Thursday, May 03, 2007

Senate Class of 2008

The Fix douses The Hills thought that the RNC Senatorial committee is in trouble:
the history of the past two election cycles shows that the field of Senate candidates is usually not settled until late in the off-year, if not well into the actual election year.

At this time in the 2006 cycle, just three of Democrats' top-tier candidates -- Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) -- were declared candidates. Two others -- Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) -- had declared by the end of May 2005. But other candidates who went on to win in '06, including Jim Webb (Va.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), waited until late 2005 or even early 2006 before making clear that they would run.

Jump back an additional cycle to 2004, when Republicans had arguably their best recruiting class in decades. Three top-teir candidates had declared by May 2003 -- Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.). But Mel Martinez (Fla.) and John Thune (S.D.) didn't declare until January 2004, and Tom Coburn wasn't in the race until March 2004.
The point here is simply that it is WAY too early to even attempt to make any predictions. I believe both sides recognize that the Dems are in better shape. The GOP needs to take close inventory of their probable tactics going into the '08 election season, especially as it relates to their thin stable of Presidential hopefuls.
While the Left has two competent and qualified candidates at the top, two more knocking on their door, and a variety of third tier options, they are hedged pretty well. The Right can't say the same.

The fix does, however, go into some analysis of a few of the key races, state by state. Here is their take on Minnesota:
MINNESOTA: Comedian Al Franken and wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi are in the race to challenge incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R). Franken has the name identification and fund raising prowess to make a serious run against Coleman, but there are concerns about how some of his past statements will play in Minnesota. Ciresi funded his own race in 2000 but lost the primary to another self-funder -- former Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.). Not a perfect situation but a good one for Democrats.
Unlike Kennedy, who really never had a chance, Coleman has been playing the moderate dance well enough to remain competitive. As much as those on the Left despise him, the Senator has done just enough to remain in relatively good favor with the MN Moderate electorate. This race is Coleman's to loose. However, that might be one of the very few brights spots for the National Republicans. As you look at the seats that are up, it still looks like the Dems are set for some more gains.


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