Thursday, December 04, 2008

2010-- Here Already? Pennsylvania Senate Race Heating Up


Although Charlie Brown conceded his race yesterday, there are still a couple of 2008 congressional races yet to be decided-- the high profile Minnesota Senate recount, a recount in OH-15 between Mary Jo Kilroy and a Republican lobbyist picked by John Boehner, and a couple of inconsequential races this Saturday that were delayed in Louisiana due to inclement weather, one that will give an indicted crook in New Orleans another term and one that asks Shreveport voters to pick between a horrible right-wing Democrat and an even more horrible right-wing Republican. But already, people are starting to talk about the 2010 midterms.

Will Jeb Bush run for the Florida Senate seat being vacated by unpopular Republican incumbent Mel Martinez? Having destroyed the corrupt father, will Palin now go after the corrupt daughter-- and win herself a Senate seat and the distinction of being the only member of that body even stupider than either Mark Pryor or Jim Bunning? Meanwhile, as long as we're discussing corrupt Republicans and the Senate, what about Kay Bailey Hutchison and her unquenchable lust for Texas governor's mansion? Will she primary the pathetic Rick Perry? Or will they make a deal for a switcheroo? And, as we've discussed before, people are already looking at what's going on in Pennsylvania. Today Rasmussen reports that moderate Republican Arlen Specter is quite vulnerable if MSNBC host Chris Matthews runs against him. He's leading Matthews by 3 points, 46-43%-- a devastating revelation. Even worse news for Specter is that the far right fringes of his party are out to get him, even if it means tossing the seat to a Democrat.

The Club For Growth (of Fascism) has given Specter an ultimatum. If he doesn't change his pro-labor vote on the Employee Free Choice Act-- he voted with the Democrats to end the filibuster of the bill-- they will destroy him in a primary. As is, only 70% of Republicans say they would vote for him, although 32% of Democrats, many appreciative of his support of EFCA and working families, say they'd pull the lever for him at this point.
Trouble with Republicans is nothing new for Specter. In 2004, he barely survived a Republican Primary challenge from Pat Toomey.

While it is always troubling for an incumbent to poll below the 50% level when seeking re-election, much could happen to reshape this campaign with nearly two years to go.

So is Matthews going to run? I guess we'll know if he quits his day job anytime before his contract expires in June. His presence on the network gives him exposure of course, but it also exposes him to intense examination, word by word, grimace by grimace... touch by touch.
If Matthews is serious about running, some within the network hope he commits to the Pennsylvania Senate race sooner rather than later. Otherwise, his nightly presence on Hardball provides easy fodder to critics fueling the narrative that MSNBC is in the tank for the Democratic party. After NBC News was stung by criticism during the presidential campaign-- charged with bias resulting from the antics of more outspoken personalities on MSNBC-- staffers worry the situation will be repeated over the next six months.

To those speaking to him, all signs point to a candidate who is gearing up to run for the Senate seat held by Republican Arlen Specter. Either that or the MSNBC host is doing an awfully good job making people think he’s running-- perhaps, some say, for use as a bargaining chip in his upcoming contract negotiations.

Matthews may not have a clear shot at Specter though. It has been widely reported that Representatives Allyson Schwartz and Joe Sestak are interested in that Senate seat. And today we hear that so is Patrick Murphy.

A lot of Democrats have come around to liking Matthews this year because he has been a real partisan for Obama and for Democrats but where he stands on issues may not be quite so attractive. He's a pretty conservative Democrat, if a partisan one, and his positions and Specter's positions aren't all black and white. Should be a fun race to watch-- if Specter even survives a primary challenge from extremists in his own party.

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At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is incontrovertible truth there is in fact no god.

or at least not a merciful one.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A lot of Democrats have come around to liking Matthews this year because he has been a real partisan for Obama..."

Leaving aside, of course, the fact that he thought McCain smelled extremely manly. Matthews isn't a stupid man; he can be an eloquent one; but he's infatuated with power and the people who wield it. Salivating at the fatcats isn't a good qualification for representing the state of Pennsylvania in the Senate, the last time I checked.


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