Senate Republicans get two (rare) good news

The 2008 Senate cycle has been nothing short of disastrous for Republicans for now. Some of their members unexpectedly retired, too many incumbents are in trouble, and the party has failed to adequately recruit in Democratic-held seats that could have been competitive (starting with South Dakota and Arkansas). But the NRSC got some good news today from New Jersey and Louisiana, the only two states in which Republicans are playing offense.

Louisiana has been at the top of the GOP's list since the beginning of the cycle. Senator Mary Landrieu has never been a very entrenched incumbent, and her state had been trending Republican even before Katrina. Republicans are running former Democrat and state Treasurer John Kennedy in what is expected to be one of the fall's marquee races. Last November, Republicans picked up the governorship but Democrats showed they could still win statewide and resisted the GOP's legislative push.

Landrieu's problem is that she is The target this year. She is the only Democrats the GOP really thinks it can beat -- and the NRSC and Republican donors will divest as much funding, resources and attention as necessary to win this seat. And the fundraising totals of the first quarter should dispel any doubts people might still harbor about the threat Kennedy poses: He outraised Landrieu, known as a good fundraiser, $1.4 million to approximately $1 million. For any challenger to outraise an incumbent is always an impressive feat, and it proves that Louisiana is definitely a race to watch to the end.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Republicans are hoping to add a second state to their list of offensive plays. 3 days before the filing deadline, the GOP finally convinced a credible candidate to jump in the race, businessman John Crowley. His first advantage is financial: He will self-fund his campaign, which is the main thing the NRSC is probably asking for given how little money the committee will have just to defend the seats that are endangered. In the past few contests, Republicans have had hope in New Jersey only to be crushed on Election Day after having wasted millions in the very expensive New Jersey markets (you have to buy ads in Philly and NYC).

Even beyond that, Republicans think Crowley (who started a biomedical company to seek a cure for his two children) is exactly the type of candidate the GOP needs in New Jersey. Whether or not Crowley lives up to such hopes, the race could become tricky for Democrats now that Senator Lautenberg is facing a fierce primary challenge from Rep. Andrews. That contest is (understandably and justifiably) sure to focus on the incumbent's age, which Crowley will be glad to pick up on in the fall. Don't expect to get clear trends to develop as to the Republicans' chances here for a few more months. Crowley is the type of candidate who will strengthen after introducing himself to voters with millions of dollars worth of ads, and that process certainly takes time.

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  • The Democrats, myself included, need to knock off this utopia state where we think that no Democrat is endangered. It's nice that in 2006 we didn't lose any incumbent races, but this is another election.

    Personally I don't see NJ going from "Favored" to "Leans" in categories, but I definitely wouldn't call it safe any longer with the primary challenge (Latenberg wins) and now a credible GOP challenger.

    As for Louisiana, Landrieu appeared to be getting stronger with cross-aisle endorsements, seniority claim, and fundraising advantage. But given the un-even polls and now Kennedy getting more cash in the last quarter, we have to admit that Landrieu is akin to Coleman and Stevens. I'd still give her a slight "Lean" advantage, but it's damn close to a toss-up given the environment in that state.

    By Blogger KELL, At 05 April, 2008 12:21  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger jjv, At 04 June, 2008 07:58  

  • As a NJ resident of 57 years I am constantly amazed at the (il)logic of my dear friends and neighbors. While constantly, obsessively and unendingly complaining about the crooks elected by the Democrats in NJ and the exhorbitent real estate taxes, they nonetheless continue to elect the same people who are the cause of their misery.

    And the scary thing is when asked WHY they wouldn't elect a Republican, even for ONE election cycle just to see if they in fact WOULD lower taxes as they promise they would, all I ever get is a blank stare and a mumbled statement to the effect they couldn't vote for a Republican.

    And so the sheep continue to be led to slaughter in NJ while they dumbly nod their heads at the direction of their leaders, who promise them paradise for their vote, while simultaniously picking their pockets. But hey, it's ok friends, because they're taking your money for your own good.

    As Bill Clinton once famously said when asked if he would institute a tax cut in light of the government surplus,"Well, we could give you back some of your money, but what if you didn't spend it right"

    By Blogger jjv, At 04 June, 2008 08:03  

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