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Friday Senate Line: Republican Recruiting and the National Environment



Delware Rep. Mike Castle is part of a solid recruiting class for Senate Republicans. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. AP Photo by Matt Slocum

Senate Republicans scored a major recruiting victory this week when Delaware Rep. Mike Castle (R) announced he would run in 2010 for the seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden.

Castle was rightly regarded by strategists of both parties as the only Republican candidate who could make Democratic-leaning Delaware competitive. With Castle in the race, it will surely give state Attorney General Beau Biden (D) at least some pause about what had been seen as a sure-thing candidacy.

Castle is the latest in a series of recruitment successes for Senate Republicans -- joining Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk, former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton and former Ohio Rep. Rob Portman in the best recruiting class for Republicans since -- at least -- 2002.

Democrats have had their share of recruiting success too with Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon and New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes all running.

But, the depth of the Republican recruiting class this cycle is a reminder of how dependent recruiting is on the overall national environment. With George W. Bush in the polling doldrums in 2006 and 2008, Democrats successfully recruited deep and talented slates of candidates -- recruiting wins that helped deliver them the majority in 2006 and 60 seats in 2008.

With the national political environment having turned at least marginally in Republicans' favor, it should be no surprise that GOP candidates who took passes on bids over the last few elections are running this time around.

The net effect? Republicans have to feel far better today about their 2010 prospects than they did nine months ago. Of course, much can change in the year (or so) between today and the midterm elections.

As always, the number one ranked race is the most likely to switch parties. Kudos and critiques of the Line are welcome in the comments section below.

To the Line!

Coming off the Line: Arkansas
Coming onto the Line: Delaware, Pennsylvania

10 (tie). Louisiana (Republican-controlled): Louisiana has become an increasingly difficult state for Democrats to win in and the national environment isn't doing Melancon any favors at the moment. His campaign released a poll conducted way back in May that showed Sen. David Vitter (R) leading Melancon 47 percent to 37 percent and there's no reason to think that margin has changed over the past few months. Vitter's fundraising machine continues to churn; he raised $1.2 million over the last three months and now has nearly $4 million to spend. The central question of this race is just how badly damaged Vitter is after his acknowledgment of his involvement in a D.C. prostitution ring back in 2007. Expect Democrats to go hard after him on the affair. (Previous ranking: 9)

10 (tie). Pennsylvania (Democratic-controlled): The most recent Quinnipiac University poll painted a troubling picture for Sen. Arlen Specter (D). While he continued to lead Rep. Joe Sestak (D) by double digits, Specter had dropped well below the 50 percent mark he enjoyed in past polls. And, in a general election matchup Specter was running even with former Rep. Pat Toomey (R). Toomey continues to impress with his fundraising -- collecting more than $1.5 million from July 1 to Sept. 30. Democrats scoff at Toomey's potential competitiveness but they are headed toward a primary that could well leave their eventual nominee badly battered and financially bereft. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. Illinois (D): The primaries on both sides of this open seat race are filled with unknown candidates who, at least in the third quarter of fundraising, demonstrated a willingness to write themselves big checks. Cut through all that cash, however, and you are left with state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R) as the likely nominees for their respective parties. Republicans feel very good about that matchup despite the clear Democratic lean of the state. (Previous ranking: 10)

8. Kentucky (R): It's now clear that businessman Rand Paul's Republican primary challenge to Secretary of State Trey Grayson is of the serious variety. Paul has already raised more than a million dollars for his candidacy -- thanks in large part to the fundraising network his father, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, built during the 2008 presidential race -- and even Grayson allies acknowledge that Rand Paul is a credible candidate. Grayson is still the favorite but will be tested. Meanwhile, the Democratic primary between state Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo continues to make headlines for its salaciousness; the latest is an audio recording of Mongiardo bashing Gov. Steve Beshear (D) who is supporting his campaign. (Previous ranking: 7)

7. New Hampshire (R): National Democrats have spent loads of time seeking to discredit the idea that Ayotte is a strong candidate -- gleefully touting the machinations of other potential GOP candidates like Ovide Lamontagne, the GOP nominee for governor in 1996, and Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney. And yet, in a new University of New Hampshire survey Ayotte led Rep. Paul Hodes (D) 40 percent to 33 percent. If there is any state in the country where a backlash against the growth of government under President Obama will be felt, it will be in New Hampshire -- with its long tradition of aversion to taxes and government involvement. That dynamic should help Ayotte. (Previous ranking: 1)

6. Colorado (D): Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet's (D) hiring of well-regarded political operative Guy Cecil to serve as his chief of staff is a sign that he understands where he is and where he needs to go between now and next November. Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff's $200,000 take in the first 21 days of his primary challenge to Bennet is encouraging but with the White House and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee behind Bennet it's hard to see where the rest of Romanoff's money comes from. Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) lived up to her early billing as a solid candidate by raising better than $500,000 in an abbreviated quarter. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Missouri (R): We debated and debated whether Missouri or Ohio is the better pickup opportunity for Democrats. The Democratic field in Missouri -- Carnahan -- is clearly stronger than the Democratic field in Ohio but the Show Me State has a slightly stronger Republican tilt to it if the 2008 presidential election results can be believed. Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt (R) has bounced back nicely from a shaky first few months as a candidate but Carnahan is the best candidate Democrats could hope for and has "star" written all over her. (Previous ranking: 3)

4. Ohio (R): The third fundraising quarter, which ended on Sept. 30, is Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's last chance to prove she is a credible alternative to Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in the race for the Democratic nod. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that neither candidate is well known and that if Brunner could put together real money she could be competitive with Fisher. On the Republican side, former Rep. Rob Portman faces a challenge from free-spending auto dealer Tom Ganley but is a heavy favorite for the nod. Republicans nationally worry about the political environment in Ohio. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Nevada (D): Former state Republican party chair Sue Lowden is not the strongest candidate the party could have fielded against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) -- that would have been Rep. Dean Heller (R) -- but she may be just strong enough. Lowden has personal money -- she and her husband once owned the Sahara casino -- and is putting together a solid team of advisers. Her willingness to stand beside embattled Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) is somewhat baffling as a campaign strategy and should be worrisome to her allies. But, Reid is badly damaged goods in the eyes of Nevada voters who are clearly looking for any alternative to the Democrat. Can Lowden survive the GOP primary and clear that (relatively low) bar? (Previous ranking: 5)

2. Connecticut (D): The Republican primary for the right to challenge Sen. Chris Dodd (D) next November got far more interesting when World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon decided to run. McMahon immediately began a television blitz across the state -- including in the extremely expensive New York City media market -- that made clear that she would spend heavily from her own pocket to be competitive. And, we took note of the fact that former Rep. Rob Simmons, the presumed GOP frontrunner, took a shot this morning at the fact that McMahon had donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates in the past. (Worry much?) The Republican primary looks like a two-way fight between Simmons and former Ambassador Tom Foley at the moment but it's impossible to discount the effect McMahon's millions -- if spent strategically -- can have. No matter who wins will have a very strong chance to defeat Dodd who has been badly wounded by his association with Countrywide among other things. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Delaware (D): There hasn't been any reliable polling on this race but everyone -- Republican and Democrat -- we talk to says Castle starts as the frontrunner due to his long service to the First State and reputation as a reasonable moderate. While it's likely Beau Biden (D) still runs, until he makes that announcement we will have a grain of skepticism. If Biden is in, this race will likely drop a slot or two because of the state's strong Democratic tendencies and the powerful name recognition that the Vice President's son would bring to the race. If Biden takes a pass, however, this race may have a permanent grip on the top slot on the Line. (Previous ranking: N/A)

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 9, 2009; 1:42 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Live Fix: Obama and the Nobel, Wii vs Xbox, and Bob Schneider
Next: Morning Fix: An Abbreviated Fix

Comments

I'm not quite sure how anyone can claim that I "moderate[d]" a thread when I didn't even post on it.

Posted by: JakeD | October 13, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

By the way, 2 other seats that could become top 10 quality are New York & North Dakota. If ND Gov. John Hoeven runs, that one jumps into the top 5 immediately. If Hoeven takes a pass on the race, as many suspect, that one never graces the line. In New York, if former 3 term Gov. George Pataki runs against Sen. Kristen Gillbrand that one immediately becomes a toss-up. Gov. Patterson insists he will run for re-election, and if he runs & Guiliani runs on the R ticket Patterson will hurt the D ticket in 2010, including Gillbrand. Now, Popular US Senator Chuck Shumer will also be on the ticket. It's been a long time since any state has gone to the polls and elected US Senators from different parties on the same day. If anything, Republicans may want to try to detract anyone from running against Shumer if Pataki challenges Gillbrand. That would be smart. But pending Pataki & Hoeven decision, New York & North Dakota could get very competitive quickly.

Posted by: reason5 | October 12, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I think this is a pretty good list. I do think, however, that Arkansas is much more likely to turn Republican than Kentucky is to turn Democrat. I think the R primary winner, Grayson vs. Paul, will be the new US Senator of Ky. I think it will be Grayson, as I think Bunning will eventually endorse him in the R primary. That will pull him through. My top 10 vulnerable senate seats would be:
1. Connecticut
2. Delaware
3. Arkansas
4. Missouri
5. Colorodo
6. Ohio
7. Nevada
8. Illinois
9. New Hampshire
10. Pennsylvania

I disagree that Louisiana or Kentucky should be on the top 10 line. I don't think they should be. I replace those 2 with Arkansas. By the way, a top 10 list is a top 10 list. On # 10 if you can't decide, choose one and give the other an honorable mention. Don't pick 11 and have a "tied" number.

Posted by: reason5 | October 12, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

No one asked for my opinion, but here it is anyway:

Regarding Ohio: I sincerely wish Jennifer Brunner would give up on the Senate race and run for re-election as Secretary of State. That's an extremely important office in Ohio, and she has been very effective. I think she would make a great senator, but she is not a polished campaigner whereas Lee Fisher is. Strickland has really been a terrible governor, but I believe he will be re-elected, and his presence on the ticket will help Fisher in the Senate race. Whether that's enough to pull Fisher into the Senate, who really knows.

I personally view Obama's Nobel Peace Prize as being premature, but I also think it's a great honor for him and for the nation. I think the Republicans know it is, and they are shamefully doing everything they can to belittle Obama and the award. I think Obama won the award because of the rush of hope he brought to the world with his election, and it is justified because he has greatly restored America's standing with other nations and because he is working on many fronts towards peace.

I feel more optimistic than I have in quite a while about Democratic prospects in 2010. If things break Obama's way on a number of issues - health care, Afghanistan, the economy - the Democrats could actually pick up seats in both houses. Even if they don't go his way, the losses will be minimal. The Senate could be a stand-off - Republicans get Delaware and Connecticut, for example, and the Democrats get Missouri and Ohio. The Republicans, by being the party, endlessly, of "no", have dug themselves into a hole. Their intransigence and absolute refusal to support anything while having no ideas of their own is not going to play well in 2010.

Posted by: jothomp | October 12, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"...wonder if CC will pick up on this--

'Among Florida voters who know both men, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) leads Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) in a head-to-head matchup for the state's open Senate seat, according to a new poll commissioned my Meek's campaign and set for public release this weekend. Crist's once-vaunted levels of public support have softened considerably, making him appear more vulnerable than most observers had predicted heading into the 2010 race. Crist's personal and job approval ratings are now below those of President Obama's in Florida, and a majority of voters claim Crist is putting his "personal ambitions ahead of the people" by running for Senate during his first term as governor.

The poll, conducted Sept. 23-28, will be the centerpiece of a national press blitz by Meek in the coming week. TPMDC got an exclusive first look at the surprising results.

"These numbers are eye-opening," Meek said in an interview yesterday. "People will start looking at this race in a different way."

Posted by: drindl | October 11, 2009 12:45 PM
____________
Quit wondering, d.

Long answer: no. Short answer: no.

Thanks for the knowledge, though, d. Any chance Meek will qualify for the "Rising" series? Naaaaaah.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 12, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Fellow posters we need to petition WaPo to find a counter to Cilizza or send him back to Texas and his Bush peeps. All he reports is the slightest bit of faint movement to the 18% that got pitched in the last election. All of us knew the Honeymoon would end and the repuglicans never provided. But this partisan twit pumps up the slightest bit of movement as the end of Obama. There needs to be a Fix for Democrats and then Chris and repuglicans can lick each other to their hearts content. Anyway, you are losing us with your overthetop partisanship, and yes I understand I will be pitched from this thread for speaking out but it has to be said And to allow JakeD to moderate is beyond partisan... it's offensive.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 11, 2009 8:56 PM
__________________

Correction: this space is now known as "Jake's Place."

I don't think any blog to the left of "stormfront" has had more "GOP comeback" posts, cherry picked anti-BHO polls, and free ads for GOP candidate wannabes than this one ove the past year. We are still waiting for any positive mention of our President in this space (how do you not mention the latest poll showing BHO at 56%, a 6 point jump in a matter of weeks--a development widely reported by most media outlets; how do you not congratulate our President on winning the Nobel Prize?).

From reading this blog, you'd never know the multicultural ccommunity that the Post serves (Washington, D.C.) voted FOR BHO by about 10 to 1. I guess it thinks it's serving Shreveport or Birmingham. :) Oh well.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 12, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Missouri waits for our next Senator Robin Carbahan to be elected.

Posted by: RettaStLouis | October 12, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Hiatt thinks that by manipulating perceptions he can "make it so." Funny, all the goopers seem to think that way.

Sorta like believing you can change the shape of a coastline by redrawing a map.

You must mean something like announcing everyone is on board with government takeover now except petty political operatives.

Keep chanting. Fools believe.

Posted by: snowbama | October 11, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama is now so desperate he used bob dole as his spox. Except dole objected. This is how the libs work now. They try to find a single repub to loosely agree in theory, then proclaim " everyone" agrees except the extreme element. So far perhaps one repub is considering health care. Some bi partisan

sound like global warming? Everyone agrees you know.

Posted by: snowbama | October 11, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Kirk will have a tough time making it through the primary and if he does, it will be Baar Topinka time in the general election. He's already been labeled "not conservative enough". If he does a McCain, he'll lose the moderates and if doesn't, he loses the "base".

Posted by: ILDem | October 11, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

This guy might be the only person in the world to argue that Obama has actually done stuff to deserve the prize. I kind of had the same mindset. Is he the MOST deserving? I can't say. But I don't understand the people who says he is completely undeserving of it.

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/10/obamas-prize-for-peace.html

Speaking of Nobels, I'm glad the telomere people got recognized. Although I guess we can argue that they don't deserve it since they haven't cured cancer.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 10, 2009 9:34 PM
==================================

Dang DAWD... the man shut down multiple Log Cabin Torture Centers located around the world... that in itself represents more than the last 5 winners combined. Name one person who came close to that and I will show you a distant 2nd.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 11, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Fellow posters we need to petition WaPo to find a counter to Cilizza or send him back to Texas and his Bush peeps. All he reports is the slightest bit of faint movement to the 18% that got pitched in the last election. All of us knew the Honeymoon would end and the repuglicans never provided. But this partisan twit pumps up the slightest bit of movement as the end of Obama. There needs to be a Fix for Democrats and then Chris and repuglicans can lick each other to their hearts content. Anyway, you are losing us with your overthetop partisanship, and yes I understand I will be pitched from this thread for speaking out but it has to be said And to allow JakeD to moderate is beyond partisan... it's offensive.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 11, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

EPearson1 doesn't sound like any Democrat I've ever met. He sounds like... he sounds like... a Republican *saying* he's a Democrat and then letting fly with a typical Republican line. Nice try though.

Here's my attempt: I'm a lifelong Repblican and like a lot of other Republicans I know I am really upset about the way my party clings to the past. In the words of Chief Justice White, we must see the Constitution as a "broad highway through which alone true progress may be enjoyed" instead of using it as a barrier to being what this great nation can be.

I really sounded like an authentic Republican there, didn't I?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 11, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't he, Blade? "Concern trolls" --they are usually called. Although I certainly agree that both parties are too much at the teat of corporate constributions.

Gawd I am tired of all the whining about the Prize.. It's like the we get assigned two subjects to talk about a week, as the nation, by the entire media structure, who then refuses to talk about anything else. This week it was Polanski and Obama Doesn't Deserve the Nobel. If you did not want to hear about this, you would have to live in a cave.

I wonder if CC will pick up on this--

'Among Florida voters who know both men, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) leads Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) in a head-to-head matchup for the state's open Senate seat, according to a new poll commissioned my Meek's campaign and set for public release this weekend. Crist's once-vaunted levels of public support have softened considerably, making him appear more vulnerable than most observers had predicted heading into the 2010 race. Crist's personal and job approval ratings are now below those of President Obama's in Florida, and a majority of voters claim Crist is putting his "personal ambitions ahead of the people" by running for Senate during his first term as governor.

The poll, conducted Sept. 23-28, will be the centerpiece of a national press blitz by Meek in the coming week. TPMDC got an exclusive first look at the surprising results.

"These numbers are eye-opening," Meek said in an interview yesterday. "People will start looking at this race in a different way."

Posted by: drindl | October 11, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

This guy might be the only person in the world to argue that Obama has actually done stuff to deserve the prize. I kind of had the same mindset. Is he the MOST deserving? I can't say. But I don't understand the people who says he is completely undeserving of it.

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/10/obamas-prize-for-peace.html

Speaking of Nobels, I'm glad the telomere people got recognized. Although I guess we can argue that they don't deserve it since they haven't cured cancer.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 10, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

EPearson1 sounds like a Republican.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 10, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

As Democrats of the Democratic Party, we need to join together in seeking reform within the Democratic Party.

Many Democrats already know their elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer following in the time-honored footsteps laid down by the founding fathers of our great Nation. More importantly, we as democrats see our elected representatives within the Democratic Party abandoning the values and principles as set forth within the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

At the very least, many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer abiding to the sole reason the Democratic-Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson - "Strong state governments with a weaker federal government."

This is only the beginning of our problems as Democrats, for many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party have clearly set their own agendas over the members of the Democratic Party, our Nation, and the American people. Overall, many of them no longer think of themselves as being our elected representatives, and now refer to themselves as leaders in the true form of tyrants.

Most Democrats already know their pleas are only being answered by repeated insult and injury by their elected representatives within the Democratic Party. Despite this, we as Democrats can restore control of the Democratic Party back to the party members. All we need to do is cut off donations to the local, state, and national headquarters of the Democratic Party, and to make sure the donations are made directly to worthy and honorable Democratic Party candidates.

So spread the message to everyone of our fellow Democrats, for the Democrat members are taking back control of the Democratic Party. Also, please don't forget to contact and request the Unions and other outside contributors to follow our lead as patriotic Americans. Thank you!

Web site: http://www.democraticreformparty.com

Posted by: EPearson1 | October 10, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect for Jake Place's (formerly "the Fix") fascination with Pawlenty and obscure GOP candidate wannabes no one's ever heard of, how about this guy Congressman Alan Grayson? This guy brings it on and doesn't back down. (IMO, BHO could use him in his front office or communications team.)

"October 08, 2009 C-SPAN. Rep. Alan Grayson has a few words for both Democrats and Republicans on health care reform.

Grayson: Maddam Speaker I have words for both Democrats and Republicans tonight. Let's start with the Democrats. We as a party have spent the last six months-- the greatest minds of our party dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote for health care reform. I want to remind us all... Olympia Snowe was not elected president last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population."

Grayson kinda bludgeons BHO's opposition with facts and common sense, particularly about health care, with no weasel words.

Full Grayson truth blast is at:

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/cspanjunkie/graysoni-will-not-apologize-america-doesnt-care

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 10, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

since when did
politicians ever care of the environment?

all they cared for
was the money they could make..

example:

http://www.exxposeexxon.com/

Posted by: huj534op | October 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2009/10/best-obamanobel-jokes.html

yes, the 'liberal media' has been falling all over itself to condemn the prize. now, if it would have been bush, you know they would have found a way to say he deserved it... they never could stop propping him up. and obama they find new ways to attack for everythng he does... or doesn't do.

Posted by: drindl | October 10, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Another "GOP comeback" post (the 39th?). Check

==

Maybe Hiatt thinks that by manipulating perceptions he can "make it so." Funny, all the goopers seem to think that way.

Sorta like believing you can change the shape of a coastline by redrawing a map.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 9, 2009 7:59 PM
___________
G&T, you cannot imagine Hiatt's hostile coverage of the BHO win in today's Post. Virtually the entire paper today has been given over to bigots and anti-BHO Post writers angry that BHO won. Many Euros are asking, how do you get mad about YOUR president WINNING a prestigious award. Almost all the comments on the Post's negative articles on the Nobel win strongly condemn the Post. BHO Nobel win BAD. Warmongering and bigotry GOOD. Crazy Bizarro World stuff.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 10, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Cilliza, I haven't seen you this excited since Clay Akins announced
he was a big fan of Lance and the Backstreet Boys....

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 10, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Villagers??? Madam, I resemble that remark!

The line seems reasonable with one big fat exception at #1. Even though the top three flips are Dem, if an unknown race is at #1, that doesn't bode well for the Heffalumps. I'd put DE at #5, possible, but not known.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 9, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"ceflyline - Porter = Goodhair? CANNOT be. Posted by: mark_in_austin"

Pure hero worship. Like kids who wear spiderman undies to remember their heroes.

The Good hair Attribute would as easily apply to Boehner or Portman if it weren't trade marked for Perry by Molly Ivins.

Have your operatives find out which Perry prefers, batman jammies or superunderalls.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 9, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Another "GOP comeback" post (the 39th?). Check

==

Maybe Hiatt thinks that by manipulating perceptions he can "make it so." Funny, all the goopers seem to think that way.

Sorta like believing you can change the shape of a coastline by redrawing a map.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 9, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

ceflyline - Porter = Goodhair? CANNOT be.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 9, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

An economic turnaround in the first six months of 2010 will clearly aid Democrats, as would achieving further legislative accomplishments such as Health Care reform and Financial Regulation reform.

The Republican recruiting "successes" still could matter even if the trends are with Democrats next year. Recruiting the best possible candidates, and actually nominating them (such as ensuring Crist rather than Rubio is nominated in Florida or ensuring that Ayotte and not some ultra-conservative is nominated in N.H.), is crucial to ensuring a party maximizes its opportunities. A strong candidate like Castle will have a shot in Delaware, even if the national environment improves for Democrats. He is clearly the only Republican who would have a chance at the Biden/Kaufman Senate seat. Getting Castle to run is therefore very good news for Republicans.

I'd guess the Senate races which could be most heavily influenced by trends in the Democrats' direction next year would be Illinois, Connecticut, Nevada and Pennsylvania. If health care and financial regulation bills are passed and the economy is growing at 4% or better by the second quarter of next year, Democrats will easily win in all four of those contests.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 9, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Another "GOP comeback" post (the 39th?). Check

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 9, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"What the GOP have managed to do is stop falling. They have not yet begun climbing out of their hole. Think of it like the economy: the rate of bad news has slowed, and we may have hit the bottom and begun the climb out. But it is far too soon to claim success & that we're back on sound economic ground. Posted by: bsimon1"

Just because the republicans are now finding candidates THEY like and getting them to commit to trying to buck the trend of blaming Republicans for the mess and firing them because of it DOESN'T mean they have stopped falling. They thought they had great candidates in 2006 and 2008, didn't they. (Just ask the blog clogging trio).

Should the economy behave as you describe, just what are these wunderkindern going to run on? Wiley Coyote does run on air, of course, until he looks down.

About this time next year the Republican Party may forget and look down. Think of the hand that will then be holding that silly little sign, "bye Bye"

Beep Beep.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 9, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Rob Portman, by the way, is equivalent to getting Bush to move to Ohio and run for Senator.
Come to think of it, the Ohio Republican party would probably be over joyed should they succeed in getting shrub to do that.

Of course so would the democrats.
Portman is Good Hair Perry with a Cincinnati accent. They do love him in Mason, though.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 9, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Of course, by convincing Castle to run for Senate the republicans gave up one of the fewer and fewer House seats they currently sit in from a state north of the Ohio/Patomac line and East of the Mississippi.

When Biden then wins the Senate seat Castle can go back to Delaware and become a lobbyist, like all of his fellow once wases.

But I'm an optimist, I truly believe that the Republican party has decided that it has gotten old and wants to put itself out of business. No other theory explains their actions throughout the twenty-first century.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 9, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Loosk to me that the Dems are about to get swamped. the complete and utter lack of any forward progress by the inept and corrupt liberals has yielded the fastest drop in popularity in history.

doomed:
Reid
dodd
Biden
Lincoln
Specter

that should begin to straighten things out around here.

Posted by: snowbama | October 9, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I know it's fashionable to consider Dodd and Reid the most doomed Democratic incumbents, but I really think Blanche Lincoln is in far worse shape.

Posted by: mattfugazi | October 9, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

OF ARLEN, CASTLE AND BEAU...

Still think Arlen Specter may decide to hang it up, back Sestak, and become an esteemed eminence grise of the Democratic Party and human right advocate devoted to restoring human and civil rights. (Senator: see last link, below.)

And as I said before in this space, Beau Biden would beat the pants off Castle if he decides to run, for reasons of demographics, vitality and connections (and he's got street smarts and cuts a good jib, like his Dad did when he ran for the Senate against a GOP graybeard).

***

HOW HOMELAND SECURITY- ADMINISTERED 'FUSION CENTERS' USE WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE TO HARASS AND CENSOR U.S. CITIZENS

• Rogue operations run by rogue contractors?

IS Sec. Napolitano naive, misinformed, or complicit?

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled)::

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA" (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 9, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse


You're missing a key aspect of the Ohio race; and something that while not talked about now, will be the primary attack line for Portman against Fisher.

Lt. Gov Fisher will be tied at the hip to Gov. "Toxic" Ted Strickland and the job crisis currently facing the state.

On top of that, voters will be reminded of Fisher's tenure as Director of Development which oversaw hundreds of thousands of job losses across Ohio.

Without question, Fisher's negatives will skyrocket. Question is how much Portman's will change the more he is attached to Bush.

If your post about effectiveness of using former Presidents as a campaign tactic is any indication, Fisher is in much more trouble than Portman.
----------------------------

I don't buy any of the above. Strickland is likely to be reelected in 2010 against the far-right Republican John Kasich. He and Fisher sharing the ticket will actually help Fisher. Strickland will swamp Kasich in Columbus, Toledo and Northeast Ohio (Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, Canton) and since Strickland is from the Portsmouth area in Southern Ohio and represented much of Southern and Southeast Ohio in the U.S. House, he will hold down Kasich's margins there. The only parts of the state that Kasich is likely to carry handily are the small-town Western Ohio Republican geographic base, and the suburbs and exurbs around Cincinnati and Columbus.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 9, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"Marginally? Try "incrementally" or if you feel like shooting for accuracy try "not at all.""

Cmon now. I hate Republicans as much as anyone, but to say that the environment is the same as it was in 2006 is just delusional.

And party affiliation is a misleading stat. I think Louisiana has twice as many people who associate with Dems as Repubs.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 9, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"With the national political environment having turned at least marginally in Republicans' favor, it should be no surprise that GOP candidates who took passes on bids over the last few elections are running this time around."

==

Marginally? Try "incrementally" or if you feel like shooting for accuracy try "not at all."

GOP identification is at its lowest point in decades, the GOP is bereft of ideas and attractive policies, elected GOP officials are melting down left and right .. but at The Fix it's always Morning in Jesusland.

Sheesh.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 9, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

When I go to 538, I see his line from 9/30 showing DE at 11th. In the text he says it's getting late for Castle to enter but if he and Biden both do then Biden is the underdog. I'm assuming somewhere he's adjusted his opinion since Castle's announcement?

My point about CT is that 538 has it 4th. If he puts DE at 1st, then CT drops to 5th. CC has DE at 2nd, making it look like the Rs have a good chance of picking up 3 seats. Which they don't.

The likelihood is that the Senate will change by one seat in either direction. I think CC should look at the top 5 in the Senate and spend more time looking at the top 25 in the House.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 9, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"I think he did it just to have an excuse to have the top three spots as potential GOP pickups. 538 does not agree on CT.

Posted by: mikenmidland"

Why would he do that? Nate Silver makes no secret about his preference for the blue. He attempts to be unbiased in his analysis, but he is very open about his Democratic leanings.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 9, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

You're missing a key aspect of the Ohio race; and something that while not talked about now, will be the primary attack line for Portman against Fisher.

Lt. Gov Fisher will be tied at the hip to Gov. "Toxic" Ted Strickland and the job crisis currently facing the state.

On top of that, voters will be reminded of Fisher's tenure as Director of Development which oversaw hundreds of thousands of job losses across Ohio.

Without question, Fisher's negatives will skyrocket. Question is how much Portman's will change the more he is attached to Bush.

If your post about effectiveness of using former Presidents as a campaign tactic is any indication, Fisher is in much more trouble than Portman.

Posted by: ThirdBasePolitics | October 9, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'd like scary, nutty Republicans for $1000, Alex.

"This GOP congressional candidate shot at targets with the Democratic incumbent's initials on it."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091009/ap_on_el_ho/us_republicans_shooting_range

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 9, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD,

No, I think both CC and 538 are figuring this based on the fact that since Beau hasn't *announced*, there's a chance he won't run. Therefore, Castle is the frontrunner. CC says if Beau gets in, this one drops:

"If Biden is in, this race will likely drop a slot or two because of the state's strong Democratic tendencies and the powerful name recognition that the Vice President's son would bring to the race."

I think he did it just to have an excuse to have the top three spots as potential GOP pickups. 538 does not agree on CT.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 9, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Beau won't run for Castle's seat. They already have a good candidate there, and it would look like Beau was afraid of real competition. It would be political suicide.

Everyone knows who Beau is. As Attorney General he can continue to burnish his reputation. So he can afford to wait a few more months before announcing. Sure bet that both Castle and Biden are preparing their campaigns with the assumption that the other will be their competition.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 9, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"So, yeah, with the sitting at-large congressman running against NOBODY, this is the seat most likely to change hands, given the current facts."

Well, I don't think the assumption is that Castle is running unopposed. The implication is that against most Democrats, Castle should be considered the favorite to win it. Even against Biden, he's probably still a small favorite.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 9, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"The Fix is a bit beltway bound, and will eventually find that his predictions are a bit off, like the rest of the pundits', and the GOP are not quite as strong as they like to think."

When still only about 20% of the population identifies republican, that does point to less reason for optimism than the Beltway Villagers like to think.

Posted by: drindl | October 9, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Beau Biden might run for Castle's House seat rather than the Senate. He should certainly be running for one of the two. I think a Democrat is more likely to win in Ohio and Missouri than a Republican winning in Connecticut or Nevada.

While the establishment Republicans in Washington and much of the national business community love Portman, he is not really a good candidate for several reasons:

1. His inescapable ties to the G.W.Bush Administration as Trade Representative and OMB Director are going to make him a very easy mark for Fisher. This is ultimately going to cost him any real chance at winning.

2. Portman, unlike Fisher, has never run statewide in Ohio. It is highly unusual for a candidate to be elected to the Senate or Governor in Ohio without having run statewide previously. This is even more true in Senate elections than with Gubernatorial elections. Strickland broke a 50+-year streak of no candidate being elected Senator or Governor without a previous statewide run when he was elected Governor in 2006 without having run statewide previously, but it is highly unusual in this state. Check all recent Ohio Senators: Brown, Voinovich, DeWine, Metzenbaum and Glenn all had run at least once statewide before winning election to the Senate. Check the Governors of the past 40 years prior to Strickland----Taft, Voinovich, Celeste, Rhodes, Gilligan----all had run statewide previously prior to being elected Governor.

Fisher was elected Attorney General, was a losing Democratic nominee for Governor, and was elected Lieutenant Governor on Strickland's ticket. He has been in Ohio politics a long time. Portman has never run outside a very conservative Congressional District in southwest Ohio.

3. Portman's base is in Cincinnati's eastern suburbs and small towns and rural areas in Southwest Ohio, whereas Fisher's base is in metropolitan Cleveland, the most vote-rich area of the state. Candidates from the Cleveland area tend to have a great advantage in Ohio politics. Portman is not well-known outside the circle of Republican Party activists and the southwest part of the state.

Republicans should have tried to find a better-known candidate without the obvious negatives of Portman if they really wanted to have a shot at retaining Voinovich's seat.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 9, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

OK, by that logic I guess I have to agree. Castle is a Republican, and he has announced his intention to run in the 2010 Senate race.

The seat is currently being kept warm by an appointed D who is not running. In fact, there are no declared D's running.

So, yeah, with the sitting at-large congressman running against NOBODY, this is the seat most likely to change hands, given the current facts.

This is not news. Beau will run, because if he doesn't, his political career is over anyway. And when he announces, this seat will drop out of the top 5.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 9, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I think 538.com says that Mike Castle's entry into the race makes it the most likely seat to change hands next year. Although I think he also said that this may change if Biden decides to run.

Not the worst thing in the world for Castle to win. He would be another data point in the argument against being batsh*t crazy.

As for Vitter, he is being hammered for screwing wh0res every chance he gets. That seems to be the main prong of the campaign. His going after ACORN provides a nice easy segue into his own dealings with prostitutes.

At a LA Dems meeting, I suggested going after Vitter about his filibustering the appointment of a FEMA head until days before hurricane season. The problem with that is that would probably only gain traction with New Orleans which will probably vote against Vitter anyways. I don't think the rest of the state really cares whether New Orleans is prepared to deal with hurricanes.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 9, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

By the way, last polls show support for GOP in the House is at 12 percent ... kind of hard to win anything other than a Loser's Whig Party Primary with numbers like that ...

Posted by: WillSeattle | October 9, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

So, what are they going to run on?

Burning the American flag, cheering when America loses an Olympics bid, and hatred of our President?

Why don't they serve our country a different way and sign up for a combat tour in Afghanistan?

Posted by: WillSeattle | October 9, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

CC writes:
"Democrats scoff at Toomey's potential competitiveness but they are headed toward a primary that could well leave their eventual nominee badly battered and financially bereft."

Hmm. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, the HRC/BHO D Presidential primary season of 2008.

And the fact that a one-term Lt. Governor from CO, where the Gov. and Lt. Gov. are on the same ticket, and a former Rep. from a ruby-red district in SE OH are considered recruiting "successes" suggests that there aren't too many good choices for the Rs.

Posted by: mnteng | October 9, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

What's the word on candidates in DE other than Biden? I imagine everybody's sitting aside until he makes a decision, and I can't imagine he'd say no, but you've got to be prepared for anything in politics.

Posted by: thecorinthian | October 9, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come on, CC! You finally updated your graphic to the Sept 18 Line, and then a week later you update the line.

Yeah, Castle is in, but you knew that was likely. And when Beau announces, Delaware will fall down again. Reality is not such a yo-yo as you would portray it.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 9, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the national environment. it is surging against the liberals. here's why:

The Democrats have been unable to run a prominent politician successfully since LBJ, and even then, he rode in on a wave of sympathy following the JFK assassination. Baggage such as a lengthy voting record in the House or Senate prevents liberal politicians from getting elected in a national election

The formula is simple, run from obscurity. This is the Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton formula. Come fast from nowhere, with little political baggage, let the polls define your positions, pander as required, remain an enigma as long as possible, be a good orator, avoid specifics, and win the Presidency.

Obama was able to add a couple more ingredients into the formula, making it almost impossible to see how inept he would be once elected.

He had the Chicago Machine behind him. This push ensured that he would be able to get elected to any office in the State of Illinois without ever having to cast a vote that would have come back to roost. He could remain as innocuous and ineffectual as possible, and still advance his career, which he did.

In the end, propelled by machine politics and propped up by a lap-dog press, America voted for Chauncey Gardener; an un-vetted, pseudo-savant, loosed into the real world from the protected sanctuary of Chicago politics, wholly unprepared to lead the most powerful nation on earth in one of the most challenging times in history.

Posted by: snowbama | October 9, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The Fix and the pundit class are overcrediting the allegedly 'GOP favorable' political environment. What the GOP have managed to do is stop falling. They have not yet begun climbing out of their hole. Think of it like the economy: the rate of bad news has slowed, and we may have hit the bottom and begun the climb out. But it is far too soon to claim success & that we're back on sound economic ground. I think that, like in the last two election cycles, The Fix is a bit beltway bound, and will eventually find that his predictions are a bit off, like the rest of the pundits', and the GOP are not quite as strong as they like to think.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 9, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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