Republican Senators in Dire Straits in 2008 Elections

Republicans face a bleak prospect in next year’s US Senate elections. Senator Larry Craig’s resignation added to what was already shaping up to be a daunting task. Craig’s situation just contributed a little more to an already tarnished Republican image that just got a little tougher to try to turn around. And it puts into play another state, that while Republican leaning, has elected strong Democrats in the past like Cecil Andrus and Frank Church.

The Republican’s problem starts with the reality that they have to defend 22 seats in 2008 while the Democrats are only defending 12 seats. And with the Iraq War and Bush’s ineptitude in running the government at a low ebb, they need to win 23 of the 34 seats up in the Senate to regain control.

Republicans are running in 4 states that went for Kerry over Bush in 2004 – Oregon, Minnesota, Maine and New Hampshire

Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia who is 80 decided this last week to not run for re-election. This brings the state of Virginia into play for the Democrats, where ex-Governor Mark Warner, a Democrat who left office with an 80% approval rating, is considering running for the seat.
In Colorado another open seat exists with Republican Senator Wayne Allard retiring. As the Rocky Mountain News reported, the Republicans actually set his retirement up with the

promise he made in 1996 to serve no more than two U.S. Senate terms.
The term limits pledge was a relic of the so-called “Republican Revolution” of the 1994 election, when the GOP swept to power promising to change the ways of Washington.”

In a close election in 2002 Allard renewed his pledge. “I’m term-limited,” Allard said in reaction. “That has always been my position. I’ve always said I believe in limiting my term. I’ve stipulated in past campaigns that I believe in term limits, and I’ve never wavered on it.”

As the Washington Post reported

Beyond Idaho and Virginia, the field looks barren for Republicans, GOP campaign aides conceded. NRSC fundraising has been weak, and Republicans appear to have only two real Democratic targets next year, Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Tim Johnson of South Dakota. Johnson’s slow recovery from a brain hemorrhage has impeded Republicans from going on the attack.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Wednesday rated the Colorado seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Wayne Allard as a tossup, but the state has been trending Democratic. Anti-war sentiments are turning some voters away from the GOP, imperiling the re-election prospects of Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, John Sununu, R-N.H., Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and Gordon Smith, R-Ore.

The Craig scandal is only the latest issue to demoralize the Republican Party, and new wild cards keep springing up, such as an FBI raid on a vacation home of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and questions about the role that Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., may have played in the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias in Albuquerque. Democratic surrogates in labor-backed groups have even been attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The Cook Report considers those three seats and the Idaho seat “likely Republican,” but if the GOP is forced to spend money defending them, it would siphon funds from races where the money would be badly needed. As of June 30, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had $20.4 million on hand, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee had $5.8 million in its bank account.”

Another state that could come into play for democrats is Nebraska. Republican Chuck Hagel has been rumored to be considering retiring. If he does, former Democratic Senator and Governor Bob Kerrey is thought to be very interested in running.

Lots can change in 14 months but it’s all going in the wrong direction for the Republicans right now. It’s probably there bad karma coming back to get them. It was laughable to listen to listen to Senator John Ensign on the George Stephanopoulos show on Sunday. He is heading up the Republican Senators’ election effort.

Ensign said the public wants to elect Senators that “put country before party”. Well there’s one strike against the Republicans. Then he said it was “time to end partisan bickering” That’s two strikes. The third strike was when he said “we need health care we can afford.” That’s not the Republicans. They were the guys that didn’t do it when they controlled both houses and the Presidency. People aren’t dumb. The Republicans are the ones who gave a bonanza to the drug companies at the expense of the public with their corporate welfare drug package that was Medicare Part D. What a joke.

The Republicans are in for more tough times ahead. They are trying to spin it that the country’s problems are the Democrat’s fault. Congress is working under the Democrats now . But our problems are the legacy of a Republican President and a Republican controlled Congress. And the American public knows that. There’s nothing more disingenuous than listening to Republicans talk about partisan bickering and inaction. That’s their legacy, not the Democrats.

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