Congressional diary: One more House Republican withdraws, Sununu trails and Horne drops out

Arizona's Rep. John Shadegg announced today that he would not seek re-election, an entirely unexpected development. Shadegg, who was first elected in 1994, ran for House Majority Leader last year as the most conservative candidate and came in third and found himself out of the GOP leadership.

Democrats have a candidate that is very well-funded, Bob Lord. But Shadegg's district is reliably Republic -- Bush beat Kerry 57% to 41% in 2004 -- and Shadegg dipped below 60% only once, finishing his 2006 re-election race in 2006. This retirement is thus not important because it creates another competitive open seat (though we should keep a close eye on further developments, depending on who the GOP manages to recruit). It is significant because it says a lot about the state of disarray of House Republicans. One of the most vocal conservative leaders is retiring without any warning sign says a lot about how much belief the GOP has in its chances of reclaiming the House in November.

Shadegg did specify that he might seek John McCain's Senate seat if the senator is elected to the White House in November and his seat needs to be filled. And I thus learned that Governor Napolitano, a Democrat, would have to appoint a Republican if McCain's seat became vacant, as Arizona law requires the governor to pick someone from the same party (the same was true a few months ago when a GOP-held seat opened up in Wyoming and the Democratic governor was not allowed to appoint a Democrat).

In other Senate news, a new University of New Hampshire poll shows Senator Sununu massively trailing former Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen in a rematch of their 2002 race. Shaheen gets 54% to Sununu's 37%. Shaheen's lead has been consistent for months now, except for an ARG poll in December that had Sununu up 11%. That was attributed to the bad press Shaheen's husband was getting at the time for his suggestion that the GOP would use Barack Obama's drug use in the general election. Whether or not that is true, the ARG poll more than ever looks to have been an outlier.

Finally, some surprising news from the Kentucky Senate race, where attorney and Iraq War veteran Andrew Horne abruptly announced he was withdrawing his candidacy without really providing a reason. Horne entered after the first tier of potential Democratic candidates announced they were not running. Despite having a solid online following, Horne did not seem quite adequate to take on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Democratic candidate will now probably be Bruce Lunsford, who lost the gubernatorial primary last year against eventual winner Steve Beshear.

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  • Two out of those three were good news for the Democrats. Mitch McConnell was vulnerable, however, he would have won re-election, but it would have cost a lot of money to do so. That could have helped Democrats win in other states.

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 12 February, 2008 01:52  

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