Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

On November 7, New England delivered big for the Democrats, handing them a new Senate seat, five new seats in the House and a Governorship. Democrats also picked up a significant number of state legislative seats in the region, gaining control over both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature and the governorship for the first time in more than 130 years. So will New England perform as well for the Democrats in 2008 as it did in 2006? There's no way to know for sure this far out. But if the Democrats want it to be, they're going to have to recruit the types of candidates who can tap into the shifting sentiments in the region. And according to Nicole Duran of Roll Call (subscription required), they may have just found a Senatorial candidate in the state of Maine, where they have been shut out of elections for the upper chamber of Congress over the past decade.

Rep. Tom Allen (D-Maine) said Wednesday that he is "seriously considering" running for Senate in 2008, and political watchers in the Pine Tree State say he looks and acts like someone preparing for a Senate bid.

[...]

He also has been spending more time outside of his Portland-based 1st district and is "mending fences" with sportsmen's groups, according to Christian Potholm, a political consultant and government professor at Maine's Bowdoin College.

"Tom Allen is already raising money for a Senate run," Potholm said. "He certainly is off and running from all the things people tell me."

Allen presumably would square off with the state's junior Senator, Susan Collins (R), who has said she intends to seek a third term.

Allen is a fairly strong fundraiser, bringing in close to $1 million over the course of the last cycle. But $1 million will not be nearly enough to squash Collins, who in 2002 defeated Chellie Pingree, a state senator who spent close to $4 million during, by 16 points (Collins' campaign also cost around the same amount). That said, Allen comes into the race with $440,000 in the bank (as of September 30) -- about $50,000 more than Collins -- a good sign, for sure.

Of course Allen would still have an uphill climb against Collins, who has a rather sizable approval rating in Maine. What's more, Allen is not a certainty to run (Roll Call's Doran cites state Senate Majority Leader Michael Brennan and state Attorney General Steven Rowe as other possibilities if Allen says no in the end). Nonetheless, the fact that George W. Bush's disapproval rating in Maine stands at 65 percent -- as high or higher than all but 11 other states -- indicates that the state may be susceptible to the type of anti-Republican wave that hit New England last month. And Allen, who received an "A" on the Drum Major Institute's Middle Class Report Card to Susan Collin's "C", appears to be, at least on the surface, the type of candidate that the grassroots in Maine and the Netroots around the country can get excited about.

Update (Chirs): Allen should run. I can't imagine it will help Collins that she and John Warner are the reasons Trent Lott is back in the Republican leadership. Let's see her sell that one in Maine, right along next to her "moderate" label.

Tags: Maine, ME-Sen, New England, Northeast, Senate 2008 (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

well, the kids at

turn maine blue look to be gearing up to do all they can to put maine on the map in 2008.

by lipris 2006-12-07 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

If there's any chance to flip Collins to the D column, the looming presence of a strong 2008 threat will surely help.

by Steve M 2006-12-07 02:50PM | 0 recs
Will Collins flip?

No.

by MBW 2006-12-07 05:27PM | 0 recs
It's Allen'ts time.

   He passed on running against Snowe this past cycle.  He can't keep waiting for an open seat.  If he doesn't run against Collins in 2008, he can't run until Snowe's term expires in 2012.  I think that Allen will run this cycle.  I sure hope he does.

by cilerder86 2006-12-07 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

Collins has a uterus. Allen doesn't. Collins wins.

That's how she got into the Senate in the first place. The electorate that turns up at the polls is 60-40 women.

In '96, Collins -- whose day job was as a political consultant -- beat Mr. Maine Democrat, Joe Brennan, ex-Rep, ex-Gov., ex-Attorney General, with the help of a Green spoiler candidate and the votes of Democratic women. Every woman at school I talked to in '96 -- nearly all members of the teachers' union -- voted for Collins.

The fact that she's dumber than a box of hammers didn't matter, nor that Clinton won in a walk in the same cycle didn't matter.

And it won't in 2008.

by Davis X Machina 2006-12-07 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

Allen has a secret weapon:  Since 2003, he's been developing an amazing voter file, including acquiring the email addresses of most 1st CD Ds and Us.  And while Chellie went negative and it hurt her (disclosure: I worked for Chellie on the race, and her loss catapulted me into blogging), Tom is viewed as "Mr. Positive".

Collins has two Achilles heels.  One, she was elected promising to abide by self-imposed term limits (two terms) and has now broken that promise.  Maine voters don't take kindly to such behavior.  And second, Collins has to worry about a challenge from the right.  Maine is a funny state:  Its Progressive wing is pretty damn radical, but so is its COnservative wing.  Just drop by AsMaineGoes.com and see how they feel about Susan.  It's not pretty.

by MBW 2006-12-07 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

Fascinating.  I knew Maine had some of those right-wing pockets that we've also got over in VT, for all that we're both always considered presumptive "blue" states.  But I didn't know that there was such a vociferous third-party contingent, something we certainly don't have.  I guess even they have bought into the "moderate" act of their Senators.

by bruorton 2006-12-08 03:31AM | 0 recs
Lott is More Anti-Bush Than Alexander

Why is everyone so down on him being the Repub whip instead of Lamar?

by Davidsfr 2006-12-07 05:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

It doesn't take a genius to attack Collins in 2008.  Highlight votes for Iraq, Lott, Alito, and being repsonsible for a potential Republican Senate Majority.

Then beat her over the head with it ad infinitum.

That's how you beat supposedly "popular" red senators in blue states.

by jgarcia 2006-12-07 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

Dems have a better shot at Collins than they do at Liddy Dole, NC's brainless wonder.  New England is trending our way - Collins and Sununu should be near the top of the '08 target list.

by Bear83 2006-12-07 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

ITA about Sununu.  However (and this is a big however), I think Jeanne Shaheen's a TERRIBLE candidate and campaigner.  We need someone else, IMO.

by jgarcia 2006-12-07 07:24PM | 0 recs
Will Collins even run?
I've heard lots of rumors that Collins is leaning towards retirement. I would say given New England's hard-Dem trends, if Collins does run and faces Allen, we can call it "lean Republican."
If Collins doesnt run and Allen does, it would probably be "lean Democrat."
I still think the two most vulnerable GOP senators are Allard and Sununu in that order. Then its a toss-up between Coleman (who I have a genuine dislike for) and Collins.
by AC4508 2006-12-07 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

Collins failure to hold any oversight hearings while she was chair of that committee with Lieberman should be held against her.

by Bob H 2006-12-08 02:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

A friend of mine who works for Tom Allen says that he's definitely running, but the media loves to play up the is he/isn't he drama.

by chocolatemoose 2006-12-08 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Will Maine Be on the Map?

Collins can be beaten in 2008, she is not as popular as Snowe and she is an enabler to the radical right wing GOP leadership.

by TheBlueWarriors 2006-12-08 02:28PM | 0 recs

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