Can You Whine Yourself to a Senate Seat?

This exchange between the Republican candidate for the Senate in Colorado, former GOP Congressman Bob Schaffer, and his Democratic rival, Congressman Mark Udall, is very telling:

Apparently following in the footsteps of John McCain, Schaffer believes that he can whine his way into the United States Senate -- a tactic that sharply contrasts with the magnanimousness of Udall. Coming on the heels of rumors that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was giving up on holding the seat in Colorado being vacated by GOP Senator Wayne Allard, this embarrassing moment couldn't have come at a worse time for Schaffer.

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GA-Sen: Saxby's Empty Coffers

Georgia's freshman Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, beneficiary of the infamous ads targeting Max Cleland six years ago, woke up to some bad news this morning: He had been outraised in the past quarter by his Democratic challenger, Jim Martin.

Campaign finance reports show upstart Democratic Senate challenger Jim Martin has raised more money than Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss over the most recent three-month period.

In by far his best fundraising haul, Martin took in more than $1.3 million from July through the end of September.

The silver lining for Chambliss is that Martin spent almost all of the money and had just $92,340 in the bank heading into the final month of the campaign.
Chambliss had about $1.2 million in his treasury after raising about $1.1 million for the third quarter.

The advantage shows that Martin has had an easier time convincing people to donate as the race has grown competitive. Chambliss once had some $4 million in the bank compared with just a few hundred thousand dollars for Martin, a former state legislator.

As bad as it is for Chambliss that he was outraised by Martin, the worse news was that he emptied most of his coffers -- it looks like he spent close to $4 million during the third quarter, leaving him just over $1 million in the bank -- to little avail. Take a look at the trend in the race:

This race is fully on the map -- even the NRSC has been forced to concede as much. But Martin can still use our help. He is getting the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who, to their credit, have been bullish on Martin for a very long time and who had been willing to give him room to build up a strong campaign (here's one such DSCC ad). Yet, as you can see above, he needs some cash flow to keep his campaign going. So if you can, head over to Act Blue today and make a contribution to his campaign. Want to know more about Martin first? Head over to Matt Stoller's interview with Martin posted today over at Open Left before making a contribution.

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RNC Considers Siphoning Funds from McCain to Senate GOPers

It was only a matter of time. The McCain campaign has, in effect, been running in recent days on a platform of the impending doom facing Senate and House Republicans. In return, congressional Republicans in even the reddest parts of the country have been seen hugging Barack Obama and shunning John McCain. Now, Jonathan Martin reports, the Republican National Committee is laying down its chips, shunning the role party committees traditionally take during presidential elections by earmarking significant funds to help the GOP maintain at least a 41-seat minority in the Senate.

The Republican National Committee, growing nervous over the prospect of Democrats' winning a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, is considering tapping into a $5 million line of credit this week to aid an increasing number of vulnerable incumbents, top Republicans say.

With party strategists fearing a bloodbath at the polls, GOP officials are shifting to triage mode, determining who can be saved and where to best spend their money.

And with the House and Senate Republican campaign committees being drastically outspent by their Democratic counterparts, and outside groups such as Freedom's Watch offering far less help than was once anticipated, Republicans are turning to the national party committee as a lender of last resort.

A decision is imminent because television time must be reserved and paid for upfront, and available slots are dwindling.

Party insiders, according to Martin, tried to play this move off not as a diversion of money away from McCain, but it's difficult to it as anything else. There are limited resources in politics -- yes, even for the well-funded Obama campaign, and certainly this year for Republicans -- and believe you me if McCain were down by a point or two rather than eight the $5 million loan would be going to him rather than Senate Republicans. Indeed, this is what occurred within the Republican Party in 1996, when the RNC shifted funds away from lagging presidential nominee Bob Dole towards the party's efforts in Congress. But while the GOP was able to stem losses in Congress that year, losing eight seats in the House and actually picking up two seats in the Senate -- keeping both chambers under Republican control -- the party's chances to win majorities on Capitol Hill or even curtail losses this fall are decidedly worse. At the least, it appears that the apparent civil war within the party could continue yet another day.

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Elizabeth Dole: Missing Inaction

Elizabeth Dole's absence from North Carolina has long been fodder for discussion among Democrats.  We're prone to refer to her as a carpetbagger and talk about her 40+ year absence from the state, her voting history in Kansas, her run for president as a Kansan and her residence at the Watergate where she and husband Bob have lived since they were married in 1975.  What we don't talk about is her long history of service in North Carolina because there is no history to speak of.

You would think that after a rushed residency period and her election to the U.S. Senate as a "North Carolinian" in 2002 that Dole would start spending a little more time in this state.  Time she could use to get to know the people and our goals, dreams and hopes for the wonderful state we live in.  Time she could use to gain understanding of the challenges and obstacles we face in North Carolina.  If you honestly thought Dole was going to spend any substantive time here, you're wrong.  Dead wrong.

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Senate Republicans are Pulling Up the Stakes

The fact that John Ensign has been unable as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee to keep up with Chuck Schumer, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, in terms of fundraising, recruiting and just about everything else is having real ramifications at this point in the election cycle. Take a look, for instance, at what the cash-strapped NRSC is doing these days.

Republicans' Senate campaign arm called off television ads Tuesday that were to air in New Mexico in the run-up to Election Day, an indication that it's leaving the GOP candidate there to fend for himself as the party braces for losses.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee's decision to cancel the New Mexico spots reflects its priorities during a tough year for the GOP, with the party lagging badly in fundraising and resigned to losing seats in the Senate.

Remember, despite the fact that Democratic Congressman Tom Udall is leading in the fundraising race and in the polls, the seat in New Mexico is a Republican seat and has been for the last 36 years, so the GOP is writing off the race two months out from election day is rather remarkable. It looks like we should be seeing not only more and better Democrats in Congress, but also more and better Udalls in the Senate as well.

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