Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Who Would Run in Nebraska if Hagel Doesn't

  • Nebraska: With rumors out there about Chuck Hagel not running for re-election to the Senate in 2008, much less a Presidential bid, a conservative blog, Cyclone Conservatives, takes a look at who would run in '08 with Hagel out of the race. In addition to the obvious and not-so-obvious GOP picks (like former Gov. Mike Johanns, 2006 Ben Nelson challenger Pete Rickets, and soon-to-be-former Congressman Tom Osborne), the blog offers the following insight on Democratic options:

    Democrats might run Scott Kleeb or perhaps David Hahn. Kleeb ran against Smith for Congress and Hahn was the donkey that the Democrats put their Governorship hopes upon. A few others like former Democratic Lieutenant Governor Maxine Moul might run as well as former State Auditor Katie Witek and Hahn running mate Steve Loschen.
    Kleeb, with his unexpectedly strong performance in his 2006 Congressional race, has gotten a lot of speculation for 2008. We'll see in 2007 if Hahn, Moul, Witek, Loschen or others make any noise.

  • Lautenberg Insists He is In for 2008

  • New Jersey: Octogenarian Democrat Frank Lautenberg insists he will be up for re-election in 2008:

    But Lautenberg will have to spend a good chunk of 2007 raising money for his 2008 re-election bid. He isn't looking forward to the fundraising part, but he's up for the task.

    "I intend to get this election job done with as much energy is required," he said. "The part I like the least is the part that goes with the chore of raising the money."
    I'm still skeptical. Perhaps Lautenberg will be reinvigorated by a Democratic majority. And the Garden State has been a perennial tease to statewide Republicans in recent years. But Lautenberg's approvals are dangerously low (though, so were Sen. Menendez', and he beat back Kean Jr.'s challenge), he hates fundraising, and he is getting up there in years (though, in the Senate, 80 is the new 50, I guess). I still expect a retirement announcement next year - maybe late spring, early summer, while the Democratic Congresspeople continue to squirrel away federal campaign funds - but, for now, Lautenberg seems to be in. So, go Frank!

  • Senate Republicans Really Want to Remain the Minority Party

    Two late night bites:

  • Earlier this month, I blogged on the Senate Republicans paltry contributions to the NRSC and how it likely contributed significantly to their loss of the Senate majority. Along those lines, the Washington Times has a thorough post-mortem of the Senate Republicans' stinginess toward their own well-being. Let's hope that Republican Senators continue cheaping out on their own political futures and that John Ensign is as horrible an NRSC Chair as Elizabeth Dole was. Read the Washington Times editorial (you won't hear me saying that too often!) for the Senator-by-Senator cheapskate breakdown.

  • Mississippi: Robert "Count Chocula" Novak offers the following buzz on Thad Cochran's re-election decision:

    Close associates of Sen. Thad Cochran, top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, are cautiously optimistic that in 2008 at age 70 he will run for a sixth term for a Mississippi seat that otherwise might be in jeopardy for the GOP.

    Cochran is less than certain to run because he lost his Appropriations chairmanship in the recent elections. His decision may be based on his evaluation of chances to regain a GOP majority within the next six years. Mississippi Republicans had worried about losing the state's other Senate seat before Sen. Trent Lott decided to seek another term in 2006. Former state Attorney General Mike Moore, the probable Democrat Senate candidate, is better known than Rep. Chip Pickering, the leading Republican prospect, if there is an open seat.
    Hopefully, Cochran will see that the GOP is remarkably unlikely to regain the Senate majority for at least the next six years, if not longer, and opt for retirement, opening up the race to former AG Mike Moore.

    UPDATE (2:20pm): Novak adds a footnote:

    A footnote: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, an overwhelming favorite for re-election in 2007, has ruled out a Senate bid even if Cochran retires. Becoming a senator was a youthful ambition of Barbour, who was the Republican Senate nominee in 1982 at age 35.
    Serves to reaffirm Rep. Pickering as the likely GOP nominee if Cochran retires.

  • Saturday, December 30, 2006

    Rumors, Trends and Pressure

    Some interesting tidbits for your Saturday afternoon:

  • Nebraska: A local Nebraska blog is picking on up Hagel camp insiders saying that Chuck Hagel not only won't run for President in 2008, but also won't run for re-election to the Senate in 2008. There doesn't seem to be anything on the newswires yet, but Daily Kos, Political Insider, and Swing State Project have all picked up on it. It certainly would be preferable to contend for an open seat rather than face a popular veteran incumbent, so let's keep scoping the news for any official word.

  • Missouri: Political Insider also picks up on Wonkette reporting rumors that Republican Kit Bond is "planning on resigning from the Senate in order to become the new head of the University of Missouri." While GOP Gov. Matt Blunt would make a GOP appointment (possibly himself), it would force a special election in 2008 to finish out the term, creating another pickup opportunity. Stay tuned there.

  • Minnesota: The Southwest Journal is suggesting that Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is, in fact, not planning a 2008 Senate run, and that his recent meetings with Al Franken were to discuss Franken's potential challenge to Republican Norm Coleman.

  • Colorado: The Associated Press takes a look at possible permutations of match-ups if Wayne Allard does not run for re-election. Former quarterback John Elway might be the best chance the Colorado GOP has!

  • Massachusetts: The Bay State's Congressional delegation is getting itchy and wants Senator John Kerry to make up his mind about 2008 plans soon. The explicit focus is on Presidential plans, but the implicit focus is on Senate re-election plans.

  • Oregon: The Associated Press offers a look at OR-Dems' trend up.

  • Kansas: And the Washington Post offers a look at KS-GOP's trend down.

  • Friday, December 29, 2006

    Senator Johnson Improving and More Dems in Colorado

    Two morning bits for you:

  • South Dakota: The New York Times highlights Senator Tim Johnson's improvement (Hat tip: Devilstower at Daily Kos):

    “Senator Johnson’s overall general medical condition has improved, and he is gradually being weaned from the sedation,” Vivek Deshmukh, the neurosurgeon who performed the operation, said in a statement released by Mr. Johnson’s office. “He is opening his eyes and is responsive to his wife.”
    I'm sure we all look forward to continuing progress in Senator Johnson's health in the New Year.

  • Colorado: The Washington Post has a piece this morning on Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Despite the appearance that both Democrats and Republicans alike (via Wayne Allard's reticence and the CO-GOP's shambled status) seem to be clearing the way for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall to ascend to the Senate, the article notes:

    Unlike other Denver-based politicians, Hickenlooper is popular across the state. Democrats pleaded with him to run for governor this year, an offer he refused so he could seek a second term as mayor next May. Party leaders are now talking about Hickenlooper as a possible candidate in 2008 for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Wayne Allard.
    We'll see if a Senate run is on the Mayor's list of New Year's resolutions in the coming months. Given how fractured the CO-GOP is, and how it seems Allard would be a weakened incumbent if he ran for re-election, this is a case in which I'd prefer not to see a Democratic primary, in favor of the state Democrats getting behind a consensus candidate. Nevertheless, it's nice to see that the CO-Dems' bench continues to grow as we continue to win elections there.

  • Thursday, December 28, 2006

    Senate Vulnerability Lists

    New Year's time is a popular period for lists, and Senate races are no exception to listmakers. Looking ahead to 2008, the Boston Phoenix offers its list of the top ten "Republican Senate incumbents [that] are ripe for the picking." Nothing too surprising on this list.

    On that note, look forward to the Senate 2008 Guru's upcoming lists, separated by party affiliation, ranking every Senate seat by vulnerability - it will become a monthly fixture of the blog (likely moving to a weekly feature come spring/summer 2008). The lists will come up sometime in the next week. Stay tuned.

    Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    Craig Has Primary Challengers and Gordo Has More to Explain to Moderates

    Two afternoon bites for you:

  • Idaho: Republican incumbent Larry Craig will have challengers. While no Democrats have announced yet, two seemingly-single-issue potential primary opponents have. GOP anti-immigration zealot and Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez is in. Also, "failed gubernatorial candidate and anti-abortion activist Marvin Richardson will return to politics with a run for U.S. Senate in 2008." It is unclear if Richardson will run as a Republican, from a third party, or as an independent. Could make for a fun primary debate though, with these three characters.

  • Oregon: We know that Republicans from moderate, purple-to-blue states, like New Hampshire's John Sununu and Maine's Susan Collins, were instrumental in returning Trent Lott (Segregationist-MS) to the GOP Senate leadership. Well, Blue Oregon has details from New Republic on the impassioned support Gordon Smith offered to Trent Lott's effort. Again and again, Smith demonstrates how far he is to the political right of mainstream Oregon. Once a top-tier Democrat, like U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer for instance, announces a challenge to Smith, we will no doubt see the political ramifications of this reflected in poll numbers to come.

  • Choosing the Right Issues to Run on in Red States

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. Here's some news from the last few days:

  • The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray offers this piece on party leaders urging older members to run again rather than retire, preferring incumbents to open seats. Toward the end, GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado joins the list of potential Senate candidates still urging Wayne Allard to run again.

  • Alabama: Republican Jeff Sessions pulls the typical GOP maneuver of telling Democrats that a "bipartisan solution" is any solution where the Democrats just agree with whatever the Republicans want. Maybe he doesn't realize that Election Day 2006 took the agenda-setting power away from his party and awarded it to the Democrats. Anyway, here he is in the Washington Post making the laughably outdated case to privatize social security. I hope Artur Davis spends the next couple months travelling Alabama explaining to its residents how Sessions wants to destablize a bedrock socio-economic policy in America and make retirement much more difficult and uncertain for the throngs of baby boomers retiring in the coming years.

  • South Carolina: Lindsay Graham comes out supporting Bush's plan for increasing troop levels in Iraq, calling a troop surge "very necessary." Even in the reddest of red states, that can't be a popular position. Hopefully, some SC Democrats will take some issue in the press with that position, and maybe even use it as a springboard to a Senate candidacy.

  • North Carolina: In the other Carolina, we're looking for challengers to possible-retiree and NRSC Super-Chair Elizabeth Dole. While Gov. Mike Easley has not expressed much interest, there are two top Democrats looking to succeed Easley, in Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and state Treasurer Richard Moore. Hopefully one will opt to run for the Senate seat.

  • Oklahoma: The Associated Press offers a solid piece on the status of speculation regarding Jim Inhofe's re-election intent and potential Democratic challengers, noting:

    ``I see no reason why I wouldn't run,'' he [Inhofe] said. ...

    One by one, the biggest Democratic names in the state have said they either are not considering running against Inhofe or their prospects of running are not strong.

    The most formidable Democratic figure in the state, Gov. Brad Henry, reiterated in an AP interview his previous stand that he will not challenge Inhofe. He also said he does not see himself going to Washington at any future date. ...

    Dan Boren, who won re-election to a second term in the 2nd Congressional District, is another Democratic Senate prospect who has publicly said he will not oppose Inhofe in 2008.

    A third prominent Democrat, Attorney General Drew Edmondson, also was re-elected to a four-year term in November.

    Edmondson did not completely shut the door to considering a Senate race, but left doubt when he said he would not weigh any future political options until after his lawsuit with the poultry industry is settled. ...

    Lisa Pryor, state Democratic chairwoman, said many Democrats are reportedly considering a U.S. Senate run, pointing to blogs that speculate on possible candidacies by state Sens. Jay Paul Gumm of Durant and Kenneth Corn of Poteau, Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and others.
    Let's hope the speculation turns into action and people start holding Inhofe's feet to the fire. Montana gave us a blueprint for how to win in red states on environmental, energy, and agricultural issues. Let's make it work in Oklahoma.

  • Delaware: With Joe Biden preparing his 2008 Presidential bid, the only question is whether he will simultaneously run for re-election to the Senate in case his Prez bid doesn't gain traction. The last graph of this AP piece seems to suggest that Biden might be done with the Senate despite entering January as the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

    "I'm proud of my record," Biden said, "but all the things I care about I'm not likely to make an impact on as a sitting senator."
    I hope he's not getting tired of the Senate after three-and-a-half decades. There's still more work to do!

  • Sunday, December 24, 2006

    Polls in Montana and More Waiting in Kansas

    Two late-night bites for you:

  • Montana: We got poll numbers, courtesy of the Missoulian:

    Some 65 percent of Montanans polled gave Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer a positive approval rating.

    Democratic U.S. Sen. Max Baucus did even better, with a 68 percent approval rating, which was tied with Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, also at 68 percent. ...

    The poll also took a look at a possible matchup in the 2008 U.S. Senate race: Baucus against Rehberg. Some 48 percent said they'd vote for Baucus, with 44 percent saying they'd vote for Rehberg. Eight percent said they didn't know.

    In 2008, Baucus is up for re-election to a possible sixth consecutive term. He has not officially announced his re-election plans and no one, including Rehberg, has yet said whether they're planning to challenge Baucus.
    It's great to see Baucus with such high approvals, but it would be nice to see a larger gap between him and Rehberg when head-to-head. We'll be keeping a close eye on the direction of these numbers. In the meantime, it's a safe assumption that once Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign is situated at the NRSC to take over for unmitigated political disaster Elizabeth Dole, there will be much urging of Rehberg to challenge Baucus.

  • Kansas: Another non-denial denial from Governor Kathleen Sebelius about a 2008 Senate run, courtesy of the Lawrence Journal-World:

    Sebelius has gained a reputation through national publications as a bipartisan problem-solver, has amassed record political contributions in Kansas and was recently elected chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association.

    That has fueled speculation about whether she will pursue another political office, such as the U.S. Senate in 2008 or 2010, be part of a White House ticket in 2008 or get a high-ranking federal job if Democrats win the next presidential election.

    But in an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World, Sebelius said she’s committed to her current job.

    “I ran for governor to be governor. This is really where my focus is and will remain,” she said.
    At least we didn't hear a "No." For now, let's keep asking politely, and suggest that DSCC Chair Senator Charles Schumer keep Gov. Sebelius on speed-dial.

  • Saturday, December 23, 2006

    A Look at the NRSC, Oregon, and... Massachusetts?

    A few bits of interest for your Saturday:

  • Kos offers his thoughts on a thorough post-mortem of flubs by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the GOP powers-that-be in 2006 Senate races.

  • Oregon: The Associated Press takes a comprehensive look at which Democrats might take on Gordon Smith. Former Governor John Kitzhaber seems less inclined toward a Senate run, but Rep. Earl Blumenauer seems more dodgy, indicating that he is seriously considering a race. Other Democrats the article notes are Rep. Peter DeFazio, state Treasurer Randall Edwards, and state senator Ben Westlund, somebody Loaded Orygun has focused a lot of speculation on. The article also makes reference to a potential independent candidate:

    There could also be a political wild card in the race, should Independent John Frohnmayer - brother of former Attorney General and current University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer - follow up on his hints that he'll enter the race. Frohnmayer, who chaired the National Endowment for the Arts under the first President Bush, said last summer that he might consider a run at the seat.
    Former AG Dave Frohnmayer is a Republican, and John was a Bush I appointee, so hopefully he'd peel more support from Smith than from the Democratic nominee. You can read a little more about John Frohnmayer's intentions here.

  • Massachusetts: New state AG-elect Martha Coakley gives a non-denial denial about her intentions regarding a 2008 Senate candidacy if John Kerry gives up the seat to commit to another Presidential bid:

    Meanwhile, Coakley refused to commit to serving out her four-year term — or forgoing a potential U.S. Senate race in 2008 — even though she said she thought "long and hard" about running for attorney general and believes the office will be a good fit for her.

    Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, is up for re-election in two years, and he has yet to declare if he will seek another term, stage a second run for the presidency or try to do both simultaneously. Kerry plans to announce a decision early next year.

    "I just don't like to foreclose any options," Coakley said. "I fully intend to serve my term as attorney general, but you never say never about opportunities and what comes up. I have no present intention to run for the U.S. Senate in the next four years, but, you know, things change."
    All of this could be a moot point if Kerry opts to retain his seat. But, if he doesn't, there will be a number of male, Democratic Congressmen looking for a promotion, and Coakley is the top female potential candidate. Her gender and accomplishment as Middlesex County District Attorney could allow her to stand out against the Congressional delegation splitting their vote and giving Coakley a plurality. The ball, though, is still in Kerry's court.

  • Friday, December 22, 2006

    GOP Worried About Allard's Seat, and With Good Cause

  • Colorado: This Associated Press piece gives the distinct impression that the GOP is already ready to write off Wayne Allard's seat:

    There are lots of reasons for Allard to choose retirement, including his promise not to serve more than two terms. It also hasn't been the easiest year for him.

    Political pundits named Allard one of the most-vulnerable and least-effective senators and have compared him unfavorably with Colorado's flashier Democratic senator, Ken Salazar. ...

    Adding to the pressure is that Colorado Republicans have been trounced by Democrats in several high-profile races in the last two years. Allard would almost certainly face his most difficult re-election campaign yet against Democratic Rep. Mark Udall, who has said he will run for Senate regardless of Allard's decision.

    Yet Allard's friend and fellow Republican, retired Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, said that if Allard doesn't run, Republicans could lose his seat.

    Republicans "don't have a team right now. The bench is pretty thin as opposed to the Democrats, who have some very high-profile candidates."
    "Senator Udall" has a nice ring to it.

  • Fourth SSP Recruitment Thread and Thune Gives Recovery Update on Johnson

    Two items:

  • Swing State Project has its fourth and final Senate Recruitment Thread for the 2008 races, this one focusing on OR, SC, TN, TX, VA & WY. Take a look and offer your thoughts!

  • South Dakota: SD's junior Senator John Thune met with Tim Johnson's wife and offered a positive report:

    Sen. John Thune said today that after talking with Sen. Tim Johnson's wife, he can report that Johnson, his Democratic colleague from South Dakota, is making progress after last week's brain surgery. ...

    "My expectation is that Tim's going to recover and be back in the saddle; we'll be working together like we have before," Thune told reporters in a telephone news conference. ...

    Thune said he did not see Sen. Johnson but that Barb Johnson was upbeat even after the long hours she has put in at the hospital.

    "The family is in very good spirits," Thune said. "Barb was very encouraged by the progress that Tim's making."
    Sounds positive. Hopefully there will be more substantive recovery news at the start of the new year.

  • Thursday, December 21, 2006

    Chuck Todd on a Long Term Democratic Senate Majority

    This piece from Chuck Todd is a must read. He suggests that Republicans "may not have another realistic shot at getting the majority back until 2012" given geography, trends, and the fact that Democrats weren't supposed to do nearly as well as they did in 2006.

    Todd offers his "Top 10 Most Vulnerable" List (with Colorado Republican Wayne Allard topping the list), his "Retirement Watch," his "Worth Watching" list, and his "Fuhgeddaboudits."

    My biggest disagreement: I take major issue with Jim Inhofe being a "fuhgeddaboudit" - relatively low approval ratings, and he is perhaps the most anti-environment Senator in the history of the environment, particularly at a time when environmental issues are returning to high salience - and Montana has given us a solid blueprint for how to defeat right-wingers by properly framing environmental, energy, and agricultural issues.

    Be sure to take a read!

    Warner's In... or Is He? Oh, and Owens Wants to Be a Banker

    Two late-night bites:

  • Virginia: This Washington Post piece suggests that Republican John Warner may be giving retirement another look, despite recent press suggesting a lean toward a re-election bid. The article suggests that Warner is still deciding if he is "too old or too tired to wage what he expects will be a tough campaign in a state that has changed considerably since his last competitive race."

  • Colorado: In case Republican Wayne Allard decides not to break his term-limit pledge and opts for retirement, don't expect outgoing governor Bill Owens to run for the seat:

    Owens said he has been asked by party leaders in Washington, whom he would not identify, to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008, but he said he intends to seek a new career in business.
    All Republicans, Allard included, might as well all clear a path to the seat for Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Udall.

  • Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Allen Staffing Up in Maine

  • Maine: It looks like Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Allen is bringing on staff that would indicate a Senate campaign in 2008. (Hat tip: RandyMI at Daily Kos) Like Wayne Allard in Colorado, Republican Susan Collins would be breaking a self-imposed two-term-limit pledge with another run. How long before we start seeing public poll results pitting Allen against Collins (and poll questions to the tune of "Would it make you less likely to vote for an incumbent who was breaking a term-limit pledge?")?

  • Uncertainty about Dole, Beauprez, and the '08 Dem Convention

    Some morning hits:

  • North Carolina: One of Republican Elizabeth Dole's top strategists, Brian Nick, is leaving her office for another campaign. The News & Observer suggests:

    The move by Nick could generate more gossip that Dole does not plan to seek a second term in 2008. But Nick says that is nonsense.

    "She is fully committed to running," Nick said.
    We'll see.

  • Colorado: Outgoing Republican Rep. and failed 2006 Gov candidate Bob Beauprez comments on the 2008 Senate race in Colorado in the Denver Post:

    As for his political future, Beauprez in an interview Monday said he would not run against Republican U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard if Colorado's senior senator runs again in 2008.

    But he didn't rule out a run if Allard honors his term-limits pledge and steps down.

    "I'm not not looking at that seat," Beauprez said. "What I mean by that is I'm not saying no to very many things right now."

    Beauprez said he intends to stay active by writing about politics and policy on his website, ...

    He also pointed to party divisions stemming from Referendums C and D, a divisive U.S. Senate primary two years ago between Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer and this year's nasty GOP battle for the 5th Congressional District.
    To further weaken the Colorado GOP, it would be great to see another divisive Senate primary in 2008 - throw Beauprez, Owens, Tancredo, Schaffer, Coors, McInnis, and Suthers all in the mix for a knock-'em-down, drag-'em-out showdown.

  • And speaking of Colorado, the Democratic National Committee has officially delayed their final decision on a 2008 Convention site until January. It is between NYC and Denver. NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg cites concerns about NYC's other financial commitments, while Denver is working out potential labor issues. If Denver can work out its labor concerns over the holidays, momentum could swing back its way.

  • Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Jones In, Allard Still Not Sure

    A couple brief bites for you this morning:

  • Georgia: Democratic DeKalb County Chief Executive Vernon Jones has filed papers for a Senate run in 2008 against incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss, reports the Associated Press. The AP story also mentions:

    [Former Senator Max] Cleland confirmed in November he would not seek a rematch, but other Democrats also said to be considering a Senate bid include Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon and outgoing Secretary of State Cathy Cox.
  • Colorado: The Coloradoan offers another piece on incumbent Republican Wayne Allard thinking over a re-election bid, suggesting that a decision will come next month and noting:

    Allard, a Fort Collins native, will announce next month whether he plans to seek re-election in 2008. ...

    Some have speculated Allard will opt against another run, pointing to the slight $122,476 in his campaign war chest. That's a fraction of what other incumbents readying for competitive races have on hand.

    Allard made a pledge in 1996 and 2002 to serve just two terms.

    U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, has been rumored to be looking at a run for Allard's seat and had nearly $1.3 million in his campaign bank account at the end of November.

  • Monday, December 18, 2006

    Weekend Roundup

    A bunch of bites from over the weekend:

  • Minnesota: The Star Tribune takes a thorough look at possible Democratic challengers to Republican target Norm Coleman. Included in the very comprehensive analysis are commentator/comedian Al Franken, Big Tobacco slayer Mike Ciresi, Ted Mondale, Ramsey County attorney Susan Gaertner, former DFL Senate leader Dean Johnson, state senator Becky Lourey, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Tammy Lee, U.S. Rep.-elect Tim Walz, former state auditor Judi Dutcher, state senator Steve Kelley, and, last but not least, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum.

  • North Carolina: The News-Record takes a look at state senator Kay Hagan as a strong Democratic challenger to Republican Elizabeth Dole.

  • South Dakota: While Senator Tim Johnson is stably recovering, the Argus Leader takes a look at a likely match-up if Senator Johnson opted against running for re-election given recent events, moderate Democrat U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth versus radical Republican Gov. Mike Rounds. Meanwhile, Hawaii, with two octogenarian Democratic Senators and a Republican Governor, is being urged to revisit its Senate vacancy policy.

  • Colorado: As Denver loses momentum for the Democratic National Convention in 2008 (hopefully momentum will swing back to Denver before DNC Chair Dean makes his decision), the Rocky Mountain News captures outgoing Governor Bill Owens being coy about a 2008 Senate bid:

    You passed up the chance to become a U.S. senator in 2004, so are you getting a kick out of the blogs that say you're going to run for Senate in 2008?

    I've been in elected office for 24 years. Tim Wirth was in for 20, Hank Brown for 22. A lot of time people think, "Oh Bill, you're just getting started." No, I've done this a long time. I've really loved what I've done. I'm not burned out. I'm not tired of being governor. But I am ready to pass it on to someone else.
    Also, the piece gives reason to believe that Republican Senator Wayne Allard would get behind Owens if Allard retired and Owens ran for the seat:

    U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, of Loveland: In 1995, when this country veterinarian/congressman was looking at running a long-shot campaign for the U.S. Senate, then-Treasurer Bill Owens was the only statewide elected official to support my candidacy. His foresight to support my run for U.S. Senate when nobody else had the guts to do it is something I will always remember and appreciate.
  • New Hampshire: From the Union Leader comes the Senate 2008 Guru Quote of the Weekend:

    "I have one thing to say to (U.S. Senator) John E. Sununu. You're next, we're coming after you Johnny."
    -Outgoing (and very successful) State Democratic Chairman Kathleen Sullivan in her final chairman's report, urging readiness for the 2008 election and focusing on deposing Republican Senator John Sununu

  • Friday, December 15, 2006

    Friday Morning Rundown

    Lots of interesting tidbits:

  • Swing State Project has up part three of its Senate Recruitment Threads, now focusing on NC, NE, NH, NM, and OK. Head over and share your thoughts.

  • Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post's The Fix blog takes an updated look at 2008 Senate races. Highlights include: Colorado Republican Wayne Allard leaning toward retirement; Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran may have to make a decision sooner than his next-September timeframe; and Montana Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg's non-denial about a challenge to incumbent Democrat Max Baucus.

  • Virginia: Republican John Warner gives his strongest indications yet that he is planning on running for re-election, so offer the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Virginian-Pilot.

  • New Hampshire: The Union Leader has a glimpse at Democrats not named Jeanne Shaheen considering a 2008 Senate challenge to John Sununu, namely state senator David Gottesman and Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand.

  • Oregon: The Statesman Journal has more letters to the editor bashing Gordon Smith's obvious political posturing, here and here.

  • Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Senator Johnson Recovering and Other News

    News from this evening:

  • South Dakota: Kos has a statement from Senator Johnson's office:

    Admiral John Eisold, Attending Physician of the United States Capitol said, “Senator Tim Johnson has continued to have an uncomplicated post-operative course. Specifically, he has been appropriately responsive to both word and touch. No further surgical intervention has been required.”
    Seemingly very positive news - let's all hope for more progress in the coming days.

  • Alaska: Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich's name is getting tossed around more often as a possible 2008 challenger to Republican Ted Stevens.

  • Colorado: Good news for Democrats: GOP leaders are urging the guy who managed George Macaca Allen's campaign to run the Colorado GOP. This has to help our chances to pick up the seat.

  • Committee Assignments to Sweeten Alexander Re-election Bid

  • Tennessee: The Associated Press suggests that Republican Lamar Alexander had been considering not running for re-election in 2008, after just one term, and that he was given choice committee assignments in order to sweeten his attitude toward a re-election bid:

    Sen. Lamar Alexander is getting key committee assignments in the new Congress, a move designed to make sure the Tennessee Republican runs for re-election in 2008, according to a source close to Alexander and another senior Republican aide.

    Alexander, a Republican in his first term, recently considered retiring from the Senate in 2008, but the new assignments make it nearly certain he will run again, the sources said.
    I hadn't seen any news that Alexander was publicly wavering on a re-election bid, but I have also seen him give no timetable for any formal announcements either way. Stay tuned.

    (Hat tip: Political Wire)

  • Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Recover Quickly, Senator Johnson

    By now, most of you have heard about Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) having "stroke-like symptoms" and being brought to the hospital. Instead of worrying about any possible political implications, let's just hope he recovers quickly, for his family and his constituents.

    UPDATE (7:45pm): The Associated Press is reporting that Senator Johnson "did not suffer a stroke or heart attack." Obviously, details are still unfolding.

    UPDATE II (10:14am 12/14): USA Today is reporting:

    Update at 9:01 a.m. ET: CNN is reporting that Johnson was diagnosed with "congenital arteriovenous malformation," an inherited condition that caused bleeding in his brain. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the network's resident medical expert, said the senator could be in for a lengthy recovery given the likely location of the bleeding.

    Update at 9:30 a.m. ET: The U.S. Capitol physician told AP the surgery, in which doctors stopped the bleeding and untangled abnormally large blood vessels in Johnson's brain, was successful.

    "The senator is recovering without complication," Adm. John Eisold said. "It is premature to determine whether further surgery will be required or to assess any long-term prognosis."
    "Recovering without complication" are three very good words to hear. Not out of the woods, but on the right track. Let's all hope for a rapid recovery as news of his condition continues to come out.

    Gordo the Opportunist and "Liddy the Fraud"

    Some morning bites from Oregon and North Carolina:

  • Oregon: Today's Oregonian features a very sobering letter to the editor on why residents of the Beaver State should not vote for Gordon Smith in 2008:

    As a Gold Star family (our son, Sgt. David W. Johnson, Oregon National Guard, was killed in action on Sept. 25, 2004, near Baghdad), we find it more than just interesting that Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., has chosen now, a month after the Republican Party lost control of the Senate, to "loosen" his ties with the Bush administration.

    We met with Smith in his Washington, D.C., office, on Sept. 23, 2005. During our brief "conversation" with the senator, we spoke of the many reasons we were against the war with Iraq even before the invasion.

    We talked about the fact that the war was based on lies about weapons of mass destruction. We told Smith how we supported David during his time in Iraq and how we continue to support the rest of the troops still in Iraq and those now back home.

    After we told Smith the details of our son's death in Iraq, he looked at us and said, "I hope that someday your pain will be lessened when you realize that President Bush was right about the reasons we went to war."

    Now Smith is trying to reposition himself for the 2008 election by claiming he has finally seen the light about the true cost of the war against Iraq and the waste of American lives. Smith is seemingly trying to distance himself from the Bush administration, hoping that the voters in Oregon won't remember how often he voted with the administration.

    The only voters being duped by Smith will be those who vote for him in 2008.
    I don't think there is anything any of us can add to that.

    Meanwhile, in another piece, the Oregonian also suggests that Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer's new seat on the House Ways & Means Committee makes him less likely to run for the Senate in 2008, but I'd rebut that the seat raises his profile and increases his capability to run for Senate. We have a deep bench in Oregon, so Blumenauer opting to stay in the House certainly won't cripple our chances to depose Smith, but it's nice to have options.

  • North Carolina: John Grooms at Creative Loafing offers a biting critique of Elizabeth "Libby the Fraud" Dole's "phony down home image" and suggests that she is nothing more than a "corporate pawn." I have no problem with this.

  • Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Senate Republicans Want to Remain the Minority Party

    Or so it seems according to this article from The Hill.

    In 2006, the netroots initiated the Use It or Lose It Campaign to urge "safe" Democratic members of Congress to contribute more of their funds to the national party apparati to help Democrats in tighter races.

    Republicans in the Senate lack any similar desire to collectively work to return to majority status:

    Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who won her race by 26 percent, gave $250,000 to the NRSC this year (based on publicly available figures), but said she hasn’t considered giving more of the $7.3 million still sitting in her war chest.

    “Not at all,” said Hutchison. “I’m in the top three of my caucus. I certainly did my fair share.” ...

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said “not a thing” would have changed his $50,000 NRSC donation to include more of the $2.8 million on hand as of his last reporting period. “They basically had everything they needed and money wasn’t a determining factor.” ...

    Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) gave $15,000 to the NRSC, leaving $11.5 million in his account even though he will not face reelection until 2010.
    That must be what they mean by "fiscal conservative"!

    When one considers the slim 7,000 vote margin of victory for Jim Webb in Virginia and the even slimmer 3,000 vote margin of victory for Jon Tester in Montana, and the fact that flipping those two seats would have maintained a GOP majority in the Senate, we ought to thank Senator Shelby for not coughing up even one of his (very, very safe) $11.5 million, otherwise he probably would have kept his Chairmanship and the majority status for the GOP. I sincerely hope that Hutchison and the others continue to do no more than their "fair share" as we look ahead to 2008. (And I hope the netroots continue to push "safe" Democrats to contribute to maintaining the regained Dem majority in Congress.)

    Some Evening Miscellany


  • North Carolina: Term-limited Democratic Governor Mike Easley again distances himself from (but does not categorically rule out) a 2008 Senate run. In other news, suggesting incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole may more strongly consider retirement, she recently underwent hip replacement surgery.

  • Alabama: Democratic U.S. Rep. and likely 2008 Senate contender Artur Davis is getting a boost in his profile and, eventually, his ability to bring home some more achievements for his district by winning a seat on the House Ways & Means Committee.

  • Tennessee: In another Ford-being-cagey-about-2008 article, a new possible Democratic challenger to Lamar Alexander is mentioned: "Outgoing state party chairman Bob Tuke, a hard-charging ex-Marine and Nashville lawyer."

  • Oregon: More reactions to Gordon Smith's blatant political posturing and hypocrisy.

  • Domenici Looking Like a Candidate for Re-Election

  • New Mexico: Today's Albuquerque Tribune piece has Republican Pete Domenici looking more like a candidate for re-election than retirement (even though he is relatively light in the cash-on-hand at last check):

    Barring the unforeseen, Sen. Pete Domenici will never chair the Senate Energy Committee again, but the Albuquerque Republican is already preparing to resume some old battles in the new Democrat-controlled Senate.

    Early next year, Domenici and Sen. Ted Kennedy expect to unveil a new legislative approach to mental health to ensure it is given the same health insurance coverage as physical ailments. ...

    After a year that saw Congress complete action on only two of the 13 appropriations bills, Domenici told The Tribune he also is talking to other senators about reforming the oft-delayed and pork-ridden congressional spending process. ...

    And the 74-year-old Domenici is still planning a re-election campaign in 2008 despite all hoping to the contrary by younger politicians in New Mexico.
    Seems like he feels he has a lot on his plate. Nevertheless, between the likes of Tom Udall, Patricia Madrid, and others, we do have a solid bench in New Mexico to turn to as events unfold.

  • Thoughts on Minnesota

    A couple Minnesota pieces this morning:

  • Jonathan Singer at MyDD takes a look at the potential Democratic challengers for the 2008 Senate race in Minnesota, primarily through the prism of Nicole Duran's Roll Call piece looking at Al Franken's possible entry to the race. Singer notes Republican incumbent Norm Coleman's relatively low approval and his out-of-step conservative bent in moderate Minnesota. Also notes Singer:

    According to Duran, Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum has decided to forgo a run at the Senate (as she did this cycle, to the consternation of some), but other Dems looking at the race include Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, "St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (no relation to the Senator); outgoing state Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson; state Sen. Becky Lourey; and attorney Mike Ciresi."
  • And speaking of Norm Coleman, The Minnesota Daily, the "independent, student-produced newspaper on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota," offers a scathing critique of the hopefully-outgoing-in-2008 Republican.

  • Monday, December 11, 2006

    Which Congresspeople Want to Move to the Senate?

    Some interesting tidbits:

  • MUST READ!!: The Hill has a fantastic rundown of House members definitely-to-reportedly considering bids for the Senate, be they for challenges, open seats, or retirement-based potentially-open seats. The discussed Congresspeople include Democrats Mark Udall of Colorado, Artur Davis of Alabama, Tom Allen of Maine, outgoing Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee (who just narrowly lost his 2006 Senate bid), Betty McCollum of Minnesota, and Tom Udall of New Mexico, as well as Republicans John Shimkus of Illinois, Mike Castle of Delaware, Steve King of Iowa, Chip Pickering of Mississippi, and Tom Davis of Virginia.

  • Oregon: Speaking of Congresspeople looking at Senate races, as incumbent Republican Gordon Smith continues his flip-flop tour on Iraq, finally the Oregon bench begins taking Smith to task, in the person of a thinly-veiled criticism from popular Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer. (Oh, and how many times does Gordon Smith contradict himself in this article? Repudiating Bush but waiting to see what he does first, rhetorically criminal but not legally criminal, either get the troops out or invent more troops to send in... Gordo's all over the place trying to cover his ass.)

  • Tennessee: Did he or didn't he? Did Harold Ford Jr. let slip his 2008 plans to an elementary school class?

  • Mississippi: Kos, via Blue Sun Belt, offers more thoughts on a possible Cochran retirement and why former state Attorney General Mike Moore getting in as early as possible would be best for Democrats.

  • Monday Morning Fodder


  • New Hampshire: Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen's husband confirms that she is considering another run for Senate. The 2002 Sununu-Shaheen battle finished at a relatively close 51-47 decision, separated by less than 19,000 votes out of more than 432,000 cast. Given Sununu's low approvals, New Hampshire leftward trend, the current political climate, and Shaheen's experience and ability to fundraise, Shaheen getting in could solidify NH as the Dems #1 best pickup target.

  • Virginia: The state Democrats' fundraising machine is operating smoothly. Perhaps it will help encourage John Warner to retire in 2008.

  • Oregon: Coverage of Gordon Smith's rhetorical assault on the Bush War Record (i.e. Smith's own record) continues (here and here). I'm still waiting for either: Oregon's mainstream media to say "So where have you been all this time, Gordon?" or some members of the Democrats' deep, deep bench in Oregon to start throwing barbs Gordon's way for his hypocrisy, lack of leadership, finger-in-the-wind politicking and so on.

  • Sunday, December 10, 2006

    GOP Senators Scared or With a Reason to Be Scared

    Some weekend news for y'all:

  • New Hampshire: GOP Senator Judd Gregg, not up for re-election until 2010, chides his own GOP for its "hypocrisy as a party on the issue of fiscal responsibility." He sees the trends, trends that work against Senator John Sununu, up in 2008.

  • Alaska: Senator Ted Stevens' son, Ben, is president of the Alaska state senate and now involved in a federal grand jury investigation on public corruption. The investigation touches Senator Stevens in substantive fashion:

    The grand jury subpoena, issued last month, also seeks records on the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board, a nonprofit federal-grant distribution corporation set up by Ben Stevens' father, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
    We'll see what details come out and how it will impact Stevens' re-election bid and how it plays into the larger narrative on GOP corruption.

  • Virginia: Even if John Warner retires in 2008, this Daily Progress article gives the impression that George Macaca Allen has no intention of running for anything in 2008, and would not consider another campaign until the 2009 gubernatorial race at the earliest.

  • Mississippi: Thad Cochran gives a VERY long window for himself before deciding on a re-election bid:

    Sen. Thad Cochran, who has experienced a number of setbacks recently as a GOP leader, said he will decide by Nov. 1 next year whether to run for a sixth term in the Senate.
    The Clarion-Ledger article offers the following thoughts on who might run if Cochran retired:

    Possible candidates include 3rd District Rep. Chip Pickering and 1st District Rep. Roger Wicker, both Republicans, as well as former Democratic Attorney General Mike Moore and former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

    "I'm not going to speculate about the future of (Cochran's) seat unless he decides not to run for re-election, because we all hope he continues his work representing Mississippi for many years to come," Pickering said.

    Moore has acknowledged before he'd like to serve one day as senator but, in an interview with The Clarion-Ledger last month, he deflected talk of pursuing political office. He added, however, "Never say never."

    Fourth District Rep. Gene Taylor, a Democrat whose hands-on response to Hurricane Katrina has boosted his profile in Washington and Mississippi, also could run for the seat. Taylor, however, says he wants to stay in the House.
    Moore is the dream candidate for the Dems, often considered the second most popular public figure in the state after Cochran. Pickering would be the GOP front-runner to stand in for Cochran if he retired.

  • Michigan: While Jane Abraham, wife of former Senator Spencer Abraham, has been talked about as a possible GOP Senate candidate to challenge popular veteran incumbent Carl Levin, Michelle Engler, wife of former Governor John Engler, has also entered the fray as a possible candidate.

  • Colorado: The Denver Post has soon-to-be-former GOP Governor Bill Owens getting in on the hoping-Wayne-Allard-runs-for-re-election action, and notes the dynamic that has many Colorado conservatives unhappy with Owens' second term, which could impede a Senate run for Owens.

  • Oregon: Republican Gordon Smith must be scared to high hell that he is too far to the right, too lacking in leadership, and too rubber-stamping of an unpopular president for his constituents in Oregon, as much is being made of his very recent strong rhetoric against the Iraq War: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. He is using terms like "criminal" and "absurd." Gordo, Bush's War didn't just become "criminal" and "absurd" all of a sudden after Election Day last month. So, again, where have you been???

  • Friday, December 08, 2006

    Allen and Ford Unclear About Future But Unlikely for '08

  • Virginia: The Virginian-Pilot and the Richmond Times-Dispatch have former-Senator-to-be George Allen taking blame for his recent loss and noting that "he has been approached with exciting job options in the private sector." Whether he'd be up for a run in 2008 if John Warner retires is still unclear.

  • Tennessee: Similarly cagey, the Chattanooga Times Free Press has U.S. Rep. Harold Ford saying he has no plans to challenge incumbent Lamar Alexander in 2008, but isn't ruling anything out:

    Outgoing U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., DTenn., on Thursday dismissed a news account that quoted him as saying he probably would run for the U.S. Senate again in two years.

    "I have no plans to run for political office in two years," Rep. Ford said. ...

    Tennessee Democrats have said they hope Rep. Ford, 36, will seek statewide office again at some point. If he ran for the Senate in 2008, he would be expected to face incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who has indicated he intends to seek re-election.

    "I won’t ever stop working to make Tennessee and America safer and better," Rep. Ford said in a prepared statement. "The world is stronger and inspired when America leads. For the past six years, our nation’s foreign policy has weakened us and made the world less safe."
  • Swing State Project is running part two of its Senate Recruitment Threads. Take a look and offer your suggestions!

  • Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Collins May Face a Real Challenge in Maine and Smith is Scared in Oregon

    A couple evening morsels for you:

  • Maine: Democratic Rep. Tom Allen, maybe the only person who can give popular incumbent Republican Senator Susan Collins a run for her money, might get in the race. Roll Call, Political Wire, MyDD, and Daily Kos have details. Jonathan Singer at MyDD looks at Allen's ability to fundraise, and Kos looks at Collins' support for segregationist Trent Lott for a GOP leadership post.

  • Oregon: Obviously scared that he is too far to the right and too supportive of an unpopular President for his constituency, Republican Gordon Smith said "he would not have voted to authorize the war in Iraq if he had reason to believe the U.S. intelligence at the time was not accurate." My question for Senator Smith is: We've known the intelligence has been inaccurate for years, so where have you been? Look for Smith to continue to dive to the left and attempt more disingenuous political posturing.

  • Dole In; What If Warner Retires; More Denver Convention Press

    Some afternoon bits:

  • North Carolina: From kos, via Blue Sun Belt, via Raw Story, Elizabeth Dole's camp denies speculation that she's out and says she's planning on being a candidate for re-election in 2008.

  • Virginia: Despite John Warner suggesting that he's leaning toward running for re-election, Washington Post's Chris Cillizza looks at both Parties' potential candidates if Warner doesn't run again. Cillizza looks at Democrats former Governor Mark Warner, state senator & former state AG candidate Creigh Deeds, and former Congresswoman & LG candidate Leslie Byrne, and Republicans soon-to-be-former-senator George Macaca Allen, state AG Bob McDonnell, Congressman Tom Davis, and former Governor Jim Gilmore.

  • Colorado: More buzzing on Denver as the 2008 Democratic National Convention site: 10 Senators and Senators-elect from the western half of the country sent a letter to the DNC urging for the Denver selection.

  • While NH Moves to the Left, Sununu Dives to the Right

  • New Hampshire: Fresh off his admonition to people crazy enough to complain about health care, it comes out that Republican incumbent John Sununu was instrumental in returning Trent Lott to the Senate GOP Leadership.

    The Hill reports that Sununu was a "strong supporter" of the right winger Lott, who was driven from the GOP Senate Leadership four years ago because of racially insensitive comments, over the comparatively moderate Lamar Alexander.

    So, while New Hampshire moves to the left (flipping both Congressional seats from R to D in 2006 and re-electing their Democratic Governor by a huge margin), Sununu has the opportunity to opt for the leadership of a relatively moderate Senator, but chooses the radical right winger. Quite a statement on how out of touch Sununu is with his constituents.

  • Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Warner "Leaning Toward Running for Re-Election" in Virginia

  • Virginia: The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Associated Press both note that incumbent Republican Senator John Warner is "leaning toward running for re-election." While Warner "voiced concern about the amount of time it takes to raise the money for a Senate bid", he did suggest that he didn't think Virginia is "ready to have two freshmen senators". Suggesting that he might retire is also that he is giving up his Armed Services Committee chairmanship and returning to the minority party come January, as well as the VA-Democrats' deep bench and recent string of victories. Suggesting that he might run again is his relatively high approval rating. An official decision may still be several months off.

  • Working in the West, Hoping in the South, and Rolling Our Eyes in the Northeast

    A few afternoon snippets:

  • Democrats looking to build on successes in the Rocky Mountain region are starting the New West Project to further outreach efforts to voters in the West. Should be helpful for our races in states like Colorado.

  • Kentucky: Bluegrass Report, via Kos, highlights rumors of a movement to draft actor George Clooney to run for Senate.

  • New Hampshire: Incumbent Republican Senator John Sununu wants people to "stop complaining about health care."

  • Democratic Possibilities in Georgia

  • Georgia: The Forsyth County News takes a thorough look at possible Democratic challengers to loathsome incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss, focusing on Jim Butler, a lawyer who has built a reputation fighting "water and air polluters, greedy developers and crooked officials." The article also lists as top-tier potentials Congressmen Jim Marshall and John Barrow and state Attorney General Thurbert Baker. Additionally, it lists as second-tier potentials "Congress-men Sanford Bishop and John Lewis, Democratic legislative leaders Dubose Porter and Tim Golden, state Sen. David Adelman, Rep. Kathy Ashe and Sen. Gloria Butler."

  • Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    More Hints That Domenici and Allard Might Retire and Other News

    Some fun news for you, including Senator Pete Domenici apparently attending a sleepover party:

  • New Mexico: Was Republican Senator Pete Domenici wandering the halls of the Senate in pajamas? Kos, Jonathan Singer at MyDD, and Taegan Goddard at Political Wire seem to think so.

  • Colorado: Goddard offers his thoughts on a Roll Call piece on incumbent Republican Wayne Allard's retirement likelihood. The Rocky Mountain News offers insight into former Rep. Beauprez's potential Senate run. And ABC News' The Note seems to offer that Allard is likely to retire:

    In a story that has possible implications for whether Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) will seek the White House in 2008, Roll Call's David Drucker reports that "speculation is mounting" that Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) will retire in 2008. If Allard's seat opens up, Tancredo has signaled that he could run for that seat instead of making a presidential bid.
  • Michigan: offers this look at Democratic incumbent Senator Carl Levin's potential 2008 opponents:

    A number of Republicans have been mentioned as possible contenders for the seat, including U.S. Reps. Candice Miller of Harrison Township and Mike Rogers of Brighton and Jane Abraham, the co-chair of the state Republican Party and the wife of former U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham of Michigan.
  • New Hampshire: The Hill takes a look at NH-Dems optimism at deposing incumbent Republican Senator John Sununu.

  • Kansas: Does Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius becoming Chair of the Democratic Governors Assocation make it less likely or more likely that she might run for Senate?

  • Oklahoma: Incumbent radical Republican Jim Inhofe has another opportunity to look like an out-of-touch-with-reality lunatic by denying global climate change.

  • The Senate GOP is creating a bogus spin chamber hoping to reclaim the dialogue on issues that they have clearly lost.

  • Monday, December 04, 2006

    Michigan Should Be Safe - Senators Running for President Might Be Less So

    A couple of items today:

  • Michigan: Incumbent Democratic Senator Carl Levin is officially running for re-election. This seat should be very safe. Freshman Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow just won her first re-election bid by a wide 57-41 margin. Both Stabenow and Levin enjoy net approvals in Michigan in the 18 to 20 point ballpark. And unlike the freshman Stabenow, Levin is an accomplished Senate veteran who won his 2002 re-election by a huge 61-38 margin and will also take the Chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee in January. This seat should be very safe.

  • The Associated Press offers an interesting read on how difficult it can be running for President as a Senator. With as many as nine Senators currently considering Presidential bids (Democrats Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Kerry, and Barack Obama, and Republicans Sam Brownback, Chuck Hagel, and John McCain), this is indeed relevant.

    Again, three of those Senators are up for re-election in 2008: Biden, Hagel, and Kerry. If all three gave up Senate re-election bids to run, Kerry's Massachusetts seat would likely stay in Democratic hands and Hagel's Nebraska seat would likely stay in Republican hands. Biden's Delaware seat could be a tighter race if Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Castle got in against a Democrat, however popular. With these three Senators having more to lose with a run than a Senator not up for re-election, expect them to take more time in deciding whether or not to move from a probably "exploratory committee" to an all-out campaign. (I know, Biden has said he's "in" for a while now, but let's wait till the machinery is really chugging.)

  • Sunday, December 03, 2006

    More Corruption by NH-GOP

  • New Hampshire: This won't help incumbent GOP Senator John Sununu hold onto undecided/independent voters in 2008. The Associated Press reports:

    State and national Republicans will pay $135,000 to settle a suit involving a scheme to jam Democratic get-out-the-vote calls on Election Day 2002, officials said Saturday. ...

    Republicans had hired a telemarketing firm to place hundreds of hang-up calls to phone banks for the Democratic Party and the Manchester firefighters union, a nonpartisan group offering rides to the polls. Service was disrupted for nearly two hours.
    With many 2006 Senate, House, and Gubernatorial races going the Democrats' way in part because of ethics scandals and corruption by the GOP, and NH already trending heavily blue, this is just another nail in the coffin of the NH-GOP and Sununu's re-election chances.

  • Looking at In-State Trends

    A lot of good reading today, especially looking at individual states' trends:

  • First, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says Democrats in 2008 will defend 2006's gains.

  • Virginia: More mixed messages about whether or not John Warner will retire. The Washington Times has Ed Gillespie promising to piece the Virginia Republican Party back together again, with several Republican elected officials doing all they can to deny that Virginia is trending Democrat. The Daily Progress then has questions about George Allen's future and offers that GOP U.S. Rep. Thomas Davis "is considered a likely 2008 Senate candidate if U.S. Sen. John W. Warner, R-Alexandria, decides to retire."

  • New Hampshire: The Washington Post's David Broder looks at the Granite State's overwhelming jump from red to blue. The line of the piece: "'The only successful Republicans were the ones who were not on the ballot in 2006,' such as Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu, [veteran GOP leader Tom] Rath said."

  • Colorado: First, the New York Times looks at Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Second, the Denver Post offers insight into Republican incumbent Wayne Allard's potential re-election bid. Some meaty quotes:

    Allard, a Republican with one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate, clearly knows the challenges he d face in 2008. His state tilted toward the Democrats in last month s election...

    Allard s seat already is being called one of the nation s most competitive for 2008, whether he runs again or not. It s definitely in the top three, said Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

    Allard, 63, pledged in 1996 to serve just two Senate terms. He now says voters view term limits differently. ...

    Time magazine earlier this year named Allard one of the five worst senators. ...

    He s one of the more nondescript members of the United States Senate, said Thomas Mann, political analyst with Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. He s not seen as a national player.

    Chuck Todd, editor of the political newsletter The Hotline, said Allard is not somebody that seems to be ambitious for leadership, or ambitious for anything he does. ...

    "From a national perspective, he is not terribly visible or active."
    Larry Sabato, director, University of Virginia Center for Politics ...

    "He has an extremely poor voting record on environmental issues."
    Matt Garrington, field director of Environment Colorado
    Perhaps what is most shocking is that Allard, a former veterinarian, only got a 20 percent rating from The Humane Society of the United States!

  • Saturday, December 02, 2006

    MSNBC Gets in on the 2008 Analysis Fun

    Are Republican Senators Coleman of Minnesota and Sununu of New Hampshire already getting their resumes ready to look for new jobs come the end of 2008? Cuz there seems to be unanimity that they are the two most endangered incumbents - with Senator Allard of Colorado close behind (if he doesn't just retire).

    MSNBC offers its first look at the 2008 races, and concludes:

    In 2008, the GOP will be defending 21 seats; the Democrats only 12. ...

    four are in states which Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry carried in 2004.

    And four are in states (Colorado, Virginia, Minnesota, and New Hampshire) where Democrats either elected senators on Nov. 7 or did very well up and down the state ballot.

    Conversely there look to be only two Democratic incumbents, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who have struggled in the past and might face arduous re-election battles.
    The article goes on to take a more in-depth look at Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Colorado, and how all three so heavily supported Democrats in 2006.

    And, like other analyses, only Democratic Senators Landrieu of Louisiana and Johnson of South Dakota are listed as top GOP targets. Not even discussed are Arkansas (which, like New Hampshire, went overwhelmingly Democratic at all levels of government in 2006) or New Jersey (the perennial tease to Republicans at the national level). And Johnson has remarkably high approvals and is only listed as a target because of his tight re-election race in 2002 against now-Senator John Thune.

    Ultimately, the GOP has one and only one top tier target: Louisiana. Expect them to pour ungodly sums of money into that state to pull away one D-to-R flip, something they couldn't do in the Senate, House, or any Governorships in 2006.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats have several top tier targets, between New Hampshire, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, and even Virginia, Oklahoma, and North Carolina with the right candidates (read: Mark Warner, Brad Carson, and Mike Easley respectively). All indications and prognostications suggest 2008 will be a solid year for Democrats in the Senate to shore up their majority.

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Might Pat Roberts Retire?

  • Kansas: The Kansas City Star takes a look this morning at Senator Pat Roberts leaving the Intelligence Committee after four years as Chairman. The piece got me wondering: Roberts is giving up his Chairmanship and facing status in the Senate minority for the first substantial time in his Senate career - might he retire? In the last cash-on-hand check, he did have almost $700,000, certainly a tidy starting point for this stage in a Kansas statewide election. The Star piece does note:

    Roberts, 70, has been on the committee since his arrival in the Senate in 1997. He plans to run for re-election in 2008. In 2002 he had no major party opposition, but since then the Democratic Party has had a resurgence in Kansas.
    With its state party resurgence, Democrats should be able to field somebody that would force Roberts to have to do more dogged fundraising, campaigning, and debating, activities he had the luxury of avoiding in 2002. Would he want to go through the rigors of an all-out campaign at age 70? Until Roberts makes a firmer announcement beyond just "plans," we can definitely put him on the retirement-watch list.