Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Morning Rundown

  • Oregon: The DSCC is clearly hustling and considering all options in Oregon as Gordon Smith is indeed very vulnerable. The latest news is that former Monmouth Mayor Paul Evans, who is also an Oregon Air National Guard Major who has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, has spoken with the DSCC about the possibility of a challenge to Smith. It is impressive the breadth of potential candidates considering entering the race - a pleasant silver lining in the wake of the DeFazio/Blumenauer decisions.

  • Montana: Disgraced Republican Mike Lange's fanfare-free Friday entry into the Senate race means he now gets to enjoy all that sexy Saturday press coverage that no one will read (the weekend before the Fourth of July, no less!). It's like he said, 'Bob Schaffer in Colorado had a stumbling, embarrassing entry into his Senate race. Let's copy that!'

  • Minnesota: Norm Coleman does not like commenting on the record. Conversely, the Teamsters do like Al Franken.

  • Kentucky: Odd headline regarding immigration legislation: "Observers ponder McConnell's change of heart" - conserve your pondering energy; here's the answer: McConnell is a political coward.

  • If you're as disturbed as I am over the "loyal Bushie"-ness of Alito and Roberts, raise your hand... that's a lot of hands.

  • Friday, June 29, 2007

    Friday Afternoon Round-Up

  • Montana: Disgraced former state House Republican Leader Mike Lange announced today that he will be a candidate for Senate in 2008. Here he lamely tries to push his notoriety behind him:

    Lange made national headlines during the legislative session when he launched into an obscenity-laced tirade aimed at Schweitzer.

    He said Friday he would continue to defend the values he believed in.

    When he is in Congress, he would use “kinder words not the full text” of his attack on the governor.

    He noted he apologized to the governor and that the subject was “old news.”

    Lange stated that negative campaigning is flawed and unnecessary: “Negative campaigning is wrong,” he said. “I will focus on the issues, as I always have.”
    It didn't sound much like he was focusing on "the issues" during his infamous tirade, which, again, took place only two months ago (warning: strong language):

    Though I've linked to this before, it bears re-linking: the DSCC has compiled a pretty thorough piece on why Mike Lange is entirely unfit for the Senate. Left in the West offers further insights including wondering why Lange would announce on a Friday, the worst day of the week on which to announce anything important. An upside is that Lange's entry makes it less likely that a credible opponent like Rep. Denny Rehberg or fomer Gov. Mark Racicot would enter the race. Should Lange be the sole Republican in the race, it likely doesn't become more competitive than a third-tier race.

  • Alabama: Could there still be hope that Commissioner Ron Sparks would enter the 2008 Senate race? Earlier in the week, we heard rumors to that effect. Then, in the last 36 hours or so, we see a tag team of press releases: Commissioner Sparks discussing the importance of legal guest workers to Alabama's agribusiness sector following the Senate's vote on immigration reform, and the FDA following Commissioner Sparks' leadership on an important food safety issue. Commissioner Sparks exhibits true leadership. Don't be surprised if a renewed Draft Sparks effort re-emerges. He has too much to offer the Senate to not reconsider.

  • Kentucky: DMKY's Gunterman highlights how Mitch McConnell is bringing his political woes upon himself.

  • Friday Quick Hits and Predictions

  • Kentucky: For conservatives displeased with Mitch McConnell, this is likely too little, too late.

  • New Hampshire: The Draft Shaheen website offers this handy (but hardly exhaustive) rundown of areas in which Sprintin' John Sununu is out of touch with New Hampshire voters, including Iraq, the environment, and health care. Expect lots more as Sununu continues to vote far to the right of mainstream New Hampshire.

  • Minnesota:'s Friday News Update offers this tidbit about a very disturbing gimmick:

    MINNESOTA: In the category of stupid candidate tricks, meet gadfly hopeful James D. McBroom (Independence-MN). McBroom just legally changed his name to "James Broom Wellstone" and announced his candidacy against US Senator Norm Coleman (R). The seat was formerly held by the late US Senator Paul Wellstone (DFL), who died in a plane crash one month before the 2002 election. And talk about misleading, the guy's new campaign website features video and pix of Senator Wellsone. This ploy has failed in Minnesota in the past, when frequent candidate Mary Jane Rachner legally changed her name to Patricia Reagan to run for Congress yet again in the 2000 GOP primary. It made no difference, as Reagan/Rachner lost by the same lopsided margin as she always did. Look for the strategy to work just as well for McBroom/Wellstone next year.
    Definitely disturbing. I wonder if the Wellstone family can or will request that photos of, videos of, and references to Senator Wellstone be removed from McBroom's website.

  • Since this morning is light on news, I thought I'd throw a handful of predictions out there that you could debate in the comments if the mood struck you (or you could offer your own predictions):
    1) John Warner, Larry Craig, and Chuck Hagel will all opt against running for re-election to the Senate in 2008.
    2) Thad Cochran will run for re-election.
    3) Popular former Governors Jeanne Shaheen and Mark Warner will enter their states' respective Senate races and win.
    4) At least four incumbent Republican Senators running for re-election will face primary opponents.
    5) Assuming Tim Johnson opts for a re-election bid and his health remains stable, Democratic Senators will repeat their 2006 feat of holding every incumbent seat, yes including Mary Landrieu's.
    6) Either Pete Domenici or Ted Stevens won't be a Senator after January 2009.
    7) The DSCC will ouraise the NRSC in every quarter for the remainder of 2007.

  • Thursday, June 28, 2007

    Thursday Night Round-Up

  • North Carolina: Last night, the Guru pointed out that Elizabeth Dole's official Senate biography noted that she has zero accomplishments as a Senator. (See graphic at right.) I suppose Dole's office doesn't count "losing six Senate seats in a dismal showing as NRSC Chair" as an accomplishment worth touting. Anyway, if you go to Elizabeth Dole's official Senate bio now, the "Accomplishments" section has been removed. This means two things: 1) Dole's office would rather remove the "Accomplishments" section altogether than actually come up with any accomplishments to list (as there probably aren't any - heck, how can she accomplish much for North Carolina if she doesn't even spend much time there); and, 2) someone in Dole's office must follow the Guru's blog pretty closely. Thanks for reading, Liddy!

  • Maine: Tom Allen, Mike Michaud, and Olympia Snowe all agree that getting the troops home from Iraq is the top issue of concern to Mainers. Conservative-in-moderate's-clothing Susan Collins disagrees, unsurprisingly. Reports the Lewiston Sun Journal, "Unlike the other three, Collins' office said the consensus from constituents isn't to get out of Iraq right away, or even soon." Funny, I thought Collins' constituents were the same people as Allen's, Michaud's, and Snowe's constituents. Maybe they won't be Collins' constituents for much longer. Kudos to the Maine Dems for not wasting any time.

  • Oregon: Oregon state House Speaker Jeff Merkley confirms that he is considering a challenge to Gordon Smith and has met with DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer to discuss a run. Good to hear the rumblings of Democratic candidates building as the sub-50%-approval Smith is clearly vulnerable.

  • Texas: John Cornyn is getting a radical right-wing Republican primary opponent:

    Larry Kilgore, the former Dallas County Constitution Party chair who was (more or less) relieved of his duties for publicly supporting the death penalty for homosexuals, is now aiming his sights on the Texas GOP U.S. Senate primary against freshman incumbent John Cornyn, R-San Antonio. Kilgore, who is endorsed by Montana CP legislator Rick Jore and a host of other activists, finished second to Gov. Rick Perry in the gubernatorial primary last year, garnering 50,000 votes (8%).
    That should give Cornyn a few headaches. If the guy managed to get 8% in a TX-GOP gubernatorial primary, I think that's enough support to warrant Cornyn meeting him for a primary debate or two, if Cornyn has any spine. And with Cornyn currently enjoying a net-negative approval, a primary opponent could probably amass enough votes to really embarrass Cornyn. Here's Kilgore's website (warning: graphic language and imagery, seriously).

  • South Carolina: Speaking of Republican primary opponents, despite the immigration reform billed getting stalled in the Senate, South Carolina conservatives are awful sore with Lindsey Graham for his support for the legislation. I don't imagine it will be long before someone comes out of the woodwork to challenge Graham in a Republican primary, especially if Graham's approval-disapproval really stands at the hideous 31-40 level indicated by InsiderAdvantage.

  • New Mexico: CQPolitics profiles Democratic real estate developer Don Wiviott, who is aiming to take on Pajamas Pete Domenici.

  • New Hampshire: The Hill highlights the pressure that is building for former Governor Jeanne Shaheen to enter the 2008 Senate race in the Granite State coming just after a poll showing Shaheen demolishing Sprintin' John Sununu 57-29.

  • Happy third birthday, ActBlue!

  • Thursday Afternoon Quick Hits

  • Some exciting news. This Sunday, the Guru will begin writing a weekly column at MyDD on the state of the Senate races around the country. I hope you'll check it out. Meanwhile, you can continue to enjoy daily Senate race news here at Senate 2008 Guru.

  • South Carolina: As has been reported just about everywhere by now, the Senate couldn't get cloture on immigration reform, in a 46-53 vote, so it is effectively dead for the session. The only Republicans who voted Yea on cloture who are also up for re-election in 2008 are Chuck Hagel, who may or may not retire from the Senate and who is already facing primary opposition, Larry Craig, who may or may not retire (I'm betting he will retire), and Lindsey Graham. Expect the South Carolina conservative netroots to express significant discontent with Graham and also expect further rumblings of a primary challenge.

  • Kentucky: Though Mitch McConnell voted Nay on cloture on the immigration reform bill, his decision to steer clear of the immigration debate is well-documented and has significantly raised the ire of the conservative netroots around the country.

  • New Hampshire: Remember a few months back when ARG released a poll on a hypothetical Senate race seeing Jeanne Shaheen beating Sprintin' John Sununu 44-34? Well, buckle your seat belts because ARG now has Shaheen beating Sununu 57-29! Shaheen even gets the support of 30% of the Republicans. I think it's clear that New Hampshire voters are experiencing some delayed buyers' remorse from 2002. Meanwhile, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand has a round-the-clock blograiser going and will be liveblogging today at Daily Kos at 4pm Eastern time.

  • Idaho: The MountainGoat Report offers a terrific look at the dichotomy between Democrat Larry LaRocco and Republican Larry Craig. While Senate candidate LaRocco spends the day working at a nursing home providing care to seniors, Senator Larry Craig spends his day working to block veterans from receiving health care benefits.

  • Wyoming:'s Thursday News Update says that Republican former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead has joined Republican former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis in considering a primary challenge to newly appointed Republican Senator John Barrasso.

  • Oregon: Loaded Orygun highlights Gordon Smith's role in the latest -Gate: SalmonGate. Also, Blue Oregon has more details on possible Senate candidate and radio personality Jeff Golden.

  • Nebraska: New Nebraska Network outlines how backwards Jon Bruning's logic is on immigration reform. Meanwhile, Newsweek highlights Chuck Hagel's "home-state headache."

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    Wednesday Night Items

  • North Carolina: If you scroll down to the bottom of Elizabeth Dole's official Senate biography, it seems that she agrees that she has accomplished nothing as a Senator. (See graphic to the right.)

  • New Hampshire: A new Suffolk University poll says that only 31% of voters believe that Sprintin' John Sununu deserves re-election while 47% say someone else should be Senator. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can't fathom how Sununu wins re-election against Jeanne Shaheen, Steve Marchand, or any competent Democrat.

  • Maine: CQPolitics wonders if Joe Lieberman's support might actually be a hinderance to Susan Collins. Y'think? Meanwhile, the DSCC has put together a nice piece displaying Collins' hypocrisy on obstructionism in the Senate. Further, AmericaBlog wonders where Susan Collins and the other Senate Republican "moderates" are on Iraq, following Dick Lugar's recent questioning of Iraq strategy. Aravosis' best line: "Collins loves to be second. If there's a trail to blaze, Collins will sit back quietly, quaking in her boots, until other more courageous, "real" moderates like Olympia Snowe stick their necks out first."

  • Oregon: The Ashland Daily Tidings is reporting that "Jefferson Public Radio talk-show host Jeff Golden of Ashland is considering a run for U.S. Senate." (HT: Loaded Orygun) As Loaded O says, "the more, the merrier!"

  • Louisiana: The Evans Novak Political Report offers, not shockingly, that Republicans see Louisiana as their best chance for a Senate pickup but notes that "there is no obvious GOP candidate ready to step forward." Meanwhile, Scholars & Rogues seems quite appalled by the "GOP [being] quietly giddy about New Orleans’ black diaspora."

  • Oklahoma: State Senator Andrew Rice is entering the serious consideration phase regarding a possible 2008 Senate challenge to Jim "In Denial" Inhofe.

  • Republican obstructionism in the Senate continues to be the topic du jour simply because Republicans keep obstructing legislation at a notorious pace. The Carpetbagger Report and Think Progress offer more details. Further, the Democratic Senate Caucus offers this powerful video chronicling Republican obstructionism - take a look.

  • Wednesday Rundown

  • Idaho: 2008 Democratic Senate candidate and former Congressman Larry LaRocco is liveblogging at Daily Kos right now.

  • Arkansas: Republican Presidential candidate and former Governor Mike Huckabee has shown no interest in running for Senate. That might be good for Huckabee because polling shows him getting beaten by Senator Mark Pryor 49-42. Huckabee's unfavorable was just under 40% while Pryor's was at less than 25% in the poll. Couple that with Pryor's fundraising dominance over Huckabee and it makes Pryor look like a safer bet for re-election.

  • Nebraska: The Lincoln Journal Star reports:

    Scott Kleeb emerged Tuesday as a potential Democratic Senate candidate after reactivating his 2006 congressional campaign fund-raising base.

    Kleeb, whose competitive challenge in the 3rd District House race last year attracted national attention, sent letters to his contributors seeking donations to resume his political activities.

    “I am currently exploring several options to continue and expand our campaign,” he stated in letters that will arrive in mailboxes Wednesday. Asked in a telephone interview whether he might be a 2008 Senate candidate if former Sen. Bob Kerrey and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey decline a Democratic bid, Kleeb said: “I’d definitely consider it, for sure.”

    However, he noted, “that’s a lot of ifs.”
    Kleeb vs. Bruning would be an interesting battle as both represent the future of their Parties in Nebraska. With former Senator Bob Kerrey and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey still hovering regarding a Senate bid, it's good to see other viable options.

  • Alabama: Doc's Political Parlor suggests that there is the slimmest of chances that Sparksmania could still occur and notes that State Senator Vivian Figures "keeps postponing the announcement of her candidacy for the race."

  • Minnesota: Big Tobacco slayer and Senate candidate Mike Ciresi discusses a wide array of issues with MN Campaign Report. Meanwhile, could Smilin' Norm Coleman be a hypocrite on marijuana (maybe that's why he's smiling)?

  • Texas: John Cornyn and Big Oil are sitting in a tree. In case you're wondering, they are K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

  • Kos and Kagro X offer some further thoughts on Republican obstructionism in the Senate. And they can add obstructing legislation that "would have made it easier for unions to organize workers" to the list.

  • There is only one word to describe Elizabeth Edwards: "splendid." Elizabeth Edwards is simply a splendid human being.

  • Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Tuesday Rundown

  • North Carolina: On the heels of Congressman Brad Miller taking himself out of the Senate running, The News & Observer checks in with two state legislators, State Representative Grier Martin and State Senator Kay Hagan, who have had Senate speculation land on them. Blue NC is vocally supportive of a potential bid by Rep. Martin. Further, the Winston-Salem Journal has details on Forsyth County Commissioner Ted Kaplan considering entering the race.

  • Alaska:'s Tuesday News Update highlights:

    ALASKA: Roll Call reports former Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman (R), former State Senate President Mike Miller (R), former State Senator John Binkley (R) and State House Speaker John Harris (R) are all "weighing challenging" either US Senator Ted Stevens (R) or Congressman Don Young (R) in next year's primary.
    These rumblings are no doubt the result of both legislators facing significant ethics concerns. A primary challenge to the octogenarian Stevens heightening the intensity of a re-election campaign, coupled with the ongoing FBI investigation into his dealings with the corrupt VECO Corporation, could further encourage a retirement, which would hopefully further entice a strong Democrat, like Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, to enter the race.

  • Montana: The Hill reports that "[disgraced former state House Republican Leader Michael] Lange (R) is strongly leaning toward challenging Sen. Max Baucus (D) in 2008 and will make a formal announcement late this week, likely Friday." No word yet on whether his announcement speech will be as obscenity-laden as his recent tirade against popular Governor Brian Schweitzer that got Lange bounced from his leadership post. The Hill article also notes:

    [Republican Rep. Denny] Rehberg spokesman Bridger Pierce said last week that Rehberg had made no decision about running against Baucus.

    Other Montanans mentioned as potential candidates include state Sen. Corey Stapleton, engineer Kirk Bushman and restaurateur Dean Folkvord.

    Stapleton told The Hill that “it would not be my intention to” challenge Baucus and that he’s not weighing a bid.

    Bushman, a relative unknown to the state party, recently launched a Senate campaign website on which he says he is “considering” a bid.
    If you would like to learn more about how unfit Michael Lange is to serve in the Senate, enjoy this compilation.

  • Minnesota: Smilin' Norm Coleman might have less to smile about as expectations are being lowered as to Coleman's Q2 fundraising take, with suggestions that Al Franken might outraise Coleman for the April-June quarter.

  • Idaho: Catch Senate candidate and former Congressman Larry LaRocco on Daily Kos for some more liveblogging fun tomorrow (Wednesday, June 27) at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, Noon Mountain, 11am Pacific.

  • New Hampshire: The effort to draft Jeanne Shaheen into the Senate race against Sprintin' John Sununu has launched a new website at

  • Texas: Stop Cornyn has details on a Democratic town hall meeting attended by both Senate candidate Mikal Watts and State Representative & potential Senate candidate Rick Noriega.

  • Monday, June 25, 2007

    Monday Night Quick Hits

  • CQPolitics and WaPo's Cillizza gush over the DSCC's fundraising dominance over the NRSC.

  • North Carolina: Disappointing news. Despite sounding more like a likely candidate in recent weeks, Democratic Congressman Brad Miller has opted to run for re-election to the House rather than challenge Elizabeth Dole for the Senate seat. I do think Miller could have beaten Dole given that Miller held Dole to under 50% in polling and only had a 15-point deficit despite a name ID of roughly a quarter of Dole's name ID. And the search continues.

  • New Hampshire: Blue Hampshire offers some tidbits on the NH-Sen race, including Jay Buckey intimating that Jeanne Shaheen's entrance to the Senate race wouldn't necessarily mean Buckey's exit.

  • Actor Paul Newman discusses the importance of electing Democratic Senators.

  • Monday Round-Up

  • Virginia: The Washington Times speculates that John Warner is likely to retire and that he is delaying his announcement to give GOP Rep. Tom Davis more preparation time. I would agree. Much will become clear when we see Warner's and Davis' Q2 fundraising numbers in a couple weeks. Raising Kaine considers the possible political dynamics if extremely popular former Governor Mark Warner gets involved. To learn more about Tom Davis' numerous failings, check out Tom Davis Truth.

  • South Carolina: When the Chairman of a state Party is asked about his state's Senator of the same Party who is face re-election this cycle, the typical response would probably be something to the effect of, 'We're hearing a great deal of support from all corners of the state. There's a lot of excitement.' However, in the case of SC-GOP Chairman Katon Dawson and Senator Lindsey Graham, Dawson says (of a possible primary challenger no less!), "Somebody might step up and run against the senator -- certainly there's consternation out there." For the state Party Chairman to publicly acknowledge "consternation" and the possibility of a primary challenger, things have to be pretty rough behind the scenes. Graham may be more vulnerable than the conventional wisdom would suggest. (Paging Robert Barber Jr.!)

  • Oregon: Last night, State Senator Kate Brown announced that she will be stepping down as Senate Majority Leader. There has been speculation that she might be interested in taking down Republican Gordon Smith.

  • Colorado: Another bad sign for GOP Senate candidate "Backwards" Bob Schaffer: the CO-GOP seems to be shifting into 'circle-the-wagons and hibernate until 2010' mode.

  • An interesting idea from a Blue NC diarist: with Bush's massive unpopularity around the country, bumper stickers should be printed up for each state saying "Dole = Bush," or, where appropriate, "Sununu = Bush," "Collins = Bush," "Coleman = Bush," etc. With these Republican Senators featuring Presidential Support Scores anywhere from around 80% to around 98%, we might as well make sure the electorate knows what they're voting for.

  • An Enduring Democratic Majority offers its thoughts on the vulnerability of the 34 Senate seats up in 2008. Not a bad collection. To nitpick: McConnell should be higher (more vulnerable) on the list, Harkin should be lower (safer) on the list, and Pat Roberts is not safer than Joe Biden or Carl Levin. A solid effort overall.

  • Sunday, June 24, 2007

    Giant Sunday Rundown

  • Wyoming: We could already be seeing a primary brewing in Wyoming for next year. Senate vacancy finalist and former state treasurer Cynthia Lummis "said she hadn't ruled out a run against [new Wyoming Senator John] Barrasso." While Barrasso will have the advantage of an albeit brief incumbency, there is recent precedent of a Republican Senate vacancy appointee losing a primary in his or her special election: 1996's Kansas Senate primary between Sheila Frahm, who was appointed to fill the remainder of Bob Dole's term when he retired from the Senate to focus on his Presidential campaign, and Sam Brownback who went on to win the primary and general elections.

  • Kentucky: Both The Bridge and Kentucky Women are hearing rumors that Democratic state Attorney General Greg Stumbo will announce the formation of a Senate exploratory committee very soon. Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell has some angry sentiments pointed his way in letters to the editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

  • Nebraska: Not to deflate Democratic Senate hopes in Nebraska, but this Lincoln Journal Star article mentions the following: neither former Senator Bob Kerrey nor Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey will enter the Senate race if Chuck Hagel goes for another term; Kerrey categorizes his likelihood of a Senate bid as "not likely;" and Fahey reiterates that he is more likely to run for re-election as Mayor than run for Senate. I expect that Hagel will retire from the Senate, so hopefully the first point is moot. Kerrey has for the most part publicly stuck to his 1% likelihood of a Senate race, so the second point isn't too deflating. And until Fahey is ready to commit, it's the politically astute thing to say that he's leaning toward re-election as Mayor to keep Mayoral wannabes at bay for the time being. So, while this isn't too deflating after all, it is another day without either Kerrey or Fahey taking a step forward.

  • Montana: The Billings Gazette offers two pieces touching on disgraced former state House Republican Leader Mike Lange's expectation that he will challenge popular incumbent Senator Max Baucus in 2008. If you want to see the obscenity-laden tirade that got the disgraced Lange bounced from the state House leadership, click here.

  • New Mexico: Following former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty confirming that Pete Domenici's call to him was "a significant factor" in the firing of former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, and following the bad press Domenici got in the Albuquerque Tribune, Domenici got even more bad press from a less likely source, the Albuquerque Journal. And the hits just keep on coming.

  • North Carolina: With Brad Miller about a week away from his decision on a Senate challenge to Elizabeth Dole, The News & Observer summarizes some of Dole's biggest weaknesses:

    But Dole has weaknesses. She has closely tied herself to an unpopular president. There has been grumbling that her constituent services have not matched that of her predecessor, Sen. Jesse Helms. And she has spent a lot of time away from North Carolina.
    Tied to Bush's bad policies, bad on constituent services, and rarely even in the state she represents. Yeah, sounds like a recipe for defeat. I hope Miller steps up and starts holding Dole accountable for her failings.

  • Tennessee: Following the news that businessman and gubernatorial son Mike McWherter is considering a Senate bid, Sidof79 offers his latest Tennessee Senate news recap.

  • Idaho: The Mountain West and Pacific Northwest Democrats really do stick together a look out for each other. Here, Blue Oregon touts Idaho's Larry LaRocco as the next Jon Tester of Montana.

  • New Hampshire: The Concord Monitor offers a recap of recent events in NH-Sen.

  • Discussing the 2008 Senate races is all the rage at MyDD and Booman Tribune.

  • Saturday, June 23, 2007

    Ethics, Immigration, and Family Names

  • The Cook Political Report offers its updated 2008 Senate Race Rankings (in PDF). On the Democratic incumbents' side, there are no toss-ups and only Mary Landrieu in the "lean dem" category, with Tim Johnson and Mark Pryor in "likely dem" and the rest in "solid dem." On the Republican incumbents' side, Colorado's open seat sits in the toss-up category, with Susan Collins and Norm Coleman in "lean rep." Cook's writers must be very keen to ethics problems as Ted Stevens and Pete Domenici join John Sununu, Elizabeth Dole and Gordon Smith in "likely rep," with the rest in "solid rep." My primary critique here, as will be with any ranking that doesn't include this, is that John Sununu should be in the most vulnerable category possible. With each successive vote and issue that comes along demonstrating how out of step he is with New Hampshire and how in step he is with Bush, Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc., I just can't fathom how Sununu gets re-elected against Jeanne Shaheen or Steve Marchand or just about any competent Democrat.

  • New Mexico: Speaking of being keen to ethics problems, following the revelation that Pete Domenici's call to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty was "a signficant factor" in former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias' ouster, The Albuquerque Tribune highlights the story, keeping the scandal salient in New Mexico. And the bad press for Domenici continues.

  • Alaska: And speaking further of being keen to ethics problems, the invaluable Talking Points Memo offers more scandal involving the Stevens family:

    Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) had his son, former state Senate President Ben Stevens, head a board that distributed $12 million in federal grants to promote seafood companies that, at the same time, paid the younger Stevens upward of $775,000 in "consulting fees."
    I'm not accusing anybody of anything. I'm just saying that if someone wanted to concoct a scheme that involved nepotism, money laundering, fraud, graft, and general corruption, it could look a lot like this.

  • South Carolina: Immigration reform has taken a significant toll on Lindsey Graham's approval rating:

    Graham’s approval rating has sunk to 31 percent and he has a 40 percent disapproval rating, according to a poll released Friday by Atlanta-based InsiderAdvantage. The new poll points to Graham’s support for the Senate immigration bill, which includes a path to citizenship, as a likely reason for his apparent unpopularity.

    His disapproval among Republicans is higher — 46 percent — than among Democrats —30 percent. Both give him an approval rating in the low 30s.
    This should pretty well embolden the folks at The Payback Project to seek out a primary opponent for Graham. (HT: Atrios)

  • Kentucky: Seeing the toll immigration is taking on Lindsey Graham, all eyes should be on the $200,000 Grassfire is putting into its Kentucky media presence against Mitch McConnell. It will be notable if it impacts next month's Survey USA approval rating for McConnell, especially among Republican voters. (HT: Draft Forgy)

  • Tennessee: The Nashville Post has the story on what could be Lamar Alexander's first challenger:

    Michael Ray McWherter, 51, son of former Tennessee Gov. Ned McWherter, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Lamar Alexander, according to sources.

    Mike McWherter, as he is known, is owner and operator of Central Distributors, a Jackson, Tenn.-based Anheuser-Busch distributing company, as well as vice chairman of First State Bank of Union City. ...

    From 1987 to 1995, Ned Ray McWherter served as Tennessee's governor. Arguably one of the most popular politicans in recent Tennessee history, alongside Republicans like former U. S. Sen. Howard Baker and the late East Tennessee Congressman Jimmy Quillen, the elder McWherter still looms large over Tennessee's political landscape. In the years after he left office, it was not uncommon to see "I miss Ned" bumper-stickers on cars throughout the state. ...

    Most political observers had anticipated Tennessee Democrats to put up a sacrifical lamb against Alexander. Should McWherter enter the race, it will be apparent that they are not taking the election lying down.
    The McWherter name is clearly still very big in Tennessee. If Mike can demonstrate Ned's appeal, we could indeed have an interesting race on our hands. (HT: R o o k)

  • Friday, June 22, 2007

    500 Days Until Election Day 2008

  • Wyoming: The newest member of the U.S. Senate will be state senator John Barrasso. From a political standpoint, Governor Freudenthal's choice was particularly notable given that Barrasso was widely regarded as the finalist most likely to be able to retain the seat in his 2008 special election. Let the polling and opp research commence.

  • New Mexico: Former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty confirmed that Pete Domenici's call to him was "a significant factor" in the firing of former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Cue another round of bad local press for Pajamas Pete!

  • Maine: Joe Lieberman's fundraiser for Susan Collins raised a big pile of money... for Tom Allen.

  • Alaska: The Politico reports that Ted Stevens "has hired a criminal defense attorney" in response to the FBI investigation into his dealings with the corrupt VECO Corporation. CQPolitics further profiles the clouds of corruption hovering over Ted Stevens.

  • New Hampshire: Portsmouth Mayor and Senate candidate Steve Marchand correctly points out that Sprintin' John Sununu chose Big Oil over New Hampshire families in his vote the other day. Seriously, can anyone fathom how Sununu gets re-elected given his votes and rhetoric on Iraq, health care, stem cells, the environment, energy, etc. and his reduced status now in the minority Party?

  • Montana: Republican former state House Majority Leader Mike Lange will decide at this weekend's Republican convention whether or not he will enter the Senate race against popular Democratic Senator Max Baucus. In case the name Mike Lange sounds familiar, it might be for his infamous, obscene "Lange harangue" against popular Governor Brian Schweitzer a couple months back. I can't imagine that this guy is who the MT-GOP would want carrying their banner, but to each their own. The DSCC offers thorough background on why Mike Lange is "Not Fit for the Senate, [and] Wrong for Montana."

  • New Jersey: Conservative Republican Senate candidate and assemblyman Mike Doherty won't temper his guns-blazin', global warming-doubting, far-right brand of conservatism. I really hope he winds up as the Republican Senate nominee in 2008.

  • When Democrats run the Senate, good legislation gets passed. Perhaps we need to elect more Democratic Senators.

  • Thursday, June 21, 2007

    DSCC On the Ball

  • May fundraising numbers are out and the DSCC once again trumped the NRSC in May. The DSCC took in $4.36 million compared to the NRSC's $3.32 million. At the end of May, the DSCC's cash on hand stood at over $14.25 million (with $5M in debt carried over from '06) compared to the NRSC's $4.26 million. The Guru continues to wonder what John Ensign does all day.

  • New Hampshire & Nebraska: Stu Rothenberg is reporting that evidence is pointing toward former Governor Jeanne Shaheen entering the New Hampshire Senate race and former Senator Bob Kerrey entering the Nebraska Senate race. Rothenberg is reporting only on indications, not concrete declarations, but they are good signs nonetheless that enhance Democratic chances for pick-ups in both states.

  • Kentucky: The Payback Project must be spooking Mitch McConnell because, despite indicating earlier support for immigration reform, McConnell is now backpedalling from the legislation. McConnell's giant campaign warchest isn't enough to buy him a spine.

  • Thursday Rundown

  • The Rothenberg Political Report released its most recent Senate rankings, using only three broad categories: Vulnerable (Minnesota, Maine, Colorado), Watch List (South Dakota, Louisiana, Oregon, New Hampshire), and Currently Safe (Everyone else). With such broad categories, there isn't much to analyze. My only comment is that New Hampshire should routinely be in the most vulnerable category. Given how out of step with New Hampshire Sprintin' John Sununu continues to vote on Iraq, stem cells, health care, the environment, etc., I just can't fathom how he gets re-elected.

  • New Hampshire: Speaking of Sprintin' John Sununu, he is getting taken to task on stem cells and Iraq (by retired Generals, no less) at the same time. Seriously, how can this guy get re-elected?

  • New Mexico: A Democrat willing to put up some serious bucks against Pajamas Pete Domenici is getting in the race: real estate developer Don Wiviott.

  • Maine: Tonight at 7pm Eastern time, Tom Allen will be hosting a live online discussion on Iraq at his website AmericaBlog highlights that, at the same time that Tom Allen will be discussing ways to end the fiasco in Iraq, Susan Collins will have her good friend and Iraq/Iran hawk Joe Lieberman raising money for her. In response, a round-the-clock online fundraising drive is occuring for Allen. So, join tonight's discussion on Iraq with Tom Allen, and then contribute to his effort to unseat Bush-enabler and Lieberpal Susan Collins.

  • Wyoming: WaPo's Cillizza wonders which of the three Senate finalists would "make it possible for Democrats to make this race competitive next fall when a special election is held for the remaining four years of Thomas' unexpired term." He offers that state senator John Barrasso is regarded as the strongest choice to hold the seat, but that Democrats would face an uphill battle against any of the three.

  • North Carolina: Blue South highlights the latest Public Policy Polling numbers, which puts Elizabeth Dole's approve-disapprove at a weak 48-40 and see Dole held under 50% in hypothetical match-ups against Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and Treasurer Richard Moore. The numbers continue to illustrate Dole's vulnerability.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell must be getting nervous because he's breaking out a dusty, old play from a dusty, old playbook. Draft Forgy has McConnell's most recent fundraising letter, which, by The Bridge's count, mentions "liberals" ten times. Oh, those scary liberals!

  • Idaho: Former Congressman Larry LaRocco is hitting the social networking sites.

  • Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Unexpected Republican Primaries

    [Cross-posted at my Swing State Project diary.]

    2008 could be a record year for unexpected Republican primaries. Whether or not strong contenders emerge, Republican primaries are, of course, expected in states from South Dakota to New Jersey, states with Democratic Senate incumbents but a handful (or more) of ambitious Republicans itching to take their shots. And, of course, there will be notable Democratic primaries ranging from Minnesota to Georgia. But the number of unexpected potential Republican primaries for Senate in 2008 is running high.

    There are a number of reasons for this. One reason, illustrated more clearly in the Republican Presidential primary, is general discontent by Republican voters of Republican candidates and officials. Another reason is that Republicans are particularly divided over the issue of immigration reform. Another reason could be that, in many races, the incumbent Republican simply isn't conservative enough for the base. Though several of these states with unexpected potential Republican primaries are traditionally red states, the emergence of a viable Democratic challenger in many of these states makes the possibility of a primary all the more daunting for Republicans.

    Lack of Leadership

    Kentucky: Many elements of the conservative base are growingly unhappy with Mitch McConnell's helming of Senate Republicans, and none have been more vocal than the conservative blogosphere across the country, many of whom have focused on their discontent with McConnell's support for Bush's bipartisan immigration reform attempts. Further, in Kentucky, 1995 GOP gubernatorial nominee Larry Forgy, a loyalist to corrupt incumbent Governor Ernie Fletcher, has hinted that he would consider or support a primary challenge to McConnell if he felt McConnell did not do enough to help Fletcher's embattled re-election bid. While McConnell enjoys a hefty bankroll, the power of his political machine has diminished as demonstrated by Anne Northup's gubernatorial primary defeat to Ernie Fletcher. If a Republican primary challenger sapped significant resources of McConnell's, he could find himself very vulnerable to a viable Democrat, say either 2003 Lt. Gov. nominee Charlie Owen or state Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

    Immigration Reform

    South Carolina: Primarily driven by anger over Lindsey Graham's support for immigration reform, the South Carolina conservative netroots have begun voicing their displeasure with Graham and desire for a primary challenger. Dump and Dump Lindsey Graham express South Carolina conservatives' preference for a replacement for Graham. As Hotline's Blogometer reported:

    A new project launched by conservative bloggers promises a primary challenge for any GOP Senator who votes for the [immigration reform] proposal. The most prominent in that field? None other than McCain supporter Lindsay Graham (R-SC). So far, there have been rumblings of a primary challenge for Graham but no candidate yet. If the revived immigration plan comes up to a vote, will Graham's yea or ney be the triggering mechanism?
    This project is called The Payback Project and it seems to have successfully spooked Saxby Chambliss of Georgia into distancing himself from the immigration reform legislation. If Graham continues his support for the immigration reform legislation, expect talk of a primary to intensify. After that, Democrats still need to come through with a viable Senate candidate.

    Not "Conservative" Enough

    Oregon: For more than a decade, Gordon Smith has been Oregon's only statewide Republican. He has achieved this by presenting himself as a moderate who can voice Oregon's concerns to the Republican leadership in the White House and Congress. But with the Republican brand inreasingly tarnished, and with Smith's back-and-forth on Iraq demonstrating his lack of integrity, he is coming off as too far to the right for Oregon moderates but also too fiscally irresponsible for conservatives. As such, 1998 GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Sizemore has hinted that he would consider a primary challenge to Smith. While Democrats have had a difficult time recruiting a top-tier challenger for Smith, the job would be considerably easier if a Republican primary challenger pulled Smith to the right and sapped significant resources.

    Minnesota: Norm Coleman finds himself in a similar situation to Gordon Smith, having to maintain moderate credibility to ensure a necessary breadth of support. Minnesota will have no shortage of Democratic candidates itching to take Coleman on, be it a famous satirist, an attorney who slew Big Tobacco, a Nobel Laureate, and so on. It would help the eventual Democratic nominee if Coleman was pulled to the right and had resources sapped by a primary challenger. Enter Joe Repya, a military veteran and former advisor to Coleman who is considering entering the race. Despite Repya's ideological position to the right of the GOP, his apparent sincerity and straightforwardness would offer a damaging foil for the political opportunist Coleman and severely weaken his character before entering the general election, if he wins the primary, that is.


    Colorado: Senator Wayne Allard has retired and former Rep. Bob Schaffer appears to be the presumptive Republican Senate nominee for 2008. But enough rumblings keep occuring suggesting that a bloc of the CO-GOP is not convinced Schaffer is a viable candidate against Democratic Congressman Mark Udall. As such, we could still see a CO-GOP primary, leaving the eventual Republican nominee worse for the wear.

    Nebraska: There will be a Republican primary in Nebraska. The only question is whether or not Chuck Hagel will be involved. If he is, Hagel will likely still see opposition from state Attorney General Jon Bruning, whose campaign has highlighted Hagel's lack of support for the Bush administration on Iraq, and former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub. If Hagel does not run for re-election, expect those two candidates plus businessman Tony Raimondo and who knows how many others might consider a bid for an open seat. This would not be as notable a scenario if it wasn't for the fact that two prominent Nebraska Democrats were considering Senate bids: Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey and former Senator Bob Kerrey. As it seems unlikely that there would be a Democratic primary, whichever Democrat steps up will be at full strength to await a battle-bruised, resource-diminished Republican.

    Idaho: If Larry Craig doesn't retire, than this paragraph is moot. However, if I had to make a wager, I'd bet on a Craig retirement. Should Craig retire, Idaho's GOP Lt. Gov. Jim Risch has been drooling to enter the Senate race and GOP Rep. Mike Simpson has at times expressed interest. While Idaho is just about as red a state as there is, the ID-Dems have put up their strongest Senate candidate in years in former Congressman Larry LaRocco. Should Craig retire and a rough Republican primary politically injury the eventual Republican nominee, Democrats would have their best opportunity in years for a Senate pickup here.

    Ethics Problems

    New Mexico: Pete Domenici's role in the Attorney Purge scandal has been widely reported and its impact on Domenici's approval rating has been observed. With Domenici's approval bottoming out, for the moment, around 50%, he is still awaiting the results of the Senate Ethics Committee's investigation. Should findings or political fallout result in a Domenici retirement or resignation, we could very well see a Republican primary in New Mexico to replace Domenici. Though far-right GOP Rep. Steve Pearce would be the frontrunner, a less far-right Republican might see an opening for a challenge. Meanwhile, the prospect of an open seat could entice Democratic Congressman Tom Udall or another top-tier Democrat to enter the race.

    Alaska: As Ted Stevens gets more deeply embroiled in FBI investigations surrounding renovations to his home and his relationship with the corrupt VECO Corporation, coupled with Stevens advanced age, declining poll numbers, and increased interest from Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, Stevens could yet opt for retirement (if the FBI's investigation doesn't turn up something sooner that might force Stevens from the Senate), leaving Alaska wide open for a Republican Senate primary.

    With the NRSC's fundraising being well eclipsed by the DSCC, and with 21 Republican incumbents to protect compared with 12 Democrats, Republican Senate resources will be spread awfully thin in 2008. The prospect of all these primaries, sapping already sparse resources, looms large over Republicans hoping to minimize losses in 2008 following a majority-losing 2006.

    Wednesday Afternoon Round-Up

  • Wyoming: Details are coming in about the three Senate vacancy finalists from which Governor Dave Freudenthal must select. First, attorney Dave Sansonetti inserted himself in the world of Jack Abramoff:

    The top vote-getter in the race to succeed recently deceased Republican Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming, Thomas Sansonetti, recently made a plea to a judge to grant clemency to J. Steven Griles, the number two figure in the Bush administration Interior Department. Griles is facing sentencing later this month after pleading guilty to obstruction charges in the Justice Department's investigation of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's activities during the earlier years of the Bush administration.
    Not great company to keep. Sansonetti also was no friend to environmental protection:

    "As a member of the law firm Holland and Hart, Sansonetti lobbied on behalf of corporate mining interests, including Arch Coal and Peabody Coal," said a feature on the 'UnGreening of America' in Mother Jones magazine. "Sansonetti is behind the Department of Justice's decisions to settle a string of lawsuits, giving up the government's legal right to protect millions of acres of wetlands and wilderness."
    Meanwhile, former state treasurer Cynthia Lummis and Governor Freudenthal have had personal clashes in the past:

    Lummis accused Freudenthal in 2003 of threatening the state auditor with the words, 'If you cross me, I'll cut your head off and you won't know it till it hits the ground.' The governor denied everything. Thanks to their personal clash, he is considered unlikely to support her.
    Ouch. The Evans-Novak Political Report offers that state senator John Barrasso "may be the most capable of keeping the seat." A tough selection, indeed, for Governor Freudenthal, who has invited the three finalists to meet with him to discuss issues affecting Wyoming.

  • Iowa: With former GOP Rep. Jim Nussle taking over as White House Budget Director, I think we can cross that name off the list of potential opponents to Senator Tom Harkin.

  • Georgia: I suppose Saxby Chambliss has been sufficiently spooked by the prospect of a primary challenge, as he'll be voting against moving the immigration reform legislation forward in the Senate. Chambliss really is spineless.

  • Alaska: Kos offers an extended look into Ted Stevens' plunging poll numbers in the wake of Stevens' RenovationGate.

  • Oregon: The OR-GOP needs to hone its skills a little more before attempting reverse psychology on Chuck Schumer. Very lame on the OR-GOP's part.

  • Big Wednesday Morning Rundown

  • Wyoming: The finalists for the Senate vacancy have been announced:

    [Governor Dave] Freudenthal now has five days to choose the new senator from a short list made up of Tom Sansonetti, a lawyer and former Wyoming Republican chairman; state Sen. John Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon; and former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis.
    An interesting subplot to this decision is that since state rep. Colin Simpson didn't make the cut, he will likely challenge GOP Rep. Barbara Cubin in a House primary in 2008.

  • Alaska: More bad news for Ted Stevens:

    The Hays poll also contained good news for Anchorage's mayor Mark Begich.

    According to the results, 26 percent of the poll respondents gave a positive rating to Begich and 21 percent felt somewhat positive about the Democrat.

    The results indicated that 21 percent of respondents said they were neutral about the mayor, indicating that many living outside of Southcentral are unfamiliar with him.

    The poll contains some worrisome news for two long-time Alaska politicians.

    Sen. Ted Stevens, the senior member of Alaska's congressional delegation, received a 46 percent positive rating, while 36 percent see him in a negative light.

    But, when asked the likelihood of voting for the Republican senator given the recent corruption investigations, 15 percent responded they were likely to vote for Stevens, while 39 percent indicated they were unlikely to support him. Another 40 percent said the investigation makes no difference in their opinion of Stevens.
    And these numbers come right on the heels of the FBI investigation into Stevens' dealings. Once the news further permeates, we could see Stevens' numbers fall back to earth in a fashion similar to Pete Domenici's numbers, Domenici another godfather of his state's Republican Party now facing an ethics investigation.

  • South Carolina: If Lindsey Graham is going to get a Republican primary challenge, it won't be Republican state treasurer, Giuliani for President state chairman, and now alleged cocaine dealer Thomas Ravenel. But that doesn't mean Graham will avoid a primary challenge, as Hotline's Blogometer reports:

    Conservative angst over the immigration bill and its chief GOP supporters has been well documented here. And it's becoming clearer by the day that John McCain is not the only candidate will have to deal with the base in '08. A new project launched by conservative bloggers promises a primary challenge for any GOP Senator who votes for the proposal. The most prominent in that field? None other than McCain supporter Lindsay Graham (R-SC). So far, there have been rumblings of a primary challenge for Graham but no candidate yet. If the revived immigration plan comes up to a vote, will Graham's yea or ney be the triggering mechanism?
    And Graham won't be the only Senator bit by this - indications are the Saxby Chambliss and Mitch McConnell are being eyed as well.

  • North Carolina: Brad Miller has imposed on himself a July 1st deadline for a decision about running for Senate.

  • Virginia: Former Senator George "Macaca" Allen appears to be ruling out a 2008 Senate bid if John Warner retires.

  • Oklahoma: State Senator Kenneth Corn joins State Senator Andrew Rice as 30-something State Senators considering a Senate challenge to Jim "In Denial" Inhofe.

  • New Hampshire: I'm really beginning to think that Sprintin' John Sununu is literally incapable of making a decision on anything. Blue Hampshire catches him equivocating on enhancing fuel efficiency standards, a position even Republican colleague Judd Gregg has come out in support of. Sununu contributes absolutely nothing to the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, the Draft Shaheen movement gains steam.

  • Oregon: Loaded Orygun offers a deeper look into Gordon Smith's weak approval rating.

  • Kentucky: DMKY similarly offers a deeper look into Mitch McConnell's vulnerable approval rating.

  • Nebraska: UNO Dems breaks down the NE-GOP's burgeoning schisms. Meanwhile, with NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg having bolted the Republican Party, should Chuck Hagel be sitting by his phone waiting for a call?

  • Those obstructionist GOP Senators are at it again, this time blocking legislation to improve working conditions and wages for American workers.

  • Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    June Senate Approval Numbers from Survey USA

    SUSA is up with their June numbers.

    New June numbers in bold, 5/24/07 numbers in italics, 4/24/07 in brackets, 11/22/06 in parenthesis

    Norm Coleman: 48-41 51-42 [53-41] (48-43)
    John Cornyn: 42-43 46-40 [43-40] (45-42)
    Pete Domenici: 51-42 52-42 [54-38] (68-25)
    Mitch McConnell: 52-42 54-39 [53-40] (54-39)
    Pat Roberts: 51-37 52-36 [48-39] (51-36)
    Jeff Sessions: 59-33 60-31 [54-36] (58-32)
    Gordon Smith: 47-45 48-39 [51-41] (54-37)
    John Warner: 53-34 62-29 [55-33] (60-28)

    Tom Harkin: 51-38 56-36 [57-38] (53-40)
    John Kerry: 50-46 47-47 [54-41] (48-50)

    1) On the Democratic side, Kerry continues to float around 50% and I continue to hope that Republicans will actually drop some dough in vain in Massachusetts. Harkin drops back to the low-50's, which could embolden GOP Rep. Tom Latham to take a shot at a Senate race, which some argue could be a good thing for Democrats.
    2) McConnell, Roberts, and Domenici continue to be happy to be a hair over 50% and even Warner has come back down to the low-50's.
    3) Coleman and Smith are under 50% and Cornyn's numbers are in the gutter.

    Happy Juneteenth

  • Take a moment to learn about Juneteenth, "the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States."

  • The Hill declares that "Rosy Dem outlook gets even rosier" highlighting the ethics problems of Pete Domenici and Ted Stevens and the Nebraska Senate contested-Republican-primary-to-be.

  • New Hampshire: Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen will decide by September on a Senate challenge to Sprintin' John Sununu in 2008.

  • Texas: The netroots both in Texas and nationally seem to be galvanizing behind the "Draft Rick Noriega" movement, which has moved its web location from the Draft Rick blog to the new Draft Rick

  • Colorado: With some Republicans in Colorado not settled on former Rep. Bob Schaffer as their presumptive Senate nominee, Colorado Pols speculates on interest by U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. Could we yet see a CO-GOP Senate primary?

  • Virginia: John Warner is going to keep his thoughts on Bush's Iraq surge to himself until August. Could that coincide with an announcement regarding his 2008 electoral plans?

  • Georgia: Tondee's Tavern offers an update on the Draft Wyc Orr movement, which has begun gaining its own earned media.

  • Monday, June 18, 2007

    Perceptions and Ramifications

  • Talking Points Memo illustrates the disconnect between the forces on the ground (General David Petraeus), the Iraqi government (Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki), and Republican Senators like Mitch McConnell and Gordon Smith.

  • Oregon: Blue Oregon outlines Gordon Smith's timeline for politicizing Iraq.

  • Alaska: A federal grand jury is now involved in Ted Stevens' RenovationGate. Says the Anchorage Daily News: "The existence of the Washington grand jury investigation is the strongest indication to date that Stevens himself has become a subject of the wide-ranging federal probe that surfaced with FBI raids on state legislative offices last August." And the heat continues to rise on Stevens.

  • Wyoming: The WY-GOP held their forum for applicants for the Senate vacancy. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle summarized:

    More than two dozen aspirants to Wyoming's vacant U.S. Senate seat staked their ground as fiscal and social conservatives during a public debate Sunday, saying they would rein in federal spending, reform the Endangered Species Act and defend conservative values if chosen to succeed the late Sen. Craig Thomas. ...

    Seeking to appeal to party stalwarts, many of the candidates used their time to say how they would rein in federal spending. ...

    Several of the candidates also attacked the Endangered Species Act, which Bill Paddleford of Jackson described as "an example of very good intentions gone awry." ...

    And no candidate expressed a desire to hasten an American military withdrawal from Iraq.
    The article also noted: "On Tuesday, the Wyoming Republican Party State Central Committee will meet to select the party's three nominees." So, by tomorrow night, we should have the three names going to Governor Freudenthal for his selection.

  • Minnesota: MN Campaign Report offers highlights from its interview with Senate aspirant Professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. Issues touched on included renewable energy, Iraq, health care, and poverty.

  • Maine: When Susan Collins (or any other Republican Senator) claims to support women's rights, recognize what her votes in support of Sam Alito and John Roberts have led to:

    But several of the 5-to-4 decisions in which Roberts and Alito were in the majority have been on politically explosive topics:

    Abortion: In April, the court, in a ruling written by Kennedy, upheld a federal law banning a specific abortion procedure, called “intact dilation and evacuation” or “partial-birth abortion.” The justices said the statute was not invalid on its face, but could be challenged in specific cases in which a woman could show it would violate her rights under the court’s previous abortion rulings, such as Roe v. Wade.

    Alleged sex discrimination: Last month, the court, in a decision called Ledbetter v. Goodyear, written by Alito, ruled that a woman who’d alleged sex discrimination in pay had missed the deadline for filing her claims.
    Susan Collins, Sam Alito, and John Roberts: not a feminist or defender of women's rights among the three of them.

  • Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Sunday Round-Up

  • South Carolina: South Carolina conservatives are getting so furious with Lindsey Graham over immigration reform that I would not be shocked to see a Republican primary opponent running to Lindsey's right on immigration. To go with the Dump Lindsey Graham blog, there is also a Dump Lindsey website run by disenchanted conservatives.

  • Nebraska & Kentucky: Speaking of disenchanted conservatives, Right Wing News continues to highlight Jon Bruning's campaign against Chuck Hagel and the Draft Larry Forgy effort against Mitch McConnell. (HT: Draft Forgy)

  • Nebraska: Speaking of Hagel, Hal Daub continues to circle the state, trying to drive Hagel into irrelevance in Nebraska.

  • Kentucky: And, speaking of McConnell, C&L and Think Progress offer recaps of the Republican "leader" saying that he expects reduced troop levels and a change in Iraq strategy in the Fall. What? Didn't he get the memo? Nothing will change in September.

  • Oregon: While Gordon Smith spends another day kissing Republican leadership butt instead of, say, communicating with Oregon voters, disenchanted Oregonians will be protesting Smith and his votes to prolong Bush's Iraq War.

  • Oklahoma: Courtesy of the AP, more discussion of State Senator Andrew Rice as a potential opponent for Jim "In Denial" Inhofe.

  • Wyoming: The Republicans applying for the Senate vacancy are convening at a forum today. Look forward to news recaps tomorrow, as well as speculation on who will make the three-person short list to be sent to Governor Freudenthal. Here's the list of all of the Senate applicants with links to their applications. (HT: CQPolitics)

  • Texas: Question for any Texans checking this post out: Does Melissa Noriega's Houston City Council victory make State Representative Rick Noriega more likely, less likely, or just as likely to run for U.S. Senate?

  • Minnesota: MN Blue highlights an interesting irony. With Minnesota hosting the 2008 GOP Convention, Smilin' Norm Coleman has a chance to look good to Republicans around the country. But, he'll need the help of Democratic (DFL) Mayors RT Rybak of Minneapolis and Chris Coleman (no relation) of St. Paul to do it.

  • New Hampshire: Blue Hampshire outlines how Sprintin' John Sununu is an "obstacle to medical progress."

  • Think Progress has the video of Michael Moore discussing his new documentary "Sicko" with Oprah. Worth watching.

  • Saturday, June 16, 2007

    Saturday Quick Hits

  • North Carolina: Much credit to Blue NC diarist Jerimee for this concise round-up of Elizabeth Dole's real record on issues including the economy, Iraq, health care, crime, the environment, education, and ethics. A great read.

  • Georgia: From the people that brought you Tondee's Tavern comes an effort to draft attorney, veteran, and former State Representative Wyc Orr into the 2008 Senate race.

  • Kentucky: DMKY sees that Americans United for Change will not be letting up on their pressure against Mitch McConnell anytime soon. Seriously, in a state whose approval of George W. Bush is at 36% and disapproval is at a whopping 62%, McConnell is going to have to answer for his blind loyalty to Bush eventually. I'm guessing it'll be around Election Day 2008.

  • Wyoming: The Casper Star-Tribune offers tidbits about many of Wyoming's 31 Senate candidates.

  • The Guru offers his best wishes to MyDD's Bowers and Stoller and HuffPo's Lux on their new endeavor.

  • Friday, June 15, 2007

    Friday Morning Tidbits

  • WaPo's Cillizza releases his June edition of the Senate Line. And, for the first time, there are 8 Republican-held seats and only 2 Democratic-held seats (South Dakota and Louisiana), with Nebraska making its Line debut. Every month, I keep expecting North Carolina to find its way onto the list - I have to suppose that NC's Dole has been sitting on the imaginary 11-spot for months. Unless new Republican rumblings occur in steadily placid Iowa, Arkansas, or Montana, I would have to imagine that we should see an 8-to-2 GOP-to-Dem listing on the Line for many months to come, just another indication of the Republican's perilous 2008 Senate map.

  • South Dakota: The Argus Leader suggests that Senator Tim Johnson is a safe bet for re-election if he is able to run, noting that:

    Adding to Republican woes is the fact that they also are beginning to take seriously Gov. Mike Rounds' comments on several occasions that he has no interest in running against Johnson.
    While anything can happen over the next many months, this has to be more than a bit demoralizing for the NRSC.

  • Alaska: Think Progress highlights a new development in Ted Stevens' corruption saga:

    Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), “dogged by a federal probe of political corruption in Alaska, disclosed Thursday that he has asked the Senate Ethics Committee to review his latest financial disclosure report.” Ethics reviews of lawmakers’ financial reports “are unusual unless they are under a legal cloud.”
    Yes, I think it's safe for meteorologists to forecast "legal clouds" following around Ted Stevens for the foreseeable future.

  • Oregon: Gordon Smith loses a key corporate backer:

    Plaid Pantry Inc.'s president and CEO Chris Girard said he will no longer support the lawmaker either financially or personally, due to the senator's current stance on tobacco tax legislation. ...

    Now, with Smith supporting a federal excise tax and state cigarette tax increase, Girard wrote that he can no longer support the senator.
    Perhaps Girard might be interested in helping out a potential primary opponent to Gordon Smith.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell is getting no love these days. DMKY's Gunterman sees the Louisville Courier-Journal taking McConnell to task on the Alberto Gonzales no-confidence vote, calling McConnell a "partisan henchman." Meanwhile, MyDD's Singer looks at McConnell's vulnerability given current political trends both in and out of Kentucky.

  • Wyoming: Lest anyone be losing sleep over it, Lynne Cheney is not an applicant for the vacant Senate seat.

  • Those obstructionist McConnell Republicans are up to more of the same, this time on energy policy.

  • Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Another Enormous Thursday Night Rundown

  • Wyoming: The deadline to apply for the Senate vacancy lapsed this afternoon and there are 31 applicants in total. In a state with only 515,000 residents, that means that there are only 16,613 residents per Senate candidate. Wild.

  • Nebraska: Dave Sund gives us the lowdown on Republican businessman Tony Raimondo stepping up his Senate efforts in Nebraska, where Chuck Hagel is rapidly becoming an afterthought. Also from Nebraska, UNO Dems breaks down how Republican Senate wannabes Jon Bruning, Hal Daub, and Tony Raimondo each represent a different negative characteristic of the NE-GOP, embodied in 2006 Republican Senate loser Pete Ricketts.

  • New Hampshire: Professor and former astronaut Jay Buckey makes his Senate campaign official. Blue Hampshire's Dean Barker offers a round-up of recent events in the New Hampshire Senate race, including the Draft Shaheen movement gaining support.

  • Minnesota: MN Publius notes that Nobel Laureate Dr. Peter Agre met with Joe Trippi last week to get advice about a possible Senate bid. Meanwhile, Talking Points Memo shows part two of its interview with Al Franken, focusing on Iraq; and, separately, Franken's camp comes up with a fun and inclusive fundraising gimmick.

  • Kentucky: Draft Forgy sees Mitch McConnell getting even more flack from conservatives. This time around it's from conservative radio host Leland Conway and leading conservative blog RedState.

  • Colorado: Colorado Pols has heard it suggested that we can expect a very solid fundraising Q2 from Mark Udall's campaign.

  • Texas: The Houston Chronicle interviews likely Senate candidate attorney Mikal Watts, discussing John Cornyn's rubber-stamp-itude, Watts' legal successes protecting consumer safety, his liking of John Edwards and Barack Obama in the Presidential race, and several other issues, though more haziness on abortion as well. (HT: Stop Cornyn)

  • Really, seriously, how does Tony Snow sleep at night when he says rubbish like this with a straight face?

  • Kudos to the Massachusetts Legislature for protecting civil rights.