Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Big Changes In The Senate As The Parties Gear Up For Another GOP Drubbing In 2010

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Yesterday we remarked how a Debbie Wasserman Schultz led cabal of conservative Democrats is already bad mouthing the prospects of the DCCC working to win more seats from Republicans in 2010. They say they want to put all their energy into the incumbent protection racket and not worry about vulnerable Republicans. Fortunately on the Senate side, there is tremendous excitement to continue retiring reactionary Republicans in order to make America a safer and more secure place. Wasserman Schultz just wants to make Florida safer and more secure for her GOP allies like Ros-Lehtinen and the notorious Diaz-Balart brothers who she protected in 2008 and plans to help to easy re-elections in 2010.

Before we get into the Senate prospects, there was a huge announcement by the DSCC today. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the chairman for the past two cycles-- who can claim a lot of credit for helping elect quite a few Democrats ("more" if not the "better" variety)-- announced he's leaving that position. New Jersey's Robert Menendez will be taking over. Schumer was given a new #3 leadership position in the Senate, something Reid said would be impossible when it was Hillary Clinton looking for a reason to stay in the Senate.

Schumer, like his grasping and equally unscrupulous House counterpart, Rahm Emanuel, claims a lot more credit for Democratic successes than he deserves-- although he deserves a lot more than Emanuel. He made some really big mistakes-- like backing DLC hack John Morrison over populist Jon Tester in the Montana primary in 2006. Schumer, however, got behind Tester-- which is more than the pouty, petulant and pigheaded Emanuel did when grassroots candidates beat his corporate shills-- and helped him win his seat. Unfortunately, Schumer's tendency to always go for the more conservative candidate didn't always work out as well. By backing the worst and most reactionary faux Democrat from deep in the bowels of the Republican wing of Kentucky's Democratic Party, Schumer may have been pennywise and pound foolish. He saved money on the race by backing the corrupt, wealthy Lunsford-- but lost an opportunity to get rid of the hated Mitch McConnell by pitting against him a "Democrat" that many real Democrats were unable to bring themselves to vote for. Although McCain beat Obama in Kentucky 51-49%, 1,341,667 people voted for Obama. Only 846,221 of them bothered pulling the lever for the odious Lunsford (47%).

Still, most of the complaints about Schumer are from Republicans, not Democrats. They hate him and they hate the fact that since he took over the DSCC at least 13 (and as many as 15) seats have gone from red to blue. It doesn't matter to the Republican Insider establishment that many of the Democrats are conservative; they're still not Republicans, even when they vote like them.
To Republicans, Mr. Schumer has become a symbol of raw and merciless politicking and his name is often invoked when the Republicans complain of unsavory campaign tactics such as a series of television advertisements this year attacking Republican incumbents for supporting the $700 billion bailout for the financial system.

So what is Schumer leaving Menendez? Even a critic like myself, has to admit that the Lizard Man is leaving the DSCC in incredibly good shape and that Menendez has a crack team, a great balance sheet and should have every expectation of continuing to rid the country of the enemy within. Congress Daily did a first rate report yesterday on how the lay of the land is shaping up for 2010. Short version: despite what Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the nay sayers at the DCCC are preaching, it looks like another catastrophic cycle for the GOP.

It starts off with the Republicans again having to defend more seats than the Democrats, always bad news, especially when some of those seats are outside of the regions the GOP is strong in, the Old Confederacy and the backward Mormon West. Worse yet is that the NRSC will be headed by one of the least competent members of their caucus, Texas Neanderthal John Cornyn, whose good at taking graft from Big Oil and other corporate interests but not good at anything else. Listen to him give a full throated display of typical Cornynite cluelessness: "On a broad level, Republicans need to do a better job of communicating with the American people and talking about why a Republican majority would positively affect them on the issues that matter most to their families and their pocketbooks. We need to recapture the mantle of reform and offer a positive governing vision. To do that, we need to have the right resources in place, which is why fundraising and candidate recruitment are two of my top priorities in the immediate future... Senate Republicans face another uphill fight in 2010. It's going to take a lot of hard work, determination and cooperation among all Senate Republicans."

If Democrats are able to recruit top notch candidates they should be able to take out Judd Gregg (NH), Mel Martinez (FL), Jim Bunning (KY), and Arlen Specter (PA) and, if Obama and the Democrats do a good job cleaning up after Bush, Democrats will have a good shot at unseating pervert David "Diapers" Vitter (LA), George Voinovich (OH), Chuck Grassley (IA), Richard Burr (NC), Kit Bond (MO) and maybe even McCain (AZ). If Jim DeMint (SC) insists on personifying the face of extremist obstructionism there is even a chance that a decent Democrat-- if such a thing can be found for a Senate race there-- could defeat the single most right-wing member of the Senate.

Congress Daily's state by state preview

ALABAMA

If anyone in the Republican class of 2010 is considered safe, it is veteran Sen. Richard Shelby, now in his fourth term. Known for bringing money to his state as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Shelby seems invulnerable, but there are cracks in the solidly Republican state. While Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain carried the state, 61 percent to 39 percent, Democrats did pick up a GOP-held House seat this month.

Shelby, 74, has been in office since winning a state Senate seat in 1970. He moved to the House in 1978 and was elected to the Senate in 1986-- all as a conservative Democrat. He crossed the aisle in 1994 and his two wins since have been by overwhelming margins, making him a formidable opponent to any Democratic foe. No Democratic challengers have emerged; one Democrat who might make the race competitive, Rep. Artur Davis, is more likely to run for governor. One possible deterrent to other Democrats: Shelby has amassed a $13 million bankroll, according to public records. Shelby's seniority might also work in his favor. In addition to his Appropriations seat, Shelby is ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee-- a perch he has used to become an outspoken opponent of the economic bailout.

ALASKA

Sen. Lisa Murkowski might be on many endangered-incumbent lists, but she will enter the 2010 campaign with a newly elevated profile. The defeat of GOP Sen. Ted Stevens will make Murkowski the state's senior senator and her likely rise to ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will give her a powerful seat to represent Alaska's interests. Unlike most vulnerable incumbents, Murkowski's biggest challenge might come in the GOP primary, where a challenge by Gov. Sarah Palin would make the contest the marquee race of the cycle and could either give Palin a launching pad for a 2012 presidential bid or end her political climb. Palin defeated former Sen. Frank Murkowski, the current senator's father, in a three-way 2006 primary when he ran for a second term as governor.

Other possible primary challengers for Murkowski include Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell-- who narrowly lost a primary bid to unseat GOP Rep. Don Young this year-- and state Rep. Gabrielle Ledoux. The general election might present other challenges for Murkowski, who came under intense criticism when her father was elected governor and appointed her to replace him. In a staunch GOP state, she was elected in 2004 with 49 percent of the vote against former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles.

ARIZONA

What once might have been a Grand Canyon State free-for-all or a clash of the titans has likely devolved into that most predictable of contests, in which a veteran senator cruises to re-election. As Election Day's presidential returns rolled in with the bad news for Sen. John McCain, retirement rumors swirled around him. But McCain dispelled most of them last week when he set up a PAC as the first step toward running for a fifth term. If McCain follows through and runs, it is unlikely Republican Reps. John Shadegg or Jeff Flake, both of whom have mulled running for the Senate, would challenge the state's senior senator.

On the Democratic side, the party lost a formidable challenger when Gov. Janet Napolitano was tapped by President-elect Obama to be Homeland Security secretary. Among the state's Democratic House members, Reps. Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords are moderates who racked up impressive wins in 2006 and 2008 in swing districts. Giffords is a fundraising juggernaut who raised more than $3 million for the 2008 cycle. She is also 38 years old and can afford to wait and pick her target if she wants to run in the future.

FLORIDA

Sen. Mel Martinez is looking vulnerable in pre-election polls, even though Democrats don't have a clear-cut candidate lined up to challenge him. Although polls taken two years before an election are largely meaningless, an incumbent who polls at 36 percent -- as Martinez did in a recent Quinnipiac University survey pitting him against a generic Democrat -- is usually facing a long slog. Another factor that might work against Martinez is that President-elect Obama carried the state, 51 percent to 49 percent.

But Martinez can counter with a remarkable personal story that resonates with many Floridians. Martinez came to the United States in 1962 as a non-English-speaking 15-year-old Cuban émigré who lived in a refugee camp and with foster families until his family arrived four years later. After college and law school, Martinez was the state campaign chairman for President Bush and served as HUD secretary until narrowly winning the Senate seat in 2004, 49 percent to 48 percent over former state Education Secretary Betty Castor. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Kendrick Meek and Allen Boyd are often mentioned as possible Democratic challengers.

GEORGIA

As a conservative Republican in a red state who won with 58 percent in 2004, Sen. Johnny Isakson is an unlikely target for Democrats. But if the Dec. 2 runoff involving GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin is an indication, Isakson could be in for an unexpectedly tough ride in two years.

Isakson remains one of the most conservative members in the Senate, with National Journal ranking him seventh in this category in 2007. While his conservative credos are similar to those of Chambliss-- ranked 15th by the magazine-- Isakson is a less caustic campaigner. Democrats will try to paint Isakson as "out of touch" with Georgians, said Martin Matheny, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party. No Democrats have emerged as serious challengers, although if Martin loses the runoff by a narrow margin he might use his better-than-expected performance and improved name recognition to try again.

IDAHO

Unseating Sen. Mike Crapo would be a tough task, regardless of the political environment in 2010. Crapo has $1.8 million in campaign cash, was unopposed in 2004, and got 70 percent in 1998 in his first Senate race. In addition, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain just carried the state with 61 percent. "It will be a tough race," said Julie Fanselow, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Democratic Party, although she said she expected the party would field a challenger this time. State Democratic Party Executive Director Jim Hansen said that while no candidates have come forward, the field typically does not take shape until after the state legislative session wraps up in the spring. He said the party is optimistic because Democratic Rep.-elect Walt Minnick upset Republican Rep. Bill Sali and "overcame the stereotypes" Western Democrats get saddled with.

Hansen said the "50-state strategy" employed by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean helped identify Democratic voters and candidates for down-ballot elections, citing an increase of 53,000 votes for President-elect Obama over 2004 Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. But the Idaho Democratic Party does not have a deep bench of state-level office holders and the state is still reliably Republican. The GOP has large majorities in the state House and Senate and controls the executive branch.

IOWA

The success of Iowa Democrats in the last two election cycles has fueled talk that the party can finally take a serious run at Sen. Charles Grassley, who will be running for a sixth term in 2010. Democrats took over both houses of the state Legislature and picked up two House seats in 2006, and President-elect Obama won the state with 54 percent of the vote this year after it narrowly went for President Bush in 2004. Democrats have held the governor's mansion since 1999, and Gov. Chet Culver will be at the top of the ticket in 2010.

A source at the Iowa Democratic Party said she would be "very surprised if there's not a high-profile challenger" to Grassley but acknowledged challenging the popular Grassley would be "daunting" to many candidates because of his high approval ratings. "Some folks do feel he's unbeatable," she said. Grassley has never faced a serious challenge for his seat, and in 2004 was re-elected with 70 percent, his highest total. Potential challengers include former two-term Gov. Tom Vilsack, Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson and Rep. Bruce Braley. The Democratic source said she expects the field to take shape next year, and said some might be waiting on Vilsack, who has been mentioned as a possible Agriculture secretary for Obama. [That rumor ended yesterday.]

KANSAS

The pending retirement of Sen. Sam Brownback raises the prospect of a bruising Republican primary fight between Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt. Moran has already established a committee to raise money for a Senate bid, and Tiahrt has acknowledged his interest in the seat; a spokesman called a Tiahrt candidacy "definitely a possibility." Charlotte Esau, executive director of the conservative Kansas Republican Assembly, said Moran is liked by moderates, even though he has a conservative voting record. "Tiahrt is no more conservative than Moran but for some reason isn't perceived quite the same by the moderates and is liked by conservatives," she said. Moran has a 2-1 financial advantage at this point, with $2.4 million on hand to Tiahrt's $1.2 million, according to FEC filings. Esau said the primary could hinge on how well each turns out the vote in their districts and how they fare in Kansas City's suburbs.

The Kansas GOP has had trouble uniting its conservative and moderate factions, often leading moderates to side with Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a possible Senate candidate. But Sebelius is considered a Cabinet prospect in the Obama administration, which would take her out of a Senate race. Former Democratic Rep. Jim Slattery, who lost to GOP Sen. Pat Roberts this month, has taken himself out of the running. It has been more than 75 years since Kansas last elected a Democrat to the Senate.

KENTUCKY

Sen. Jim Bunning wasted little time after the election letting fellow Republicans know he expects their help putting together a large campaign war chest for 2010. Just four days after the 2008 election, Bunning-- who will turn 79 just prior to Election Day 2010-- told the State Central Committee he plans to soon start raising at least $10 million. His closest aides have been saying he will run with the slogan, "Do It Again in 2010." But even some of his staunchest backers say they expect Bunning to retire, given his age and the rigors of campaigning. [There have been persistent rumors that Bunning actually died 2 years ago and his senatorial duties have been handled by his staff.]

If Bunning runs, he might be reinvigorated if his long-held stance that the Federal Reserve was moving the country in the wrong direction is being shown to be prophetic, given the dismal economy. If Bunning retires, Secretary of State Trey Grayson said he is likely to run. Grayson, in his second term, is from northern Kentucky's Cincinnati suburbs-- a population center and GOP stronghold. So far, GOP Reps. Harold Rogers, Geoff Davis and Ed Whitfield have made little noise about running. Davis has an eye on a coveted seat on the House Ways and Means Committee being vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Ron Lewis. Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler might run if Bunning retires. Other Democratic prospects include Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, whom Bunning barely beat in 2004; state Attorney General Jack Conway; state Auditor Crit Luallen and businessman Bruce Lunsford, who narrowly lost this year to Senate Minority Leader McConnell.

LOUISIANA

Sen. David Vitter is expected to face a primary challenge before getting to the general election. Vitter, whose 51 percent in 2004 made him the first GOP senator in the state in 121 years, is viewed as being particularly vulnerable following revelations in 2007 that his phone number turned up in the records of a woman convicted of running a prostitution service in Washington. The allegations undercut his popularity with evangelicals who were integral to his election.

GOP sources in the state and in Washington said Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne is among the Republicans who might run in the primary. Others include state House Speaker Jim Tucker and state Sen. Mike Michot; they cannot seek re-election because of term limits. "I wouldn't put it past some of the ambitious evangelicals [to mount a challenge,]" said one senior Hill Republican with ties to the state. Former Democratic Rep. Chris John, who Vitter bested in 2004, is considered a possible general election challenger, as is Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon. Others mentioned as potential Democratic candidates are Rep. Don Cazayoux, who lost earlier this month, and J.M. Bernhard Jr., chief executive of the Shaw Group, a Baton Rouge-based engineering and construction firm.

MISSOURI

Democrats looking for a challenger to Sen. Christopher (Kit) Bond in two years point to a statistic: 1.7 million votes, which is how many Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan got while being re-elected earlier this month. That was more even than Gov.-elect Jay Nixon and prompted speculation she might take on Bond.

She is a member of one of the more prominent Democratic families in the state, as the daughter of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and former Sen. Jean Carnahan, the sister of Rep. Russ Carnahan and the granddaughter of the late Rep. A.S.J. Carnahan. Since she will begin a new four-year term in January, Carnahan can take a free shot at Bond without losing her office. "We're all assuming it's going to be Robin Carnahan," said a state Republican Party spokeswoman. If she decides not to run, the field opens up, with state Auditor Susan Montee a possibility. Bond, who will turn 71 during the election year, is expected to shoot for a fifth term after winning election twice as governor in 1972 and 1980. He was re-elected four years ago by a decisive 56-43 percent and had $1.3 million in cash on hand at the end of September.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Although Sen. Judd Gregg announced his intent to run in 2010 in a conference call the day after the Nov. 4 election, Democrats are not buying it. "In the end, I think he will choose to retire," said New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Raymond Buckley. He dismissed Gregg's declaration as a ploy to avoid being relegated to lame-duck status for the next two years. Buckley noted that Gregg, a former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a leading fiscal conservative, has not had a "real race" since 1992, when he first won election to the Senate in a close contest with Democrat John Rauh. Since then, the number of Democratic voters has grown and the party could displace the GOP as the registration leader by next year, he said.

If Gregg does run, possible Democratic challengers include Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes. Also in the mix for 2010 is Katrina Swett, daughter of the late Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and the wife of former Rep. Richard Swett, D-N.H., who narrowly lost a bid to unseat former Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., in 1996. In a statement, Gregg said he had "nothing to add" to what he said in the conference call and said he believed it was "not constructive" to speculate about 2010 while the country was "facing extraordinary challenges."

NORTH CAROLINA

Republicans are still reeling over the loss of Sen. Elizabeth Dole, one of the nation's most recognizable politicians, and this red state going for President-elect Obama. Nevertheless, the GOP is optimistic about defending the seat of freshman Sen. Richard Burr, who as a five-term House member in 2004 defeated Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. Burr won his Senate seat during a triumphant Republican year in which President Bush captured 56 percent of the vote in the state. Bowles, now president of the University of North Carolina, is questionable as a repeat candidate against Burr, since he also lost to Dole in 2002.

Potential Democratic challengers include state Treasurer Richard Moore and Attorney General Roy Cooper. Moore lost a primary this year to Beverly Perdue, who went on to be elected governor this month. One or more of eight Democrats in the House might also run. Despite the Democrats' recent wins, Republican political consultant Paul Shumaker doesn't see a long-term shift. "Politics is fluid," Shumaker said, "It swings to the left. It swings to the right. It can't swing any further to the left." An adviser to Burr, Shumaker says the GOP has to connect with voters on kitchen-table issues and win over growing urban areas.

OHIO

Democrats say they have momentum going for them when Sen. George Voinovich seeks a new term in two years. That optimism is fueled by President-elect Obama's win in this swing state, the 2006 victory by Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and a deep bench of potential candidates. The key question seems to be whether the party will choose a challenger through self-vetting or a contested primary.

"There is no question [Voinovich] will be challenged," said Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, a Cincinnati lawyer. "We will have Ted Strickland at the top of the ticket running for re-election, and he is as popular a governor as I've ever been around, so that will help the Democrat running for Senate." Burke and others have mentioned Lt. Gov. Lee Fischer as a potential Voinovich foe. State Treasurer Richard Cordray, who was elected state attorney general earlier this month, is also in the mix, though Burke believes he will instead run for re-election. Rep. Tim Ryan has been traveling the state, building his name recognition, and could emerge as a challenger. Burke said Ryan, a Roman Catholic, has been aggressively courting Catholics as the party tries to recapture their support. Other potential candidates include Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Zack Space and Betty Sutton-- and Peter Lawson Jones, a member of the board of commissioners in Cuyahoga County [Cleveland], a Democratic stronghold.

OKLAHOMA

The big question is whether Sen. Tom Coburn will run for a second term. "I'm not going to make that decision until February or March," Coburn said a week after Election Day, and he added that even the appearance of a "Coburn for Senate 2010" Web site is not conclusive. "That's something you have to do if you have any money come in," he said. Money is not something Coburn appears to be concerned about, given that he had just $69,000 in cash on hand at the end of September. But Coburn is not your average candidate. He got into the Senate race in 2004 after the field had filled out, yet won the GOP primary with 61 percent of the vote and then the general election despite being outspent by $1.1 million by former Democratic Rep. Brad Carson.

If Coburn chooses to run, Democratic Gov. Brad Henry, who will be term-limited from running again in 2010, would be the logical Democratic choice. But spokesmen for Henry ruled out a race after he won re-election in 2006. Rep. Dan Boren, the only Democrat left in the House delegation, has also ruled out a run. Oklahoma has become a solidly Republican state, with GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain carrying all 77 counties. Other than conservative Sen. David Boren-- Dan Boren's father-- no Democrat has won a Senate election in more than four decades.

PENNSYLVANIA

Will he or won't he? Both parties are watching closely to see if Chris Matthews, the anchor of MSNBC's "Hardball" and a former aide to the late House Speaker Thomas (Tip) O'Neill, will challenge Sen. Arlen Specter. Specter, who was first elected to the Senate in 1980, is expected to seek his sixth term despite a recurrence of cancer that required him to undergo a grueling form of treatment. Specter lost his hair, but was a constant presence in the Senate chamber and on the squash court. Matthews has long touted his Pennsylvania roots and told anyone who would listen at this year's Democratic convention that he was seriously weighing a run.

Matthews' high-visibility perch as a brash political commentator would give him instant recognition on the campaign trail, but Specter is no slouch when it comes to being known. The former Philadelphia district attorney was the lawyer for the Warren Commission who came up with the "magic bullet" theory that was used as the basis for saying that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, assassinated President John Kennedy. Specter has sharp political elbows developed over a series of close races, so the race could become the cycle's marquee matchup. If Matthews doesn't run, the role of challenger could fall to Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Outspoken conservative Sen. Jim DeMint routinely defies former President Reagan's 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." As a freshman senator, he has not been shy about taking on fellow Republicans or party leaders. After he publicly blamed President Bush and Sen. John McCain for Republican losses, he was openly criticized by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Still, DeMint enters the next election cycle with an edge; no Democrats have come forward yet to challenge him.

One prospective opponent is former state Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin. Others mentioned are state Sens. Gerald Malloy and Vince Sheehan, although party watchers say much depends on who decides to run for governor in 2010. It is not clear whether former Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum will run again. She lost to DeMint by 10 points in 2004. She is said to be interested in a position in the Obama administration. DeMint's views-- National Journal rated DeMint the most conservative senator for the last two years-- wears well in a state that went for McCain's presidential bid this year by 54 percent to 45 percent.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Democrats could have a tall order in knocking off Sen. John Thune, but an operative with the South Dakota Democratic Party knows how they are going to go after him in 2010. The operative acknowledged that Thune's upset of then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004 and the attacks he used to win are still "pretty fresh in people's minds." Thune attacked Daschle for being an obstructionist in the Senate who tried to stall the GOP agenda, and put his own leadership ambitions over the needs of the state. The operative said Thune's appointment as vice chairman of the Republican Conference will leave him open to attacks he used against Daschle.

The biggest name Democrats can hope to attract to the race is Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, but all indications are that she is contemplating a run for governor and the bench behind her is not very deep. "All roads lead to Pierre," for Herseth Sandlin, the operative said, noting her grandfather, Ralph Herseth, was governor, and her grandmother, Lorna Herseth, served as South Dakota's secretary of state. South Dakota's at-large seat has been a springboard for many of its senators, because the member has to run statewide every two years. Daschle, Johnson and Thune have all held the seat, and Herseth Sandlin took 68 percent of the vote in her re-election earlier this month.

UTAH

As one of the most reliably Republican states, Utah is expected to easily give GOP Sen. Robert Bennett, a fourth term. While he lacks the national profile of senior Sen. Orrin Hatch, he is popular and has had little trouble winning re-election since he won his first term with 55 percent of the vote. Few Democratic candidates are viewed as viable statewide and Republicans hold all statewide elected offices. Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, whose father served as the state's last Democratic governor from 1976 to 1984, is seen as a possible challenger, although observers say a run for governor is more likely.

This year Republican Sen. John McCain took 63 percent of the vote in the presidential contest, while Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman won re-election with 78 percent of the vote. Matheson was first elected in 2000 and has been a Republican target. Matheson defeated his opponent by 1,641 votes in 2002, following redistricting. Since then he has increased his margin of victory, winning this year with 63 percent of the vote. Another possible Democrat is Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon. Salt Lake is the state's most-populous county.

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8 Comments:

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

Nice summary piece. I'm especially hopeful that Vitter will go home to find God, whom he has invoked repeatedly. In Ohio, where I live, there are a lot of people who regard Voinovich as a closet Bushite, given some of his votes and pronouncements to the Faithful. But I suspect he'll tack to the wind over the next two years to make his position more secure when he runs again.

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Wexler running against Martinez in FL?

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Wexler sounds like a much better idea than Wasserman Schultz, but she'd rip anyone's eyes out who got in her way. I'm kind of hoping she runs and loses so we at least get her out of Congress. Wexler would make a pretty incredible senator, another one like Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown and Jeff Merkley. If you didn't read his book, Fire-Breathing Liberal: How I Learned to Survive (and Thrive) in the Contact Sport of Congress, pick it up. It's not Dostoevski but it gives you an entertaining look inside the sausage factory.

 
At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Lee said...

nice job Howie,

I'm in PA. Don't know about A Schwartz running for the senate seat.We are starting to build a "farm team" and maybe she would run for the Senate if someone like Josh Shapiro
is ready to run for her seat in Congress.

 
At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

"I'm kind of hoping she runs and loses so we at least get her out of Congress."

I suggested on another blog that it would be great if a certain Democratic senator who wasn't so Democratic lost, so that we had a real chance at ultimately trading up from a Blue Dog to a Republican to a Progressive Democrat. You should have heard the shouts of "traitor!" Apparently, all that matters is electing Democrats. Not the quality of the candidate.

 
At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Rob Findlay said...

Well Howie this is one poor Utah Shlub who voted PROUDLY for Obama, even suffering my car being vandalized for my Obama stickers.

Anyway we knew each other from Usenet, group of weasels I seem to remember!

Anyway shoot me a msg if you feel like it, I dig what you're doing here in blog-land.

Rob Findlay
phundle (at) gmail.com
robfindlay.org / w6nzx.us

 
At 7:49 PM, Blogger Jibreel Riley said...

I want both Hillary's old seat and Bank Run Chuck seat... Rudy were you at!

-Upstate New York forever bitter clinging

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger aaronson said...

Hey I know of a really cool website called the voting site . The sites mission is to evangelize the instant run off voting. Users can create there own instant run off elections and vote in other peoples instant run off elections. The site does a good job of showing how instant run off voting works. It also has facebook integration.

 

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