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The 10 best Senate races of the decade (cont.)

This morning we spent an hour debating with Fixistas over our list of the 10 best Senate races of the past decade. (Heck, we even spent a few minutes debating what "a decade" actually consists of!)

A few of our favorite questions and answers are below. The whole transcript is available here.

And, don't forget you can rank the races yourself at the bottom of this post!

Albany, NY: It looks as though every race named by chatters was on your honorable mention list. Why don't you give us your honorable mention list so that we can just relax? If you do this for governors -- and you should; I think there are too many House races to tell 'em apart at the remove of a decade -- you should tack on your honorable mention list.

Chris Cillizza: Honorable Mention:
South Dakota 2002: Tim Johnson (D) vs John Thune (R)
Michigan 2000: Debbie Stabenow (D) vs Spence Abraham (R)
Washington 2000: Maria Cantwell (D) vs Slate Gordon (R)
New Hampshire 2002: Jeanne Shaheen (D) vs John Sununu (R)
Tennessee 2006: Harold Ford Jr (D) vs Bob Corker (R)

Did I miss any?

Fairlington, Va.: I enjoyed the list, but noticed that there were relatively few races in which women were involved (the exception being Hillary Clinton). Did you consider the Marie Cantwell vs. Slade Gorton or Debbie Stabenow vs Spencer Abraham races? In both cases, an incumbent was knocked off in a close race and the Cantwell race got particularly heated.

Chris Cillizza: HMMM. I didn't notice that and can assure you it was not intentional.

Let's take the races you mention one by one -- and each was in the honorable mention category.

1. Michigan 2000: Stabenow's unbelievable comeback -- she was down double digits late in the campaign -- and the fact that she did it in what was then a swing state makes it all the more impactful. This remains the most expensive Senate race in the history of the Wolverine State and also has the distinction of being the first race since 1942 in which neither party candidate won a majority of the vote. (Thank you Almanac of American politics.

My problem with this one was that it didn't have some of the longer term impact of a race like Georgia 2002 or Virginia 2006. The former provided a blueprint for Republicans to run against Democrats on national security issues, the other knocked George Allen out of the presidential sweepstakes.

2. Washington 2000: The Cantwell Gorton race was better than most people remember simply because the state's massive absentee voting program. Cantwell trailed on election night but when all the absentee votes were counted she won by around 2,000 votes out of 2.4 million cast. Like Michigan 2000, however, I didn't see the national impact or the long term echo of this race as much as some of the other that made the list.

Minneapolis, MN: Norm Coleman is on the list twice. Once for losing to Franken; once for winning in an election that, contrary to your post yesterday would not have been close had Wellstone not been killed. (The StarTribune had a poll coming out the next day that had Wellstone with a 9.3 lead.) (And Coleman had already lost to Jesse Ventura.)

Does Coleman really deserve to be on the list of "best Senate races" twice in the decade? Will he try to use this honor is next race, losing the governorship of Minnesota once again?

Chris Cillizza: I think he does.

Both of those races are not on the list because of Coleman but because of the amazing circumstances that surrounded each of them.

I dealt with Minnesota 2002 above so let's look at 2008.

The Democratic nominee was Al Franken, a double-edged sword of a candidate thanks to his celebrity, which helped him raise vast sums of money and draw national attention but also made him answerable for any number of impolitic statements he had made over the years.

Franken looks down and out over the summer of 2008 but manages to scrap back into a dead heat. On election night it looks like Coleman has won but a statewide recount hands Franken a 200-vote lead. Coleman sues and the case doesn't resolve until June 2009 -- more than eight months after the initial election!

That reads like a novel. In fact, I still can't believe it happened.

As for Coleman and the 2010 governors race, my guess is he does decide to run. He is a political animal. He can't help himself.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 15, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Comments

I was 17 then, little brother.

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Well to a 13-year-old who wanted people to think he was taking drugs, "Incense and Peppermints" was just glorious rebellious.

"Who cares what games we choose
Little to win, and nothing to lose"

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 15, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Ah,, I remember why. Moby's 'Grape Jam' was before 'Pearl Jam,' and "Pearl' covered stuff from them.

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry to say I know... Strawberry Alarm Clock.
In the bginning of the time of really stupid band names, 1967, they had a couple of minor successes, that being probably the biggest.

They were considered minor then, in an age of great music.

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Pearl Jam, for some reason always makes me think of Moby Grape.

==

You go back, I see.

Remember who did "Incense and Peppermints?"

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 15, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Pearl Jam, for some reason always makes me think of Moby Grape. Anyone remember them?

Extra points if you remember who wrote the lyrics for "8:05".

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Well, more or less, GaT, but yeah, I agree that my opinion of Ashcroft improved greatly after Gonzales...gah.

==

For me it was the story of Blank Alberto going to Ashcroft's hospital bed and trying to intimidate him into signing off on torture, and getting turned down by an ill man. I never would have expected principle from Ashcroft unless it was biblical.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 15, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm not anti-Pearl Jam. I'm just anti-Pearl Jam covering that song. I'm sure they do the best version of it, but it's still...that song.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 15, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, more or less, GaT, but yeah, I agree that my opinion of Ashcroft improved greatly after Gonzales...gah.

'Last Kiss' I looked up. I remembered hearing it on the radio when it was popular, although I didn't know anything about bands yet. it seems that I was about 12.

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

the song is called "Last Kiss" by Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders, later covered by later covered by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, Wednesday and Pearl Jam as well as a few other no-names that didnt get anywhere with it. I do take exception to the anti-Pearl Jam remark. I think their version of this song is the best. It's really the only one that puts the emotion into it that matches the lyrics.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 15, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

'The night they took old Ashcroft down

==

And to think that before it was all over Ashcroft looked like a sane and principled man.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 15, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

what's the name of that song, elijah?

where or where can my baby be?
the lord took her away from me
she's gone to heaven so i gotta be good
so i can see my baby
when i leave this world.

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Im thinking of the Band...

'The night they took old Ashcroft down
and the all the people were singin'...

Call out to elijah for lieberman and 'you're so vain'...

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Sure beats the Pearl Jam cover of that song.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 15, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Coleman

Oh where oh where could my voters be?
The court took them away from me.
They've gone to Franken so I'm running again
I'll govern Minnesota in 2010

I was beating down this funny guy
He'd cracked some jokes and had to tell why
but Bush was a bit
slow in the head
no thanks to him,
My party's near dead.
I was ahead, he went on TV and said
count 'em again, for just a little while
we counted em all and he had more than me
I went home, and he went to DC
So now I've lost though I know i was right
I want the votes I lost that night

Oh where oh where could my voters be?
The court took them away from me.
They've gone to Franken so I'm running again
I'll govern Minnesota in 2010

Posted by: elijah24 | December 15, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

@BB: Saw Don McClean in concert when AP was on the radio. Edgar Winter concert with McClean as a warmup act. Most impressive, a guy and a guitar on a rock stage, all by himself.

People spent a year poring over the lyrics.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 15, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Technically you got the title wrong too, as it's actually called "An American Trilogy" but nobody calls it that. I have even heard McLean himself call it "American Pie" I can't see holding the rest of the world to a standard that the songs author and performer doesn't even live up to. Know what i mean?

Posted by: elijah24 | December 15, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Keyes

Well I heard some people talking
just the other day
and they said they were gonna put you
in the race
Let me tell you I got some news for you
And you'll soon find out its true
and you're gonna end up with egg on your face
Cuz its already gone
Illinois' feelin' strong
Barack will sing this victory song
woo hoo hoo my my woo hoo hoo
Well sayin Jesus would never vote for him
Made me stop to wonder why
but i guess you felt like you had to
think you're right
But just remember this my friend
when you look up to the sky
you can see a cross, and still not see the light...

Posted by: elijah24 | December 15, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Ack! Got the singer wrong, not the title. Mea culpa.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 15, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Nah (though I briefly panicked that I got the title wrong). I was thinking of American Pie due to the association with the plane crash. End of Innocence is a good suggestion, though. If I want to be morbid, one could have Dead Man's Party for the night that Ashcroft went down to defeat.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 15, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Elijah24:

Lieberman. Brilliant.

Posted by: jrc1234 | December 15, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Don Henly's classic American Pie
==
Not to be "that guy" (i used to be a DJ) but you're thinking of Don McLean. That said, "End of the Innocense" by Don Henly might be good for Saxby Chamblis and the Eagles probably have something for every race in question.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 15, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

A little more extended:

Talkin’ too long and sayin’
Macacacacacacac
You oughta know by now
Who needs George Allen in the Senate?
Is that what you get for your money?

And it seems such a waste of time
If that’s what it’s all about
Allen thought he’s movin up then Webb threw him out
Mm threw him out, mm oo oo uh huh mm hm

---

As for the ghoulish races, Don Henly's classic American Pie comes to mind. And I'm sure the Edmund Fitzgerald would work for any number of disastrous campaigns.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 15, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

you're so vain
you probably think this job is about you
you're so vain
you probably think that money is for you dont you, dont you?

==

PotD

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 15, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Hillary

I'll listen
Theres a dream here in my heart
A dream im gonna start, and complete
I'll listen to the people up state and down
and because of it, Lazio will taste defeat
Oh the time had come for my race to be run
I didnt need bill or his skank i stil won
now Im at state, now the president
listens

Posted by: elijah24 | December 15, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I also enjoyed the 2006 PA election. Not that there was anything special about it, but just that I really detest Santorum.

And I think it also had the George Allen type implication that the loss derailed the career of a politician on the Presidential track.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 15, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman:
You walked out, on your party, like you were walking onto a yacht,
your vote strategically cast for donor cash
on your mind the voters are not
you had one eye on the mirror as
you watched your self sell out
all of the dems dreamed that
you'd represent them
you'd represent them but
you're so vain
you probably think this job is about you
you're so vain
you probably think that money is for you dont you, dont you?

Posted by: elijah24 | December 15, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I actually happened to catch a Neko Case show a few weeks ago. Pretty good show, but the venue sucked.

Also, I ran into REM's lead singer while on the way there.

God, I love New Orleans.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 15, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Great, Blade. Now make up a song for all of 'em, except for the ghoulish ones. They were not very funny. [Maybe if it was just changed to 'most gripping' or 'interesting' instead of 'best' races?]

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

To the tune of Movin' Out:

Talkin’ too long and sayin’
Macacacacacacac
You oughta know by now
Who needs George Allen in the Senate?
Is that what you get for your money?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 15, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Ghoulish.

Of your 'top ten' races, in one, a cowardly draft-dodger Republican slimed a Democrat who not only served honorably in Vietnam, but lost three limbs.

In two others, the Democratic contenders were mysteriously and coincidentally killed in small plane crashes days before very tight elections.

Not my idea of best anything. Although I do see the humor in George Allen Maccacaing himself out of political existence.

Posted by: drindl | December 15, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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