has from inside Maine.

  • Nebraska: Businessman Tony Raimondo has, as expected, entered the 2008 Senate race as a Democrat; and he has a campaign website up. Meanwhile, a decision from Scott Kleeb should come any day now.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell is on the hot seat for using videotaped statements of Louisville physicians in his campaign ads without their permission. Mitch McConnell acting unethically?!? Say it ain't so!

  • Minnesota: Environmental activist Jim Cohen, who withdrew last week from the 2008 Senate race, has endorsed Al Franken leading up to the Minnesota caucuses.

  • Oregon: With the subprime mortgage fiasco currently a very prominent issue, it's more than a bit surprising to learn that one Democratic candidate for Senate has never owned a home or taken out a mortgage.

  • Idaho: Democrat Larry LaRocco will get a first-hand look at the practical intricacies of Medicare Part D working his 17th job at the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in Twin Falls.

  • On issue after issue, voters trust Democrats more than Republicans.