John Ensign Revises GOP Senate Hopes Upward...To 45!

After essentially crossing his fingers for a retention of 41 seats in the US Senate this fall, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, the chump whose job it is to ensure the election of Republicans to the senate, seems to have revised his estimates somewhat upward (h/t Northwest Progressive Institute blog):

"I think it would be a great night, especially, [to lose only] three seats -- that would be a terrific night for us, absolutely," he said. "I don't want to slip below the four-seat loss -- that's kind of where we set our absolute worst goal, is to be down to 45 seats."

Forget all that stuff I said the other day about 41 seats!

But in another sign that Ensign is actually more reality-based in his analysis of the situation this fall than not, he ponders Obama's impact on downticket races:

He said that while Sen. Barack Obama's impact on down-ballot races is "unknowable at this point," he expects Obama to boost the prospects of Democratic candidates in some states -- naming Oregon as an example.

"Without Barack Obama, [Sen.] Gordon Smith probably wins [reelection] going away," Ensign said.

Senator Smith, meet bus.

There's more...

OR-Sen: Third Party Candidate Drops Bid

In another sign that the Democratic Oregon senate primary was a good thing for the Dem nominee Jeff Merkley, Survey USA has Senator Gordon Smith's approval rating in negative territory for the first time since they began polling him three years ago (h/t Senate Guru):

Approve 45 (50)
Disapprove 47 (40)

That's a huge swing of 12 points in the negative direction for Smith in just one month, not coincidentally, during the height of the primary campaign.

And if you want some more evidence that Oregon is united behind a Merkley victory in November to boot one of the biggest Bush rubberstamps in the senate, there's some very bad news out of Oregon for Senator Smith today:

John Frohnmayer says he is dropping his bid for the U.S. Senate.

Frohnmayer had planned to run as the Independent Party's candidate in a three-way race against Republican Senator Gordon Smith and Democrat Jeff Merkley.

But Frohnmayer said Tuesday he has had a tough time rounding up campaign money and grass-roots support.

The expectation was that Frohnmayer's candidacy would draw more from Merkley than from Smith, so this is big news.

The momentum in all polling in this race has consistently been in the Democrats' direction, so expect this race to rise to a top tier Dem pick-up over the next month.

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How Green is Gordon Smith Really?

Last week, Republican Gordon Smith voted in support of the Climate Security Act. The Merkley Campaign is calling his vote an election year flip flop. The Merkley Campaign isn't letting Gordon Smith get away with his flip flops on the issues of importance to Oregonians, the campaign recently created a feature on the homepage of their website called flip flop alerts to show Gordon Smith's true colors. The local press is calling Gordon's vote in support of the Climate Security Act, "The Greening of Gordon Smith." Who is right? Did Gordon Smith support the Climate Security Act because he is worried about his re-election chances or has he had a change of heart when it comes to protecting the environment?

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Which Side Are You On?

As many of you already know, the unemployment rate jumped to 5.5%. That's an increase of 861,000 Americans who are now unemployed. Before I took the job with the Merkley Campaign as their netroots director, I was working full time at a job with no benefits. I understand that for small business owners like my former employer, it's quite expensive to provide health care coverage. I lived below the poverty line and even though I could pay my bills, saving money was not an option. The plight of the working poor has always been near and dear to my heart and it's no wonder I have been advocating for Jeff Merkley long before I joined the campaign.

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OR-SEN: Wyden campaigns for Merkley

Over a year ago, there was quite a blog dust-up here at MyDD about the 2008 Senate race in Oregon.

At the time, Matt Stoller hammered Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) for his "insider-itis" and worried that Wyden wouldn't "try to get progressive Senators elected to replace conservative ones".

I retorted, Matt responded, Wyden chief-of-staff Josh Kardon weighed in.

The key question, back in April 2007: Would Senator Ron Wyden campaign for Oregon's 2008 Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate?

And now we have our answer, in just four short minutes of video:

[Full disclosure: My consulting firm manages the websites for both Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.  I speak only for myself.]

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