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Midsummer’s Senate Dreams (GOP Gains)
National Review Online ^ | 08/17/2004 | John Miller

Posted on 08/17/2004 7:06:11 PM PDT by etradervic

Republicans have settled on Senate nominees in four states since our last roundup. Candidates in Georgia and Oklahoma avoided runoffs, a beer man in Colorado received his party's nod, and a carpetbagger descended on Illinois. The next important GOP decision comes in Florida, where a crowded field of senatorial wannabes is winnowing down to a two-man race.

Herewith, a review of this year's hottest Senate races:

ALASKA: Expect Republican senator Lisa Murkowski to blow by former state senator Mike Miller in the GOP primary on August 24. Then she'll move on to face former Democratic governor Tony Knowles in the general election. The latest poll, taken in July, has the race neck-and-neck, with Knowles at 46 percent and Murkowski at 44 percent. TOSS UP

CALIFORNIA: Former GOP secretary of state Bill Jones has yet to gain traction against liberal Democratic senator Barbara Boxer. A recent Field Poll shows Boxer stomping him, 50 percent to 33 percent. She even holds a one-point lead in the Central Valley, a place where Republicans generally have to rack up healthy margins to offset large Democratic advantages in San Francisco and elsewhere. Latent good news for Jones: Only 48 percent of those surveyed say they're "inclined" to reelect Boxer, who also has an unfavorable rating of 40 percent. She should be doing better. LEANING DEMOCRATIC RETENTION

COLORADO: During the GOP primary between beer man Pete Coors and former congressman Bob Schaffer, Republican governor Bill Owens and others insisted that Coors was a better candidate for November. It turned out that he was a pretty good one for August, as Coors won 61 percent of the vote last week. Now he takes on Democratic attorney general Ken Salazar. A Denver Post survey in July put Salazar on top, 47 percent to 40 percent. The GOP has done well in Colorado's close contests recently. Meanwhile, Democrats are hoping for more headlines like this recent one from The Economist: "Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow." TOSS UP

FLORIDA: The GOP primary looks like it's becoming a two-man race between former congressman Bill McCollum and former HUD secretary Mel Martinez. The latest Mason-Dixon polls puts McCollum ahead, 29 percent to 24 percent, with state house speaker Johnnie Byrd and businessman Doug Gallagher slipping into the irrelevancy of single digits. This is a winner-takes-all primary, with no run-off — and that's perhaps an advantage for McCollum. Yet Martinez is definitely within range of winning the August 31 primary and then going on to face either education official Betty Castor or congressman Peter Deutsch in the general election. Bonus GOP scuttlebutt: Republicans have penciled in Martinez for a short speech on the final night of the GOP convention — 48 hours after the primary. LEANING REPUBLICAN TAKEOVER

GEORGIA: Rep. Denise Majette captured the Democratic nomination in last week's runoff, which means she'll have the distinct displeasure of trying to win in this GOP-friendly state. Republican congressman Johnny Isakson showed surprising strength last month when he captured a majority of the vote and avoided an expensive runoff against either businessman Herman Cain or congressman Mac Collins. Conservatives will support Isakson, but they also hope to see more of Cain in the future. LIKELY REPUBLICAN TAKEOVER

ILLINOIS: The Republican nomination of Alan Keyes has all the marks of a placeholder candidacy: He's not on the ballot to win, but to help turn out a conservative base that will help GOP candidates in other contests. In the meantime, Illinois voters will get to hear one of America's great orators in action. Too bad he's a carpetbagger. Democratic state senator Barack Obama is all but guaranteed victory in November, especially if he turns down Keyes's inevitable demand for a series of Lincoln-Douglas debates. LIKELY DEMOCRATIC TAKEOVER

LOUISIANA: Despite last-minute speculation, former Republican governor Buddy Roemer didn't announce his candidacy, which means congressman David Vitter has the GOP field to himself. Among Democrats, the race is between congressman Chris John, state treasurer John Kennedy, and state representative Arthur Morrell — with either John or Kennedy likely to emerge from the November 2 primary and battle Vitter in the December 4 runoff. TOSS UP

MISSOURI: The primary defeat of Democratic governor Bob Holden is probably modest good news for the Senate bid of Democratic treasurer Nancy Farmer — at least a bitter and distracting campaign in her party is now over. That's not to say she has much of a chance against Republican senator Kit Bond. A recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch showed Bond leading his challenger, 51 percent to 39 percent. Bond ought to be doing better, but it looks like he's doing good enough. LIKELY REPUBLICAN RETENTION

NORTH CAROLINA: Former Clinton official Erskine Bowles continues to lead congressman Richard Burr in the latest poll, 44 percent to 37 percent. The good news for Burr is that the race appears to be narrowing, albeit slightly. Current senator John Edwards landing on the national Democratic ticket also doesn't appear to have had much of an impact on this race, at least not yet. TOSS UP

OKLAHOMA: Former GOP congressman Tom Coburn's big primary win last month — he took 61 percent of the vote — was distressing news for Democrats. They were hoping for a weaker candidate or at least an expensive runoff. The race between Coburn and Democratic congressman Brad Carson may tighten, but it also looks like Coburn's to lose. A GOP poll right after the primary showed him ahead, 44 percent to 32 percent. LEANING REPUBLICAN RETENTION

PENNSYLVANIA: Republican Senator Arlen Specter maintains a big lead over Democratic congressman Joe Hoeffel, 51 percent to 36 percent. Still, he's probably concerned about Constitution Party candidate Jim Clymer recently qualifying for the ballot, with help from Hoeffel activists. As Clymer told the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I'm not running this race to help [Hoeffel] get elected, but if that ends up being the result, I still think that I accomplished something." Will disgusted supporters of defeated GOP primary candidate Pat Toomey go for this third-party spoiler? LEANING REPUBLICAN RETENTION

SOUTH CAROLINA: Democratic education official Inez Tenenbaum is running a protectionist campaign against Republican congressman Jim DeMint, who is a valiant free trader eager to challenge the conventional wisdom that South Carolinians want high tariffs. LEANING REPUBLICAN TAKEOVER

SOUTH DAKOTA: Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press has pegged this as one of America's most important Senate races, scheduling an hour-long debate between Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and former GOP congressman John Thune on his September 19 program. LEANING DEMOCRATIC RETENTION

WASHINGTON: Republican congressman George Nethercutt continues to wage a scrappy campaign against Democratic senator Patty Murray, but he remains a big-time underdog. LIKELY DEMOCRATIC RETENTION

WISCONSIN: With the GOP primary scheduled for September 14, this is the one race that won't have a nominated Republican candidate until after Labor Day. State senator Bob Welch probably represents the best chance for knocking off Democrat senator Russ Feingold, whose polls indicate a surprising level of vulnerability for a two-term incumbent. But even with Welch, who is no shoe-in for the nomination, it won't be easy. LIKELY DEMOCRATIC RETENTION

OVERALL: Republicans can breathe a little easier following Tom Coburn's primary victory in Oklahoma — they'll fight that contest with their best candidate. I've shifted my prediction there from "toss up" to "leaning Republican retention." That leaves four toss-up races: Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina. It's hard not to notice that they're all red states — i.e., Bush carried them in 2000. For now, I'll split them down the middle and stick with last month's prediction. REPUBLICANS GAIN TWO SEATS

TOPICS: Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: billjones; bobwelch; burr; coburn; coors; demint; elections; isakson; keyes; kitbond; martinez; murkowski; nethercutt; senate; thune; vitter
As Kerry's campaign stagnates, a look at the Senate Races seem to indicate a likely gain by Republicans.
1 posted on 08/17/2004 7:06:18 PM PDT by etradervic
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To: etradervic
WASHINGTON: Republican congressman George Nethercutt continues to wage a scrappy campaign against Democratic senator Patty Murray, but he remains a big-time underdog. LIKELY DEMOCRATIC RETENTION

How depressing that the people of Washington would see fit to return this idiot to the Senate.
2 posted on 08/17/2004 7:10:24 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Rummyfan
Republican congressman George Nethercutt continues to wage a scrappy campaign against Democratic senator Patty Murray

He's had an advertisement running during Rush's show for a couple weeks? Challenging Murray to respond to a debate. I'm developing a little affection for his spirit. LOL

In all seriousness, the GOP should have begun this campaign when G.W. became President. There was a small window of opportunity earlier. Murray stepped in it with her comment about the Taliban. Gary Locke (Gov.) had weak poll ratings (Dems still had him address G.W.'s SOU). They were late to the campaign with both of these offices.

WA isn't entirely hopeless. Seattle and a couple cities may dominate but if the rest of the state had been the target of sustained campaigning from the leadership of the GOP for a few years we could have been more competitive.

As it stands now it would take events that haven't transpired yet to create a landslide for G.W. in WA, that would in turn help push our Senate and Gov. candidates over the top. Not likely.

3 posted on 08/17/2004 7:33:09 PM PDT by Soul Seeker
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To: etradervic

I was just watching Scarborough on MSNBC when I saw the news stream at the bottom say, "Bush takes lead in battleground states". Did anybody else see that??

4 posted on 08/17/2004 7:44:12 PM PDT by Winfield (sham)
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To: Rummyfan
Its amazing to me how Democrats are such mind-numb, lockstep, koolaid drinkers.

If Hitler was the Democratic Senate nominee in CA or NY, the Dems would just go in and pull the Dem lever.

5 posted on 08/17/2004 7:46:30 PM PDT by etradervic (Kerry is a Left-Wing Dinosaur)
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To: etradervic
So it looks like at best a 2-3 seat pick up for the GOP and at worst the current status quo will be maintained.
6 posted on 08/17/2004 7:48:22 PM PDT by COEXERJ145 (I Annoy Buchananites)
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To: etradervic

Here's a Nethercutt ad against Patty Murray.


7 posted on 08/17/2004 7:50:34 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: etradervic

If South Dakota is a LEANING DEMOCRATIC RETENTION, Pennsylvania should be a LIKELY REPUBLICAN RETENTION. The South Dakota race is very close and the Pennsylvania race between RINO Arlen Specter and lightweight Joe Hoefel isn't - even with the 3rd party candidate. Don't forget - Toomey is now supporting Specter.

8 posted on 08/17/2004 7:51:50 PM PDT by ConservativeMajority
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To: Soul Seeker

Here's a better ad against Patty Murray by George Nethercutt:


9 posted on 08/17/2004 7:53:39 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Winfield
There is nothing on their website except the usual DNC-led party-line reporting that you get from MSNBC.
Believe it or not they have an article on the Senate Race that is fantasizing over the Dems taking over the Senate and they are still reporting on liberal nonsense like Bush dropping Cheney.
10 posted on 08/17/2004 7:55:29 PM PDT by etradervic (Kerry is a Left-Wing Dinosaur)
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To: ConservativeMajority

I was about to post the same thing about South Dakota. I'm not sure why NR sees this leaning Daschle's way. It's a tossup, most definitely.

11 posted on 08/17/2004 7:56:25 PM PDT by Gunder
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To: ConservativeMajority
It would be a real coup to unseat the Minority Senate Leader Daschle in SD.
12 posted on 08/17/2004 7:57:49 PM PDT by etradervic (Kerry is a Left-Wing Dinosaur)
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To: Gunder
You are right. There is an article on SD at Foxnews:


13 posted on 08/17/2004 8:15:33 PM PDT by etradervic (Kerry is a Left-Wing Dinosaur)
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To: Gunder has Daschle doing pretty good, but has been crashing down as of late:
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14 posted on 08/17/2004 8:23:04 PM PDT by Remember_Salamis (Freedom is Not Free)
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To: etradervic

Thanks for that link. I'm a Minnesotan without a Senate race this year, so Thune is my proverbial "dog in the fight."


15 posted on 08/17/2004 8:28:06 PM PDT by Gunder
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To: Remember_Salamis

The volume on the Dashole contract is very thin. Thus, I'm hoping that the current price is not very representative.

16 posted on 08/17/2004 8:31:22 PM PDT by PeoplesRepublicOfWashington
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To: etradervic

Here's what Charlie Cook said in an August 3rd piece...

South Dakota

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota is the only Democratic incumbent whose bid for re-election is now a toss-up. The three-term senator will face former Republican Rep. John Thune, who in 2002 came within 524 votes of ousting freshman Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson.

Democrats argue that Daschle will be a much tougher opponent for Thune than Johnson was. They point out that Daschle has a very long record of delivering for the state. Republicans contend, though, that as party leader, Daschle has put the needs of his national party over the needs of the state. They point specifically to the obstructionist tactics Democrats have used since losing control of the Senate. And Republicans will also try to prove that what Daschle does in Washington is very different from what he voices support for when he's back home.

Thune remains a very strong candidate and seems aware of some of the mistakes he made in 2002. He has restructured his campaign team and is working to make in-roads into Native American reservations, where Johnson trounced him. Thune has also worked hard to close the financial gap with Daschle, who had spent about $8.3 million as of mid-May. Daschle has also been on television for more than a year, with ads designed to show that his efforts in the Senate have improved the lives of average South Dakotans. Thune's television advertising began this month with spots featuring his two daughters talking about his record on issues important to South Dakota.

Observers disagree on where this race stands. Daschle supporters say that he has spent the past year building a very solid foundation and enjoys a lead in the low teens. As evidence, they point to a mid-May Zogby International survey that gave Daschle a 52 percent to 39 percent advantage. Republicans contend that the race is much closer. They point to a Mason-Dixon poll, also taken in May, that showed Daschle ahead by just 2 points, 49 percent to 47 percent.

Either way, the South Dakota race should be undeniably close, once Thune's ads go on the air.

17 posted on 08/17/2004 8:34:25 PM PDT by Gunder
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