2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

The new SurveyUSA 50-state Senate approval ratings are out, and nearly half of those up for reelection in 2008 have an approval rating below 55 percent -- a tangible sign of danger even this far out from the election.

Democratic Targets

  1. Colorado: Wayne Allard, 44 approve - 43 disapprove
  2. Texas: John Cornyn, 45 approve - 42 disapprove
  3. Oklahoma: James Inhofe, 46 approve - 41 disapprove
  4. New Hampshire: John Sununu, 47 approve - 44 disapprove
  5. Minnesota: Norm Coleman, 48 approve - 43 disapprove
  6. Kansas: Pat Roberts, 51 approve - 36 disapprove
  7. North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole, 52 approve - 40 disapprove
  8. Georgia: Saxby Chambliss, 52 approve - 36 disapprove
  9. Tennessee: Lamar Alexander, 53 approve - 36 disapprove
  10. Kentucky: Mitch McConnell, 54 approve 39 disapprove
  11. Oregon: Gordon Smith, 54 approve - 37 disapprove

Republican Targets

  1. New Jersey: Frank Lautenberg, 39 approve - 45 disapprove
  2. Massachusetts: John Kerry, 48 approve - 50 disapprove
  3. Illinois: Dick Durbin, 52 approve - 38 disapprove
  4. Iowa: Tom Harkin, 53 approve - 40 disapprove
  5. Michigan: Carl Levin, 54 approve - 36 disapprove
  6. Louisiana: Mary Landrieu, 54 approve - 42 disapprove

While Tom Schaller was certainly proved correct on November 7 in his conclusion that the Democrats do not need the South in order to attain a majority coalition, as these numbers indicate the Dems do have some decent opportunities for gains in the Senate in so-called red states, including some in the South.

Within the list above, Kansas, which elected Democrats as Governor and Attorney General by very wide margins this month as well as a new Democratic Congresswoman, stands out in particular as an interesting state that our side would be well-served to look at. Additionally in Kentucky, where two years ago Jim Bunning had serious trouble in his reelection bid, barely garnering 50 percent of the vote against a virtual unknown, making a run at incoming Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who may be in a constant state of filibuster over the next two years, might not be such a bad idea (if only to put Republicans, as a whole, on the defensive).

Tags: Senate 2008 (all tags)

Comments

73 Comments

Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Imhofe, Cornyn and McConnell are despicable people.  Pat Roberts is incredibly right wing.  I'd love to see credible challengers for all of them.  I'm not sure whom could challenge them, esp. in OK and TX, but let's hope someone does.  Eliz Dole should be weak, as well, if we can find someone to challenge her.  Maybe Gov. Easley.

Of the Dems, I think that Lautenberg is likely the weakest.  The rest would probably get reelected.

by MDMan 2006-11-23 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Lautenberg isn't really weak.  NJ always gives their  Senators really low approval ratings.  If he runs for re-election he'll win.

by blueryan 2006-11-23 11:43AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

I keep hearing this about NJ, and I don't understand. I don't doubt it, but I just can't wrap my head around the idea that people in NJ just hate everyone in office, but still vote for them. Did they hate Kean, Sr?

by bluenc 2006-11-23 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Easley won't run.

by bluenc 2006-11-23 06:11PM | 0 recs
My list

Democratic targets:

Tier 1:

Colordao
Minnesota
New Hampshire
Maine (If Collins retires though I heard she was running again).

Tier 2:

Maine
North Carolina
Oregon

Tier 3:
Georgia
Oklahoma
South Carolina (If Graham gets messed up bad in the primary).
Texas
Tennessee

Republican Targets:

Tier 1

Louisiana
New Jersey

Tier 2:
Iowa
Michigan (If Levin retires)
South Dakota

Tier 3:
Massachusetts
Michigan

by Liberal 2006-11-23 09:10AM | 0 recs
I forgot Viriginia in my list.

We have a very good chance if Warner doesn't run again.

by Liberal 2006-11-23 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: I forgot Viriginia in my list.

We have a good chance if Warner does run (you figure it out)

by orin76 2006-11-24 08:30AM | 0 recs
Haha true indeed.

by Liberal 2006-11-24 11:29AM | 0 recs
don't worry about Iowa

GOP may give Harkin a pass this time. No one serious is talking about challenging him. I expect some token right-winger he will wipe the floor with. Remember that Harkin was reelected by a comfortable margin in 2002, a bad year for Democrats nationwide.

Louisiana and NJ are the only realistic Republican targets, in my view.

by desmoinesdem 2006-11-23 10:05AM | 0 recs
Iowa does look pretty good.

Since we picked up 2 CD's and held our own in the 3rd district and in the Gov Race. Still I just have a strange feeling about this race idk I also think That the CD04 congressman is going to jump in. Tom Latham I believe is his name?

by Liberal 2006-11-23 10:11AM | 0 recs
That would be good

Harkin would beat him, and we'd have a decent shot at taking his district (I believe it's only about 51-48 Bush).

by johnny longtorso 2006-11-24 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Since the people surrounding Max Baucus prefer to only follow polls instead of lead, these new numbers should be very instructive for the senator. After shocking many Democrats by actually campaigning for a Democrat not named "Max" during the final weeks of the senate campaign, Baucus saw his largest positive jump in the history of the poll. After hopping on the Schweitzer/Tester progressive populist bandwagon, Baucus increased support among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

If Baucus returns to his DLC/corporate/triangulation and allows Cheney to cast tie-breaking votes and/or cuts deals with the administration that undermine Reid, then Baucus deserves the primary campaign that is going to be the subject of conversation around many a Montana dinner table today.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-23 09:18AM | 0 recs
I don't think Baucus will get a Primary.

I think he is just to powerful a figure in the U.S Senate now. Also Baucus is I believe a good Progressive for a state like Montana.

by Liberal 2006-11-23 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think Baucus will get a Primary.

Good progressive? Except for being single-handedly responsible for Medicare, supporting the war, cutting a deal for Bush's tax cuts (and standing by his side during the signing), facing a GOP campaign from the left on trade in '08, acting like an idiot on the estate tax and having a role in every single major domestic victory for the Bush administration.

And since the elections, Baucus has said he is going to take off the table bulk prescription drugs and energy reform.

But what Schweitzer needs to worry about is how Baucus triangulates against other Democrats on the ballot -- a Democrat hasn't won a top statewide race with Max on the ballot since 1984.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-23 09:29AM | 0 recs
Well to Baucus's credit.

He did stand up to The Partial-Birth Abortion ban and the Ban on Same-Sex marriage. He also was a point man in the fight agenst Privitizeing Social Security and also i'm pretty sure he did vote agenst the Bush Tax plan in the 108th Congress. I'm not saying he's the best and I can understand anger towards him but in a state that gave Bush 60% of the vote thats not to bad. Though I do like Tester a lot more.

by Liberal 2006-11-23 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

He was the weak link in Social Security -- Reid let him be point man because Reid knew he was the weak vote. Baucus was responsible for...whipping Baucus.

It is the economic issues where he has been a disaster.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-23 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

Okay, who's the alternative? Who can beat Baucus and win statewide in Montana? And nobody say Schweitzer.

by bluenc 2006-11-23 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

There clearly are candidates, the question is how big is the list. Schweitzer could win and remember that he started of his political career chasing a U.S. Senate seat. He speaks Arabic, has lived in the middle east, and a few years in the senate would do a great deal to show off his foreign policy skills before 2012.

There are lots of candidates who could pull it off. In fact, there are two in the same house uphill from Missoula (1 and 2). Montana has a deep bench and unlike what happened in Connecticut, this primary could see Baucus facing a top-down situation with opposition coming as much from Democratic leaders as with the base. It will be interesting to see what Baucus does.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-24 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

That's a pretty ridiculous claim about Social Security. Sure, Bush was hoping to push him over to his side, but there was absolutely zero evidence, at any point, that that was going to happen.

He certainly has his negative points, but let's not try to make him into a total Dem ogre, yes?

by Mullibok 2006-11-23 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

That's a pretty ridiculous claim about Social Security. Sure, Bush was hoping to push him over to his side, but there was absolutely zero evidence, at any point, that that was going to happen.

Chris Bowers, "On the majority of the most egregiously foul pieces of Bush-led legislation over the past four years, Max Baucus has been complicit with the incompetence, deception, and destructive force that is modern conservatism (otherwise known as whatever George Bush did today). He only came back into line on Social Security after extensively cajoling."

TNR, "Often, it's Baucus who provides the margin of victory--either with his own vote or by crafting pseudo-compromises that provide cover for a small number of Democratic defectors. Indeed, the Democrats' only real victory of the last five years--stuffing the administration on Social Security--came after Harry Reid cautioned Baucus against freelancing with the White House."

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-24 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

Baucus cut a deal with the Republicans on the Bush tax cuts when he was chair of the Senate Finance Committee....without consulting with the caucus.

Dashchle promised he would never forgive him for it.

I'm pretty sure it's Baucus that Daschle was referring to when he spoke of a senator who was "running scared since the day he got there."

The guy is a self-serving disaster.

by Taylor26 2006-11-23 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Wow. Colorado, Texas & New Hampshire have a wide open field. No idea Gordon Smith was that popular in Oregon though.

What's up with Frank Lauternberg & John Kerry.

by DRR7799 2006-11-23 09:24AM | 0 recs
Kerry & Lautenberg

I say this as someone who likes Kerry a lot: He needs to give up on the White House and decide that Statesman-Senator is a good thing. I think it would be good for the country too. And stop trying to be funny.

From what I hear, Jerseyites hates all their pols on principle. I can't imagine Lautenberg's running again, is he? They had to talk him out of retirement,  filling in for Torch how many years ago?

by BlueinColorado 2006-11-23 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Kerry & Lautenberg

Agree on Kerry.

I hope Lautenberg doesn't run again. He looks like road kill.

by Bush Bites 2006-11-23 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Kerry & Lautenberg

Agree with you 110% on Kerry. I respect the man immensely and he would have been a great president, but trying for the White House another time would just be madness considering the opponents he would have in the primary. I'd say Sen. Kerry has about as much chance as being the nominee again as some real longshots like Daschle, Dodd or Vilsack.

by TarHeelStateDem 2006-11-23 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Allard is in the bottom 10% - he may forego the thumping Udall is going to give him. That would make room for George Will's ex-hero Bill Owens, Mike Coffman, or maybe Terrible Tom Tancredo.

I'm hopeful they'll all feel God chose them and they'll proceed to bash the hell out of each other like what happened in the race to replace Hefley.

by zappatero 2006-11-23 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Has Owens indicated any interest in the seat? As I recall, he was fairly popular and he could be tough to beat. Still, Udall's a good candidate - I'm fairly confident he'll beat whichever ass the GOP picks.

by bluenc 2006-11-23 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Top 3 targets for us, by far, are CO, NH, and MN.

Worried about NJ...Lautenberg should retire and give way to Pallone or Andrews (although Holt would be nice). At this point, I think we will probably lose LA. Mary Landrieu is an awful Democrat, her base in NO is decimated, and if she runs another GOP-lite campaign in 2008, she will sink faster than a rock.

by PsiFighter37 2006-11-23 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

I sure hope Andrews isn't the nominee. He would be horrible for the NJ Democratic party... talk about being corrupt, controlled by a machine, and a mediocre Democrat at best. Pallone wouuld be the FAR better choice there.

I hope Landrieu hangs on... though I think she is a Senator on extended time right now.

by KainIIIC 2006-11-23 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

What ever happened to Springsteen as a Senate candidate? Did he give a definitive No at some point?

by joyful alternative 2006-11-23 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

ARE VOTERS BETTER OFF THAN BEFORE BUSH?
"I had a job, I had a girl
I had something going mister in this world
I got laid off down at the lumber yard
Our love went bad, times got hard
Now I work down at the carwash
Where all it ever does is rain
Don't you feel like you're a rider on a downbound train"
Bruce Springsteen's Downbound Train

EXPLAIN THE MESSAGE YOU HOPE TO CONVEY TO VOTERS.
"There's a war outside still raging
you say it ain't ours anymore to win
I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover's bed
with a wide open country in my eyes
and these romantic dreams in my head
No retreat no surrender"
Bruce Springsteen's No Surrender

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE ECONOMY?
"I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain't been much work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don't remember
Mary acts like she don't care"
Bruce Springsteen's The River

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON RACE RELATIONS?
"In `65 tension was running high at my high school
There was a lot of fights between the black and white
There was nothing you could do
Two cars at a light on a Saturday night in the back seat there was a gun
Words were passed in a shotgun blast
Troubled times had come to my hometown"
Bruce Springsteen's My Hometown

IN THE 1980's YOU WERE A VOCAL OPPONENT OF REAGANOMICS. HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW THAT BUSH HAS RESURRECTED SUPPLY-SIDE ECONOMICS?
"Well now everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back...
Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts that no honest man can pay"
Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON OUTSOURCING?
"Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to your hometown"
Bruce Springsteen's My Hometown

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-23 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

I think you meant Governor.  He ruled that out.  He is a very private person, and doesn't want the spotlight on his family that would come with politics.  Not only that, but I don't think he would care for releasing his taxes either.  When he squashed the whole Gov. of NJ thing, he basically said that even if he were to win the popular vote somehow, that he would turn down the honor.  I wish I could find the press release somewhere.  Maybe I can find it with Google's help.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2006-11-23 02:54PM | 0 recs
Good analysis.

I agree 100%.

I'd like to think that we have a good shot in Oregon as well--Democrats have been consistently winning there.  Any Oregonians want to chime in?

by Go Vegetarian 2006-11-23 06:38PM | 0 recs
Oregon is never an easy read...

Realize that this is also the same state that recently starved their public schools of state funding and has passed initiatives giving developers a lot of room to circumvent their statewide zoning laws.  A lot of this year's Democratic victories are blowback to enacting these and similarly-tempered laws.

Gordon's a tough nut to crack, but it's doable.

You have Portland, you have the suburbs around Portland, you have the Willamette Valley, the coast down to Coos Bay, and the rest of the state.  Portland alone isn't enough anymore.  You have to get the suburbs around Portland to pull anything off, or at least take enough of the suburbs and the valley to make a difference.

There are rumors here and there that Gordon might retire, that he's not happy with the state party's leadership, that he knows this next race will be a very bloody business.  But as long as enough Portland-area suburbanites think he's a nice guy, unseating him will not be easy.

That said, I think he has to be a primary target.  The statement made, and the media reaction, to taking down the last Republican Senator on the west coast is too strong to ignore.

by palamedes 2006-11-24 03:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Oregon is never an easy read...

Realize that this is also the same state that recently starved their public schools of state funding and has passed initiatives giving developers a lot of room to circumvent their statewide zoning laws.

Awww, come on, guy.  Oregon is the state that first instituted a form of universal health care, that has passed laws to allow medically-supervised suicide.  Oregon has had the most rigorous environmental laws in the nation and likes to promote the mosquito as the state bird to keep Californians out.  Localities rather than the state are supposed to fund their schools.  I grew up in the tiny town of New Pine Creek that was split between California and Oregon.  Parents would kill to get their kids in the Oregon school.

Oregon cherishes its reputation for innovation and being a maverick and yet seems to want to elect senators for life.  Packwood seemed set for life and then that odd bird got in a bit of trouble for being Bill Clinton before Clinton.

The successful candidate against Gordon Smith will be able to label that hack as a hack rather than a flip-flopper. Won't be easy. Oregon voters, like all reasonable people, love people that can change their mind.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-24 05:54AM | 0 recs
No argument over what's good in Oregon....

...but it's been on a knive edge since Measure 5 passed in 1990, which capped and then reduced property tax requirements for schools, as to which way it will go on policies.

Oregon's statewide zoning has probably saved more wilderness there, especially surrounding smaller towns like Corvallis, than any other thing I've seen in the USA.  And yes, Oregon does have a health care system which is far better than most, though it's still not easy - a friend of mine has to sweat every year as to whether or not her illness makes the cut of what's considered cost-effective by the state and thus eligible for care (she can't aford to pay for treatment otherwise).

Gordon can be beaten - it just won't be easy, as we both agree.  And which Oregon will come out more to the polls is open to question.

by palamedes 2006-11-24 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Of the seats we will be defending, the one I worry about the most is by far Louisiana. Mary Landrieu has regained some support post-Katrina, but with the changing demographics of the state, I'm sure the Republicans are going to put major resources into this one.

I wish Lautenberg would retire and make way for Rob Andrews, Rush Holt or Frank Pallone who would all make great candidates. Either way, I see this one staying in the D column.

Levin, Durbin and Harkin will all win easily. I think Kerry will probably retire for a futile presidential bid, but there's absolutely no way in hell this one is going to a Republican. One of the state's congressmen will step in and take it.

by TarHeelStateDem 2006-11-23 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

There are really no good solutions for Landrieu just like there are no good ones for Gov. Blanco. Louisiana is a state where the Democrats can rebuild with populist style candidates again (someone like Tester would do well). The population loss of hundreds of thousands of voters has created a completely different state (and at the same time as I mentioned awhile back in another thread will make some other states more blue).

by robliberal 2006-11-23 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Landrieu is too hot to lose.

by Ethelred 2006-11-23 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Kerry's seat can't really be considered a decent target for Republicans. The Republican party in Massachusetts is pretty tapped out at this point -- after Romney, there is really no one for them to turn to for a high profile race. Can anyone think of anyone who could actually make a run at it?

by Joe Gabriel 2006-11-23 10:43AM | 0 recs
what the...

Someone explain to me why Kerry is showing so poorly in Massachusetts!

by Qshio 2006-11-23 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: what the...

Massachusetts voters are tired of their junior Senator running around the country and shoving his foot up his mouth?

Just a guess.

He'll be fine in 2008 if he wants to run again.  I'd actually prefer if he stayed around for another term in the Senate, which would give time for Deval Patrick to take his seat when it opens up.

by HellofaSandwich 2006-11-23 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: what the...

Deval for President 2016

by Joshua Sperati 2006-11-23 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: what the...

That's basically it.  (I'm from Mass.)

Though Kerry has never been all that popular--he wins, but not by a great margin when strongly challenged (As he was in 1990 and 1996).  We all were scratching out heads when Iowans concluded that he was the strongest candidate.

by Go Vegetarian 2006-11-23 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Yeah, his approval ratings may be bad, but keep in mind this is Massachusetts; where Dems hold all state wide offices, 35 of 40 state Senate Seats, and like a 120 seat advantage in the state House. There's hardly a Republican left to seriously challenge Mass. Democratic hegemony.

New Jersey I'm worried about. It seems to be a more purplish state than one would think.

Also worried about Louisiana, I'm afraid the demographic changes+Katrina are going to put Dem Senators from Louisiana out to the same pasture where Dem Senators from the rest of the South go.

Why is Gordon Smith so popular? And can anybody beat him?

by DRR7799 2006-11-23 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

From what I understand, popular former Gov. John Kitzhaber would wipe the floor with Gordon Smith, but very few people are holding their breath for him to make a run of it.

by TarHeelStateDem 2006-11-23 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Isn't Kitzhaber living in Colorado these days?

by palamedes 2006-11-24 03:40AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Wow, Hillary as the 4th most popular senator in the senate? Impressive...

Landrieu is done, after Katrina we just don't have the votes in Lousiana anymore.

Oregon, Colorado and NH are excellent chances of pick ups.

As far as Maine goes, well if Connecticut kept Lieberman, Maine will DEFINITELY keep Collins.

North Carolina, Virginia and New Mexico should also be considered.

by True Centrist 2006-11-23 01:03PM | 0 recs
New Hampshire...

...will be an intersting nut to crack.  Both freshmen Dem. reps (who won by 3 and 7 points) will be up for reelection, there will be a competitive presidential race, and there will be the senate race, plus something like 1/4 of the state legislature is Democrats elected this year, and the governor is Democratic.

For us to win, we're going to have to convince ornery, hyper-independent New Hampshirites to vote a straight Democratic ticket.  If people who voted Dem. this year start splitting their tickets (especially if they do it in different places) we're going to lose, possibly badly.  Anyway, we'll see in 2 years if NH is really turning blue or if this year was a fluke.

by Go Vegetarian 2006-11-23 06:45PM | 0 recs
Georgia

I am surprised Chambliss is that low. I wish there were some good potential Democratic candidates in the pipeline.

by robliberal 2006-11-23 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Georgia

Here's an idea; encourage Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-2) to run against Chambliss.  Bishop is conservative on social issues, can go toe-to-toe on agriculture issues and Washington experience, and can count on a massive African-American turnout.  Further, Chambliss is all over the place on immigration.  His position changes almost daily.

As far as GA-2 is concerned, it would make a great rehab assignment for Mark Taylor.  The district leans Democratic.  

by CLLGADEM 2006-11-24 06:59AM | 0 recs
Tennessee

With Lamar Alexander out of his leadership post that might weaken him a little more. If Gov. Bredesen decided to run he would have a good chance. Since Ford got so close there may be some potential against Alexander.

by robliberal 2006-11-23 01:10PM | 0 recs
Kentucky

I wonder if Dr. Dan might give it a try against McConnel. He came so close to defeating Bunning.

by robliberal 2006-11-23 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Honestly approval ratings aren't a very good way to look at vurnerability.  Durbin, Kerry, Levin, and Harkin are all untouchable if they run for re-election.

by blueryan 2006-11-23 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open
They may target Dick Durbin but, he will not be unseated.
he has alot of support.  the 38% are republicans.  We are not a really "blue" state but, more purple.  A high degree of conservativism and religion.  
However, Durbin is a really good senator and he really cares.  Everyone who has met him here thinks the world of him.  He is not a phoney.  
The Dems and Independents support him alot.  
They will not get some wingnut in the Senate from Illinois.
by vwcat 2006-11-23 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Harkin will be fine.

That's about what he always polls at.  The GOP base hates him because he is outspoken.

by Martin Heldt 2006-11-23 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

New Jersey has high (and rising) property taxes.  And voters don't have to watch the Sopranos to know the state government is deeply corrupt.  The only thing saving the Democratic machine from voter backlash is that the Republicans are looney tunes.

Still Corzine had better have some successes turning the state around, despite the corrupt state machine, or Lautenberg or his successor may face a real backlash in 08.  I could see the senate seat going Republican while the Dem presidential nominee gets an overwhelming majority of the vote.

by Taylor26 2006-11-23 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

Bloggers from NJ are always hoopin and hollerin about New Jersey electing a GOP senator. It hasn't happened in over three decades.

Now, I know this is a tendency for anyone from anywhere to want to attract attention to their home state, even if it is solidly Democratic, like New Jersey. I know this year was a great Democratic years, but lets look at the facts of the last TWO senate races- and the Governor's race:

1. in 2002, a great REPUBLICAN year, Democratic nominee Bob Torricelli drops out because he is clearly corrupt and about to cost Dems a senate seat. Normally, this kind of chicanery would repel the voters. Not in Jersey. They elected a live corpse (Lautenberg) to the senate with 55% against a credible and funded GOP nominee.

2. in 2005, the governor's chair was between Corzine and 2002 GOP senate nominee Doug Forrester. Polls showed the race dangerously close. Democrats, esp. from NJ, carried on about losing the seat. The stench of corruption hung all around; the previous governor was a Democrat who had come out as a gay man, and, more importantly, a philaderer with a wife and kids. GOP candidate Forrester had been recently screwed over in his senate race. Corzine won comfortably.

3. Bob Menendez, from corrupt Union county, was called everything but a convicted felon. The GOP nominee, Tom Kean Jr., son of the popular former governor, ran away from Bush and on a moderate platform. New Jerseyans, again, threatened the loss of the seat. Their wish was granted as national Dems began pouring in unnecessary funds for a seat that was easily retained, corruption charges and all.

by gbcollins21 2006-11-24 07:00AM | 0 recs
Michigan: Levin's not going anywhere.

Senator Levin just made Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been in office for 30 years come next election.  The Republicans are scared to death of him.

Levin is in there until he wants to retire.

by djtyg 2006-11-23 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open
Kerry has had a taste and would, given his age (65 in 2008), figure that he wouldn't have another chance and has the money to get off to a good start.
Should Kerry choose to not run again, there are, at least, 4 congressmen (Meehan, Markey, Lynch, Frank)who would run and any of the other 6 just might be sharpening their claws for a move up. The last Republican Senator here was Brooke, and he was fairly liberal. No pickup opportunity here for the Republicans. (2014 is a long way away for Deval to be thinking about...lets see is he can govern this state first).
In addition to these seats, there may be more in the offing, as incumbents decide to retire, there are 34 total, after all. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I want to enjoy the November wins until the new Congress is sworn in.
by capeman 2006-11-23 07:41PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

The New Jersey Democratic party needs to sit down and have a talk with Andrews, and tell him in no uncertain terms that he is not to run for the Senate. As a lifelong south Jerseyan, I know that just living in the same county as George Norcross is enough to take him down. Pallone is alright, but pro-life...we don't need any more of them in our column. Unlike NE (or PA now) we don't need a pro-lifer to win. Rush Holt is far and away the best candidate. A brilliant man and a tried and true progressive. I wish the netroots would build a Draft Holt campaign. He would make a truly outstanding senator.

by pennquaker08 2006-11-23 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open

I'm sorry. I was mistaken in refering to Rep. Pallone as pro-life. I mistook his views with those of Rep. Pascrell, who often votes against measures relating to abortion rights. I apologize for my erroneous remarks.

by pennquaker08 2006-11-23 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Senate Field Surpisingly Open
 Sorting by aproval ratings gives a bad idea of relative weakness. Gordon Simth has recently in the time before the election had  a lot lower aproval ratings. The problem is partially not enough partisanship. Smith gets only ok aproval ratings from republicans but an even split from dems. This can change a lot. The reason for that and for the fact that he is the only statewide elected republican in a long time is that he has convinced people he is a moderate republican. Oregon has  history of suporting many moderate republicans such as Tom McCall, Mark Hatfield, and Bob Packwood(admitedly he was acussed of sexual asualt by a 29 women which lead him to resign under pressure and this leads to large damage against his legacy but he had a very moderate record.
As for McConell the big guy in kentucky politics is not falling in a presidential year remember that even senile bunning coudn't be taken down.
by rtaycher1987 2006-11-24 12:44AM | 0 recs
NJ in 2008

I'm very familiar with NJ, and I think Frank Lautenberg is too old to run again in 2008. He was an "emergency" last-minute choice of the Dems to replace disgraced Torricelli. Frank had retired from politics but was brought back to retain this seat for the Dems--and he did.

I believe he's much more popular than the polls suggests. It's probably the low ratings Jerseyans give to their politicians. Menendez--a non charismatic consrvative pol--had low ratings but he won 53% of the vote on Nov 7.

As for 2008, I think if the Dems are smart they can pick up more seats. Actually I don't see any of our incumbents losing.  I worked for Kerry in 2004 (in Ohio of all places) but I hope he doesn't run in 08. He's safe as a Sen. from MA.

by Andros 2006-11-24 05:56AM | 0 recs
Re: NJ in 2008

Bob Menendez certainly cannot be called conservative. In fact, if his voting record from the House and from his first months in the Senate translate into his full term now, we can expect him to be among the most liberal senators of all, up there along with Kerry, Kennedy, Harkin, and Lautenberg.

by pennquaker08 2006-11-25 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: NJ in 2008

Huh?  Menendez is a populist and not willing to show leadership. Perhaps now that the winds have changed he will too. But, he wanted to be seen as a "hawk" on defense and terrorism matters--and his voting record shows it! (the torture thingy, surveilance, bankruptcy bill, Constitutional flag Amend., etc, etc)...

And, yes, the Dems in NJ are a corrupt party and a Menendez comes from a very corrupt political machine. It doesn't mean he's corrupt, but he's not doing anything about it.

As for Kean running away from Bush, that's simply not true! What Menendez did was not to show himself how good he is, but to show Kean as a Bush lackey. The war in Iraq and corruption played big in NJ this year, and Kean had said that even with hindsight we'd support Bush! That did him in.

The question for most NJersians was about sticking it to Bush and the GOP and the best way was to elect a Dem Congress!

by Andros 2006-11-25 07:04AM | 0 recs
Re: NJ in 2008

It is important in New Jersey to be vigilant on so-called homeland security measures, not the least of reasons being that we were harder hit by 9/11 than anybody else outside of Manhattan. I for one am also for increased port security because, if you've been to northern NJ, you must realize how easy it would be for terrorists to infiltrate via Port Elizabeth/Newark, not to mention the countless tanks of biohazardous gases (e.g. chlorine, hydrocarbons, etc.) There is a difference between being "hawkish" (implying militarism on international matters like the Iraq War, which Sen. Menendez voted against) and wanting to protect one's constituency, on their very own soil, against very real threats. It is not a betrayal of progressive principles to vote for bills that will protect your electorate from very real threats. In fact, it would be negligent not to do so.

And, of course, every senator and representative casts votes that disappoint various people. Yes, Sen. Menendez may have voted the wrong way on the flag burning amendment, but in the long run, that certainly won't matter. What an incredibly unimportant bill it was anyway. We certainly can't stir up a grudge against him for that. We all love Russ Feingold, but he voted to confirm John Roberts and many, many other Bush judicial appointees who were completely unpalatable to the rest of us, just to name one example. What about Akaka and ANWR (and, yes, I realize the agreement in play there)? What about Rockefeller and cloture on Alito? The list goes on and on. (Also, Menendez wasn't even in the Senate for the passage of S. 256, the Bankruptcy Bill, though both Corzine and Lautenberg voted against it. Yes, though, Menendez did vote against it in the House along with fellow liberal Democrats Reps. Schwartz, Meek, and Meeks and fellow New Jersey Democrats Rothman and Andrews.)

Menendez is ranked by Progressive Punch as the ninth most liberal Senator, ahead even of Feingold, Akaka, and Harkin, with a Progressive Score of 92.12%. On the House side of things, this score would place him between ranks 35 and 36 in the house--the top 10% most liberal--ahead of outspoken liberals such as Rush Holt, Louise Slaughter, and Dennis Kucinich. Furthermore, I find it very confusing how you expect Menendez to show a tremendous amount of leadership in the Senate yet, when he was just a few weeks ago elected to his own term there. Back in the House, he was the third ranking Democrat. Does this not count as leadership? Just give him some time in the Senate, and I am sure he'll rise through the ranks there as well.

by pennquaker08 2006-11-25 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

It isn't a vote, it is a pattern. Every single major issue.

The history of the senate under Bush is the story of Max Baucus.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-24 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

I think most of the caucus is OK and some are great. While Feinstein wastes a lot of progressive time lobbying her, there is Feinstein who is a real life hero. Salazar is frustrating, but Sanders is going to outflake the GOP leadership by pushing populism with the far right. Lieberman is an idiot, but Tester is coming to town.

The key to this senate being better than the last one is for senators to adapt their seniority to the current situation. The voters want Testers and Webbs and Browns and Sanders, not Liebermans and Fords.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-24 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: NJ in 2008

An arguement can be made for the netroots focusing quite a bit of energy on ensuring the most progressive canidate is elected to replace Kerry or Kennedy in MA (if their seats become vacant for whatever reason) and the same for Lautenberg in NJ. As especially with MA the Senators elected are likely to be in there for life.

by Quinton 2006-11-24 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to Baucus's credit.

No, not even Lieberman has done what Baucus did.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-24 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think Baucus will get a Primary.

1992, Max isn't on the ballot and Democrats swept the Tier 2 races and almost won the governor's mansion while Pat Williams won the consolidated congressional district facing off against a long-time GOP congressman in one of the biggest battles ever.

1994, Baucus isn't on the ballot and Williams wins re-election despite GOP landslide.

1996, Baucus is on the ballot and we lose control of the lone congressional seat and lose the gubernatorial race in the worst possible way.

1998, Democratic Party begins rebuilding since Baucus lacked coat-tails in last cylce.

2000, Baucus isn't on the ballot, Schweitzer begins the rebuilding of the party and proves Burns is vulnerable.

2002, Baucus is on the ballot with a "Bush Rocks" message.

2004, Baucus isn't on the ballot, "Montana Miracle" Democratic Sweep!

2006, Baucus isn't on the ballot, Dems hold legislature and elect Tester!

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-24 01:13PM | 0 recs
NJ Politics, II

Gov. Corzine dropped the ball with Menendez (he picked him to replace himself after moving into the Gov's mansion).  Corzine is respected and he may be able to influnce the selection of the Dem to replace Frank--who I don't see as running again.

Rush Holt would be my choice, because he's a very progressive Dem, elected to Congress several times. He'd be a great senator (and more).

by Andros 2006-11-24 01:28PM | 0 recs

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