NRSC Recruitment Update

[Cross-posted at my blog Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.]

A little over two months ago, I took a look at the state of NRSC recruiting in the one open seat (Colorado) and the twelve states with Democratic incumbents, concluding, up to that point in time, that the NRSC was 0-for-13 in recruiting so far.  Keep in mind that we're approaching the dog days of summer, not a heavy recruitment period.  (Note that during June-August of 2005, only five Senate candidates announced, all five of whom were Republican losers.)  So where does the state of NRSC recruitment stand, and what has changed in the last two months?

(Much more below the fold.)

There's more...

MA-Sen: Kerry to run for re-election, not President

CNN is reporting that John Kerry will not run for President in 2008. Assuming for a moment this is correct--which it may not be, as I have been previously burned by my desire to see the 2008 set ASAP--it is not a huge surprise. He had made some moves of late that would suggest another run. However, in the end, he probably saw far too difficult a path, and he was dawdling too long making his decision to indicate strong interest.

Anyway, I am looking for a confirmation story on this. If true, it would leave Clark and, to a lesser extent, Gore, as the only potential candidates who have not made their intentions clear one way or another.

Update: From the comments, the Boston Globe confirms: Senator John F. Kerry plans to announce today that he will not run in the 2008 presidential race, and will instead remain in Congress and seek reelection to his Senate seat next year, according to senior Democratic officials. Cool--he is running for Senate again in 2008. Now, let's see all of those ultra-safe House Democrats in Massachusetts justify their huge warchests in 2008. With Lautenberg also probably running again in 2008, I can feel a new round of Use It Or Lose It coming on.

Polls!

1. MT-Sen (Rasmussen, 7/6, 500 LV, 5/11 results in parenthesis):
Tester: 50 (44)
Burns: 43 (48)

Tester is facing a huge monetary deficit, so even with numbers this good and one of the nation's best local people-powered movements behind him, the race cannot be considered a likely pickup yet. This is still a toss-up.

2. MO-Sen: (Rasmussen, 6/27, 500 LV, 5/8 results in parenthesis)
McCaskill: 42 (40)
Talent: 42 (43)

As good as these numbers look, again I have to caution against considering this race anything but a toss-up. While undecideds usually break to the challenger, McCaskill has a high name ID since she has held statewide office and since she was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2004. Thus, in this case, the incumbent rule does not apply.

3. MA-Gov (State House News 6/28-30. Registered voters. MoE 5% overall, 7% for Democratic primary subsample. 3/16-28 results in parenthesis).
Democratic Primary
Patrick 35 (15)
Gabrielli 22 (25)
Reilly 19 (37)

General election matchups
Healey (R) 31 (31)
Patrick (D) 40 (29)
Mihos (I) 9 (15)

Deval Patrick is clearly a movement candidate, and these numbers are very good for him. A victory for Patrick would allow the progressive movement to (gasp!) actually govern with a trifecta. The only other state where that is a possibility is New York, since Spitzer is a movement candidate too (you can be supported by the movement even if you are not necessarily a product of the movement). In New York, however, that would require taking back the State Senate. Difficult, but not impossible.

4. CT-Sen: No poll, but Mystery Pollster has a great piece up on the difficulty of polling the race.

And check out this encouraging analysis: Rick Santorum remains far behind in Pennsylvania. Conrad Burns is in trouble in Montana. Jim Talent trails in Missouri. Mike DeWine is threatened by a noxious Republican atmosphere in Ohio. Lincoln Chafee is endangered in Democratic Rhode Island. Jon Kyl faces a surprisingly tough race in Arizona. Despite excellent candidates in Minnesota and Washington state, no Republican challenging for a Democratic-held Senate seat is in the lead. Thus, a six-seat takeover capturing the Senate is possible.

This is of special concern for Republicans because the third of Senate seats contested in 2006 is more favorable to their party than what will follow. The long-term outlook troubles Graham, who sees a bleak GOP outlook north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in Maine and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania may be the last Republican senators from their states. The rising Hispanic-American population not only has transformed California into a Democratic state; freshman Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar looks like the new political face of Colorado, and Arizona is no longer safe for Kyl conservatives.

These demographic changes suggest an end to the gradual political realignment that began in the late '60s and produced consistent electoral success for Republicans. As a South Carolinian, Graham must worry about his party suffering the fate of Democrats in the 1920s. Democrats elected only 20 House members and won no presidential electoral votes outside southern and border states in 1920. The author? None other than Robert Novak. Maybe that is one of the reasons I remain very cautious.

Coakley Raises $351,000 Online So Far Today

So much for the notion that progressives and Democratic voters around the country aren't engaging with the Massachusetts special Senate election.

On a day when Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy (whose death prompted this special election), penned a fundraising appeal on behalf of Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee in the race, more than $351,000 in online contributions have streamed into Coakley's campaign. While this figure is less than the $1.3 million raised in a single day earlier this week by Scott Brown, the GOP nominee in the race, the day is still young and money appears to be continuing to pour in.

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